First time in the Wind Rivers

Joined
Jan 9, 2018
Messages
34
This was my first trip into the Wind Rivers. The group I was going in with had been there the previous 2 years. This year they wanted to hit one of the most popular areas in the range, Titcomb Basin.

We started out from the Elkhart Trailhead and the parking lot was absolutely packed when we got there. We were taking the Pole Creek trail. From the trailhead to where we turned off to Eklund Lake I probably saw more people on trail than I ever have before. I would conservatively guess 50-60 people. Once we turned off the trail to Seneca Lake, the amount of traffic died down a bit. The hike the first day to Pole Creek Lakes would be our longest hike of the trip and we would have our heaviest packs as well.

The lake we wanted to stay at was packed with people (not much of a surprise) and we ended up just taking a spot along the CDT at the inlet of the Lake.

I didn't put my tarp that night and at first light I started hearing thunder. Instead stringing up my tarp I decided to just pack up my hammock and keep everything dry. Everyone who was sleeping in tents had the opposite idea. Everyone waited out the storm in their shelters. We got a really late start on trail that day.

It was only 5-6 miles from Pole Creek Lakes into Cook Lakes were we intended to make it in to. Even though we were at or above 10,000 feet, I was pleasantly surprised how "hike-able" the trails are. The grade of the trails are perfect. I assume that is because there is so much traffic from outfitters and other people using pack stock.

Another thunder storm chased us into Cook Lakes and I just got my tarp up as the storm hit us. Once the storm passed, it cleared up and we were able to explore the area a bit and the fishing was in full stride.

The next day we took a zero. That just means all day fishing for the rest of the group! Not being a fisherman, I just followed along to see some more lakes. We made our way up to Wall Lake that was supposed to house Golden Trout. The rest of the group had been trying for 3 years now to land a Golden. Despite rumors of big Goldens being in Wall Lake, no one had any luck there, so it was back down to Cook Lakes to finish the day.

The next day we were moving on. On the backside of Cook Lakes we ran into Adam Eakle from KSL Outdoors who was up there with his crew doing a piece on (wouldn't you know it) Golden Trout in the Wind Rivers. Check it out here: [URL='https://www.ksl.com/?nid=1112&sid=46782915&title=fishing-for-golden-trout-in-the-wind-river-range']KSL Outdoors[/URL] - Timber even made it in there! They told us that they were catching Golden Trout at Lake Nelson that sits at the base of Lester Pass. We were going that way so we decided that we would drop packs and hike up to Lake Nelson. Not sure if they were telling us fish stories or not, but we didn't have any luck there.

From there we continued up and over Lester Pass and took the Indian Pass Trail into Island Lake. We were definitely back into the popular area. There were people everywhere. We got lucky and found an open campsite that had a few trees that would work for our hammocks. It was tight getting 2 hammocks and 3 tents in there, but we did it.

That night another storm came in and rained on and off all night. The next day we were taking another zero and once again, it was about fishing! We hiked to the far side of Island Lake and then up into Titcomb Basin. All of the peaks were shrouded in clouds and there were no views. There were however plenty of people. I went back to camp to warm up, but a few members of the group hiked up to Mistake Lake. At Mistake Lake they finally caught a Golden Trout! Not a small one either, it was a really good sized fish!

That night it stormed again and in the morning, the top of the peaks had a dusting of snow on them. It was a cold pack up. We were starting our way back to the trailhead, but we wanted to break it up into 2 shorter hikes. We made it into Hobbs Lake. It was raining when we got there and we setup at the back of the lake.

The next morning we had a bit of a surprise. I feel asleep to the pitter-patter of rain on my tarp, but at some point in the night that stopped and everything got quiet.... really quiet. That could only mean one thing.... SNOW! We woke to about 1.5 inches of snow... in August! Anything can happen at 10,000 feet.

We got packed up and started to make our way back to the trailhead. The trail was a sloppy mess. Of course we started hitting more and more people as we neared the trailhead. It's interesting to me how the type of people you encounter change as you get closer to the trailhead. All and all it was an incredible trip and I am already looking for to my next time into the Winds!

Thanks for watching!

 

Ugly

Life really is better Here
.
Joined
Apr 20, 2013
Messages
908
Nice work with the video.
Good intro to the Winds too, weather, snow, scenery and pack llamas. I missed the Winds this year, so this will help tide me over to next summer.
Looks like it was hard conditions for fishing most of the days though for your friends.
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
2,932
Nice. Need to get farther back and farther up for Golden's. Well known spots are hammered
 
Joined
Jan 9, 2018
Messages
34
Nice work with the video.
Good intro to the Winds too, weather, snow, scenery and pack llamas. I missed the Winds this year, so this will help tide me over to next summer.
Looks like it was hard conditions for fishing most of the days though for your friends.
Thanks! We did get a few fish for dinner, but the year before they said get caught over 200 fish... not the case this year.
 
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