August 5th, 2019
Hitch back to Green River Lakes campground
Distance in miles: none
I am going to a hikertrash wedding today! Two people I have never even met before are getting married on the trail and only thru-hikers are invited. They purposely planned it this way. I have no idea what to expect but since we saved about 24 miles not having to take the side trail to Pinedale, we figure we earned a zero. I have never taken a zero on trail before and this seems like one of the better reasons to do so.
But first we have to get back to the campground we came from. And before that, I have a lot of online business to attend to. I go all over town looking for a good wifi signal and finally find it at the laundromat. I frantically type away for about an hour and a half but the clock is ticking. I’m anticipating a difficult hitch to the campground.
Pulp Fiction has a rental car but it is already full with other hikers. I go back to the church and am able to make a sign detailing where we are trying to get to. Then we set out on the highway, with me walking backwards displaying my pathetic little sign. It’s 5 miles outside of town to the lake road turnoff. That road is something like 40 miles. It’s a Monday. We’re screwed, I think. I anticipate maybe having to walk the 5 miles to the junction and then hope there will be some traffic going part of the way. It will probably take multiple rides.
Just as we’re passing a gas station across the highway, a guy waves us over. He says “I can take you to the campground.” He isn’t even going that way but has just returned from hiking in the Winds himself and wants to help fellow hikers. I am floored. We just got a ride to a most difficult location in 5 minutes. My karma account must be in really good standing. The sign also helped.
Andrew drives a Subaru and is from Kanab, Utah (which incidentally is along the Hayduke route, a long distance hike in the desert SW). He is a Wilderness Therapy instructor and tells us about all the cool outdoors things he does, helping troubled youth. What a great profession!
We get to the campground and convince Andrew that he at least has to come check out the view at the lake before driving back. I give him some money for gas and his troubles, the least I can do. And who knows, maybe I’ll be able to see him again if I do the Hayduke. Thanks so much Andrew!We go visit our friends at the cabin first, who are on day 3 of their rave. We check out their hammock/paddleboard/sailing raft contraption. I hope to be able to go for a ride on it later but we’ll see. The ravers are all artists, musicians, and producers from Jackson. One guy, Kyle, is fond of skin suits and squid hats and gives us a little demonstration of his…MMA, tai chi, ninja dance or something. Like I said, they are having a fun time with perhaps a few too many party favors.We head over to the group campsite where the wedding party is located and find about 15 people there. I recognize just about no one and Relentless introduces me to some he has hiked with. More and more roll in throughout the day and night until there are close to 30 of us. Some have hitched in as far a Leadore, Idaho to attend. Others, like us, simply found the timing right. Quite a few have hiked in on this day and are fully ripe with hiker stink.
I am surprised to see Wilder and then ChipnDale show up. Last I saw each was in Darby and Helena. My ego about only catching people and not being caught myself is deflated somewhat. But we did just take 2 days off and these two are very fast hikers, as well. They both have to go to Pinedale to resupply, so they will be a day or more behind once again. I kind of wish more would catch up, since there aren’t many up ahead.
The party is a great mix of NOBOs, SOBOs and Flip-floppers. We have all come together to celebrate and be hikertrash. There is always a bit of rivalry about the direction of a hike but generally only in jest. This year it doesn’t matter since everyone got so screwed up by all the snow in Colorado.
I realize that the bride and groom hardly know many of us from Adam. Most wedding planners know exactly who is coming since they send out invites. The intention for this wedding was to have a bunch of stinky, tattered unknown people show up. Well, at least it would be good to have a way to remember who was at your wedding so I decide to make a list, just like a trail registry. Taking up this project is a good way for me to get to know everyone, too. I go around the party, having hikers write their trail names, real names (if they want), social handles, where from and total miles hiked. I thought it would be funny to come up with an estimate of how miles are represented at the wedding. Someone adds it up later but I don’t remember the count…easily over 100,000 miles.
I finally get to meet Trailbride and Copenhagen when they arrive in the late afternoon. They are dressed up nicely and Trailbride is glowing. Yes, this is her real trail name, given to her on the PCT before she even met Copenhagen. I guess it was fate. We then do a wedding procession hike down to the lake for the ceremony. It’s as real of a ceremony as any other wedding. A member of their PCT trail family, Knight Shift, does his online ordained minister thing and the vows are given. Copenhagen says how he only found out Trailbride’s real name by seeing it on her resupply box. We all get a good laugh out of that. Sorry, I can’t even tell you their real names because I didn’t learn them. Isn’t that terrible?We do a swords-up tunnel at the end, but with our trekking poles. Classic. Then we go back to the group site to party the night away. There are toasts, music, a campfire, grilled food in excess, and much too much drinking. There are 2 kegs, and many bottles of wine and whisky. People get so drunk they are rolling around on the ground and puking…and not even that late into the night. It is complete and utter hikertrash debauchery and I think everything the bride and groom ever hoped for. They met last year on the PCT, fell in love, and are hiking the CDT together this year. What a story.I give them the list of attendees and they are most grateful to have some sort of documentation. It’s a simple gesture but hopefully a useful and meaningful memento of the occasion. I’m of course fretting that I didn’t get everyone but close enough. As for my representation at the party, well, I drink more than I should but don’t get out of control. I plan to hike a full day beginning the next morning. I also eat a ton of food and feel ashamed when we don’t collectively eat all that there is. We put a good hurting on it, at least. I go to bed just before midnight, very afraid of how I’m going to feel in the morning.
So these are most of the family-friendly details I can say of a most crazy day. You just never know what the trail will bring and this was certainly an event to remember.