Exhausted from the sprint out, I was content to
change into some dry shorts (figuring the heat of the van would take care
of drying the rest) while Ward went to the outhouse to undergo a complete
wardrobe change. Once situated in the van, Reed took us back to Pinedale,
careening at breakneck speed down Skyline Drive.
I had asked two different wranglers leading pack
strings where we could find the best pizza in Pinedale and both said "Wind
River Pizzeria". It seemed like a no-brainer so that's where we wound
up after making a quick stop at the Pinedale Visitor Center to get directions
and information as to where we could get a shower.
|Post-hike meal at the Wind River Pizzeria.
We were able to find the tiny pizzeria and one
of two tables in the entire joint. The other table was occupied by a threesome
Reed had met at the trailhead. We ordered a round of Dr. Pepper's and
an 18" supreme pie which turned out to be almost as spectacular as
the scenery we had seen for the past week. So good was the pizza, that
the cashier/pizzamaker was proposed to by both Reed and myself. i would
have married her just for letting me change out of my wet clothes and
wash up in the employees bathroom.
After finishing up our dinner and another can
of Dr. Pepper we started the long drive back home. It was still raining
in Pinedale and the temp was a balmy 58---totally opposite weather we
had experienced a week before.
The drive home was nearly as easy as the drive
out with the exception of the rain rolling in over the high desert. Wyoming
is in the midst of a severe drought and certainly needed the rain but
this bordered on too much of a good thing.
Dark, angry clouds surrounded us as we made our
way back to Rock Springs and I-80. The lightning put on a great show,
even evoking a few "wows" from Reed, our driver. We even managed
to sympathize with a few motorcyclists who were in for a rough time ahead.
|Everyone in southwestern Wyoming owes us a
huge "thank you" for bringing them some much-needed
The driving schedule was pretty much the same
as it was on the way out: I again got the graveyard shift after getting
very little sleep in the back seat. I couldn't complain though as the
3-6 AM shift was all I'd have to drive.
When the sun came up we were in Iowa and began
to look for another killer Sapps breakfast. We didn't find one but settled
for a good little truckstop that let us experience the "real"
The rest of the drive was uneventful save the
extraordinary traffic between Rockford, IL and Madison and we arrived
at Ward's house just after 1 PM.
Another great backpacking trip to the Rockies
was in the books.
And I can't wait for next year!