Previously posted on my blog A Free Spirited Woman (no longer available) and pertains to my travels in July of 2015.
In my last post I had visited Long Draw Reservoir, Colorado, while recovering from The SHINGLES in July 2015. (I capitalize shingles because it is deserving of capitals)…
After that I decided to go north into Wyoming to visit the Medicine Bow Mountains and see if my tender spots could handle a soaking in the Hobo Hot Springs in Saratoga, but first I decided to drive up to The Continental Divide in the Sierra Madre Range.
It was a steep, long climb up to the divide from the town of Encampment, WY, and as I passed by the Continental Divide trailhead at Battle Pass I noticed two hikers with huge backpacks waiting at the roadside. After visiting the parking lot at the top and taking in the geology, I turned around to seek my intended camping area, but on impulse stopped to talk to the hikers.
The two young men were through hikers and had pretty much been hiking in rainy conditions for the past few weeks. They had started at the southern end of the trail and were heading north. I told them I didn’t have room to give them a ride to Encampment, but offered them a cold drink each and the last of my butter shortcake biscuits, which they devoured. After talking with them and learning that they were out of food, and needed to pick up a new pack, food, and other stuff from the Post Office in Encampment before it closed in under an hour, I started to wonder if Mitzi would be able to hold them both and their huge packs.
We chatted for a few minutes, and no cars passed (it’s not a busy road). Forty-five minutes before the Post Office closed, I decided to give it a try, and they gratefully climbed in but it was not easy. I had a load of firewood on my bed, and my front seat is always covered in stuff. We pushed things into corners that didn’t exist, and somehow they both squeezed in, though the poor guy in the back was in such a contorted position I wondered if he’d be able to walk upright afterwards.
I opened my window on the ride so I could breath, the smell of sweat and un-bathed bodies was strong, and I wondered if I’d be able to sleep in there that night. When I opened the car door at the Post Office, the two young men sprung out like a couple of jack-in-a-box and thanked me profusely.
Good deed done, except now my intended camp spot was all the way at the top of that long, steep grade, and I really didn’t want to make Mitzi climb it again, so I decided to see if there was a camp spot along the Encampment River just outside of the town.
He Stumbled Into My Camp With Blood on His Face and Hands
I did find a spot in a camp ground along the river, and this particular spot was free (yea!).
I hadn’t been set up for long when a man came stumbling off the nearby trailhead. He had a huge pack, and looked very weary. His face and hands had scratches and dried blood on them, he looked like he was ready to pass out.
Instantly concerned for him I asked if I could help. He told me his water filter had died on him about 5-miles back, and so he’d hiked out a day early through tons of beetle kill dead-fall, and had gone about the last 5-miles with no water. I instantly gave him a bottle of water and told him to take a load off. He dumped his pack and flopped down, guzzling water.
Once he’d appeased his thirst, he asked about the camp spots. Sadly they were all full, but I told him he could pitch his tent in my spot if he liked because I slept in my car, but not until he’d promised he wasn’t an axe murderer or rapist. He was actually a medic on a fire department, and a totally nice guy.
It was very pleasant having company in my camp for an evening, it’s a rare thing in my life. I was having a fire and planned to cook over it, so I just made extra food and shared it with him by the fire. Shortly after that he crawled into his tent and passed out (he snored), and I curled up in the back of Mitzi to the faint scent of lingering male body odor from the through hikers, a contented smile on my face.
In the morning we ate a pound of bacon between us and some eggs, and then I offered him a ride to Saratoga, which is where both of us were going next.
I dropped him off in Saratoga, and waved goodbye. The Hobo Hot Springs called to me, and I soaked in them for at least two hours feeling content, relaxed, and thoroughly happy at having been given the opportunity to pay-it-forward.
The Hobo Pool or Hobo Hot Springs in Saratoga are open to the public for FREE. There are several pools, the two shown above (The small one center back is called the Lobster Pot). The larger pool above was too hot for me but there was a nice one which was suitable for children and wimpy-woos like me, and also a couple of pools created in the river itself. In addition to the pools, there are free showers. Truly a wonderful place to relax and clean up, especially for us hobo’s.
By-the-way – I can attest that soaking in hot springs is truly wonderful in aiding the healing of Postherpetic Neuralgia.
Until next time,
Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature