After a rough day yesterday, I was hoping today would be better. It had already improved by the time I woke up. The temperature wasn't nearly as cold as the last couple of mornings. A little condensation formed in my tent but was also better than before.
Day 118, Eagle Creek to Pahaska Teepee
Sunday, August 8, 2021
|Clear/smokey, temperatures from the mid-40s to upper-60s
|Ups and downs with stream fords, then asphalt pavement
Our plan for today was simple, which gave me another reason to be optimistic. We would start by walking about seven miles to U.S. Highway 14/16/20. From there, we had 3.5 miles to walk before reaching Shoshone Lodge & Guest Ranch.
The lodge is where Top O' and I asked to have food boxes sent. When we made our resupply plans ten days ago for the Big Sky/Super Butte Alternate, we first thought we would need to go into the town of Cody. It was 50 miles to the east.
A long hitch wasn't appealing to us, so I looked at Google Maps and found the lodge was just up the highway from the trail. We would have to walk past it on our way to re-enter Yellowstone. I realized if we could send resupply boxes there, we would save time and trouble by not going to Cody.
I called the lodge and was told they often hold boxes for hikers. We weren't walking on the official CDT route, so hearing this was a little surprising. Still, we were both pleased with the information.
Top O' and I began hiking shortly after 7 a.m. The trail was again sometimes rugged and washed out, but for the most part, it was drier than yesterday or the day before. We didn't encounter much mud.
We started from our campsite high above Eagle Creek and soon descended to where the creek flowed at the bottom of the valley. Then we crossed the water after we had gone 2.9 miles.
The trail was either high above the creek or at water's level for the rest of the morning. The ups and downs added some variety to the trail without making it tiresome.
I left Washakie Wilderness at 10:30 a.m. Top O' had walked ahead of me, and now I fell farther behind because of some confusing, unmarked trails outside the wilderness area. I knew I had to cross the Shoshone River to get to the highway, and it took some effort to find a footbridge.
A national forest campground was located on the other side of the bridge. It was good we didn't see it on the map and want to stay here. We wouldn't have known a Forest Service rule restricts camping to only hard-sided vehicles because of frequent grizzly bear activity. Tents and pop-up campers are not allowed at this campground.
Top O' waited for me at the road, and we walked together to Shoshone Lodge. The highway was the only route between Cody and the national park's east entrance, but we didn't find as much traffic as expected. That was another reason to be glad we didn't plan to hitchhike into Cody today.
The road was easy to walk, with plenty of room on the shoulder to stay a safe distance from vehicles. We completed the 3.5 miles in a little more than an hour. There was no problem retrieving our food boxes at the lodge. We asked about staying the night, but there were no vacancies.
The woman who helped us was very kind and accommodating. She offered to call Pahaska Teepee for us and check to see if a cabin was available there. That was a similar resort just 1.7 miles farther up the highway.
We were able to reserve a cabin, but Pahaska Teepee didn't have guest laundry facilities. We then asked the woman at Shoshone Lodge if we could do our laundry here before we left. She said yes and exchanged some dollar bills for quarters to use in the machines.
Unfortunately, just as we walked to the laundry room, two employees arrived with large bags of linens to wash in the same machines. We knew at this point there would be a long wait, so we gave up on that idea.
We sat on the front porch of the lodge and sorted our food, then walked to Pahaska Teepee.
After arriving there at 2 p.m., we checked in before going straight to the restaurant for lunch.
Pahaska Teepee was started by one of the biggest celebrities of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A log building on the grounds was constructed by William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody in 1904 to be used as his hunting lodge. It was built at the height of his popularity.
By then, Cody had cultivated a larger-than-life image as a rugged outdoorsman. His fame was cultivated in dime novels filled with fictional details about his exploits in the Yellowstone area. He turned that notoriety into a traveling show in 1883. Buffalo Bill's Wild West became an instant hit and entertained audiences for 30 years.
Cody's show became so popular that in 1890 alone he put on 341 performances in 132 cities. His extravagant show's popularity began to wane in later years, and it went bankrupt in 1913. The public's growing fascination with motion pictures was cited for the wild west show's decline.
Our A-frame cabin was not nearly as charming as Cody's lodge. It looked like it was built in the 1960s, with almost no updates since then. It included two beds, plus a couple of chairs and a small table. Oddly, we found no soap in the soap dispensers and no coffee or cups for the coffee maker.
The cabin was over-priced, but that was to be expected at a location near the national park's most-used entrance. Besides, we didn't have other options except hitching to Cody or finding a place to camp.
I used the soap I brought in a small container for circumstances like this to shower and do my laundry. Then I laid out my wet clothes in the sun to dry.
After finishing those chores, I walked to a small store next to the restaurant and bought a printed trail map. I was still feeling unsettled about our camping reservations after the scheduling error we made. I thought seeing the whole park on a large map would help me judge if we had made any other mistakes. After spending about 30 minutes with it, I decided we were okay for the rest of our hike through the park.
Hollywood arrived late in the afternoon after hitching a ride from Cody. He told us he went there to buy some shoes. We offered to let him shower in our room and sleep on our floor, and he accepted.
Later, the three of us walked to the bar attached to the restaurant. I had just eaten a big lunch a couple of hours earlier, so I decided to order a Caesar salad for dinner.
Soon after going to bed, I began to feel a pain in my stomach. I was restless and turned continuously in bed like a rotisserie chicken until 11:15 p.m. That's when I was hit with a sudden need to throw up my dinner.
Somehow I managed to get to the bathroom without disturbing Top O' or Hollywood. And that was the end of whatever it was that made me sick. I immediately felt better and went to sleep.
Getting sick like that was oddly similar to a night in Massachusetts when I was thru-hiking the AT. Then, as today, I had just a short warning of a stomach ache before getting sick, and instantly afterward, I was over the ailment.
I worried after getting sick on the AT about possibly having Lyme disease or a water-borne illness. Today was different in that respect. I think the Caesar salad made me sick.
I want to jump, but I'm afraid I'll fall
I want to holler, but the joint's too small
Young man rhythm got a hold on me too
I got the rockin' pneumonia and the boogie woogie flu
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