CDT Day 69: Atlantic City to The Basin – Spice is Alive Camp to Cheryl Strayed Camp
Miles hiked: 22.3
Total miles: 1205.6
Back at it! The terrain has changed dramatically as has SpiceRack’s gear, but the hike south continues. We struck out this afternoon to begin the traverse of the Great Basin. This is an interesting feature of southern Wyoming. The continental divide actually splits around it, forming, as the name implies, a basin with no exit to any ocean. Water in the Basin, stays in the Basin. Not that there is much water hanging around. We’re expecting it to be hot and barren, but also hopefully kind of flat and easy. We will see.
We spent most of the morning hanging around Atlantic City, not doing a whole lot. Just staring at our phones like a pair of lame millennials. We finally did start hiking at 10:30am, right on schedule, to make it to the only shady spot for many many miles by the time the heat of the day rolled around.
The Jimmy Carter wind nearly blew us to Nebraska as we followed one dirt road or another in pretty much a straight line. There were a couple lumps to look at as we crunched away, but mostly progress was measured by looking back periodically to the Winds, shrinking behind us. Mad Max convoys coated us with dust, and pronghorn gave us suspicious looks. It was nominally hot, but the wind kept the temps alright. Spice looked good with her retro style, reminiscent of Cheryl Strayed in Wild. One break, and before we knew it we had made it the entire ten miles to a bridge over a large creek.
We found Pineapple dozing in the shade and joined her to wait out the heat of the day. Shade appears to be the hottest commodity in the Basin and it will dictate our hiking pattern for the next 100 miles or so. We “cooked” our freeze-dried Pad Thai in the desert sun and dozed a bit ourselves. Pineapple left us around 6pm, and we followed half an hour later.
With 15 miles to the next water, we planned to hike into the night as far as we could get, taking advantage of the absent sun and cool air. Dirt road carried us through and beyond the vast sunset. Podcasts occupied our minds after we lost things to look at. Coyotes yipped nearby.
We made it 12 miles before calling it a night at 11pm, finding and setting up camp by the beams of our headlamps. We plan on a pre-dawn start to cover as many miles as we can before the sun returns. Hiking late, up early. I’m not exactly sure when we will sleep, but that will figure itself out probably. This is going to be a weird stretch.