The yellowing aspens are a sight for sore eyes after covering all of southern Wyoming’s arid, windswept sagebrush country. The last couple days through Wyoming saw me cover the Red Desert and Great Divide Basin, a unique geographical aspect of the hydrographic U.S. continental divide. To the layperson (i.e. me), rainwater collects into this basin instead of flowing east or west. That said, it is particularly dry and quite desolate.
It was an absolute blast to be able to roll quickly through the high (about 7,000 ft) elevation desert on sandy and hard-packed gravel roads. Many antelope and one herd of wild horses were interrupted by my movement. I enjoyed watching my shadow grow long in the evening time as the low sun’s rays stretched all the way across the desert in the absence of shade.
Colorado reminded me that it is fall. Tonight I am in Steamboat Springs having reunited with a riding partner who I hadn’t seen in a couple weeks. With a belly full of Greek food I’m quite content. Happy also, to have a shower and a bed (AirBnB) since it’s been about a week since I’ve last enjoyed either of those luxuries from more civilized society.
Last night was particularly interesting. My 5,500ft of vertical gain for the day culminated in a 1.5 mile hike-a-bike over loamy, rocky trail. This slowed my pace to a crawl, which I wasn’t upset about inherently. But it was getting late, I was running out of water, and looking for a place to camp. Fortunately I found a small creek and a hill with just enough of a flat spot to set up a ground tarp, pad, and sleeping bag (it’s been warm enough to camp al fresco the last few nights as it’s not been dewing or frosting and the temps have been mild).
It went dark quickly as I rushed through the evening time motions: heating water for freeze dried food, changing into warmer clothing, stowing my victuals so as not to have a bear visit, etc.... The calm water anchored the evening as the sun went down and the sky filled with stars. It was particularly clear at 9,600ft (perhaps too high for the residual smoke) and without any light pollution in the middle of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest. That all made for particularly nice conditions as I nestled into my sleeping bag for the night, and realizing that I am just ever so slightly past the halfway point in distance for this voyage, it was time to savor.