Day 82: Near point 10,445 in Huston Park, Medicine Bow NF, WY to Battle Pass, ~10 miles, ~1,344 total
Yesterday we said good bye to Colorado. After beautiful hiking through the Zirkel Wilderness, the CDT of Colorado bid us adieu with thunder storms and walking ATV roads. When we’d walked 200 feet into Wyoming and the rain started pouring we wondered if it was Colorado’s last hurrah or Wyoming washing us clean. Or perhaps it was just a rainy afternoon during monsoon season.
Colorado had grown on us since our first days in the San Juans, but we were ready for Wyoming. Ever since hanging out with Dain in Grand Lake, we’d been looking forward to Wyoming. The CDT as it winds northwest across the state evokes change of scenery and possibility. Mountains. Sagebrush. Pronghorn. Wolves. Grizzlies. The Great Divide Basin. The Wind River Range. Yellowstone. Big wild spaces.
Hiking into Huston Park was a welcomed surprise: high subalpine meadows amid red rock gardens. The snow just melting out on some slopes and deep in flower elsewhere. Ridges a bloom with purple lupine, red paintbrush, penstemon, alpine pussytoes, cinquefoil, showy daisies, and sandwort. Wet meadows of glacier lily, alpine buttercup, bog saxifrage, lousewort, white bog orchid, and marsh marigold. Spruce (mostly alive!), subalpine fir, a few lodgepole, and limber pine.
The trail amid these parks, meadows, and gardens was mostly a cairn and post route cross-country. This morning it was lovely to roam our way through pleasant surroundings.
We chatted with some nice hikers from Baggs, WY when we were about 4 miles from the TH. It felt like a great start to Wyoming, already meeting kind people.
Our meeting good people continued about 200 feet from the trailhead, where we met a father and son pair who’d just finished a fishing trip. Gabriel chatted them up and they gave us a ride (from a hard to hitch pass) to Riverside, WY. Thank you!
Encampment. Grand Encampment according to some maps. Population of the two communities is around 400 folks. An easy going place with a post office, two bars/restaurants, coffee shop, and two general stores. A nice place for a nero. We are clean, fed, ready to get our packages from the PO in the morning, and then, time to get back to the trail.