Day 61: The Return Of The Poles

As we have some time to kill while waiting for our poles this morning we decide to walk up and have a look at the old peniteniary. It is an interesting place and we look through the museum displays while we wait for our tour to begin. The first part of the tour is a scale model demonstration of the water activated hanging trapdoor. This was a device designed to release the trap door from under the condemned person by letting water run out of a bucket so there would be no hangman given the job. We soon find out that this is the first tour our guide has conducted as he has a lot of trouble setting up the model and in the end has to get help from someone else. The rest of the tour goes well and he fills us in on some of the more colourful or macabre aspects of the old prison. 

We get back to our hotel in time for check out and receive a message from Terry and Janette that they are here. We meet at the diner and have another milkshake while we catch up on our summer activities. 

By 1pm we are back on the trail and heading out into the Great Divide Basin. We have a couple of miles of road walking before the trail heads off to parallel the highway for the next 16 miles. Yeti wants to skip the road walk and see if we can hitch but I am fired up by the challenge of the distance and foolishly think we should walk. 

The first section is flat as expected and getting hot. Yeti thinks I made the wrong decision in walking this section. We are going for a few hours without much to inspire us but then the landscape changes and we come to some small rolling hills. The ground is rocky with the rocks covered in beautiful mottled lichens and moss. Between the rocks grows sage, small grasses and wild flowers.  The dirt varies from sand to rich red soil. We come to the top of a rise and have a view over the landscape in front of us and we turn to each other and say how wonderful it is to be back in the trail. As we walk up the rise I pull out my camera and almost step on a small rattle snake. He is so well blended with the colours around him that we did not see him until he started his rattle after we passed. 

The afternoon cools as we reach Fish pond Spring. This spring is a welcome sight with crystal clear water surrounded by lush green grass. The Spring would have been a nice place to spend the night but as we are at least a morning behind due to our poles we decide to hike on a few more miles. 

There is no trail in much of this area and we are just following markers across the landscape. We come across two tents set up in one grass section but until we are almost on them see no one. As we pass a woman pokes her head out of one tent and we shout a hello. We wonder if they are CDT hikers but leave that question to be resolved at another time. 

We reach the limit of our drive today and find a nice camp spot in a small gully amongst the hills. The trail is heading back to the highway for a small section and we can hear the cars whizzing past down the bottom of the hill. 

It is a full moon again just like it was when we started from Crazy Cook two months ago and we are treated to a magnificent sunset and moon rise.