Day 20, Monday July 6, 2015
Start 14-085WT, mile 1818.0
End 14-100XR, mile 1819.6, then 12 miles on Pole Creek Trail and Elkhart Trail to trailhead, then hitch 13 miles down to Pinedale WY
The day starts with a wet-foot crossing across a really fast and deep current. It rained several hours last night, and streams are swollen.
Mid-morning I see three backpackers in camp and chat with Jacob.
He is an instructor with NOLS, a wilderness education school. He said the campfire I saw last night was likely from his main group. They are currently carrying 50 pound packs ( ! ) but do have some ultralight courses. He advises me on the access trail down to Elkhart Trailhead, since I do not have gps waypoints or complete maps for this part.
The day is cool, with an hour or two of light rain in morning. I need a jacket or rain jacket on for the entire hike.
Two riders lead a large group of horses.
Close to my destination I start seeing large numbers of backpackers and day-hikers going the other way, a number packing fishing rods. Several see my bedraggled look and guess I am going a long distance, and ask my story.
I finally get to the trailhead around 2PM. The parking lot is massive, mostly full, with a nearby campground with more outdoor lovers. I barely get my “Hiker to Trail” sign out before catching a ride. A nice couple of people who live several miles away in a different town arrived too early for a clinic appointment, and went up to the trailhead for a nap, and were heading down now for the appointed time.
Pienedale is nice and compact, cute, touristy, friendly, expensive.
Instead of pedestrian signals with traffic-slowing traffic lights, they have crosswalks everywhere, and enforce stopping for pedestrians seriously.
I found a corfortable cute motel that gave a good rate, so I will take a zero day tomorrow.
Several chores to do, then rest, rest, and rest. Rest.