Daily Miles: 15
Total Miles: 1104
We had a nice day off in Pinedale. We mostly just hung out in our motel room, which is generally how we like to spend our time on zero days. We did walk down to the grocery store to buy our food for the next stretch. We got to admire the many cool murals on the commercial buildings in town…definitely gives the town an artsy feel.
For most of the town stops on this trail, we had prepared resupply boxes before starting the hike. We did decide to buy food in towns on a few occasions. Pinedale was a place where we decided to buy our food in town. This is usually pretty hard for us to do efficiently, since we do it so rarely. This time, we felt like we were pretty organized with a shopping list. While we got the food we wanted (mostly), we didn’t give much consideration to the weight of the food (like we do with the food we send out). So, our five day food carry for this stretch is insanely heavy. We just keep shaking our heads when we feel the weight of a day of food (fruit pies are heavy!!)…at least the food we got is really tasty and different than our regular food on trail.
We were lucky this morning to have a local Trail Angel, Alex, give us a ride back to the trailhead. He was really nice and interesting. He works for the BLM, so that led to some interesting discussions.
We got to the trailhead around 9:30am and started our 10 mile hike back to the CDT. Luckily, the side trail for Pinedale access is a really nice trail. It seems to be very popular, so it is in great shape and you hardly realize you are climbing in elevation. You do have to deal with loads of people on the trail, but at least everyone is friendly. We saw several folks hiking today that we had seen on Saturday when we were headed to town…we had just swapped directions – we were hiking in now and they were hiking out. Several recognized us and asked what we were doing heading back in.
We ran into a CDT southbound hiker, Nomad, on the side trail. He was hiking out to meet up with a friend in Pinedale and to do a few days of local hiking before returning to the CDT. Not sure if we’ll see him again before we hit Steamboat Springs. It will depend on how quickly he goes when he gets back on trail.
We made it back to the CDT around 2:30pm and then started a climb up and over Lester Pass, which is around 11,500 feet. We were glad to see that it was not as smokey today as it had been our last few days in the trail. It is still a bit hazy, but our views are much better.
The views from the climb to Lester Pass were really beautiful…multiple small lakes in the rocky landscape. It felt good to be back on the trail after almost two days in town.
We had a ford at the end of the day that we decided to take our shoes off for…no reason to end the day with wet shoes. We found a nice campsite around 5:45pm. There were elk nearby that ran off when we started to scout out hanging locations. Hopefully they won’t come by during the night to sniff around.
We ended up planning out our mileage again for this stretch, since there are a lot of treeless areas. Tomorrow we have planned a bigger mile day than today, so we are going to get up early to make sure we finish at a decent time. We also really like the early morning time for hiking, so it will be a win-win.