July 19 – What I Learned in the Basin

Aerial view from 36,000 feet taken during the time we were walking through of the Great Divide Basin sent to me from Dave at hike4ward.com. Thank you Dave!

ZERO DAY IN LANDER! Sleep, eat, and repeat.

What I Learned in the Basin

  1. There are at least 18 different biting flies in the state of Wyoming. All will attempt to drive you crazy and will sometimes succeed. In my opinion they bite harder and are more aggravating than mosquitoes.
  2. There is more scat in the Great Divide Basin than any area I have ever experienced. I have calculated that either wild horse, cow, rabbit, or antelope scat is deposited about every 5 feet. Not exaggerating.
  3. Human poop can be covered up with 4 or 5 cow pies. 6 if you want to strictly adhere to the “leave no trace” protocol.
  4. Wild horses are territorial and have a habit of depositing their waste in large group poop piles on the dirt roads. The piles can reach up to 2 feet in height. Stryder observed that the soft and warm mounds would probably make for nice napping spots 😉
  5. Texting while walking on long dirt roads is safe and acceptable.
  6. Opinions about what is a good water source varies from person to person. To some green slime is okay; to others, not so much. Either way, I am sure we have all enjoyed our fair share of filtered cow pee water on this last stretch of trail.
  7. A small trickle of clear, cool water is a true gift from God.
  8. There are dirt roads out here that go on and on to absolutely nowhere.
  9. A tank in the desert is actually a hole dug to capture spring water. It usually is accessible to all wildlife and cows. They are never clean.
  10. Vertical pipes designed to pool ground water may require quite a dramatic full body reach to actually get water. However, the water is typically cool and clear with only a minimal amount of bugs that need to be sifted out.
  11. I learned that 2 liters of water can be guzzled down effortlessly.
  12. The desert has the most amazing sunrises and sunsets I have ever experienced.
  13. You can actually walk 20 paces with your eyes closed on a straight dirt road and it is semi-safe.
  14. You can set a tent up on absolutely anything, including a full on sage brush in high winds and be proud that the task was accomplished.
  15. Use an umbrella in the desert. I didn’t.
  16. I learned that if you feel raindrops on your legs while walking, it most likely is sweat dripping from your face down onto your legs.
  17. If you are a rock hound, there are beautiful rocks to be admired while walking on long dirt roads.
  18. It is possible to make it through the Great Divide Basin and live to tell about it.
  19. The Basin teaches:

“At once I knew I was not magnificent.” – by Bon Iver


  1. The Beekeeper (aka Jan aka roaming angel in bright pink hat)

    Based on Wired’s journal, you are going to LOVE the Winds! It’s time for change, you’ve certainly earned it.

  2. Coghlan’s makes a ‘bug jacket’ made of mosquito netting that weighs a few ounces and covers your entire upper body except hands. I got one at REI recently and tried it out in Indian Heaven (aka mosquito heaven). It worked fine, is well made and sells for about $18. They also make bug pants.

  3. I feel happiness in the air as that portion of the trail is behind you. Hope the next section brings some bright times. you will have things to talk about for the rest of your life, perhaps in a book!! Sending hugs!

  4. Bill Thomas

    Nice to meet you tonight as we photographed that amazing Lander sunset with our Sony cameras. Send me your email address so I can share some shots. Good travels on this amazing adventure of yours!


    Bill Thomas

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