Heidenreich & Gass: CDT Thru-Hikers

Week 12: Back in the Desert

July 27, 2000—Day 95—South Pass City, Wyoming —It's Day 95 and we've come 115 miles from Rawlins. We started this section with a long road walk on hot black pavement. On the road we passed about 10 bikers headed south on the Continental Divide bike route. They are doing the route in 2 months! We debated getting bikes. The desert was hotter and drier than New Mexico, with our first water source being 30 miles from Rawlins. We arrived there to discover it had been trampled by wild horses. These horses prance around in packs as big as 100. The stallions tossle their manes and stomp around, almost as if to challenge us before finally running off. Adrianne tried to grow additional legs in order to join the wild horse society, but they would not accept her.

It was blood, snot, and tears as we crossed the sagebrush, not to mention the sweat that promptly evaporated from our bodies. This was one of the most arid environments we have ever been in. The land stretched into the distance, often with few prominent changes to break the monotonous landscape. Always there was the sage. Finally, as we neared South Pass City, the Wind Rivers began to rise in the distance.

You could almost imagine how the pioneers on the Oregon Trail might have felt as they crossed such a desert as the mountains came into view. We followed this historic trail for part of the way, as well as the California Trail and the Pony Express Route. One night we ran into some outfitters who take people on the trail for a week at a time. They take Conestoga Wagons and sleep in teepees and have barbecues at night. Unfortunately, these neo-pioneers did not understand Western hospitality and neglected to invite us to their feast.

Read Adrianne's account of how it feels to be green in the Wild West.


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