Wyoming has half of it’s land owned by the federal government, mostly Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM allows dispersed camping on the land. We stopped last night at one of the sites. There are folks here who have been coming and camping at this site for over 40 years. One man said he made his first trip out here when he was in diapers and he has his two sons with him doing the same. They bring their OHVs and dirt bikes and ride the trails and fish and generally have a good time.
When it was time for me to leave and take the truck to Togowtee Pass, it won’t start. These nice folk jumped it so I could be on my way. Raven stayed behind to walk north as I walked south.
It was a 1.5 hour drive to Togowtee Pass over gravel roads that were an improvement from the previous day’s travel. My leg needs some warming up before working properly so the beginning was slow. Then the game began. The twenty miles I was hiking today is a new reroute of the trail. Great! Trail improvements are good, right? What wasn’t mentioned was the route is now official but the trail is only about 10% complete. There are markers but in many spots no tread to walk on. If there is tread, it is lumpy as a corn cob. So the game was to find a marker then stand and scout the area to see if another marker is visible. The markers were a variety of materials. There were tall posts, there were 3 foot sticks stuck in the ground, orange surveyor tape banners and the metal CDT tags on existing trees. Occasionally, a clue would be a pile of material waiting to be made into a bridge. Or, the main members of a bridge on a stream waiting for completion. Finding Waldo would be easier.
Then there were the multiple streams. Most of them were too wide to jump across and as the trail construction is in its infancy, there were no rocks put in yet for stepping stones. There were marshes to be waded and pushing through the bushes where the faint trail led many times were so thick you couldn’t see your feet and then—into a marsh you’d walk. All in all the day was spent with wet feet, not the best.
A mile before our meeting place I looked up to find Raven. He had continued the extra mile because he happened upon a bear and two cubs. This is grizzly country so he said every few feet he would clack his poles together. He noticed a small pile of scat on the trail and in another few feet he saw very large pile of scat, still steaming. He looked up to see two cubs running away. He did not see the mother, which was fine with him. Raven is a true hiker. He was standing in the trail with his bear spray in one hand and filming with his phone in the other. It must have been exciting.
To top off this “wonderful” day of hiking were the swarms of mosquitoes. I lathered myself in DEET around 10 am and had to reapply around 5 pm. I took off my pack to get water and Raven said I must have had 50 on my back alone. It is mosquito season in Wyoming!
We set up our tents to escape the little buggers and called it a night. No cooking tonight because the possible proximity of the bears.
Begin mileage 1884.4
End miles 1865.6
Total miles. 19.4