Steamboat Springs

Yep, I crossed into Colorado on Thursday, 8/22 and have already had some great hiking and a pretty decent climb in these first few days here.

The below image shows the full CDT in red, with a crude overlay in green approximating what I’ve completed so far (sorry, hand drawn with lousy phone tools). I’ve finally done the math and I have about 760 miles remaining of the Continental Divide Trail to “connect the dots” of my chain of unbroken steps between Mexico and Canada.

760 miles to go (see green overlay) mostly in Colorado

I’ll keep this update brief as I’m working once again via my phone, but a day or two ago I finally hit a psychological milestone I’ve been waiting for: that feeling of confidence in my ability to realistically complete this hike. The same thing happened on the AT as well (albeit much earlier by comparison). After enough completed miles, I was able to stand back and convince myself that- barring the catastrophic- I could see myself finishing the entire hike. For a bunch of different reasons I’ve been much less certain along the way on this one, but that has now definitely changed! I’ll set out again in the morning with a new spring in my step, excitedly counting down the final weeks left of this incredible walk.

Whew! Made it!
A pretty cold morning
First snow traversals since way back in the Pintlers!
Scenic Colorado
I love extended walking along the side of a mountain ridge
Met this dear couple who were out scouting for the upcoming elk hunting season. Sodas, great conversation, and they even hauled away my garbage for me!
In addition to encountering many local hikers, mountain bikers, motorcycles and ATVs (the trail here is shared use), I also saw my first abandoned tractor on the hike.
Lone elk scoping me out from a ridgeline.
Some kinda sad story reflected in this roadside memorial on the highway walk leaving Rawlins, WY. The markers were just two months old and the flowers fresh.
Leaving Rawlins with a family of deer buddies.
Steamboat and I would get along famously.
More evidence.

Thank you all again so much for your interest and your encouragement along the way! Several Colorado residents have indicated to me that September is the prime hiking month in Colorado and that is precisely when most of my hiking days here will occur. I may be hiking alone these days, but my heart is full to overflowing. And since you’ve made it this far with me in spirit, hang in there a bit longer to see if I really can pull this off and walk myself back into Ghost Ranch!

My sincere gratitude and very best wishes to you all. My next update should be from Summit county in the thick of Colorado big ski resort country. Cheers! Max

Beginning the End

Emotional return to Atlantic City

(Note: the library here in Rawlins, Wyoming is closed today so I’m updating by phone and will therefore keep the text relatively short).

Got to sleep in this teepee last night. Thanks Laurel and Dale at the amazing Miner’s Grubstake!

It’s been an emotional couple of days as I finally walked back into Atlantic City, Wyoming, the last place to which I hiked with Impala before switching directions and restarting southbound from Canada. Out of 3100 miles of the CDT, I’m down to about 950 remaining. Since I already hiked from Atlantic City to Rawlins in May, when I hit the trail tomorrow morning I’ll continue south from Rawlins until I hit Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch near the Colorado/New Mexico border, where my hike will be complete.

Pancakes are my favorite meal when I first hit town from the trail.

I’ve been anticipating this final leg of the hike since I first encountered deep snow in May and had to reroute. I’m waxing a bit sentimental and would like to say more but I’ll save that hot air for a proper update via a library computer (better typing interface).

Mr. President and I spent a couple of great days hiking through the Wind River Range together.
Airplane Mode is another great hiker (and artist!) I met in the Winds.
Me in the Winds…photo courtesy of Airplane Mode.
A great family group in the Winds celebrating the birthday of the man on the right in the blue shirt.
The family group had Llamas as pack animals…first ones I’ve seen on the trail. Careful! They spit.
One of my scariest days on trail was the 5-6 hours I spent traversing this lava boulder field and several others just outside of Dubois, WY.
It’s difficult to describe just how beautiful the Wind River Range is.
Sundown in the Winds
Hobo Max drinking coffee out of another hiker’s pan. Photo courtesy of Wow and Eagle Cow.
Impromptu hiker party in the woods. Left to right: Tristan, SciFi, Eagle Cow, Wow and Mr. President.
Lunch break in the Winds with beat up shoes.
More Wind River beauty.
The Green River Lake campground host looked me over and said, “I’ve got something I bet you’ll appreciate!” Turns out he is the cousin of Sara Rupenthal, Jerry’s first wife. He provided the music, beer and campfire and we hit it off famously.
The Winds: best thing I’ve seen since Glacier!

