CDT Day 62: sagebrush stream to Green River Campground(Pinedale, WY) – Frozen Sage Camp to Gannett Peak Lodge
Miles hiked: 15.2
Total miles: 1064
Back in town. Pinedale, specifically. SpiceRack came up with a great idea to save us 20 miles of off-CDT hiking by exiting a trailhead sooner. Fate decided for us, providing an easy hitch to town. The Winds will have to wait another day.
We had a super cold night, cowboying in the sagebrush next to the creek. Bodies were warm, but gear was covered in frost and ice when I woke up. My shoes were frozen solid again, but the sun quickly thawed them out. The rest of the gear was dry and we were hiking by 8am, just a little bit later than yesterday.
A coyote sprinted away as we finished our crossing of the wide valley. Then we were into the trees, climbing to Gunsight Pass (10,135ft). The way up had a backwards view to the Tetons, and from the pass the earliest drama of rock in the Winds rose sharply from the Green River far below. I thought that Gunsight was actually a pretty darn cool place. It marks not the Continental Divide, but the divide between the Colorado and Columbia River drainages. All my pee is now flowing through the Grand Canyon eventually.
Six steep miles down and a lunch break brought us back to Green River Lakes Campground, familiar to us as the location of the wedding three weeks ago. It felt strange to be back, such a different vibe. The same good toilets though.
Here we decided to try hitching to Pinedale, although we were supplied for two more days of hiking. The original plan was to hike 10 miles each way from the CDT to Elkhart trailhead for a ride to town, two days hence. Obviously, adding 20 bonus miles isn’t ideal, so we sat next to the dirt road to see if a ride would manifest. It did. We caught a ride in the back of a pickup with two other hikers for the 1.5 hour drive to Pinedale. The conversation and views were great, and soon we found ourselves in the grocery store parking lot, totally unprepared mentally for a town stop.
But we pulled it off. We found cheap accommodation at the Gannett Peak Lodge just a block away, and resupplied with five days of food to get us through the Winds. Loaner clothes kept us super stylish while we did laundry, but actually made me look more homeless than usual.
We have way too much town food to eat now and not enough time to eat it. We will try, that I can assure you. Of all the surprise places to end up, we could be doing a lot worse. We saved a day of hiking, and now get to go through an awesome range uninterrupted. This is going to rule.