Today, I decided to leave the hostel and cross the mountain into the Tetons. It was 4 o’clock when I finally decided to head out. By that time the wind was blowing 20-25 mph. I got 5 miles down the road and my pace dropped to 6 mph with a 30 mph wind. I met two cyclists heading East into town and told them about the church. They told me that the higher I climbed the stronger the wind got. I was still 25 miles from summitting and that was what tipped my decision to returning to the church.
My time at the church, which I call the hostel, has been a wonderful experience. I have met more like minded people here than I have on my entire trip, maybe my entire life. Everyone here is either a through-hiker or cyclist. We mostly talked about food and gear. Most of these through-hikers eat high Calorie, low nutrient foods and are consuming 5000-6000 Calories a day. Coming off the trail, their first stop was usually the Cowboy Cafe for a burger, or two, and a piece of pie. I found one girl wandering around town looking for the church and eating a half-gallon of icecream as she went.
There is a lot of community here. People share what they have and help out when they can. Sonny and Killer, AKA Scott and Genevieve, gave my gear a shake down today. I was sitting in the living room packing my gear for the ride and Sonny started asking me about different things. When I offered to let them help, Killer practically jumped at the opportunity to do a shake down. We went through each piece of gear and reasoned keeping or leaving. Since starting I have reassessed my gear twice, once in Tulsa and again when I first arrived. I have dropped some gear and picked up some along the way. The temperature change has been the dominating factor. Once finished, I will compare my finish gear list with start gear list.
Sonny and Killer took out my tablet, hammock and accessories, tarp, cyling jersey, shorts, whistle, 1/2 of wet wipe package, and solar panel. Earlier this week when I went through the gear I took out a spare tire, electronic accessories, foam pad, hammock net, and some toiletries. I debated a long time sending the hammock home and I have been on the fence about the tarp this whole time, even though it has come in handy a few times. So, Sonny and Killer, I will be sending the tarp, hammock and accessories, whistle, solar panel, spare parts, front bottle cages, and some tools home in the mail. I am keeping the clothes and will decide on the tablet in the morning.
It has been a nice rest being here and I have neglected posting updates. Mostly, I have been meeting and talking with adventurists, cooking and eating, and napping. After my first day I somehow became the unofficial greeter for new people. It is great to meet all of these people and to hear their stories, and after just a day it is hard to see them go. I have already made plans to see a few North bounders along the trail and will hopefully run into others again. I have mentioned a few by name, but there have been many that have made my stay here so memorable.
Tomorrow is the eclipse and I plan to be in the middle of it. The plan is to ride to the top of the pass and watch the totality from there. My plans never work out, so we will see what happens.
I have been living and often don’t even have my phone on me, so no photos this time.