WRHR - Day 7: Beaver Park to Green River Lakes

WasatchWill

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All good things come to an end. Today was our last day and it was set up to be less dramatic, mostly through a long green tunnel to our exit, or was it?

Thursday - July 29, 2021
Day 7: Beaver Park to Green River Lakes
MILES: 10 | GAIN: 735 ft

As expected, I woke up to tons of condensation on my tent. There simply was no escaping it with how wet the ground was from the rainstorm the previous day. Typically, I don't have issues with the silnylon material my Tarptent Notch is made. It generally does its job and does it well, but a weak point of the fabric is that it can absorb moisture, especially in heavily humid environments. This last camp became one of those rare times in the usually dry and arid mountain west climate that it would do so. In fact, it's actually one of the only times I've ever had to pack out a wet tent. Had we hung out a little longer, we would have gotten enough sun to actually dry it out before packing it up, but we were down in a canyon and eager to get back to the trailhead sooner than later. Rather than packing lesser weight out than the night before, I'd be packing out about the same with the added moisture content. Boo! Fortunately, only ten miles remained and those ten miles were rather flat and somewhat downhill.

Easy coasting, relatively speaking.


Morning at Beaver Park


Looking upstream of Green River


Bridge over the Green River

Shortly after leaving our last camp behind us, we were treated to a dazzling view of Granite Peak with clouds drifting across its face and the bright turquoise waters of the Green River flowing beneath. It was both a misty and mystical view.


Granite Peak and the Green River


Portrait shot of Granite Peak and Green River


Looking back upstream with some unknown or unnamed peaks above


Granite Peak, Green River, and the trail


Into the woods!

A little while later, after passing through a section of trees, the back side, er south side, of Square Top came into view. It made for another picturesque spot worthy of pausing for a few moments to soak in the view.


Squaretop Mountain

Back into a more forested section, I found a patch of clover. Unknowingly, I managed to capture one of the four-leaf variety. Lucky Day! I took a few moments to capture some of the other bits of plant life to be found along the forest floor.


Clover patch w/ four-leaf clover


Thimbleberry (edible fruit)


Alpine Strawberry (edible fruit)


Red Baneberries (NOT edible!!!)

After drifting through the forest for a good bit, we emerged into more clearings where we could now look back up and start to see the more typical view of Squaretop Mountain from the north. This would be a prominent landmark to look back upon for the remainder of our course. The Green River also continued to meander on through lush green meadows as it made its way for the two large lakes sharing the same namesake.


Clouds loom above Squaretop Mountain and the Green River


Squaretop Mountain from across the meadows


Looking back uptrail to Squaretop


Another shot uptrail looking at the iconic Squaretop Mountain

Further down I looked down at a plant and had to a do a double-take because its leaves stood out to me as something known for its...uhhh...medicinal properties. While this plant does appear to be a great doppelganger look-alike of the more well-known celebrity plant, Mary Jane, I believe what I was looking at was actually a flowering plant called Slender Cinquefoil, or Potentilla gracilis to be more scientific. I could be wrong though.


Slender Cinquefoil (Potentilla gracilis)???

We continued on between patches of forest, meadows, open views of the river and occasional glances back to Squaretop.


Green River reflection


Squaretop from across lush green meadows


Star Moss - Syntrichia ruralis

A sure sign of being closer to the trailhead, upper Green River Lake now came into view. We continued down the trail skirting around its eastern shore. Along this corridor and the rest of the way out, we'd start to see a few more people. We were now within suitable distance for an average day-hiker.


Upper Green River Lake

Between the upper and lower of the Green Lakes, we finally got to see our first wildlife sighting of an animal larger than a marmot, a moose cow. Content to occupy the trail while it continued to eat its lunch, we ended up surrendering the trail and veering off to scramble over some down logs followed by a bit of bushwhacking to get around the moose and back on trail beyond it.


Moose on the loose

At this point, CDT markers started showing up along the trail. CDT stands for Continental Divide Trail and it sure was fun to be able to say I hiked the CDT...even if it was only a small sliver of it amounting to a section that was only a few miles long.


CDT selfie

And then, there it was, the lower and larger of the Green River Lakes came into view. The trailhead and my car awaited us on the opposite end. You could say we were now on the homestretch with a good two and a half miles to go to wrap it all up.


