Tour 2019 – day 22

Pond in a Bowl

Breach cut in green-moss earth,
it steals a distant flake of heaven.

White clouds emerge in mirror;
fallen moon shines below stairs.

-Tu Mu
translated by David Hinton in Mountain Home

It’s the ocean flowing in our veins
Today was a long ride into the high plains. It began on a paved side road out of Boulder that worked its way up a valley all ranch land to the foothills of the Wind River mountain range. When the road turned to dirt I climb up into this plateau that was just sage brush and the occasionally rock into the distance. I’d cross mountain creeks descending and climbing out and that would be it. It was flat and the surface was the best hardpacked dirt road I’ve been on.

On the Continental Divide Looking East

The Wind River Mountains marched closer and closer but you could see them tailing off into the true desert of the high plains. Everything became dryer, even the sagebrush smaller and more sparse. All brows and tans now. I crossed the Continental Divide, though there was no indicator. A bit later climbing up to a ridge I would actually ride along the Continental Divide for a mile or two. The CD is the divide of watersheds the point where a drop of rain could either run into the Pacific watershed to the west or the Atlantic watershed to the east. So on this ridge there were basins on the both sides, the Wind Mountains and far away the eroded Antelope range. This was stunning though it was hot and windy and t the change of counties the road quality became very bad. But I just rode along in wonder and awe.

On the Continental Divide Looking West

Due to the flatness of the ride and the quality of the road for so long I made very good time. Each time I’d come to an “informal amp ground” it’d be too early to stop, so i just kept riding. Eventually I decided to just press on for Atlantic City, the next “town” on the route. Then last twenty miles or so were much tougher, the bad roads of Mason County, then I turned on the highway into a fierce headwind. When I turned back onto dirt I was sometimes with the wind sometimes against it. This was no sandy, rocky, very desert like terrain. There was short, steep little climbs and descents and on one descent I came into the old mining town of South Pass City.

A bit of the South Pass City

Still people living here, the old part of town has been preserved as a Ghost Town and a Wyoming Historical site. I briefly toured the buildings and took a bit of a break, but I wanted to press on to town. There was a steep climbing out of South Pass city and then very loose sand soil to Atlantic City. I was briefly waylaid by a flat tire (missing the tubeless setup already!) and then I was in town. The only thing open (of the very few things) was a bar. The campground was outside of town up a very steep hill and once I got there I had concluded the longest riding day of the tour at over 75 miles.

Pushed down by the
of the immense basin
of the deep blue
billowing clouds slowly
seep in
somehow adding more
moving slowly
under it all the
thirst just another element
life and death in the
white bone
just there

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