CDT Day 75: Rawlins, WY to Lone Tree Creek – Econolodge to Thunderstorm Tunnel Camp
Miles hiked: 25.5
Total miles: 1322.5
The Southern Wyoming odyssey continues. This time with paved road, instead of dirt, all day. The weather was the hero of the day, keeping temperatures reasonable and providing some top notch entertainment. It feels good to be hiking again after waaaaay too much time in Rawlins.
I felt great when I woke up. Hydrated and anxious to get hiking. SpiceRack and I carbo loaded with breakfast at 6:30am, dumped 8 pizza boxes in the dumpster behind the motel, then checked out for good. Under some train tracks, through a culture show part of town, then under I-80. Nothing but desert ahead now. I couldn’t help a twang of homesickness passing under the highway. All the way home. I could get there in just a few hitchhikes. Family, friends, burritos. That road would take me there. Instead, Spice and I kept walking on Hwy 71 or Sage Creek Road. This was my path for now. Family, friends, and burritos of a different sort were waiting up ahead.
Gronk Ball earned its weight immediately, providing good tunes and laughs for mile upon mile. The road was generally quite besides our shenanigans and the miles disappeared under our feet. The terrain looked just like the Basin. A whole lot of nothing unless you look more closely.
We took one break in the shade of a water underpass. Around lunchtime we hopped a barbed wire fence to get to a BLM campground at Teton Reservoir, hoping to find some good water for drinking. Our map notes warned us that all surface water in this area is alkaline and not fit for consumption. This was no different. White crust rimmed the lake and the water tastes salty. Oh well, fresh water from a pipe in 8 miles.
But our detour was not in vain. We narrowly beat a massive thunderstorm to the same spot. Lighting forked across the entire Western horizon, the gap between flash and boom decreasing rapidly. Spice and I hunkered in the surprisingly clean pit toilet as rain and lake water whipped up by a tremendous wind pummeled the small building. We wondered if this was a safe place to be, but figured that it had to be better than any alternative. At least we weren’t on the road. For two hours we sat in that toilet. When we emerged, the show continued, but safely to the east. Sun returned as we turned back onto the pavement.
Podcasts and music passed the time before the next water, many miles away. Clouds returned bringing shade relief and a new lightshow safely south of us. We thought of our friends, a half day ahead, likely in the thick of it. We stopped once to eat the frozen burritos Spice packed out of town.
The random water pipe at Lone Tree Creek was flowing well with some normal water. As it was just 8:30pm, we thought about hiking a few miles more, but decided to take advantage of the large tunnel below the road to camp, safe from any more storms that might blow through. And, wouldn’t you know it, it started raining before we had even got settled. The right decision.
Pavement yesterday, pavement today, and pavement tomorrow. The miles go quick and at least we seem to have hit a good patch of cool weather to finish off this desert section. Colorado is close. The mountains are closer.