Friday, June 24, 2022

Day 110: The Pinedale Zero

August 8: I had a zero day, but that didn't mean there wasn't stuff to do. Nope, I had to get my clothes washed. They were filthy! So I walked to the other side of town where I reached a laundromat in a car wash and did a load of clothes. I didn't bother with the driers, however. I could simply hang the clothes in my room and let them dry naturally.

I also figured out my plan of attack for the next section of trail, this time carrying me from Pinedale to Dubois. After figuring out how long it would take to take hike that distance, I headed over to Ridley's Family Markets where I bought enough food to last the necessary distance.

However, for the most part, the day was dull and uneventful. With the required tasks done, I had the rest of the day free to relax and explore. And without a laptop, it's not like I could lock myself into my hotel room and do some work. So I decided to head out to the Museum of the Mountain Men and their exhibits about the fur trade in the 1800s throughout the Rocky Mountains. It was an interesting museum where I could easily spend an hour or two looking through all the exhibits, and that's exactly what I did.

I stopped at the Museum of the Mountain Men to pass some of the town today. An interesting place and I enjoyed taking as look around.

For lunch, I walked over to the Burger Barn. It was a bit of a walk, located a short way out of town, but I felt like stretching my legs a bit and didn't mind the walk. The traffic along the road wasn't pleasant, but at least there was a wide shoulder to walk on. The owner of the restaurant seemed stunned when she found out that I had walked there all the way from Mexico and kept asking why people would do this. She couldn't wrap her head around it. It seemed like an utterly ridiculous and crazy thing to do, and to be fair, she wasn't wrong.

I stopped for lunch at the Burger Barn. =)

Later in the evening after returning to my room, I flipped on the TV and checked what was on. I usually watch shows on my laptop or even my phone, but I didn't feel like watching a show on my phone and turned on the TV of a hotel room for the first time in months. Flipping through the stations, I finally settled on the movie Crazy Rich Asians which was playing and the family was, indeed, crazy, rich and Asian. Truth in advertising! =)

And that was about it for the day. Nothing particularly exciting. And if I wasn't forced into a zero waiting for the post office to open, I wouldn't have even bothered with a zero day. I still felt a little bitter about that.

Foxy, for her part, was thinking about flipping up to the Canadian border and hiking southbound. For the time being, she was also taking a day off the trail, waiting for Prince and his friend whose name I still forgot to arrive in town. They were actually the ones thinking about flipping up to Canada and she was thinking of joining them.

I was actually a bit surprised at the match-up. Foxy seems absolutely determined to complete this trail with a level of dedication that far surpassed my own. She had suffered an injury back in New Mexico and wound up taking a zero month in Pie Town waiting to heal. I had joked with her that I couldn't have done that. I would have committed suicide if I were stuck in Pie Town for a whole month with nowhere to go or anything to do, and the only Internet access was a poor connection at a restaurant in town.

At the very least, I'd have gotten off the trail for a month then returned after the injury healed, but living in Georgia, she figured it was just easier and cheaper to stay in Pie Town the whole time. She suffered other hardships and difficulties along the way, never even enjoying luxuries like an occasional night in a hotel and relying almost exclusively on free hostels or free camping within trail towns. This was her first thru-hike and she was absolutely bound and determined to finish this trail no matter what. I admired her determination. I certainly planned to complete the trail, but I was definitely not as dedicated about the matter. I'd be disappointed if I couldn't finish this year, but I didn't feel like it would be the end of the world either. I'd just have to return and finish another year.

Which is why I was so surprised that she wanted to hook her ship to Prince, who seemed friendly enough but seemed completely unmotivated and unconcerned about actually completing the entire trail. I think he might have even skipped some of the "boring" sections, although I don't know that for certain and it didn't matter enough to me to ask. He was out to enjoy a bit of camping and nature, but without any hard goals. (I had goals, but wasn't driven exclusively by them.) So it felt like an unlikely alliance between Foxy and Prince, but it didn't really concern me. It just surprised me that she'd take a zero day to wait for him which would just slow her progress and make it less likely that she could finish. 

But he had some friends or family (or something) that could drive him up to the Canadian border and Foxy somehow figured joining up with him was a good idea. There actually was a certain logic to this idea. The snow near the Canadian border would likely be heavier and come sooner than further south on the trail, so it extends the hiking season by flip-flopping. I think Foxy's logic was that a longer hiking season would increase her chances of success. On the other hand, she was taking an otherwise unnecessary zero (or two) waiting for Prince and it wasn't so late in the season that she had to worry about flip-flopping. Not yet, at least! Actually, we were cutting it close at this point, but I didn't think it was necessary to flip-flop quite yet, but it definitely might be necessary at some point.

So her somewhat tentative plan was to finish getting through the Wind River Range (also known for early and heavy snows), then flip north to Glacier NP and get through that area, then have plenty of time to connect the section between those points at her leisure.

Anyhow, that was some of the stuff going on on my zero days. Plans being made!

This was the same hiker box from which I grabbed the bear spray the day before. I dropped by again today to take photos after realizing that I failed to do so yesterday.

At first I though this was a recreation of a thru-hiker attacked by a bear. No... just a mountain man being attacked by a bear. If I recall correctly (I didn't take notes, so correct me if I'm wrong), this is actually based on the real-life attack of Hugh Glass who survived the mauling and whose story was later turned into the movie The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Teepees outside of the Museum of the Mountain Men.

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