Greetings from the library in Rawlins, WY. It's 140ish trail miles from my last stop, and my total is 1400 (?) miles hiked...I wish I could be more exact, but it's almost impossible to know just how far I've come. That said, I'm pleased with my progress even if I deplete my funds or run out of time before the Canadian border. It's 50 days until I must return home for Pam & Brennan's wedding!
First off, BIG thanks and shout outs:
--Rick "Superfly" Melzer for taking great care of me in Steamboat Springs, CO. It was so cool reconnecting with an old hiking buddy and good friend, and Steamboat is a sweet little town. I'll be back!
--Barbara and Jack: many thanks!!
--Big Agnes for replacing my tent under warranty (amazing products and service)
--Pat for another great care package
--Outdoor Research for replacing my broken gaiters
--Pox & Puss Podcast (check it out if you haven't)
Conditions changed quickly after crossing the border: lower, hotter, dryer. Amazingly, things shifted just as quickly as they had when I crossed from New Mexico into Colorado...borders may be a geopolitical construct, but it seems that each state on this trail has its own character. As expected, the hiking is a bit easier and I intend to log bigger miles for the next stretch. Currently I'm suffering from a mild case of PCSD--Post Colorado Stress Disorder. Not surprising, given CO's spectacular scenery, fantastic hiking, and really cool towns. But soon I'll be in the Wind Range and Yellowstone!
Now I can finally talk about gear. At the outset I was determined to utilize equipment I already own in order to keep costs down and USE some stuff that has languished in the basement for quite a while. Here's what I had:
--Gregory Baltoro pack (used on PCT, but didn't fit after crazy weight loss so replaced with Osprey Atmos 65)
--Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 tent (used on PCT)
--REI Sub Kilo sleeping bag (11 years old, used on PCT)
--Thermarest Ultralite sleeping pad (ten years old, used on PCT)
--Mountain Hardwear Moab pants (4000+ miles and counting! must fix tear in seat!)
--Jetboil cooking system (ten years old)
--Darn Tough socks (some used on PCT, the best socks out there!)
--Outdoor Research gaiters (used on PCT)
--Black Diamond trekking poles (used on PCT)
--Lowa Zephyr boots (used on PCT)
--Mountain Hardwear down jacket (a gift from good friend Rob)
--Cheap multi-tool (thanks Dean!)
--Royal Robbins desert shirt
--Salomon X-Scream trail runners, my fourth pair of shoes on this journey. They've been great since Leadville.
--Sawyer Mini water filter
--Military-ish bucket hat (got in Silverton after old one literally blew off my head!)
--My one electronic device: Casio Commando 4G LTE smartphone. It's my computer, GPS, music player, camera, etc. It will take a beating if not the best pics. I keep it going with a Power Monkey solar charger (thanks Second Gear!)
Here's the thing: I'm a dinosaur. I seem to have the biggest, heaviest pack out there. People have even remarked that I don't look like a thru-hiker. ha!
For the next leg, I have decided to go "stoveless" and sent my cookset ahead along with some clothing and other things. This chopped a lot of weight and bulk from my pack. If it doesn't get used everyday, I shouldn't be carrying it! So dry food it is....I'll letcha know how it works out from Lander.
Something always hurts!
All right all right y'all. Time to upload some pics from the phone and get out of town. Lander is Fri/Sat if you wanna send a package priority, I'll figure out what's next.