Rawlins, WY to Lander, WY
I have daily homework on the CDT. After dinner, I always curl up in my sleeping bag and study the maps and comments for the next section of trail. One night, I found an exciting surprise: the CDT would link up with the Oregon Trail for part of the day! I would get to fulfill a childhood fantasy of hiking part of the Oregon trail. Yes!!
It was a deeply touching experience to follow in the footsteps of the original American long-distance hikers. I thought of my struggles:
1) It was so hot that my Cliff bars melted.
2) Not enough Verizon LTE.
3) Had to carry 15 miles of water.
And then I thought of the pioneers of the Oregon trail. They had problems like this:
2) Lost an oxen.
My heart ached for them. They were just normal people with big dreams and a desire for a better life. Isn’t that what we all want? Suddenly my problems seemed silly and fleeting.
Being on the Oregon Trail really helped put my current struggles into prespective. I couldn’t help but look around at the stunningly beautiful landscape and think “There are bodies buried here. I am not allowed to complain about anything, ever.”
The basin was absolutely brutal. It was probably the hardest hiking of the CDT, but at least this exposed, desert section only lasted 4 days. It is finished. And while, I found some beauty in the basin, I’m never doing it again. It simply hurt too much. Hiking flat jeep roads across a desert inferno isn’t my idea of fun.
Tomorrow, I leave Lander and enter the Wind River Mountain Range. I’ve been listening to Will talk with wonder about the Winds for as long as I’ve known him. It was listening to him talk about his love for this mountain range that actually made me fall in love with him years ago.
I’m excited to see the Winds through my own eyes, and see what they have to teach me. After that, I enter Yellowstone, and then Idaho! 285 miles till Idaho? Seriously?? How??!
Slow down, CDT!