August 15th, 2019
Savery Creek, 2 miles north of mm 1443 to North Fork Encampment River mm 1470.3
Distance in miles: 29.3
I feel the chill of the dampness overnight, a consequence of being in an open valley next to a stream. In the morning, my tent is not just wet with condensation, it’s frozen! WTF? My water bottles are not, so I guess it’s just close to freezing? Getting near to Colorado. More snow and freezing temps the further I go south…makes sense, right? Winter is coming.
I’m on the road for only 2 more miles and there are no cars passing in that time, just lots of cows. I finally say goodbye to this lovely paved road and turn onto a jeep track. I shortly enter the Medicine Bow area, where the mountains begin again. There are pines and aspen, wildflowers and rock cairns and…more cows.
I run into 2 NOBOs, who tell me the standard thing about how many SOBOs they’ve seen in the past few days, something like 15. I admit, they’ll be seeing even more soon. We don’t talk for long, after all, they need to be cracking 30 miles or more every day from now until Canada if they want to beat the snow.
The trail alternates between forest and open sage fields. Where there’s forest, there’s some nice singletrack. In the sage, there are rock cairns marking the way across uneven ground. The views are great and it’s so easy to forget that I was only recently down in the parched desert-like prairie, which is now spread out forever far behind me.
I begin climbing up towards Bridger Peak. I stop to have lunch and dry all my things at a creek…a real mountain creek seemingly untouched by cattle. I continue up the mountain, listening to podcasts, when I see a figure ahead. I’ve caught up to an older hiker, Has No Horse from Eugene, Oregon. He tells me that he’s 75 and finishing sections to complete his triple crown. He’s moving slowly but hey, he’s out here doing this! I slow down to chat with him a bit, telling him he’s an inspiration.
I reach the peak, taking a side trail to go to the very top. I finally get a good look at the mountains of Colorado, less than 20 miles away. Tomorrow I will be back in my homestate. I hurry down to Battle Pass and the parking lot where I know Relentless is waiting, along with my resupply. I repackage some of my food and do some creative packing to make it all fit. I have way, way too much. I should leave some in the trailhead hikerbox but I hate throwing it out.
Finally back in the company of my devout hiking buddy, we head down the trail until we come to some nice trees, a meadow and a creek. I’m saddened to find mosquitoes at this place but ya know, I’m good at dealing with them by now. We settle in for the night, excited for the change in states tomorrow.