Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Day 124: The Zone of Death!

August 22: Of my three nocturnal visitors, one left early in the morning despite the rain. I never got his official trail name, but I called him The Postman because, you know, Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night... ;o)

My other two visitors were a couple from Switzerland, but I don't remember their names and failed to note them down by the time I wrote my journal entries. We didn't chat much, however, since they stayed in their tents most of the morning and I stayed under my tarp because, you know, rain. They did have to come out occasionally to get water and go to the bathroom, so those were the short windows where we chatted.

By around noon, the rain had stopped and the sun started peaking out a bit.

The Swiss couple decided to wait out the rain with me. It rained a lot during the night and persisted well into the morning, but the latest weather forecasts I had checked while at Old Faithful called for no rain and clearing skies in the afternoon. I could wait. I'd be patient.

And I waited, and I waited, and I waited... The rain finally stopped by around noon, and I was on the trail and hiking by 12:15pm--nearly 26 hours after I first arrived at the campsite. I was definitely ready to stretch my legs! The Swiss couple were still in camp when I left, but were breaking it down and likely wouldn't be far behind me.

It was still cold and windy, even in the afternoon, but at least it wasn't raining!

A few hours later, I arrived at the Wyoming-Idaho border. Wyoming, at long last, was finally behind me. Hello, Idaho!

Hello, Idaho!!!! I couldn't help but notice that there was no warning that we were also entering the Zone of Death!!!! I think it deserves a mention.

I took a short snack break here, enjoying the idea of having the 3rd of 5 states now behind me. I was also in that thin, sliver of Yellowstone that actually overflows into Idaho. It's a strange bit of land that some people call the Zone of Death due to the fact that there's a legal loophole (allegedly) that would allow someone to get away with the worst of crimes, up to and including murder! I'm not aware of anyone ever trying to test that legal theory, but I had a hunch that if I wanted to make national news, I could murder someone in the Idaho section of Yellowstone and see if it worked. Of course, I had no intention of doing that.

More worrying, however, was if someone else had the idea to murder me! Was it really safe for me to be traveling around here? Maybe I shouldn't linger too long in the area.

The Zone of Death only lasted for an hour or two before I reached Yellowstone's borders and officially exited the park. I ripped up my permit in celebration. Okay, I didn't really do that. My permit was electronic and on my phone, but I was glad to be done with it and could now hike as much or as little as I wanted to each day. =)

The border for Yellowstone wasn't marked, but I knew I had left the park when I started seeing the official CDT signage again.

The Yellowstone border didn't have a marker to mark precisely where I left the park, but I did notice official CDT signage showing up. I'm assuming the CDT workers haven't been able to get permission to add CDT signage through Yellowstone due to bureaucracy--it's hard to get anything done in these larger, more popular parks. I never saw an official CDT sign the entire distance through Yellowstone.

But I could clearly see on my GPS when I left the park boundaries so it wasn't a surprise, and the trail I had been on quickly merged onto gravel roads that I followed for the rest of the day.

By the end of the day, I set up camp at the edge of a field shortly before the junction for the Super Butte Alternate that led through West Yellowstone. I never did see any hikers the entire day, but I half expected to see the Swiss couple pass by me by if they made a habit of hiking until 10:00 each night, but I never saw them either. In fact, I never saw them again. Maybe someone murdered them back in the Zone of Death?!

By the end of the day, I started conserving water. I was getting a bit low. Since leaving camp almost 19 miles ago, I hadn't passed a single viable water source. It was a particular long stretch, and looking ahead on my maps, I wasn't entirely sure if there would even be water available in the next 19 miles! This was one of the longest stretches of the entire trail without water, and I wasn't even in a desert. It seemed so unfair!

And thus ended another day on the trail..........


I passed a 2000-mile marker on the trail yesterday as well. Which is correct? Neither! Everyone did different alternates and I doubt no two people had the same mileage, but at least one person thought this was the 2000-mile mark.





1 comment:

Ryan said...

Somewhat coincidentally, Tom Scott just posted about the Zone of Death only a week or so ago. In case you wanted to learn more about it. =)