Wednesday, July 18
We will begin our adventure watching an exciting U-15 soccer game at a
site to be disclosed later. Or not, depending on where the game is. Once
the game is over we can leave. Its probably best that we are ready
to go right from the game as time will be of the essence ooon the trip
out. An 8 PM start and a 24 hour drive (pretty much driving non-stop)
would get us to Pinedale in the late evening on Thursday. I would expect
us to get to Iowa around midnight. From there its a long haul on
I-80 west. Ill have Yumi throw us together a late dinner and some
snacks for the trip out.
Thursday, July 19
Its possible we can stop for a few hours for sleep somewhere in
Iowa if were hurting for sleep. I can generally get by with 4 hours
when traveling west solo and have found Im able to go until 2 AM
before needing to pull over. I would anticipate arriving at Pinedale between
8 and 10 PM local time. We have a couple of options once we get to town.
I could ask Sharons daughter, Pauline, if we could crash with her
for the night or we could get a room at the Log Cabin Hotel or Teton Court
Motel in town. There are a couple of others in the $100/night price range.
We should probably move fast and figure out what we want to do for that
night as rooms in Pinedale tend to fill quickly.
Friday, July 20---Marys Lake
The drive up to the Elkhart Park trailhead isn't nearly as exciting as
the drive to Big Sandy Opening, but will have to do. No rocky road or
anything to damage a vehicle unless we drive off the side of the cliff
over Fremont Lake. It's only about a 40 minute drive from town. Since
we will have spent a night at over 7,000 the elevation shouldnt
bother us too greatly today. Even so we'll probably feel it as our first
day will cover only 6-7 miles, but all uphill to Marys Lake. Most
of this day will be fairly boring until we get to Photographers Point
about 5 miles out. You wont believe the views here. From Photographers
Point to our camp should take only a short time. If we feel good we can
keep push on another 2-3 miles (about 1.5 hours) to the Pole Creek Lakes
and be lazy some other day.
Saturday, July 21---A lake near Lester Pass
Were going to make this another easy day and do another 6-7 miles
to either Tommy or Nelson Lakes. Despite the short mileage, were
going to climb close to 900 net today---probably a lot more as Im
sure well be doing some up and down. The payoff will be camping
above the tree line. If we make good time the day before, we can cross
Lester Pass (11,200) and camp at one of the lakes on the other side---still
above the tree line. Were now in the high country and
well be treated with alpine views for the next 5 days.
Sunday, July 22 Upper Jean or Elbow Lake
Now its really getting good. We continue hiking north along the
Highline Trail with 13,000 peaks to our right (east). We should
get to the trail junction at Little
Seneca Lake just in time to take a break. We have a short, steep climb
ahead of us to cross a minor pass which should give us some great views
of Island Lake if memory serves. If we cant see the lake well
catch it on the way back. We should be able to make good time and distance
the next 6-7 miles as the trail is as close to level as there is in the
Winds. There will be a couple of 300-400 climbs but nothing serious.
One awesome side trip were going
to take is to the Big Water Slide near the big bridge at Fremont
Crossing. Supposed to be very scenic. This falls at about the halfway
point of todays hike so we might as well do lunch there and maybe
wet a line.After lunch we contiinue north to either Upper Jean or Elbow
Lake all above 10,200. My guide book says this might be the most
scenic stretch of trail in the entire range. By the time we reach upper
Jean well have covered about 7 miles. We can either find a killer
camp site here or move a bit further up the trail (a little more than
a mile) to Lake 10810 near
the Highline/Shannon pass trail junction.
Monday, July 23 Peak Lake
This is a day Im really looking forward to. After about a mile and
300 of climbing we reach the junction of the Highline and Shannon
Pass Trails. Another mile of flat hiking and well descend 700' from
Shannon Pass down to Peak Lake. At Peak Lake well head off trail
up a secluded valley. To our right is Stroud Glacier, Stroud Peak and
Mt. Arrowhead. Ahead is Knapsack Col, our goal for tomorrow and route
into Titcomb Basin. There's supposed to be a great campsite near a waterfall
running off from the glacier. We're gonna get that one. Wherever it is
we'll be camping at about 10,800'. Since this will most likely be a short
day on the trail, I'm going to attempt to climb either Stroud Peak (12,198'),
Sulfur Peak (12,720') or point 11925. There's also what looks like a hanging
valley with a couple small tarns to the north that looks interesting.
As an aside, I believe Stroud Glacier is the source of the Green River,
which flows into the Colorado, which flows through the Grand Canyon.
Tuesday, July 24 Titcomb Basin
This will be our first big test of the hike as we continue off trail,
gaining about 1500' to 12,200' above sea level at Knapsack Col. The way
up is straight-forward but will be difficult in that we'll probably have
to navigate around and through large boulders, talus and snow (which with
western exposure should be soft enough to kick steps into. Should be fun.
Once we get to the other side it's downhill to Titcomb Basin and camp
5. Probably a bit more challenging going down but we should be fine. We'll
be surrounded by 13,000' peaks on the continental divide on one side,
a little shorter on the other. I'm not sure where to camp but we shouldn't
have any problems finding a good area as we descend into the basin. The
sunset down here should be incredible though I would expect it to get
cool and dark fairly quickly in the evening. You will never forget this
area of the Winds.
Wednesday, July 25 Titcomb Basin
Today I'm going to try to summit Fremont Peak, the second highest in Wyoming.
You're welcome to tag along since I believe the Titcomb Lakes are barren
of fish. The climb is supposed to be a class 2 or 3 scramble. I'll find
the best way up which has been called a "walk-up" by many. Once
on top (this is on the continental divide, and since you're so close you
have to make the effort to cross it) we'll be able to see as far as the
Tetons to the northwest. To the east is the Fitzpatrick Wilderness area.
We'll also get a good look at our route out.
Thursday, July 26 Island Lake
Today is wide open. We can hike into Indian Basin to check it out then
move camp to Island lake later in the afternoon, or we can move camp the
3 or 4 miles to Island Lake in the morning and spend the balance of the
day fishing and lazing about there.
Friday, July 27 & Saturday, July 28
From Island Lake it is about a 10 mile hike back to the Trailhead---almost
all downhill save a couple 250' climbs. There's not a lot to see today.
Seneca lake (which we missed on the way in) is fairly impressive. A few
miles down the Trail Hobbs Lake is unremarkable, but Barbara lake is very
pretty. At the midway
point we arrive at Eklund lake where we turned south on the first day.
From there the last highlight is Photographers Point, then a lot of downhill
through pine trees to the trailhead. I'm thinking we should get back to
the car no later than 2 PM. As far as i know, there isn't anywhere to
shower in townback in town so we might want to jump in Fremont Lake and
clean off some of the dust. Once in town we can grab a early dinner and
start home by 5 PM. If we can make it out of Wyoming by 10:00 we should
be in good position to get home before dinner on Saturday