6/14 day 28 – over the pass into sunlight

6/14 day 28 – over the pass into sunlight

6-14 day 28

Hatchet Campground to Dubois, WY.

50 miles

Up and over. That was today’s whole game. The sun was up and drying my tent when I made it out of my sleeping bag. I moved it into more direct sunlight for a bit to try and get the worst of the wet off of it. The air was still cold but at least the wind wasn’t blowing.

The climb started pretty much immediately out of camp – it was a gradual 4% grade most of the way, sometimes going up to 6%. But it was constant and I felt strong. Up until about halfway. Then I started huffing and puffing a little more. Thin air I suppose. The climb eventually leveled out a bit with a very gradual plateau. But there was snow everywhere. I wasn’t sure how deep it was but it was there. Once in awhile a breeze would kick up and I would feel the cold not just from the wind but from the surrounding snow as well. Luckily it was clear and bright, and it felt like i had my own personal sunbeam for most of the climb.

Near the top at the Continental Divide marker I met two gentlemen who were riding from the top down into town. One was changing his inner tube and their support vehicle was there. We chatted for a bit before I realized that it wasn’t actually the top of the pass. I pedaled on a bit and found it.

At the pass sign I got off my bike and tromped into the snow to see just how deep it actually was. There was still a good 5inches of snow on the ground despite it being above freezing and sunny. It’s scary to think what it would have been like had I tried to go over the day before. Probably very wet and very cold.

The descent was glorious though. Once i crested over I got a beautiful downhill the emerged into a sunny valley after about 5 miles. Warmth returned to every part of my body. Sun bathed me and I couldn’t stop smiling as I followed the perfect road surface without much effort. It was downhill the whole way to town. I stopped at several historical markers on the way but in general I was just so happy to be warm again.

In town I found the Episcopal Church that offered shelter to weary bikers and hikers. Dubois lies on both the TransAm trail, the Continental Divide Bike Path as well as the Continental Divide Trail for hiking. They offer then use of their community room as well as their kitchen to any and all who show up. Man was it nice and warm. I set up my tent to air out and Martjin showed up. We decided showers and laundry were in order, and made our way to the laundromat which offered both. As well as carwashes. Honesty I should have just put on all my dirty clothes and walked through the car wash. I’ll know for next time.

Showered and smelling like peppermint (thanks Dr. Bronner’s soap!) we heads for the grocery store. One of the disadvantages of small towns is that food always costs more there. I managed to find a few good deals and left with fixings for a taco Mexican dinner, carrots and ranch, some clementines and a 1.75qt tub of watermelon sherbet ice cream. Healthy.

We snagged our laundry and went to cook. Dinner was delicious and we ate about ⅔ of the ice cream in one sitting. The rest I figured I’d eat with breakfast – a dozen sausages and the clementines. Calories!!

This was the first day in about a week that didn’t involve some sort of precipitation during the day/night. The first day where I wasn’t going to sleep with something wet in my possession. It was a good day. I needed a day like this. When I had come out of Yellowstone I was pretty tired even though I still had the afterglow of happiness. The hail and rain didn’t help and I had several moments where I remembered that the airport in Jackson was only a few miles away and could take me home. I know it was just a result of being wet and cold but it still saps your will.

I was reminded of a story Baltimore Jack told me on the Appalachian Trail. During a very very spring it rained for 20+ days in a row. One morning a hiker, a man around 40 broke down into tears when someone in the shelter asked if it was still raining. I’ve mentioned this story before in this blog but I feel that it bears repeating. The breaking point isn’t always the big things – the wind or the rain or the hail. Sometimes it’s the little things that seal the deal – no one picking up the phone on a call. The store being out of the candy you wanted. Your phone dying. It’s tough sometimes. You just need to be a little tougher and just keep going.

2 Replies to “6/14 day 28 – over the pass into sunlight”

  1. Watermelon sherbet makes everything better, doesn’t it? I’m sure the sun was a welcome sight. I admire your toughness and tenacity.
    Two miles up, two miles down. Hi-yo silver!

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