CDT 2021: Day 55, Bison Basin Road to between East Arapahoe and Magpie creeks

But at times, we do forget about him

A yellow wildflower

Top O' and I agreed to sleep in a little this morning. We had a long day yesterday and decided we deserved a later start.

Unfortunately, that plan didn't work out for me. I still woke up at my usual 5 a.m.

DateSunday, June 6, 2021
WeatherPartly cloudy and breezy; temperatures from the mid-50s to low-80s
Trail ConditionsUps and downs over mostly tree-less hills
Today's Miles17.8
Trip Miles726.6

I walked back to the pond to filter more water before leaving camp. Although my filter removes microscopic parasites like giardia, it doesn't remove the sagebrush flavoring. I don't consider sage an enhancement for drinking water.

Then again, at least the water from this pond didn't taste like cows. Or maybe, the sage flavor just covered up the cow flavor. I discovered later today a strong cow flavor in the water in some sources.

Leaving our campsite near Bison Basin Road

I was back on the trail by 7:25 a.m. I didn't walk far before my feet began to hurt again. This time, I stopped to take a couple of ibuprofen, which took care of the problem.

Spiny phlox

The terrain today was more of what I saw yesterday. It was a series of gently rolling, grassy hills. There wasn't a tree in sight for hours.

There were occasional clumps of wildflowers, however. The first flowers I saw were spiny phlox. It's not unusual to find this plant throughout the west, especially in sagebrush and mountain grasslands.

Stemless mock goldenweed

I also saw a few varieties of yellow flowers. Clumps of what I think were stemless mock goldenweed were growing near the phlox. Cattle enjoy eating these.

A view of Wind River Range

More views of Wind River Range appeared now and then this morning. Before long, however, we had walked too far south to see the mountains anymore. I'll have to wait until I finish walking through Colorado to see them again.

A long view ahead

I thought it was remarkable how far I could see ahead and behind me. There wasn't anything to block the view except for an occasional hill or ridge.

There was nothing to block the wind, either. It was blowing hard again. The good thing about the breeze was it kept the temperature from feeling too warm. Still, a light breeze would have been sufficient for that.

Top O' is still carrying a sun umbrella like the one I sent home. It was much too windy yesterday and today for him to use it.

Cattle ahead

The endless view of sagebrush was sometimes peppered with small black dots on a distant hill. Most of the dots were cattle, though sometimes they were antelope.

I never got close to the antelope. They always stopped feeding to keep an eye on me. If it seemed I might be heading their way, they quickly ran. I tried to take a photo of them, but they were always too fast and too far away from me.

The trail passes between rocks

We met a hiker late in the morning named Yard Goat. He also flipped to avoid the snow in Colorado, but he did it differently than Top O' and me. He jumped ahead to Encampment, Wyoming, where he began walking north. He hoped to go all the way to Canada before he returned to finish Colorado.

Yard Goat said he walked through about twelve miles of snow, but it wasn't too difficult to get through it. We still have about a week before we get there, so I hoped most of that snow would be melted by then.

Top O' and I knew there were a couple of ponds ahead, and we decided to take a break there. Yard Goat told us the water in the north pond was better than the other one.

Two ponds appear ahead

When the ponds came into view, I saw several cows standing around the north pond. They blocked my way as I tried to walk up to the pond. They weren't territorial, just slow. I had to wait patiently before they grudgingly moved out of my way.

Top O' and I ate lunch and filtered water near the pond but in a spot as far away as possible from the cattle.

Top O' walks ahead

Later in the afternoon, we made a wrong turn, going a half-mile out of our way before backtracking to find the trail. I don't like walking bonus miles like that, but the situation could have easily been worse.

It was easy to go off track in this terrain because the trail followed jeep roads. The CDT was crisscrossed by many other roads. There weren't many markers to show which roads to follow for the trail.

Top O' and Freefall at a stream

We met a hiker named Free Fall at 4 p.m. when we arrived at a small stream. We chatted with him while collecting as much water as we needed for the rest of today and tonight. We weren't sure if we would reach the next source until tomorrow morning.

Before we left the stream, Top O' and I decided to walk about two more hours, then start looking for a place to camp. We knew we shouldn't expect to find a great site in this wide-open terrain, but we hoped at least for one that was sheltered from the wind.

I met two more NOBO hikers a short time later. One was named Nemo. When the other hiker told me her name was Yard Sale and that she hiked the AT in 2017, I immediately remembered her.

I recalled running into Yard Sale on more than one occasion. I told her I was pretty sure one of those times was on a miserably cold and rainy day near Bland, Virginia.

She shrugged and said she had no recollection of that at all.

A clump of trees appears ahead

At just a few minutes past 5 p.m., we noticed some trees standing a short distance ahead of us. The time was earlier than we planned to stop, but we decided to check out the trees anyway. We thought they might provide a suitable place to get out of the wind.

When we reached the trees, we found they were standing on a slope. Some were burnt. We found a small flat area between the trees and the side of the ridge. This spot offered the best break from the wind we were likely to find today, so we agreed to camp here, even if it was earlier than planned.

Not including the bonus mile, we walked just under 18 miles today. We can usually walk much farther than that in these conditions. Still, sometimes it's best to stop at a good camping spot when you can. In this terrain, you never know when you'll find another.

Well, the world's no perfect place
We're only doing what we can do
When the night comes over me
Open my eyes up to a brighter sky

And the light shines above every nation
But at times, we do forget about them
Like my brother who is falling down
But at times, we do forget about him


"Nothing to tell now. Let the words be yours, I'm done with mine."ref.