Lower Green River Lake out in the distance


Look back at Squaretop from along lower Green River Lake


Exiting the wilderness boundary


The trailhead now in view


Still on the CDT


Another CDT selfie

Now around the long and large lake but prior to arriving at the trailhead, I stepped off trail for a few minutes to check out the old
Osborn Homestead. What a place for someone to have been able to call home at one point!


Osborn Cabins


Another cabin out a little further out


Some sort of old pump or cream separator?

However, when it came to the outhouse for this old settlement, I think an opportunity was missed here. Turn this outhouse around to face ol' Square Top Mountain and you'd have a classic 'loo with a view while you poo'. Not only that, but it'd also have exposure to the southern sun to warm that seat up a bit in the winter. Why it was built to face the north, I'll never know. Had this been my land, I would have been certain to turn it around to behold the view of Squaretop out in the distance.


A loo and a view


Squaretop Mountain...again

At last, we arrived at the trailhead and my 4Runner, all safe and sound. I did not get any photos at the actual trailhead though. Guess I was just exhausted to think of it while also being more focused on documenting the end on video.


Back on the Highline Trail...I mean the CDT...wait, where are we!?!?


The shore of Lower Green River Lake

On the drive out, we made a quick side trip out to New Fork Lakes. It was here that I got my first ever taste and experience of the Wind River Mountains many years ago now. It was back in the mid-1990's when I was a young teenager and got the opportunity to attend a BSA Scout camp along the shoreline for a full week each during the summer in two back to back years. I had dreamed of wandering and exploring deeper in the range when I was still a kid back then. It was a treat to have now come full circle on that dream, having now made it happen in reality.


Selfie at New Fork Lakes

However, the scout camp itself was now a ghost town by all appearances looking in from outside the gate. Whether stemming from the COVID pandemic or the drastic decline of participants in the Boy Scout program across the West over the last couple of decades, especially in the more recent years, I was not sure of the cause. Rather than hearing shouts of fun and laughter, Camp New Fork was now destitute, quiet and somber.


Selfie at Camp New Fork

A short while later, we arrived in the town of Pinedale. There we paid a small fee to make use of the shower facilities at the local recreation center and immediately followed that up with a well-earned meal at Wrangler Cafe.


Cheeseburger and fries at the Wrangler Cafe

Prior to this trip, the longest trip I had done in both miles and duration was when I had the opportunity to hike a majority of the Uinta Highline Trail back in 2016. That trip spanned 6 days and 5 nights over a course of 75 miles. The most strenuous trip I had ever undertaken however was the Beehive Traverse route found in Capitol Reef National Park. While that one covers only half as many miles and half as many days to do it, the terrain is nearly all off trail with a comparable amount of elevations gains and losses.

This trip had now displaced both of those to become both the longest and most strenuous backcountry backpacking trip I have done to date. 80 miles, 7 days, 6 nights, and so much more elevation gain and loss, much of it off trail through some rather course and rocky terrain. It gave me a heightened sense of confidence in my abilities but also beat me up more than any other trip I had taken.

If I was very sore over the past few days, I was extremely sore all over now. Blake too! While that pain Blake and I suffered together forged a deeper friendship with each other, it also forged a deeper friendship with Vitamin 'I'.

We now had a four hour drive to get back home to our families. Well...four for me. Blake had yet another hour or two for his. So eager to reunite with our respective families, we put Pinedale and the Wyoming high country in the rear view mirror and returned home, battered and bruised, but very much alive and well.

The end.

Need to catch up?...

WRHR: DAY 1 - BIG SANDY TO CIRQUE OF THE TOWERS
WRHR: DAY 2 - CIRQUE OF THE TOWERS TO DESOLATION VALLEY
WRHR: DAY 3 - DESOLATION VALLEY TO HALLS LAKE
WRHR: DAY 4 - HALLS LAKE TO CAMP LAKE
WRHR: DAY 5 - CAMP LAKE TO TITCOMB BASIN
WRHR: DAY 6 - TITCOMB BASIN TO BEAVER PARK

 
Last edited:

fossana

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Jan 11, 2018
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Great set of trip reports!

