Daily Miles: 25
Total Miles: 1325
We ended up taking an unplanned zero day on Rawlins. As we looked at the weather forecast, we saw that there is a winter storm coming early next week. We had already been planning to take a rest day in our next town stop (Encampment), but with the storm, that would have been pushed out to two days. Instead of taking two zero days in Encampment, we decided to spread them out and do one in Rawlins and one in Encampment.
So, we got to relax all day yesterday. We enjoyed our time in Rawlins and found the folks very friendly. We had several people at the grocery store and at McDonald’s ask if we were hiking the CDT and wish us well.
Leaving Rawlins this morning, the main focus was on water. We headed out into our longest waterless stretch of the trail…32 miles. Between us, we were carrying 11 liters of water. Our packs felt quite heavy with the water and four days of food.
As we got out of town, we contemplated whether to walk the official CDT or an alternate (from Jonathon Leys’s maps) which would knock about 20 miles off this next stretch. The downside of the alternate is that it is completely on paved road…36 miles. Yuck. Plus, it would miss our first water source, so our 32 mile water carry would turn into a 41 mile water carry.
Based on the water alone, we decided to walk the official CDT. About 15 miles into the day, the trail and the road came within a half mile of each other. At that same point, there was a water cache that still had a bit of water in it. We decided at that point, to take enough water from the cache (another 2L each) so that we could take the road alternate. That will ensure that we can make it to Encampment before the winter storm arrives.
It was incredibly hot today. What a difference from just a few days ago when we were chilled all day on the trail. There was rarely a breeze, so we just felt like we were being baked by the sun all day. It feels like this area is all about extreme temperatures…either very cold or very hot.
The road we are walking on was just paved for the first time two years ago. Given that, we have been surprised by the amount of traffic. There is usually a car passing every ten minutes or less.
We stopped to make dinner when we saw a culvert where we could go to find some shade. We realized that the culvert was the perfect spot for sleeping tonight, but we wanted to make more miles today, so we left there and hoped for another culvert down the road.
As we were walking, we saw a cooler on the other side of the road. We walked over to check it out and saw a sign that there was water for bikers and walkers. We each drank down a small bottle of water from the cooler. We immediately felt better with the extra fluids. We are trying to make sure we drink a liter for every six miles we walk, but with the heat, that doesn’t always feel like enough.
We were lucky to find another culvert for sleeping tonight. We had hoped to walk another mile or so, but when we saw the culvert, we decided to stop. Luckily the cars going by over us are not very loud, and there aren’t many cars.
We are planning to get up in the dark tomorrow morning. We’d like to get as many road miles done in the cool morning air as possible. It is supposed to be just as hot tomorrow as it was today.