Friday, June 10, 2022

Day 104: The South Pass City Resupply

August 2: I woke up and hit the trail at 6:20am. There was a bit of condensation on me when I woke up, but nothing particularly problematic. I did, however, want to get an early start to beat the heat of the day.

I followed the trail a short ways to a gravel road that crossed Sweetwater Creek, after which the route on the map seems to show the trail wandering pointlessly and even cross-country at times. The terrain was almost completely flat, and it seemed baffling to me that the trail would wander around so much. Maybe it was avoiding private property or something, but nothing I could figure said that was illegal to follow the gravel roads in the area, so I decided to make my own route and follow the gravel roads along a more direct and less-wandering route.

The trail crosses Sweetwater Creek over this bridge.


I continued following markers for the various historic trails through the area, and caught up with Tumbles, Janis Joplin, Captain Jack and Twain near a post marking the old route of the Pony Express.

The morning warmed rapidly, though, and it wasn't long before I was sweating bullets, but otherwise the hiking was uneventful.

It was at around noon when I arrived in South Pass City and reconnected with the red-line route that I left shortly after crossing Sweetwater Creek. It was originally a station on the Oregon Trail but didn't become a ghost town until after gold mines in the area closed. Now the entire city--what's left of it, at least--is on the list of National Registers of Historic Places.

Fortunately for hikers like me, there's a small visitor center that accepts packages, and I had thoughtfully sent a food drop for myself here. There are no other services here--just the visitor center and adjacent restrooms, so most hikers seemed to prefer hitchhiking a ride north to the town of Lander. I don't like hitchhiking to begin with and much preferred to do a "walk-by" instead. Anyhow, I had taken a double-zero in Rawlins not long ago. I didn't need to get off again so soon!

The other boys: Tumbles, Janis, etc. were already there when I arrived into town and were piling into a car having gotten a ride in just a few minutes. They offered to make space for me to squeeze in, but I passed assuring them that I didn't want to go into town to resupply. I was happy with just picking up my package. So they drove off, and I headed into the visitor center. 

The historic ghost town known as South Pass City is quite interesting!

I picked up my package, along with an ice cream sandwich and creme soda as a treat for myself.  I wished they had something a bit more substantial. A real meal! A burger with fries or something, but in terms of stuff that could be consumed, it was more like a candy store than even a basic convenience store. If I had to actually resupply food from their selection, I'd have positively starved. 

Behind the visitor center was a picnic table where I ran into a few other hikers including Spreadsheet, his wife, and Plant. They had just gotten back from Lander, getting their stuff together to push on northward. There was also a section hiker who was heading southbound, looking to complete the section of the CDT through the Great Divide Basin.

I planned to take a good, long break. There was an outlet where I could charge my devices, and a wi-fi signal from the visitor center that allowed me to get online from my phone. My phone had no cell phone service here, but I did get that wi-fi signal!

While my devices were charging, I also decided to take the opportunity to cook myself a dinner. There was plenty of clean, clear (and potable) water from the restrooms, and I didn't know if there would be water where I camped tonight. May as well do my cooking near water!

I spend a couple of hours hanging out, but I did not plan to stop for the night! So about two hours later, I finally packed everything up and headed out. During the couple of hours I was there, dark clouds rolled in threatening rain. It didn't rain, not yet at least, but temperatures cooled dramatically for which I was grateful.

I picked up my food drop at the visitor center in town.

I pushed onward a few more hours for the day, not running into anymore hikers for the rest of the afternoon. A few miles beyond the town, the terrain started changing, and the changes were remarkably fast and dramatic. Trees started becoming more and more common. The flat, featureless terrain started developing folds and creases. And, just ahead, was the Wind River range. 

The mountains were legendary among thru-hikers. Many have told me that the Wind River range was their favorite section of the entire trail, and the mountains loomed large on the horizon and grew increasingly higher with each passing mile.

But I felt a little trepidation for this was the section that I had been warned was absolutely socked in with blowdowns. Thousands and thousands of blowdowns. I'd heard the horror stories, and now it was my turn to navigate this otherwise spectacular piece of land.

For the time being, however, I stopped at around 6:00pm. It was a bit early, but I had already done over 20 miles for the day and I didn't really want to deal with blowdowns until tomorrow. Plus, it looked like it might rain at any second and I preferred to have camp set up before anything started.

So I set up camp in a thicket of trees--great for setting up my tarp! And although there was a small creek the trail would pass, I decided to camp well away from it to hopefully avoid bugs. I felt that this time of year, bugs could be bad. Out in the open plains, they weren't bad, but now that I was getting into the mountainous areas and out of the Great Divide Basin, I figured they'd likely be worse. 

So I set up camp and dived under my tarp, cozy as a bug in a rug. The sun set, but it didn't really rain. Not yet, at least. Maybe later in the night.... Mostly, I just had several hours to lay back and relax, read a book and enjoy being among some trees again. 

So nice to camp in the trees again! Hello, my friends! And soon to be enemies... =)

Always the occasional fence to get through, just to keep us on our toes!

Still following the posts! This one marks the Oregon Trail and Pony Express.

The famous (and infamous) Wind River Range is starting to come into view....

Taking a break!

Hey! Look! Trees are starting to show up!

What could they be mining? I heard there were even tours of the old mines, but I didn't have time for that. *sigh*

It's not a large cemetery....

I honestly can't remember the last time I've seen a flag not at half-staff. I swear they're at half-staff 99% of the time nowadays, and I had absolutely no idea why this one was half-staffed.

Crossing the highway that leads into Lander.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There’s a website with all the National reasons for the flag to be at half staff. August 2, 2021, the flag should have been raised to the top. Maybe there was a state reason for it to be lowered.