For now, I hope these few photos sufficiently tell the story of the past week or two. My next planned update should be from Steamboat Springs, Colorado within a week or so. Cheers and thanks for tuning in! Max

Back to Wyoming

Trailside geothermal feature in Yellowstone

Hey all! Since the last update I’ve hiked through Yellowstone National Park and on into greater Wyoming, bidding farewell to Montana and Idaho which I’ve now completed. Some will recall from my earlier posts that this is actually a return to Wyoming since I had already done the section from Atlantic City to Rawlins (with the incredible Impala, from Yorkshire!).

The view from inside my tent just before bed
Geothermal features line the trail through much of YNP
Incredible, deep blue thermal pool
As Will S. says in Macbeth: “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble.”

At this point- speaking approximately since I haven’t done the detailed math- I have completed about 2000 miles of this 3100 mile trail. One of the challenges in computing exact mileage is that unlike the Appalachian trail (which has a single, distinct route) the CDT features both an ‘official’ route as well as many published ‘alternates’ that hikers can substitute for some of the official sections. I most cases the mileage will vary between official and alternate so one has to recalll all of the details about which alternates were taken in order to get a precise mileage number.

Me and a sulfur pool in YNP
Wildflower magic in Yellowstone
Just another stunning valley in Wyoming

While I’ve been hiking solo now since mid-July, I’ve been seeing more hikers than ever. I am in the SOBO ‘bubble’ of hikers heading south and have been seeing many of the same hikers in each town as we all go to resupply, etc. Additionally, over the past week or so I’ve encountered many hikers in the NOBO ‘bubble’ heading in the opposite direction as they make their way to Glacier. I’ve met way too many hikers to recall all the names, but some of them include Bootscoot, D*ckhead, Data, Dyno DNA, Etch-a-Sketch, Picky, Cheesus, Hemlock, Wide Sky, Blasphemy, Twigsy, Toast, Everest, Seeker, Really Sorry, Wrong Way, General Burnside, Roadrunner, Smiles, Fuzz and many, many others. It took me a while to get used to being a “team of one” again, but I’ve settled into it nicely and am enjoying it daily.

Views like this never get old
Yeah, these make good resupply…they NEVER seem to go bad in the food bag
Yet another size 13 mushroom
Lost two hats in the past week, but methinks this one is a keeper. That Bear is almost dancing, maybe to the “U.S. Blues
Apparently Yellowstone finds it necessary to clarify this

I am sitting right now in the beautiful public library in Dubois, Wyoming (locals pronounce it DEW-boys), a cowboy town if ever there was. The hitchhike into town was 30 miles and I ended up waiting on the road for about 30 minutes before I got a ride from Obie, a cross country traveler on vacation from Hawaii, ha! I am spending a ‘zero’ day here (no hiking) as I had a bit of a medical concern I needed to get checked out. The area around one of my vertebrae has swollen to the point where it looks like I have golf ball partially embedded in my spine. It wasn’t hurting but obviously I needed to know if it was a serious problem. It turns out to be a benign cyst which can be removed at any time via a very simple procedure done in the office. They offered to do it today but then I’d have stitches that would need time to heal to avoid risking infection on the trail. They indicated I can defer the procedure until the hike is done without any risk of damage or other concerns, so that is the plan. If it really starts bothering me more I may just have to hole up in a hotel for a few days and have it done, but hopefully not.

On the edge of the Bridger Teton wilderness
How green was my valley
Yep, crossed this stream on that beige colored log, well over six feet above the stream in the middle. Scary.
Data likes to hike with an umbrella
Look carefully and you’ll see several hikers in the far distance

I’ve still got a number of other chores to complete today in town, so I’ll wrap up the narrative here. I hope you enjoy the pictures and videos and I think my next update will be from Rawlins, WY, putting me near the Colorado border. Cheers and happy trails! Max