NW Wind River Range (Bridger Wilderness) - August 2020


"The mountains don't care."
Feb 15, 2020
I've only got one more annual trip w/ my brother to post, so I figured I'd start adding some of my solo trips. (For now I'm refraining from posting trip reports w/ anyone but my brother, since the others don't post online and I'm not sure how they'd feel about it - maybe in the future.) So anyway... here's my semi-recent solo trip from late August 2020.

This one was fun because I didn't really have much of a plan. Since I typically thrive on goal-oriented trips, it was nice to set that aside and wander a bit.

Day 1: Green River Lakes TH to Three Forks Park
I stayed at the NF campground overnight and got on trail at Green River Lakes TH in the late AM. It was quite smoky, but nothing compared to what I'd driven through in northern Colorado on my way up.2020-08-24 07.31.25.jpg
Ran into a cow moose less than a mile from the trailhead. There was a larger bull following her, but by the time I saw him I realized I needed to be moving along - they clearly intended to cross the trail exactly where I was standing.
2020-08-24 07.40.00.jpg
I had never been on this section of the route before and it was just really pleasant.
After eyeing a couple less than ideal spots, I found a very well worn site near the river. I'm kind of glad I didn't see any groups come by or I might have felt guilty taking it all to myself.
All in all it was a very mellow day - until I was having dinner. I heard an insane clatter of hooves and thought some horsepackers must be bearing down on me fast... but instead a cow moose ran by - close enough I could've touched her. Maybe it's because I generally watch them peacefully grazing in the distance, but I had no idea moose could be so LOUD. Definitely got my heart rate up while I finished eating.

Day 2: Three Forks Park to Island Lake
This day reminded me a little why I like to have a plan: when there's no plan, I kind of just keep walking... especially when the weather is so incredibly cooperative.

The hike up to Vista Pass was nice, but not particularly stunning. I really enjoy the route once it starts heading up to Cube Rock Pass and Peak Lake.
Dale Lake
Peak Lake. If I'd made a plan, maybe I'd have stopped here. But it was early and I was feeling good, so I decided to keep going up to Knapsack.
Once I got over Knapsack, I considered stopping for the night but nothing in Titcomb was really "speaking to me". I figured I'd keep putting one foot in front of the other for a bit longer.20200825_154119.jpg
Eventually the shadows got long and I decided I probably needed to set up camp. I found a nice little ledge above Island Lake; there was a small group (3 guys) a little ways below me, but not too shabby for such a high-use area. And I had a decent boulder nearby for wind cover which turned out to be important when the blue skies turned into a short-lived, but quite violent hail storm.

Day 3: Island Lake to Summit Lake
This day was peak "meandering"... I spent a decent amount of time crawling around on Class 3-ish terrain near Island Lake for no reason at all and then decided to actually get on the trail. And instead of following the trail further to the west, I stayed near the lake and walked almost directly up Fremont Creek until near Lower Jean Lake - getting very wet in the process. Eventually I joined back up w/ the Highline Trail.
So far as I could tell, I had Elbow Lake Basin completely to myself. It was a beautiful day and I stopped for a long lunch - hard to beat that. This is one of my favorite places in the Winds, so it was nice to selfishly hoard it to myself for a while. From there I continued on past Twin Lakes and Pass Lake to Summit Lake, where I would camp for the night.
I really enjoyed my early camp at Summit Lake - there was only a small family of horsepackers on the opposite side of the lake. A small porcupine wandered around for over an hour, but somehow I never got a decent picture - it was nice to just watch.

Day 4: Summit Lake to Green River Lakes TH
The bad news was that this was a pretty quick day back to the trailhead, as I had some real-world :( responsibilities :mad: to attend to. The good news was I had a couple extra days afterwards and got up to Yellowstone for a some day hikes before heading back home.
Sounds like a great trip! Nice to see photos of the Elbow Lake area, don't think I ever have. I've been eyeing that for a while, I'll definitely have to pass thru there. I might take something close to this exact route later this year. Thanks for posting.
Love th Wind Rivers! Great pics. How were th skeeters...I’ve saved them from starvin’ many a time up there!

if I may...what tent ⛺️ is that in th pics?

Love th Wind Rivers! Great pics. How were th skeeters...I’ve saved them from starvin’ many a time up there!

if I may...what tent ⛺️ is that in th pics?

Most of the bugs had cleared out, so not bad at all. Just a few slow stragglers.

The tent is a Zpacks Plexamid. I love it for shorter trips where I don't feel the need for something more "bombproof" or spacious.
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