Tobacco Root Mountains, the other side of North Meadow Creek

John Goering

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While this trip covered some of the same ground as my previous North Meadow Creek TR (http://backcountrypost.com/forum/threads/tobacco-root-north-meadow-creek-trip.3702/), we also visited the McKelvey Lakes side. As with most trips we do here, access was via Swayback Road, up Hot Springs Creek, through the Revenue Flats and then over a low divide to North Meadow Creek Road (FS 965 at the Forest boundary). On this trip we camped at Upper Twin Lake and did two day hikes, the first to the un-named lake above Upper Twin, and the second to McKelvey, Mine, and Cliff Lakes on the south fork of the creek.

A few shots from the Jeep trail going in.
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Crossing the outlet at Lower twin Lake.
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Ready to head out for the fisrt day trip.
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Upper Twin Lake.
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We followed our usual route in (off trail) but on this hike, we followed FS Trail 6340 out for most of it.
Bushwhacking.
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Meadows above Upper Twin.
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About a mile in, we hit FS 6340 for about half a mile up to Bradley Meadows.
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Bradley Meadows/Lady of the Lake Peak.
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Off trail again, heading up the headwall below the un-named lake.
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Un-named lake. Fishing was only so-so.
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Wet meadow off FS 6340 on the way back to camp.
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More wet meadow. Ward Peak in rear, Kid Mountain (low rounded one), and a piece of Upper Twin Lake.
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Day two.
The second day, we crossed the outlet of Upper Twin and took FS Trail 6338 to McKelvey, Mine, and Cliff Lakes. Part of this trail is normally a Jeep trail but we had it all to ourselves due to the snowpack.
Pond off FS 6338.
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More wet meadow. Very abundant moose sign in this one.
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Cabin at the New Deal Mine. It gets a lot of winter use.
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What's left of the boarding house at the Frisbie Mine.
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Across the creek lies the remains of the machine shop and compressor building. This is the forge.
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All that is presently left of the compressor is the concrete pedestals but back in 1976 it looked like this.
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McKelvey Lake.
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Pond below Mine Lake-this was also part of the Frisbie workings.
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About the same scene from 1977. The shaft in the foreground has been reclaimed.
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Mine Lake. This is named Alpine Lake on a lot of older maps.
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On FS 6338-a little of Mine Lake in background.
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Cliff Lake with Belle Point behind.
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More Cliff Lake. These photos were the second week of July-some really great summer skiing here.
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Below outlet of Mckelvey on the way back to camp.
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And a few from the achieves:
Looking north from near the summit of Belle Point-1979.
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From Belle Point August 1990. Cliff Lake foreground, McKelvey beyond and Kid mountain behind.
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The chute off Belle Point/Cliff Lake-1979.
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Back at camp and why the hell aren't you guys up yet.
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Fire rings-the reason I don't like to "car" camp.
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And a few frames of FS 965 on the way out.
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What a horrible place, those dogs looked misreable.

I did a fair amount of jeeping/camping in Colorado. The mining history there and elsewhere gives a kind of access we don't see so much of in NW Wyoming. I understand you don't like "car" camping. I however love most every place I have. I wish we would all camp like Irish Gypsies but at least fire rings and developed camps prevent more of them from tracing the landscape. We'll hoepfully just respectfully disagree on this one.

What a great time you've had there over the years; it's spectacular. We don't have great jeeping in this part of Wyoming but there are some nice tracks that get you to some sweet places. This is a "4WD" road near Dubois, WY. Rocky in places but nothing like a "trail." Let me know if you ever want to know anything about the Upper Wind River Valley and some stuff out of Jackson. All kinds of places in the BTNF and Shoshone the dogs will love. Thanks for sharing; great report.

Edit: Can't Upload. Internet is not great today ehre.
 
John, Going to be closer to up there in a year or so. The tobacco's have been on my go look at list for a long time. Are there quite a few 4x4 trails around and day hikes, or do you need more multiple days to see things?
 
John, Going to be closer to up there in a year or so. The tobacco's have been on my go look at list for a long time. Are there quite a few 4x4 trails around and day hikes, or do you need more multiple days to see things?

There are Jeep trails in just about every drainage so if you have a high clearance vehicle with a low range, I can't think of a single area that is more than 8 miles from a hiking trail head. If you don't have one of those or an ATV-trail bike, you can usually add 4 to 6 miles to most hikes. Also, if you are into mountain biking, it is all open for that use.

The FS has set aside a core area as non-motorized use but little of that is more than a 4 or 5 mile hike. In short, not much that couldn't be accessed with a long day hike. That said, places like North Meadow you can spend two or three days just exploring a single drainage. There is still part of N. Meadow I haven't posted-Kid Lake drainage. I don't have any digital photos there as yet. Just a taste from the archives-1975.

Kid Mine on the NW side of Ward Peak. Roof of mill building visible in the bottom-they were connected with a tramway. Lady of the Lake Peak in distance.
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Kid Mill.
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I have more photos someplace from more recent trips but all predate my first digital camera which didn't come along until 2005.
 
Have to put higher on the list. My wife likes old mining areas and good scenery but doesn't go for much in overnite hiking but dayhiking is fine.
Looks like neat country. Have to look on a map and see exactly where things are. :)
 
You might be having too much fun up there! Great write up and pics, as usual of course.
 
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