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Hello to everybody from Richland, WA!!

Had an interesting walk along the newly-designated, offical CDT route along 
the east and north sides of the Great Divide Basin, from Rawlins, WY to 
South Pass City, WY.  Saw almost zero people out there in 4 days, lots of 
antelope everywhere, praire dogs, elk, grouse, meadowlarks, very few trees 
(had one delightful camp in a grove of pine trees that effectively blocked 
the blasting winds and looked like an elk bedding spot), a few ticks at 
Upper Mormon Spring.  There was water available in all the places listed by 
the BLM, and more.  The route is due to be marked this summer; with careful 
attention to map and compass, and keeping track of where I had been and 
estimating travel distance, I was able to find my way through the maze of 
roads (paths?) out there, without too much hunting around.  Got hailed on 
and snowed on twice during the third day, along the high ridges, where the 
views were expansive.  The south side of the upcoming Wind River Range was 
solid snow from the peaks clear down into the trees.

Returned home Wed afternoon as a result of fortuidous circumstances that 
were telling me to get home and wait for some snow to melt.  At 2:45 pm on 
Tuesday a road grader picked me up in the Great Divide Basin and gave me a 
ride the last 5 miles into Atlantic City, WY; the operator told me which 
road to take to best catch a ride to South Pass City (to pick up my 
maildrops) and also said that Rock Springs was actually closer than Shoshoni 
for catching a bus to either CO or home.  Two minutes up the road a fellow 
picked me up who was going to So. Pass City and then on to ROCK SPRINGS!!  
After visiting So. Pass City, he drove me to Rock Springs and the Greyhound 
terminal there, where, lo and behold, there sat the one bus a day that goes 
west toward home - decision made, GO HOME.  At 2:30 pm Wednesday, less than 
24 hours from walking in the G.D. Basin, I was home.  What an unbelievably 
sequenced set of circumstances.

Right now my plan is to be home about 2 weeks or so, hitting the trail again 
when the snow levels decrease enough somewhere so that one can hike 
continuously without a lot of snow to plunge through.  I would appreciate 
any solid suggestions from anyone who knows the actual snow conditions on 
the remainder of the CDT (I've done NM and Steamboat Springs to So. Pass 
City).  For those of you hiking out there, here is what I know.  Ray Hanson 
of the BLM Lander, WY office said that the Wind River Range has record 
snowfall.  Carl Begeal tells me that CO has snow above ~10,500 feet, 
everywhere, with pretty much solid snow above 11,000 feet and on north and 
east facing slopes; less snow down south.  Carl feels that travel without 
snowshoes would be reasonable by the 3rd or 4th week of June.  Jim and Ginny 
Owens are travelling north from Anaconda, MT, starting May 30; any 
intelligence from them via e-mail would be useful.

In the meantime, it's good to be home for a while.  Lots to do.  Bought a 
ruler and tiny calculator that will be used to accurately estimate GPS 
navigatior coordinates (in degrees and minutes) from maps, or vice versa.  
Slightly modifying some equipment.  Doing a little housework.  Giving 
Junior, the cat, the attention he deserves.....  What the heck: I should be 
doing what I want, when I want; I'm retired!  May have to leave part of the 
CDT for some other year.

Hope everyone is well and enjoying life.  Keep in touch,

Bilgy

bilgy (bil'je) adj. looking or smelling like bilge water([slang] worthless 
or silly talk or writing; nonsense)


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