CDT mile 1499.4, miles hiked 31.5
While I was packing up in my tent I heard maverick and buttercup getting ready to go it was about 5:30 and they planned to push hard to South Pass City to get Buttercup’s box before they closed. Buttercup also wanted ample time to check out the museum and buildings at South Pass. I told them to have fun, my body preferred to walk its pace and enjoy the last day in the basin, I shouted over to Cheezy and she said that was her plan too, so once again we would walk to town together.
We walked along the road and soon spotted some weird trail markers along it that were made of cement, as we approached we saw the words, California Trail and Oregon Trail. Ah this must be the famous split rock which is where the wagon trains decided to go to California or Oregon. It reminded me of a tale I was told so I shared it with Cheezy.
When the wagon trains came west they approached split rock. There stood a man with a bible in his left hand and a large nugget of gold in his right hand. “Which one will you choose?” Asked the man, those who chose gold-headed to California those the bible Oregon. Now there is most likely no truth to that tale, but it is a good example of the differences between the culture of the two states.
After numerous pictures and a break at the Oregon Trail I have to admit, I thought about hooking a left and heading home on the good old Oregon Trail, but not wanting to miss the Wind River range I plodded north as I have done for months. The day was sunnier than the last few and a bit warmer, so Cheezy and I high tailed it to the Sweet Water River where we ate lunch at 11 and reveled in the fact we had already gone over 14 miles. I soaked my feet, ate some food and filtered a lot of water. This was the last water for 15 miles and given the temps we needed to carry extra.
Cheezy and I took the CDT only about a mile later to realize we could have stayed more direct and hiked the road. Oh well we saw a cool rock canyon and then hit the road and took it instead of having to walk parallel to it through the sage brush. We were making good time so we figured if we pushed a bit we could make south pass city by 5:30 in time to get soda and ice cream. We worked our way up to the high point and rejoined the trail. Then we rolled up and down the roller coaster ever closer to the sweet taste of soda and ice cream. We spied South Pass City off in the distance and turned it on a bit more.
As we entered south pass city we stopped at a few historic buildings but our food desires took over so we strode down the street to the store only to discover a locked door and two packs out front but not our hiking partners. we were crushed but we bucked up, grabbed our cameras and walked around looking at the museum. The boys arrived and told us well the ice cream selection was no good but we have a soda for each of you, out of the pack they pulled to cold Pepsi sodas and they were great. We took a break and then all together headed to the highway.
We hitched for about 15 minutes when a nice lady in a sub stopped to see what was wrong with us, nothing we just need a ride to Lander. We were her very first hitch hikers and she was nervous yet fun. She even stopped at a scenic overlook for us to take pictures. As we came to town she dropped us by at the Holiday Inn where we had a cabin reserved. 20 minutes later we were eating McDonald’s and checking out our online lives.
I really enjoyed the basin in fact it was a highlight of the CDT for me. The sweeping views, wild horses and easy miles were a treat. As the wind River range loomed in the distance we could see our future yet enjoy where we were in the moment.