Dan’s pain in the butt

8/5 – This is the rock that kicked Dan’s butt. Yes, Dan had a hearty fall onto a pointy rock while attempting to walk across a fallen tree to stay dry for a river crossing. When he fell he wasn’t yet over the water, thankfully, but he did land on a rock and the pain was bad enough to send him into shock. He writhed in pain/huddled in the fetal position for a good 45 minutes (during which time NoBos Jack and the Beanstalk, Sarong and Chief Hua Hua came along… goodness what an akward introduction).  But thank God, in the end he was ok and able to walk (crossing through the stream on wet ground rather than log).  Nonetheless, his fall gave us some prudence when considering whether to attempt to cross the narrow gorge about 30 feet deep formed by the Buffalo River… this picture doesn’t capture it but, goodness was Buffalo Falls a phenomena!  Churning white and turquoise waters rushed through the narrow slice of black cliff. Heaps has a tattoo on his feet that says, “Gravity does not grant me the privilege of failure” and it certainly applied when considering a jump across the gorge.


 



Later that day we arrived at Brooks Lake Lodge, a gorgeous old log-cabin style lodge, where the lovely Naomi (Mike with a Y’s wife) met us to be a true Trail Angel (again!) and give us a ride into Dubois, Wyoming.

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Parting of the Waters

8/3 – We sadly said our goodbyes to Laurie and set off with Lost, Rolling Thunder & Heaps…. we followed the Snake River, leaving Yellowstone on 8/4 to enter the Briger-Teton National Forest. Sadly the CDT doesn’t pass through Grand Teton National Park, but we did get a stunning view of the Teton’s jagged rock teeth gnashing skyward from a high plateau.

Dansticks!

We then descended to the parting of the waters… where Two Oceans Creek where the creek splits on the Continental Divide: the east fork travelling some 3,000 miles to the Atlantic Ocean and the west fork travelling some 1,000 miles to the Pacific Ocean. We lunched on the little “island” right at the split and sampled both the Pacific and Atlantic-bound waters. Then, before heading off Dan devised a complex game of Poohsticks (with ever-changing rules) where we each dropped sticks into the creek prior to the split and whoever’s stick made it to the Atlantic fork first won…. RT’s stick got stuck, I lost track of mine (it was fast!) and in the end we judged the Heap’s had (probably) won.  Good times!

Yellowstone!

7/29 We said our goodbyes to Montana and 7/30 bid adieu to Idaho as well. 7/31 we entered Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park which was swarming with people from all over the world. We underwent a bit of culture shock to be surrounded by so many people enjoying the “great outdoors” via their cars and RVs. But considering the size of Yellowstone, we were happy to become car-traveling tourists ourselves the next day. The CDT only spends 4 days in Yellowstone and misses many of the great sights, but in Lost’s mom Laurie’s rental car we were able to do the Grand Loop of Yellowstone in a single day. We heard the stunning roar of Yellowstone Falls, marveled at the strange and colourful thermal wonders and oohhed over the the mighty herds of bison.

To conclude the day with had a pizza party to celebrate Hawkeye’s birthday. They night before Dan had made a “cake” from donettes (a kind of plastic covered cardboard that is supposed to be a little donut. Hawkeye loves junk food like that!) and we’d watched the Fantastic Mr. Fox. Eleven of us – Lost, Trail Angel Laurie, Hawkeye, Kombucha, Joker, Rock Steady, Heaps, Mike with a Y, Rolling Thunder and DnA – had been enjoying a deluxe condo  in Sawtelle for 2 nights thanks to Laurie!  It was a wonderful way to celebrate a new state and having walked about 1,000 miles!

A tantalizing time in the Tetons

Our backpacking adventure was awesome. Here are a few highlights:

  • Reading Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott in the sunshine at Holly Lake
  • Hiking up glacial moraines through Paintbrush Divide
  • Eating Nutella with EVERYTHING
  • Catching Love in the meadow in South Fork
  • Seeing the Tetons at almost eye-level at Hurricane Pass
  • Watching a moose munch on pond juice
  • Snuggling in our double sleeping bag
  • The view from 11,000+ feet up on Static Peak
  • Cliff-jumping into Phelps Lake
  • Hitchhiking a ride to the airport
  • Seeing all the crazy and colourful hotspots at Yellowstone. Bacteria sure can be beautiful!
  • Having a hot shower for only $3.25 after a brief 9 day hiatus from hygiene
  • Watching the sunrise over the Tetons as we ate oatmeal and drank chai
  • Plus we saw a bear!  Here’s a photo:

    honey-bear.jpg

    Mind you I was also hunched over like a old lady by the end of the second day and was pretty sure I would need a hip replacement by the end of the fourth day, but that’s a small price to pay for all the fun we had.