Prehike 0 – Sunday 7/12/2020 – I will be starting at Guthook’s Southbound mile 1257.6 – We drove from about 7 am until 6:30 pm. It was a long day. We chatted as we drove and the time went by easily. I helped drive, but Justin did the vast majority. At the pull off we found the CDT trail marker and knew we had arrived. I did my final prep as Justin talked to Stephanie on the phone – amazing, we had cell service! After a dinner of chicken, carrots and snow peas I set up my bed – again cowboy camping behind the Jeep with Justin on the roof tent. I plan on leaving as soon as I wake up so we said our goodbyes and our see you soons.
We made it near to South Pass City and where the trail crosses Highway 28.
Prehike -1 – Saturday 7/11/2020 – On way to South Pass City WY with Justin in his Jeep. We stopped at Rita Blanca National Grassland for the night. I set up my tent while Justin cooked dinner. Then we sat down in chairs with his table and our plates to eat. A delightful beer later we were done eating and chatting. We looked at the sky in the distance and it looked very threatening. Within five minutes the wind started to blow. It pulled two tent stakes out and my tent collapsed. Hurriedly we got up and started scrambling. Plates away. Table and chairs into the Jeep. I went over and got my tent in my arms and stuffed it into the Jeep. The wind continued to blow. We sat in the Jeep and waited. A front went through. The sky got darker. Next the rain started. And then boom – the lighting began. Flash, flash, Boom, boom. The lightening travelled past us. The rain fell steadily and lightly. The sky behind cleared. and then it was all past. So I began to set up my tent. And in the trailing edge of the storm the wind picked up and rattled the tent. What should I do? The wind was getting stronger and so I decided to put it away. Justin offered that I could sleep in the roof tent, but I finally decided to rough it and cowboy camp – no tent, just under the stars. He angled the Jeep into the wind and he helped me hold down the tent drop cloth while I put down my mat and sleeping bag. It was now 10 pm and dark, so I laid down. Justin climbed into the roof tent. The wind was vicious and blew sand into my face. But overtime the wind died down. It got hot again and I unzipped my sleeping bag into a semi-quilt. Finally around 1 am I fell asleep. Wow, that was something! What a way to start an adventure.
Heading to the trail.
To maintain my social distancing Justin cut my hair. Or shall I say he “buzzed it off” to 1/4″. I feel so much cooler now and it is very manageable. It feels like I have some hair when I rub it with my hand, but looking at this picture it looks as if I don’t have any at all. Ha! And I love the look on his face. It’s the “OMG What Have I Done to my Dad” look.
This is a first. My son offered to keep me safe and isolated during to the COVID-19 Pandemic while I hike so he’s going to support me. I will stay on the trail (not go into towns to keep them and me safe) whereas he’ll precede me to the next meeting point. He’ll carry all the resupplies along with a roof top tent and SHOWER – yup a 4.5 gallon pressurized water with a nozzle shower. He drove from California to Austin to pick me up. Also he got a COVID-19 test before he left, which was negative. Together we’ll drive to South Pass City WY where I’ll start hiking and he’ll drive to our next meet-up (see Plan). Hike, meet, repeat…
Each hike requires a certain amount of equipment. I already have most of the stuff, but things wear out and I’ve got to replace them. For example, shoes. On the AT I started with lightweight trail runners and later switched to a hiking boot. So online I purchased one pair of Brooks Cascadia 14 Trail-Running Shoes and two pair of Oboz Sawtooth II Low Hiking Shoes. Along with them I got a new Petzl rechargeable head lamp and Inova microlight for use in my tent.
Then there is consumables, such as food. For example, dehydrated dinners and other items, for example, cherry Tootsie Roll Pops – yup only cherry – sixty of them – Yum!
I can’t say I have everything, but I have enough to get started. Then it’ll be up to me and Justin to fill in anything missing when we’re on the trail.
Once I committed to this section hike I’ve been physically preparing. This includes wearing a 25 lbs. weight vest and hiking up and down Austin hills. Although Austin TX is relatively flat my first choice is Mount Bonnell.
Along with the vest, I wear a cap for the sun and earphones to listen to books and podcasts. It also includes me wearing my COVID-19 face mask when encountering people, but if no one is around I remove it so I can breathe more easily.
By the time I’m done exercising I’m a big ball of sweat. Thanks Austin for the humidity!
With the help of Justin, my son, as support, I’m planning on getting back on the CDT from South Pass City WY to Cuba NM for a LASH (Long Ass Section Hike).
In my hotel room I unloaded my pack and made sure I have everything. Then I filled up my two Platypus water bags with 5L and my two front bottles with 1.4L. That’s 14 pounds of water. My pack is so heavy and big that I’m freaking out. The first day is always the hardest, but I’m very worried especially about my right heel. All I can do is try…