CDT Day 53 — August 17
Railroad Creek to Yellowstone National Park
Goodbye Montana Camp to Goodbye Idaho, Hello Wyoming Camp
Miles hiked: 25.3
Total miles: 897.4
Montana yesterday, Idaho today. SpiceRack and I left another state in our rear view as we crossed into Yellowstone and Wyoming. There wasn’t much else besides these arbitrary human designations to mark the day, but miles were hiked, things were learned.
Up at dawn, loaded with water for the next 27 miles and hiking at 6:45am. The wide gravel road from yesterday persisted for roughly 5 million miles today. It was hard to judge our progress because there was so little to distinguish this quarter mile from the last. There were moments where I could look back at two miles of arrow-straight road extending behind us. Lodgepole pine limited our gaze so that if felt like we were in the least creative maze ever.
I was super duper grateful to have Spice for company. We talked and walked. We listened to an informative podcast about the tragic story of the Nez Perce and Chief Joseph. It just scratched the surface, but Spice has been rightly keen to learn more about the native peoples of the this land that we are walking through, mostly unaware of the brutal removal justified by the ignorant quest called Manifest Destiny. It’s a sad, frustrating story. Just one story. There are countless others.
We missed a turn, but pulled it off with a short bushwhack. An unexpected creek gave us some water flexibility. The rocks became more volcanic, porous or glassy. Then finally, we crossed the border into Yellowstone NP. There wasn’t much there, just a small metal sign marking this remote spot as a special place. And two miles later, we found another metal sign, this one handwritten in sharpie, welcoming us to Wyoming. Third lunch, then a flat cruise through burn towards Summit Lake.
My body was tired, particularly my hip flexors. Road walking all day doesn’t provide much variation in stride, so the working muscles get a little more than their fair share. On top of that, I think I’m just plain worn out from this 250 mile push from Leadore. Thinking back, there’s some great stuff behind us, but it was tough. Spice and I both feel ready for a short break.
Legs tired? Certainly. We set up to cowboy camp and eat dinner. Spice then challenged me to eat 12 Fig Newtons in under one and a half minutes. Boom, 1:28. How proud should I feel about that? Ahh, Wyoming, it’s going to be fun…