Saturday, September 26, 2009

Day Two Hundred-six, 090922 - Wapiti, WY

Day Two Hundred-six, Date Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Time in Saddle: 6:03
Distance for the Day: 52.31 miles From Emblem To Wapiti, WY
Accumulated Trip Distance: 10,386 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 4635’/ 5497’, Highest: 5506’ Accumulated: 2257’
Speeds: Avg: 8.6 mph, Max: 34.1 mph
Weather: 38° clear and sunny, warming to the lower 80s
Expenditures: $19

I woke and got up at 6:05am to a totally clear sky in the growing light of the morning; bright beautiful Venus shining its usual morning cheer. I broke everything down and was ready to roll at 7:03am. It was pretty cold this morning – I had to put on four layers on top (shirt, shirt, jacket, and rain coat), and three layers below (tights, other tights, and rain pants), and two pairs of socks. I discovered that fingered gloves don’t do much to keep my hands warm – should maybe think about getting mittens, instead. After starting off several hundred yards down the road from my camp, I saw four, rather rangy looking horses in the same field that I’d camped in to the west of my site. I didn’t know it at the time, but they were wild mustangs! I thought they were just some ranch horses, and didn’t think much about them. I saw another group of three about 45 minutes later (by then, I’d found out what they were), and took their picture, though they were much further away. You’re supposed to stay at least 500’ away from them, according to the signs that mark some of the entrances to their range. As the morning progressed, I slowly shed my clothing, layer by layer, until by about 11pm, I was back to just my basic riding clothes. I made it into Cody by about 11:30am, and stopped in at the first service available (a KOA) to make an emergency nature call, bought a couple of drinkables ($3), and continued into town, where I knew there was a Subway. I had a meal deal lunch ($7), and then went next door to the grocery store and got more food and Gatorade ($9). I then went down this rather steep hill to continue through Cody and find their library, only to find that they’d moved their library, and I had to go back up the bloody hill, again – I hate it when they do that. I got to the library, charged up my notebook and camera, posted a quickie blog, and took care of email. I finished at 2:45pm, and continued on to Yellowstone.

The road started going pretty steadily and almost steeply, up, and I had to pass through two short tunnels, and one really long, straight one – all without problems from the somewhat light traffic. At the end of the long tunnel, I stopped for a while at the Buffalo Bill Dam Visitor Center to take pictures of the facility and dam. I asked about stealth camping there, but they locked the gates at night, and the police came by to check the place out at night – so it was not a great option.
Continuing up the road, I found stealth camp at a trail head that was up and off the main road (N44 28.562’ W109 24.894’), at around sunset, about 7:30pm (a bit early due to mountains). It was getting medium dark, and one car was parked with some young people hanging out. I waited a while, and took pictures of the crescent moon, until they left. I then pushed my trike up a short, steep hill in toward a line of trees above the level of the lot, to make it even stealthier. I hung my hammock up in the trees, but was concerned a bit about bears, so with my weenie hanging out, I pissed a little bit all around my immediate site. As I may have mentioned before, I’d heard from two different sources that this was an effective way to let wildlife know this was my territory, and they would respect it. I was in bed by about 8pm, and read, munched, and drank until going to sleep about 9pm. A little after midnight, a truck quickly passed through to check things out, but they missed me. Then, at about 1am, I started hearing little rustlings, again; Demitol! More mice! I got up – it wasn’t too cold yet – put on my shoes, checked my food bags, and sure enough, they had been chewed a bit. So, I took a long piece of thin rope and hung my food in the bag from a tree. After hanging my food up, I went back into my hammock, and then one mouse climbed onto my hammock, and was scuttling over the mosquito netting above and to the left of me – I could see his outline. I whacked him with a quick backhand, and sent him flying. I didn’t see any more mice on my hammock after that, but I’m not sure if they were still able to get to my food or not. When I pulled down the bag in the morning, pretty much all my trail mix was gone. I can’t remember if the bag had been emptied before or after hanging it, but as of now, almost all of it was gone. Little bastards. I still had a couple of other small bags of trailmix – those bags must have been thicker or more airtight, as they mice didn’t touch them.

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