Day 43

Last night I pitched my tent on a cow path. It was the only place the tent would fit. Luckily, I faced the rear of the tent into the light breeze. Around 4:30 this morning I woke to what I thought was rain. Nope, it was the wind whistling through and shaking and popping the tent.

The hike today was to be easy. Not a lot of ups and gentle almost flat areas. Piece of cake. Wrong! I hiked into headwinds, crosswinds and even some boosting tailwinds. The gusts were such that without my poles being well planted the wind buffeted me around the trail. It is hard to walk into winds that must have been consistently over 20 mph for hours. I am exhausted, even though I finished my 20 miles in good time.

Highlights of the day:

Seven antelope, two bands of wild horses (maybe three in the distance) and another hiker! Keg is southbound (SOBO) and since Glacier National Park is still restricted access, he is hiking Wyoming in sections. He lives in Laramie so it is a logical choice to utilize the time well.

They were smart enough to hide behind a hill from the wind.
They weren’t that close

There is a saying, ‘the trail will provide’. At lunch after being battered by the wind for hours I wanted nothing more than a place out of the wind to sit and enjoy my lunch. I began to look for rocks or trees that would provide cover. Upon topping a ridge there was something next to the trail. It became clear what it was the closer I came. It looked like a chuck wagon or Gypsy wagon with a trailer and capper attaches and a ATV parked outside. It had a Dutch door with the top half open. No one answered my hellos. That was ok as the wheels would block the wind and allow me to eat. As I moved back to the trailer to remove my pack I caught a glimpse of something moving. There was a small white puppy behind one wheel. After I ate my lunch I went up to see the pup. When I went back to sit and filter my water, he came bounding around and exploring me and the immediate surroundings. Having noticed no water bowl, I put some filtered water in a crease in my tyvek sheet and he drank his fill. I was concerned that he would follow me but he trotted back to his wheel as I left. My guess was this was the summer home of a shepherd. In this area men from Peru are hired to live up here and watch over sheep in the high country. My suspicions were verified soon, in the road, There was a recently dead little lamb. Next came a pick up truck with a Latino man inside and finally, at the next water source, a pond, there was a herd of sheep hanging around. Interesting enough, the big white sheepdog was not at all fond of me walking by on the road. It was probably good the pond was between us.

Surprising sight
Simple but useful home on the range
Cute pup
My first sheep on the trail

There is a water cache on this stretch as the water is cow or sheep utilized. I stopped and hydrated as the wind dried me out. There is a register in the cache box for hikers to sign. I noticed Sasquatch was there this morning to check the water. I met him in 2008 when he was filming a documentary about Appalachian Trail hikers. I was interviewed but did not make the cut. Well, I did make the cutting room floor.

Welcome water cache
A welcome sight – a hiker box
10 gallons waiting

The wind seems to be slacking off which is good for the tent. Perhaps it will not be so windy tomorrow.

Food: tonight’s entree was Outdoor Pantry’s Beef and Lamb Gyro with Tzatziki Sauce. It was good! A change from my home dehydrated meals. As we say at home, that is a do over!

Today’s miles 21.0

More iris


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