Hello all. I'm at Sun and Steph's cabin on the Madison river in MT near West Yellowstone for the afternoon. They picked me up from the road/trail near Macks Inn, ID. I tried to convince them that we needed to spend the day watching Transformers and whatever the IMAX theatre happens to be showing, but they weren't up for it. Apparently they come up here to do outdoorsy stuff. Whatever, lame-o's :)
Anywho, I finished Wyoming! I hiked through the Red Desert, then the Bridger Wilderness in the Wind River range, then Yellowstone NP. The Winds were amazing. They're too high and glaciated to stay on the crest most of the way, so the route stays pretty low and goes around a bunch of pretty ponds/lakes, but there are three alternates that hit some pretty awesome heights. I did one of the three, over Jackass and Texas passes through the Cirque of the Towers. (a la Robert Frost: Oh, I left the first for another day!) Google cirque of the towers, I'm sure the pictures you'll find will be awesome, as will mine whenever I manage to post them. Also, when you say "cirque of the towers," you need to say it in a loud deep tone as if it were the lair of some evil wizard from some dumb fantasy novel you read in high school, like "Mordor" or "Mount Doom" or whatnot. Yellowstone wasn't too awesome, as it was mostly low and flat through the '88 burn, but I was very happy to do a 39 and a 35 mile day. It was fun to act like a "regular" hiker for a couple days--camping in a designated spot rather than in the middle of the trail wherever I happen to be at 10:00 at night, hanging my food rather away from bears rather than using it as a pillow, etc. The trail goes right through Old Faithful, so it was very weird to see all those thousands of people milling about and speaking tons of different languages.
I'm feeling really good lately. My feet are well, which usually means all is well. I was given a pro-deal discount on shoes by my preferred shoe company Montrail, so that will definitely help the wallet. My mom sent me my MP3 player, and although the music on it is really stale (Aaron, I'll send it to you soon and have you load all the Johnny Cash/U2/Zep/Radiohead/Decemberists/Belle & Sebastian/Strokes/Weezer/Arcade Fire/Postal Service that you can onto it) I sometimes manage to pick up NPR, which is sheer joy.
Thanks to my mom for posting some pictures from the disposable camera that I used from Lake City to Silverthorne. The campfire picture is the only fire I have built thus far, built literally in the trail, in order to thaw my shoes the day after I left Lake City. Usually I was smart and put them in a bag in my tent and used them as a pillow to keep them warm, but that day due to the 50 mph winds, they were already frozen when I took them off, and I stupidly thought, "well, if I can get them off frozen, I can get them on frozen." Not true, especially if you stuff a couple pairs of wet socks down them.