Howdy Folks! We have made it to Dubois, Wyoming. The mileage through Yellowstone National Park has been some easy strolling. The entire route we took has been flat and I have enjoyed the park thoroughly. It has been the first time I have not seen the first established national park from a car. We took an alternate route where we spent the afternoon at Old Faithful village and saw the Old Faithful Geyser and consumed two gigantic calorie laden meals. Unfortunately, some of the thermo pools are starting to fade from their once ebullient colors due to tourists throwing objects in the pools. The blockage obstructs the steam opening and the ensuing cooling effect fades the colorful mineral deposits over time. However, by just doing some short ten to fifteen mile hikes around the park; we saw many thermo pools not seen or corrupted by the majority of people. It is crazy to be walking in the woods and suddenly a large thermo basin full of bubbling geysers and volcanic apertures appear. The smells and sounds gave me the impression that the “super” volcano lurking underneath could violently erupt at some point and take a large portion of the state with it. One afternoon we were extremely lucky to make a .3 mile side trip from our campsite to the Lonestar Geyser. It only goes off once every three hours and we happened upon it as it was erupting. Even more serendipitous was the angle of the 6pm sun where I was able to photograph a resplendent rainbow occuring through the geyser mist. Events like this and the parting of the waters have had me thinking about coincidence and concepts like the Butterfly Effect and Saul Bellow’s “Fritillary Corollary.” Which states: if you hold down one thing you hold down the adjoining. Chaos theory, timing, and freewill were embodied in the parting of the waters to me. Watching the water just before the split where one river flows to the Atlantic Ocean and the other to the Pacific and seeing it’s destiny being determined just a few meters away was fascinating to me. Mostly our timing has been horrible on this trail but seeing the results of all our actions culminate at the Lonestar Geyser, from barely escaping Denver’s April 16th blizzard to missing the ride to Crazy Cook all the way to barely seeing the geyser’s eruption was extremely sastisfying.
We have been running into a bunch of North Bounder’s that we started with through YNP. We got to see Uncle Tom, Train, and Wizard at one of our campsites. They call themselves “Megatrex” due to all the trails they have hiked together. I met them the eve before I started the trail way down in Deming Mexico at the border. We saw them almost every day from day 1 and it was amazing to be able to share with them our adventures there in YNP! Seeing several other NOBO’s that we hiked with has buoyed our spirits through the past few stormy days. I was telling Steady as we entered YNP and the Wyoming how dry the state always is and brown from lack of rain. So of course it has rained on us everyday since being in Wyoming. Right before the parting of the waters we got assailed by a particularly mean mountain storm where we were forced to camp after a 12 mile day. We were both miserable in our soaking tents and sleeping bags and needed the following day to dry out. I was happy we didn’t get hit above treeline a few minutes before. The skies collect angry rain clouds every afternoon but we have been mostly lucky evading the rain until that day. I am a little concerned about the next section through the 160 mile mostly exposed Winds Mountain Range. I recently had a great idea while walking for a Shazam style phone app where one could record a bird call and then match the sound wave to an existing database that could identify the bird species. Or another app that could identify a plant or wildflower from a photograph in the field. One couple I ran into that I told the bird call idea told me that Cornell University is already working on that idea. I think that would be awesome as the books that describe avian calls are wholly inadequate with their two long chirps and one short caw kinda jargon.
We are taking the day off in Dubois today. It is a bizarre touristy town with it’s disco-mirrored and life size “jackalope” themes and statues. The food has been surprising good and we are definitely loading up for the next difficult mountainous stretch of trail. By our estimates we have 350 miles left once we hit Rawlins in a couple of weeks and so the end for us is approaching soon. My body is doing great and hopefully we will be done by October 1st. My next entry should be in Lander, WY where we get to trek through the Great Basin/Red Desert out of town from there. Peace out, yeehaw! -Skeeter