Wind River Range Sept 2021 (part 1)

wsp_scott

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9/1 - 9/5/21 (4 nights)

2021 Bag Nights: 24

I drove up from Colorado to the Scab Creek Trailhead. The weather forecast said 50% chance of thunderstorms for the next couple of days. There were waves of rain on the highway, but everything looked good as I got closer to the trailhead.
I got my pack situated and headed up the trail at about 3pm. It was hot and dusty and the clouds were gathering. I spoke to one dayhiking local who was prepping for hunting season and then did not see anyone else for the day.



Entering the wilderness


Not long later, the sky opened up, the lightning was followed almost immediately by thunder right over my head. I looked for a campsite but couldn't find anything that was flat-ish, everything I found looked like it was going to end up flooded. So, I kept moving down the trail. I eventually found a spot right off the trail next to Little Divide Lake.

The rain stopped long enough for me to set up camp and for a brief moment the sun poked through the clouds. This pause lasted just enough for a couple photos and then more rain. I crawled into my sleeping bag and fell asleep for the night.




The next morning started nicely but the forecast still called for thunderstorms in the afternoon.


Elk?






A little rain came through around noon and then the sky started looking ominous about 3pm so I started looking for a campsite. I wandered off trail a bit towards a promising looking lake and found a perfect site. I got setup just in time and the sky opened up for a couple of hours, eventually stopping about dinner time. The sky cleared for a bit, time for a couple photos and dinner and then the clouds came back and ruined the sunset.




Woke up to a beautiful morning, the goal for today was Europe Canyon. I made my way along the Fremont Trail until I hit the turnoff for Europe Canyon.

Cell phone pano near Pipestone Lakes



Medina Mountain (?)






I set up camp in Europe Canyon and headed further up the canyon to explore a little bit.






Looking down from the outlet at Long Lake


Long Lake


Geologically interesting rock, there are at least 3 or 4 different kinds of rock lumped together, but I don't know enough geology to identify the pieces








Most of the flowers were gone, but there were some scattered around


Europe Canyon is beautiful






Evening light


Next day was cross country towards Halls Lake


















From Halls Lake, I made my way towards Middle Fork Lake. My cross country route ran me into the trail below the lake and I made the decision to head down vs up so I never saw Middle Fork Lake.








I decided that I would set up camp near Dream Lake with a potential view of the stars


Not enough clouds to make an interesting sunset


but the stars were pretty


Then around Dream Lake and across the plateau between Dream and Raid Lakes. I liked the look of this giant rock, I think it might be a glacial erratic, but again I don't know enough about geology to be sure.


Looking east from the plateau




Old cabin looking towards Bonneville Basin








I headed back towards Monroe and Divide Lakes on a trail that is mostly vanished under downed trees


It came and went for a couple of hours and at one point, I was glad to have GPS on my phone. It ended up being a long couple of hours.


Eventually I ended up on the trail near Monroe Lake and made my way over to Divide Lake.






In between Divide Lake and Little Divide Lake was this small canal/channel in the side of the hill, very clearly man-made, but no idea what for?




As I was getting close to the trailhead I spooked this bird (pheasant?)


and then not long later this tiny snake.

Back to the car and then drive up to Pinedale. I found a place for the night at the Jackalope Motor Lodge. It had only been open for a couple months with new owners and ended up being a great place to stay for the night. Laundry, burger and beer, and a good nights sleep and I was ready for part two of my trip.
 

OldBill

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Nice trip. What'd you use for those great photos? Seems you had a lot less haze than @Bob and I did on our loop through Middle Fork and Bonneville Basins the following week. That middle region of the Winds is spectacular. H'mm, actually, it all is...
 

wsp_scott

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Nice trip. What'd you use for those great photos? Seems you had a lot less haze than @Bob and I did on our loop through Middle Fork and Bonneville Basins the following week. That middle region of the Winds is spectacular. H'mm, actually, it all is...

The majority of the photos are with a Sony A7ii, some are with my cell phone. I think the rain knocked some of the haze down temporarily, it was back for my next trip.

Glad everyone liked the photos
 

OldBill

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Looks like a horse skull to me. Saw one on some rocks next to the trail back in 2020 right after the Labor Day wind storm.
 

Titans

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Great photos! Love all the lakes. The blown down trees all look like type II fun…
Curious what shoes you used? (I seem to remember you once mention the need for wide shoes).
 
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wsp_scott

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Great photos! Love all the lakes. The blown down trees all look like type II fun…
Curious what shoes you used? (I seem to remember you once mention the need for wide shoes).

I could have done without those couple hours of blowdowns, not sure it even qualifies as type 2 fun, it just sucked. :)
I have gone back to Saucony Peregrines since they come in wide sizes. They also are NOT zero drop so they don't blow up my achilles too bad. They are not very rugged, so they don't last long with lots of talus, but they are comfortable.
 

wsp_scott

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@OldBill and @Outdoor_Fool I never would have thought of horse skull, thanks for the ID. Are there wild horses in the Winds? Or is this one that likely got "lost"?
 

wsp_scott

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Does anyone know about the channel/ditch in between Divide Lake and Little Divide Lake? It is very clearly man-made, but it doesn't seem like it would have been for a mill since there is not really a drop. I assume it was for irrigation, but I think it just dumped into the outlet of Little Divide Lake, so kind of pointless for irrigation.

I think it might show up on the USFS and USGS maps, there are two outlets from Divide Lake, one goes to Little Divide and the other (man-made?) goes to the creek that drains from Little Divide.
 

OldBill

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@OldBill and @Outdoor_Fool I never would have thought of horse skull, thanks for the ID. Are there wild horses in the Winds? Or is this one that likely got "lost"?
There are wild horses around the Pinedale (also Dubois) area, but they are at much lower elevation. Probably from an outfitter. Saw one loose at Upper Sweeney once. No sign of the outfitters camp.

Wish I knew more about the ditch. Wasn't paying close attention to trail and wound up on the wrong side of it coming out from trip last year with @Bob Pinedale USFS or GOS might know history.
 

marquiri

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You don't have a caltopo type map of your route with your campsites marked do you? I ask because I'm going a route that is similar to yours for the first couple of days, and I'm trying to plan out our first campsite or two. You stopped at Little Divide Lake, but I'm wondering whether it's worth it to push further to Lightning Lakes or even further to where the views start to open up (towards Crescent Lake). Any thoughts?
 

wsp_scott

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You don't have a caltopo type map of your route with your campsites marked do you? I ask because I'm going a route that is similar to yours for the first couple of days, and I'm trying to plan out our first campsite or two. You stopped at Little Divide Lake, but I'm wondering whether it's worth it to push further to Lightning Lakes or even further to where the views start to open up (towards Crescent Lake). Any thoughts?

My site at Little Divide Lake was not a "legal" site since it was squeezed in between the trail and the lake. I only stopped there because of the weather and it was getting late and it was an existing site. Not a place I would aim for. I don't remember seeing many camp possibilities near Little Divide Lake, but there are some near Divide Lake.

If I had started earlier (or better weather), I would have aimed for Crescent Lake or maybe Dream Lake. There are lots of camp possibilities near Dream Lake and the views are a lot better than Little Divide Lake.

PM coming with a map link
 
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