Encampment Wyoming - 450 miles.
Leaving Steamboat Springs we pointed again north as the trail follows the Divide very closely along the Park Range. Most of this section was in the Mount Zirkle Wilderness, a wonderland of broad ridges, a few peaks, a lot of lakes and some stunning wildflowers still on display. Fields of yellow, purple and an occasional swatch of other colors. Sandhill Cranes honking loudly from an Alpine Lake were a pleasant surprise. As was another “Alpine Porcupine”. I don;t know that this is actually a distinct species, but it seemed unusual to see a Porkie at 11,000 feet climbing a Krumholtz tree…or it would have seemed unusual, except that we were greeted by one of these animals when we entered Colorado last year.
We transitioned to the Sierra Madre mountains as the divide drops some in elevation and “softens”. The walk continues to be a roller coaster ridge walk, but the bid, dramatic drops have now slowed down to the gentler terrain. And never too soon. The Carrot had twisted her ankle a couple days before, in rocky Colorado. (She’s on the mend, thanks to anti-inflammatories and a good bit of tender care in watching where to step)
On Monday we crossed into Wyoming (and have not seen a cloud in the sky since leaving Colorado in our rearview.) Clear skies have meant cold nights and yesterday morning there was a definite feeling of “fall” in the air. Colorado was a highlight of the whole trail experience, but we are very glad to be in Wyoming, somehow it feels different, it feels closer to the finish. Unfortunately the trail is not well marked. In fact the last 20 miles were not even really “trail”, just a series of posts and rock cairns strewn about rocky ridges and wet meadows. A few times we had to stop and look around for awhile to find the next one. Such is the nature of the CDT.
Tonight we are in the “twin cities” of Encampment and Riverside Wyoming, about 1 mile apart. Encampment has the motel, library, PO and Liquor Store. Riverside has the restaurants and grocery store. It’s a lot of walking for a day off.
Tomorrow - onto Rawlins!!!