Aside from condensation, did you have any issues with wind-driven rain in your tarp tents or your sleeping bags getting wet from the damp grass? I normally only use mine when I know it will be dry.
 

Janice

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A sure sign of being closer to the trailhead, upper Green River Lake now came into view. We continued down the trail skirting around its eastern shore. Along this corridor and the rest of the way out, we'd start to see a few more people. We were now within suitable distance for an average day-hiker.

What a wonderful trip!

I have a question for you. This summer, my sister might do some day hikes in the Winds and I've been looking at various options to suggest. Green River Lakes is one I'm considering, but I haven't been up there. Do you think it would be a nice day hike? (They would probably do 10-12 miles depending on elevation gain.) You mention seeing a few more people at that point; did it feel crowded? I saw on caltopo that there are a few different ways you can go around the lake and do spokes up to different lakes/views. If you have a recommendation I can pass along, that would be great!
 

Bob

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Mar 3, 2013
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Around Green River Lakes is about it for dayhiking. However, just hiking up canyon till you need to turn around is super and fairly flat till Three Forks. Can go up to the natural bridge in Clear Creek...past that is not great. Hike up to Slide lake is another good one. Can hike over into Roaring Fork but the trail disappears up in the canyon is pretty much gone. If everyone is really tough you can dayhike up Osborne Mtn a bit but its steep, not much of a trail.
 

canadug

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Nov 26, 2015
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Whoa!!! Truly fabulous TR and pics.......I climbed a bunch of peaks in the Wind River Range 15+ years ago. Such an amazing place.
 

Jackson

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Love to see another installment in this series, but sad that this is the last one. Absolutely love how lush the scenery is there above Green River Lakes. Incredible photos, as always!
 

OldBill

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Aug 18, 2015
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Great adventure, TR and photography. Thanks for putting it together!

Hike up to the Natural Bridge makes a great day hike. Usually use it for an acclimation hike. Beyond it becomes tough work. I've given up at least twice on it but others have made it to Clear L. Could extend to a loop around the lake as well. Another, more challenging, is to hike up to Shirley and Valaite Lakes (good fishing). Like Bob said, Slide also is very popular for a day hike.
IMG_1236_r.JPG
IMG_1262_r.JPG
 

Janice

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Thanks, @Bob and @OldBill, for your advice. I had seen Slide on caltopo, and that was one of the options I was curious about. I will pass along your info.

I welcome suggestions for other great day hikes (from other THs). I've been looking at the map, books, and online but am curious to hear what the BCP Winds experts recommend!
 

WasatchWill

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Great set of trip reports!

Aside from condensation, did you have any issues with wind-driven rain in your tarp tents or your sleeping bags getting wet from the damp grass? I normally only use mine when I know it will be dry.
No issues. Rain had stopped earlier in the day. The sun just never came out to dry anything up in the evening. I upgraded to the newer Notch design that has a tighter pitch to the ground, plus I have the partial solid inner now too, so I'll never need to worry about the wind driven rain the older models had some problems with at times.
 

WasatchWill

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What a wonderful trip!

I have a question for you. This summer, my sister might do some day hikes in the Winds and I've been looking at various options to suggest. Green River Lakes is one I'm considering, but I haven't been up there. Do you think it would be a nice day hike? (They would probably do 10-12 miles depending on elevation gain.) You mention seeing a few more people at that point; did it feel crowded? I saw on caltopo that there are a few different ways you can go around the lake and do spokes up to different lakes/views. If you have a recommendation I can pass along, that would be great!
It wasn't bad. People were pretty spread out. Just felt different seeing day hikers out and about after being so far away from any trailheads since the week before.
 

WasatchWill

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Love to see another installment in this series, but sad that this is the last one. Absolutely love how lush the scenery is there above Green River Lakes. Incredible photos, as always!
Thanks! Definitely a lot of bang for the buck. Writing these all up makes me excited for summer again.
 

Joyce & Tom

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Always enjoy your TRs. Beautiful photos and inspiring words! Looking forward to many more TRs.
Happy Hiking!
 

Tim Valentine

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Great series. Thanks for taking us with you. Some really good scenery pictures throughout. Funny pic of the doppleganger plant! Definitely the same shape.
 
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