* I have about a week left on trail
* So, so, so wet and muddy
After leaving West Yellowstone (this is a town, not the park), it took me about 1.5 days to cross the park boundary (and to get back to Wyoming). The topography gradually changes around you, and then quite suddenly the smell of sulfur strikes along with the sound of boiling water and abundant puffs of steam. And just like that, you’re in Yellowstone proper.
I have to say that going from seeing a handful of hikers to a parking lot full of tourists can be a little unsettling. I took some photos of geysers, and then swung by the old faithful inn to resupply, charge my phone, and wait in a line for far too long to hunt up some calories. The next day consisted of lovely hiking through hardly-visited areas of Yellowstone, while chatting with some other SoBo hikers. It was around this time that I also started experiencing occasional throbbing pains in my big toe. I decided a naproxin would likely resolve the issue, and continued to crush soms miles. That night I camped in a lowland area where all of my stuff became quite wet with condensation.
I was optimistic about drying out my gear the following afternoon, but by 8 AM storm clouds moved in to throw down some rain that just never ended. It’s around this time that I also decided to investigate my still painfully throbbing toe, where I discovered that a blister had formed under the toenail. I eventually managed to lance it with my trusty sewing kit, much to my satisfaction as it instantly relieved a lot of pressure that had been causing the pulsing pain under my toenail! This, of course, is all the better for tromping through the mud!
It’s been a pretty slow, wet couple of days. Storm clouds have been omnipresent, and the rain really has been falling fairly hard around the clock. I’ve hit the CDT NoBo bubble, so have been seeing 40-50 NoBos a day. In contrast, there’s only about 7 SoBos ahead of me. This means that between the rain, horses, and CDT pack of humans, the trail now resembles a water slide made of mud. My shoes regularly weigh a couple extra pounds, and the sliding up and down hills has been exhausting (and slow going)! Because of the cloud coverage + rain, GPS is slow to work and my phone is also in danger of water damage if I keep it out too long looking for satellites. Because the CDT is notoriously poorly marked (unmarked), this means I’ve had to do some backtracking and bushwhacking to add in some additional adventure in the miserably wet conditions.
After some tough slogs through mud, waist-deep rivers, and cart loads of horse poop, I finally made it to Dubois only 3 hours after I had expected (and with a lot more wear and tear both mentally and physically ). I managed to pull together a resupply, eat some salad and pizza, and find a not-terribly priced hotel for the night! Success!
I’m finally drying out my stuff, and hope to head out after breakfast. The Wind River Range is fast approaching, and I’ll be stopping in Pinedale in 3 to 4 days, and Lander soon after that!
With love and adventure,