We headed out this morning a little later than we have been, since it is cooler now, around 6:30.
It was 15 miles to second breakfast in Hot Sulpher Springs. Things have gotten much more expensive since we got into the mountains. A visit to the hot springs would have cost at least $18 and left us too relaxed to go any further, so we decided to forgo it.
My legs were exceedingly tired right from the get go, which made it difficult to envision doing 74 miles.
The route traversed creek dominated valleys and I kept expecting to see moose or bear, but though I was on the lookout, I saw only prairie dogs and an occasional cow. The climb up to Willow Creek Pass was more difficult than Hoosier, possibly because we had put in 40 miles before getting there.
It looked like it was about to pour at the pass, so we came right down, however this pass offered some ups along with the downs. Clear cutting of lodgepole pines afforded nice views; it appears the lumber companies may be given access to the millions of lodgepoles affected by bark beetle.
Rand had a dinky gift shop masquerading as a general store. We bought drinks and ate the cheese sandwiches prepared by the restaurant.
Whereas the small towns of the plains had gas stations with mini-marts, the mountains have nothing of the sort. In Silverthorn, Janelle suggested that at Burger King we get extra veggie burgers to go. This was such a good idea. Pre-made sandwiches hold up fine if you just avoid the mayo.
We met someone doing the National Parks Route and he promised us a tailwind and downhills all the way to Walden.
Heading out of Rand storms were developing all around us and the wind was picking up. About 5 miles out of Rand the headwind picked up and I could only do about 5 mph. Bill suggested we seek shelter behind a stone gate pillar, which might also afford us some protection from rain. I was highly skeptical. We stayed there about 30 minutes and the wind did indeed die down quite a bit. Someone drove through the gateway. He didn't look too friendly. He was probably thinking he should move "complete the gate" up on his list of priorities. By the time we headed out the headwind was shifting and shortly thereafter turned tail and pushed us all the way to Walden.
Walden offered us ice cream, Sara and a $70 hotel. Janelle and Ted came in about an hour behind us. Ted is my hero today. Still not 100 percent healed, he still managed to do all the miles.
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