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Split & Two Step
Begins: May 1, 2017
Date: Mon, Aug 7th, 2017
Start: CDT mile 1730.0
End: CDT mile 1755.9
Daily Distance: 25.9
Trip Distance: 1,508.5
Hours Hiked: 11.1
Daily Ascent: 1450
Daily Descent: 1222
Max Elevation: 7526
Entry Visits: 218
Journal Visits: 45,235
Guestbook Views: 672
Guestbook Entrys: 57
Hiking the Oregon Trail
Hiking the Oregon Trail
A full moon provided a bright nightlight through to morning. Normally, such a bright light would have disturbed my sleep, but our tent has become synonymous with home, and I tend to sleep quite well under all but the most extreme conditions.
The 5:15am alarm woke us on a chilly 39F morning. The pond that was adjacent to our tent site was a few feet lower than the surroundings, and perhaps this increased the humidity, since for the third night in a row we woke with our sleeping bags and the tent roof wet with dew.
Happy was again a couple minutes ahead of us, but he waited while we did our last morning chores, and we all left together. We headed down a nice gravel road and were having a cheerful morning discussion when Two Step alerted us that we had just passed a 90 degree left hand turn off the CDT. Luckily, we had only walked about 100 feet beyond the turnoff, which was marked by a small two-inch square sticker on a post about thirty feet off the trail. We felt no fault for walking past this poorly marked major direction change.
The morning remained cloudy and cool for the first few hours, and we walked with our jackets on for most of that time. The terrain was much the same as it has been in the basin - sandy, flat, and full of sagebrush. We could see for quite a distance, and eventually we saw a lone hiker ahead of us. We caught up with Hotrod twenty minutes later, taking a break. Today is Monday, and he had found out that the Miners Grub Restaurant in Atlantic City is closed today. Rather than trying to push 30+ mile days, he had decided to slow down and arrive in Atlantic City tomorrow - Tuesday - the same town we will resupply in tomorrow. Hotrod provided another critical piece of information. The Miners Grub Restaurant has the best hamburgers on the trail. Yum!
We continued our morning trek with little change in the temperature or the cloud cover as morning turned into early afternoon. Again, we saw a hiker on the horizon - no, two hikers. We caught CDT hikers Pot and Lid, currently living in Boulder, talking to a rancher about the cattle we see as we walk. We learned that he ranches about 3000 head of cattle on 200,000 acres of mostly Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. He had two dogs that help him move the cattle, and a puppy in training that was adorable as he visited each hiker in turn.
We still had a couple miles to travel to the spring where we would have lunch. When we arrived we tried to interpret the instructions for finding the spring and ended up on a random search first on one side of the trail along a very clear but useless path, and then wandering through the very broken ground on the other side. It was well worth the effort and time since the spring formed a clear cold pool of delicious water. Two Step cooked us our extra dinner, and six of us -Two Step and I, Happy, Hotrod, and Pot and Lid had a very pleasant lunch together. Such a large gathering on the CDT is rare, and we all commented on how unusual and fun this meal had become.
We still had about nine miles to go after lunch to reach the Sweetwater River, the next good water source and our planned campsite for the night. Two Step, Happy, and I left first, walking down a very clear road composed of two well defined ruts. Along the side of the road were four-foot tall concrete posts that indicated we were walking on the Oregon Trail, which is also coincident with the California Trail and the Seminoe Cutoff - historic trails that I suspect were much more difficult and frightening than the CDT. There were markers every mile or so designating each trail, so we passed quite a few.
After an hour or so, we had gotten a little ahead of Happy, and we followed the road as it made a tight left-curving turn. After a few minutes, I decided I didn't remember this turn on the map, checked the GPS, and immediately U-turned. We had missed another turn, but at least only had a four-minute walk back to the trail. Happy was waiting for us, and pointed to a marker, again a two-inch "postage stamp" sized sign thirty feet off the original road we had followed for miles. Again, a long detour had been adverted.
It was only a few miles to where we planned to stay, adjacent to the Sweetwater River, and again we headed off over a rise and soon were walking along the river, and the most water we had seen in a week. We set up tents in the small canyon formed by the river, and prepared our campsite for the night. Pot and Lid soon arrived with Hotrod, the latter being the only one to decide to go on tonight.
It had sprinkled on and off for the last couple hours from our perpetually cloudy sky, but now loud and nearly continuous thunder sounded. We ate in our tent as the rain began to seriously fall, and hours later it has continued unabated. We are glad to have gotten in our tent in time to shelter from a significant storm.
From the CDT,
Split and Two Step
Split And Two Step's CDT Adventure
The Continental Divide Trail is a national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada via New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. This unfinished trail can potentially span up to 3,100 miles. Learn more: www.continentaldividetrail.org
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