[cdt-l] Big Sandy Lodge

Chris spur at mac.com
Tue Aug 8 13:50:03 CDT 2006

Heath wrote:

“The Big Sandy Lodge is a poor place to re-ration. The
people there were very rude and difficult to deal with.
Several hikers are of agreement on this issue. If you can
avoid frustration and anger by rationing elsewhere please do


It’s interesting that Heath would post these remarks. Ready
and I were there the same time he and Lindsay and their son
passed through, and enjoyed chatting with them for a while.

I believe they had hoped to find resupply items for sale,
even though Big Sandy Lodge’s publicity (via website and
Yogi’s town guide) specify that they only handle maildrop
pickups (for a $25 fee).

My understanding is that Heath and his family did get lunch
prepared for them there, and had a go at the free hiker box.

After they left, Tim, Big Sandy Lodge’s owner, asked if we
knew them. (We’d met them on the trail a month earlier.) He
seemed upset, saying that after they ate lunch, they wanted
to pay less than half the rate which Big Sandy charged for
lunch, and ended up paying less than the regular amount. We
don’t know the rest of the details of this exchange, so
perhaps there could have been some confusion and/or unusual

As for our own experience there, Big Sandy Lodge’s staff
could not have been nicer. They rushed to get a cabin ready
for us when we arrived early in the day (10 AM) on a
Thursday. Our box had been sent late, and had not arrived at
their home in Rock Springs (100 miles away) at the time of
their last mail run (which is on Saturdays only). Tim sat us
down and apologized to us for it not being there (even
though it was entirely our own fault that it was sent too
late), then hooked up their phone system (rarely used) to
confirm with his wife (who was working in Rock Springs) that
the package was there. They then arranged to rendezvous on
Friday when Tim went to his oil field job so that he could
deliver the package to us on Friday afternoon, instead of
waiting till she drove up midday on Saturday, (so as to
allow us to hike out without needing to rent a cabin for an
additional night).

We did not meet his wife, as we left before she arrived on
Saturday. Tim was extremely helpful throughout our visit,
and his staff, mostly young people, were terrific the whole
time as well. The food was much better this time than when I
passed through in 2004. Bobbi Jo, one of the young people on
the staff, is now the cook.

The cabin was $85 a night for 2 people, IMO not an
unreasonable rate for a place that has no local competition
and whose supplies must be hauled in a long distance.

Heath’s point that it is a poor place to re-ration is
accurate if you do not mail your own box there. They are not
set up to sell food other than what they serve at mealtime.

However, if you ship your box there (they recommend using
FedEx and sending it 3 weeks in advance), there should be
little reason to complain about their services to hikers.

Having said all that, the main reason I have twice
resupplied at Big Sandy is that I hated the idea of hiking
15 miles off trail to hitch into Pinedale, and then
backtracking the same 15 miles to return to the trail.

This year I got sick in the Winds, so we ended up going into
Pinedale anyway. By first using (northbound) Yogi’s
suggested ~12 mile hike along the Pole Creek Trail into the
Elkhart Trailhead, and then Jonathan’s ~15 mile hike back to
the CDT from Elkhart Trailhead via the Pine Canyon Trail,
there was no backtracking, and the added distance was much
shorter. This makes a good alternate resupply route, which
would allow a hiker going either northbound or southbound to
traverse Texas Pass, Cirque of the Towers and Jackass Pass
without dropping down from Big Sandy Lake to Big Sandy
Lodge, and still conveniently resupply in Pinedale, which is
more nearly an equal split between South Pass City/Lander
and Togwotee/Dubois anyway.

I have heard others express second- and third-hand
complaints about Big Sandy Lodge. Perhaps these are
justified by someone’s firsthand experience. My experience,
however, was positive both times through. I think thruhikers
need to realize that many of the service providers in trail
towns (or the backcountry) are mainly geared up for
clientele other than hikers. We’re fortunate to have them
available as an option should we choose to take advantage of

It’s very valuable for hikers to share information among
ourselves regarding hiker services. However, comments,
whether disparaging or laudatory, need to be understood in
the context of the actual circumstances.

CDT 2004 southbound
CDT 2006 northbound

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