CDT Part 11–The Rest of Wyoming

Life is a long series of boring parts with the occasional exciting part. Savor the good parts, obviously. But, those less good parts can be fun. 

What is the point of blogging a thru-hike? Especially during the boring parts. I suppose I could have recorded the entirety of my inner monologue while I was walking south from Rawlins to Colorado, but I didn’t. That probably wouldn’t have been exciting anyways. Interesting maybe, but in that postmodern experimental kind of way.

What’s the point of walking really far in general? What’s the point of anything? What’s the point of going to the store and buying a whole half-gallon of ice cream? What if you were to eat that ice cream in a cheap motel room after you just walked 110 miles in 52 hours? 

But really, I’m not convinced there is a point to any of this. Not just the blogging a thru-hike, or the thru-hiking part. I’m talking about all of this, life. There is a point to it. There can be meaning. We have to create it, though.   

So here I am, blogging a thru-hike. This is ultimately only for me. It’s pretty cool that people can follow along, but some parts of a thru-hike are boring. How do you make I walked really far interesting? You can’t. I’m just here to create a record of what I did July-October of 2021. 

One of my favorite things about thru-hiking is the time spent moving in between the highlights. You don’t have to think about where you’re stepping. You don’t have to think about much at all. You don’t feel compelled to be constantly taking pictures. You can just listen to where your mind goes. 

Over the years I’ve come to love these in-between moments, even though they can be mentally difficult. I think that’s because it’s reassuring to know that I can still handle the mental challenges. Or, maybe my mind likes the exercise that is staying motivated in boring situations. 

I remember many years ago when riding a bike across the United States, I was very bored for most of the midwest. It came to a boiling point in Wyoming one day when the headwinds were so bad I only made it 15 miles before I quit for the day. Tears of frustration and boredom blew off my cheeks as I made it to a small highway town. I got a motel room in that small, eastern Wyoming town, and felt sorry for myself. 

I almost quit that day. But, I didn’t quit. The next day was less windy, and a bed did good things for my mental state. That stretch of Wyoming is now one of the most memorable parts of my cross-country bike tour. That’s where I really started to appreciate the Replacements–I only had a few albums loaded onto an iPod shuffle and two of them were Replacements albums. I dove deep into those. I found enjoyment and entertainment where I could. I learned about myself. Wyoming is where I really learned to listen to my mind: on the side of a highway, on a bicycle, listening to the Replacements. 

Life can get pretty boring. But if you’ve walked a shitty dirt road where the locals dump their old couches, through a landscape of salt flats and sagebrush, and kept yourself entertained, then you can endure that boring small talk you find yourself unable to escape at a party. If you can stay motivated under a hot sun, in a cloudless sky, with nowhere to escape the heat, then you can handle the most boring parts of any job. If you can stay entertained and motivated on a long paved road with nothing to look at but sagebrush and passing cars while riding your bike across several states of long, boring paved roads, then you might just end up unstoppable. 

Jobs. Shit. I’m glad this is my job at the moment. Even if it’s boring, hot, and dry. Even though I’m drinking water that tastes like I have to add a drink mix to it just to be able to stomach it. Even though I’m out of sunscreen, at least I got new sunglasses in Rawlins and I’m not sitting in an office answering phone calls from customers named Karen. 

Well, after leaving Rawlins, Wyoming was boring. It wasn’t actually boring, but looking back on it there isn’t much that’s exciting to report. I was still in the Great Divide Basin and I do love deserts. But this desert was pretty boring. 

I walked a paved road for 20 miles the second day out of Rawlins. That was so interesting I took zero pictures of that stretch. I walked it with William and another hiker, Scoops. Scoops wrote a book and we mostly listened to him talk about it. 

I camped near a gross, murky reservoir that is also a BLM campground. It was quite pretty at sunrise as you can see. 

The water wasn’t pretty, though. And, around here I developed a hole in my water filter. I super-glued over the hole and wrapped it in gorilla tape. I suspect the hole was a result of filtering silty water, but I may have also dropped the filter in just the right (wrong) way. 

I walked a lot of dirt roads. They weren’t always pretty, either. I was glad to be hiking with William through here. But, I also did a lot of walking alone, listening to podcasts and music.

I saw some cool salt flats that used to be bodies of water. Since any water that falls in this area can’t flow anywhere, it gets pretty salinated out here. 

Then it started to look like Colorado. 

On September 1st, I made it to Colorado. 

I wanted to make it to Colorado by September and I just barely did. I walked across Wyoming in 20 days to make it to Colorado by now. I enjoyed Wyoming a lot more than I expected. I guess I should have expected that I’d like it, all things considered. But, I hadn’t really thought about what Wyoming would be like this time. 

Wyoming was beautiful. Even though the boring parts were boring. The boring parts are an important part of any adventure. Life is a long series of boring parts with the occasional exciting part. 

So in some ways, Wyoming was my favorite state on the entire CDT. 

But, I’m glad to be in Colorado. Mostly I’m glad to be in Colorado now because I know it’s going to start getting cold here. And, I know it will only start getting colder, and colder, as it gets later in the season. September is the latest I would want to begin to walk across Colorado through the high country. And, I made it just in time. 

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