Monday, July 22, 2013


Lander, WY- Day 86, 1626.7miles.  1534 Switchbacks (no switchbacks in the last 200 miles)

From Rawlins to South Pass City (the pass above Lander) was about 120 miles, was all dirt road walking, had approximately three trees, four hills, three rattlesnakes, and two turns in the road.  It was incredibly blah.  We had absolutely no shade except for a telephone pole one day, and our water sources were spread fairly far apart.  The worst part though was being able to see the road for seven to ten miles in advance.  Mentally it was tough.  Our view was this....

Exciting right?  Now imagine blistering sun, rattlesnakes waiting to snack on your ankles, and 30 miles a day of this.  For the entire stretch we would hike the section you see above, come over a small rise and then see the next section....

And the next section...

And this section...


     Ok, so maybe that is a slightly exaggerated, but that is exactly how it felt while hiking.  After the first full day of this and having no shade, we decided we should be proactive about hiking in the heat.  So we got up at 3:30 the next morning (after a thunderstorm kept us awake for half of the 5 potential hours of sleep) and hiked through until noon.  Then during the hottest part of the day we took a long lunch and nap in the shade from a sign before resuming around 2:00pm.  Aside from being exhausted from lack of sleep the miles were much easier that day.  We went through much less water and the heat did not seem as oppressive.  
     The stretch was not entirely miserable, just mostly.  We did see hundreds of antelope.  They were everywhere.  We even started hearing antelope calls as they were barking at us.  We have both seen antelope before, but the sheer volume and proximity of the antelope in this stretch was impressive.  
Still, this stretch was boring enough that I ended up pulling out the Kindle and reading aloud.  I normally do not like taking away from the hike, but since I could go an hour in between glances around and still not miss anything I decided it was OK.  Without Jack Reacher's shenanigans this stretch would have been even worse.
     The last day we shared the trail with the Oregon Trail for a few miles, which once we made sure we weren't actually headed for Oregon was neat.  It was fun to imagine coming through the same stretch on covered wagons.  We decided we would rather have wagons than walk because at least there would be some shade.  
     Needless to say, when we reached South Pass City and found our boxes and Amber waiting for us it was a great thing.  Just finding a reprieve from the sun was amazing.  We can't wait to get into the Wind Rivers now.  Going from such bleak areas to glaciers is going to be great!  

Amber's dog, Liam.  Much softer and way more fun than rattlesnakes.
-Track and Field


  1. Wow - that's a lot of switchbacks! I know what you're walking though as I was AMAZED coming out of the Wind River Range last month at how quickly it got so flat and boring, and how long it lasted. Of course, I was driving :) (sorry... I hiked while in the Range with like a 95lb pack if that makes you feel better).

    Anyway, you are going to be so stoked in the Winds and I can't wait to hear about it.

    Be well and have happy journeys y'all!

    1. Moose!!
      I hope you are doing well and that your summer adventures are fantastic! Thanks for the comments. Sadly, we didn't see any Divide racers. We must have been on a trail section when they came through. We are looking forward to the Winds, and hope to catch up in the fall! Will you still be hanging around Flagstaff?

  2. Have a blast on the next leg and hopefully it will be better scenery. I'm not sure I could walk and read at the same time. Think some happy mail will be waiting in Lima. Hike on...