Under crisp blue skies, Bill and I said goodbye to beautiful Tayo Lake. This is a continuation of a trek which started at Sheep Bridge Trailhead and traversed counterclockwise to Deep Creek Lakes (link to Part 1), then south through Ice Creek Lakes and on to Tayo Lake (link to Part 2).
Based on beta, crossing the Middle Fork of Popo Agie River may be my turnaround point. I’d been told it could be too high, to look for braided waterways for safer crossing, but instead I found a wide slow shallow outlet.
I didn’t consult my map and for some reason thought I was supposed to take the Sweetwater Gap Trail #700 to connect with Stough Creek Lakes Trail #702. Along the way I heard crashing water and just had to go off trail to find this waterfall. Maybe this was why I was destined to take this trail?
Over the years, I’ve become more proficient with log and rock crossings. For some reason today was not my day. I stood on the end of this log and felt slight vertigo. Instead of listening to my intuition, I took a second step, immediately loosing my balance and falling in. I twisted my knee in the process. Thankfully the water was shallow. I’ve never experienced vertigo on a log crossing before. It’s gonna take a while to rebuild confidence. I should have just walked through, afterall my feet were already wet.
Stough Creek Pass provided some WOW views! I’d love to camp up here, but carrying water up the long steep ascent makes it a highly unlikely possibility. I truly lucked out getting to enjoy these views before the thunderstorms turned this peaceful setting into a forceful one.
Then the skies let loose and I got a real soaking as the trails turned into rivers. I was thankful for both my umbrella and Frogg Toggs poncho. The rocks and mud made for a slippery treacherous descent, especially with my sore knee from my water crossing incident of the previous day.
I could have survived a few more hours on the food I had left. I love it when my planning works out and I don’t carry home extra weight. The Pro Bars are my meal of last resort and they seem to get carried more than ever eaten. I ran out of fuel my last night and had cold breakfast thus the reason my oats were not eaten.
- Date(s) Hiked: 7/27-29/17
- Mileage: Approximately 20-22 miles
- Elevation Gain/Loss: Unknown, but a LOT. Thus far in the Winds I’ve found very little flat.
- Trail Conditions:
- Tree obstacles: All clear!
- Overgrowth: Main trails, zero. A bit on the secondary trails to the lakes
- Signage: Good on main trails. Non existent on secondary trails.
- Terrain: Good on main trails with some snow and muddy muck conditions
- Water: Plentiful
- Camping: Plentiful
- Solitude: Moderate, although I didn’t see anyone between Stough Basin and Tayo except for the group of 5 gals. I saw quite a few people between Stough Basin and the trailhead.
- Bugs: Plentiful although I didn’t need deet
- Precip: Thunderstorms daily in July
- Temp: Lows of 30’s to 40’s, highs 60’s to 70’s.
- Jan’s Cherry Picker Delight Scale: 4++ cherries (out of 5). Would be a 5 if trails weren’t so mucky from livestock.
- Be prepared for altitude, elevation changes, weather changes, snow, bugs and navigation.
- Part 1: WY – Deep Creek Lakes, Southern Wind River Mountains, Popo Agie Wilderness
- Part 2: WY – Tayo Lake +++, Southern Wind River Mountains, Popo Agie Wilderness
- Jan’s Jaunts in Wyoming
- Shoshone National Forest, Popo Agie Wilderness
- Nancy Pallister’s book, Beyond Trails in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming
- Ron Adkison’s book, Hiking Wyoming’s Wind River Range