CDT mile 1764, miles hike 14.8
After hiking together for over two months, two states, countless snow drifts, lightning storms and dry dusty desert miles….cheesy and I finally had to say goodbye and part ways at Old Faithful. It was a hard day for me as I have truly grown to love her like family and the time we spent together was good for me. She was always there to listen to me when I need to talk, push us when the weather was crap and sing a happy song to lift spirit last while making miles.
Our final day on trail started with an early wake up by me and then a hike to lone star geyser, which is 4 miles From old faithful, goes off every three hours and is way more spectacular of a show. We headed up the trail and saw Polar Bear cowboy camped beside the trail in the next site, we later learned the park service put her there by accident instead of with us, we kept going and before the sun was on us arrived at the geyser. Seeing how there was still frost on the ground, we broke out our stoves and made hot coffee and oatmeal and waited for the show.
A few minor eruptions happened and during that time polar bear arrived, after about an hour or so the big one happened. For the next half hour we watched this geyser shoot water 40′-50′ up in the air, a rainbow formed and it even misted us with drizzle toward the end. It was one of the most amazing geothermal shows I have ever seen and the best part was we were alone in the woods, just 4 thru-hikers enjoying one of natures wonders. After the show, we packed up and headed to Old Faithful Village for the tourist show and food.
We first started by scooping up the boxes I had, my Aunt Rosemary and my good friend space girl hooked me up with some great care packages. Plus the food I had was so much I was able to share. Between me and the hiker box at the backcountry office, Polar Bear didn’t spend a dime on resupply and cheesy and Johnny had plenty of food too. I sat on the floor of the Old Faithful Inn and sorted and packaged my food, more than a few tourist gave me some glances. Then I took my bag and tent outside and dried them out, I really hiker trashed up the place.
The four of us regrouped for the lunch buffet and gorged ourselves on buffalo sausage, trout, salads and other delights. After our meal, we all went and did our thing: Cheezy and Johnny went to work on their new route data, I sorted my pack and wrote cards home, but Polar Bear wins the prize. Polar Bear rolled outside and found a tree by the lodge, laid down and went to sleep, an hour later two park rangers came over to make sure she wasn’t dead, man did we all get a good laugh at that one.
I hung out with Cheezy and Johnny for a bit and then we went to see Old Faithful go off, what a scene, 4,000+ tourist all there with phones in hand recording it. The geyser blew for a few limited minutes but from the first time I saw it in 1995 I must say it has lost some of its height and length of the eruption, I hope if it ever stops they don’t build a tram or road to Lone Star and Disney up that natural paradise I saw today. After Old Faithful was done so was my time with Cheezy we gave each other a big hug and both had some tears running down our faces, it’s funny but out here your emotions are so raw that you really get to know each other and walking away was like walking away from home a few months ago.
I strolled out of Old Faithful Village with Polar Bear, she is a great young lady from Minnesota who before this guided teenagers in the Arctic on canoe trips, a total bad ass girl. We walked through the geyser basin and biscuit hot spring region and were in awe of the various pools and geysers. We then climbed up the mountain where we found Hotshot cooking dinner. The 3 of us hung out and then hiked the last 3 miles to Summit Lake to camp for the night.
I enjoyed talking with them as I cooked and getting to know each of them. Tomorrow we walk out of Wyoming and into Montana and Idaho, the long walk through the big sky state to Canada is about to begin. Just 5-6 more weeks of thru-hiker life and then I should be home to my love.
Look at that – Cheesy and Johnny out; Hotshot and Polar Bear in…. Wha’d I tell ya!