After spending three weeks on the east side of the Winds, it was time for an introduction to the west side. With the high snow year, it made sense to start in the south and work my way north. Using Nancy Pallister’s book, “Beyond Trails in the Wind River Mountains,” I mapped a tentative route with plenty of alternatives. I began my trek from the Big Sandy Trailhead south of Pinedale.
I waited until morning to decide if I was going to hike clockwise or counterclockwise. The skies were quite overcast and hazy from wildfire smoke. Since I knew I wanted the best possible conditions for Cirque of the Towers, it was an easy decision to start clockwise, making Dads Lake the first destination. The hike began on the Meeks Lake Trail/Fremont Trail #096/CDT (Continental Divide Trail).
I found this pack stashed presumably by someone out for a day hike. Note to self: might be a good idea to leave a note. I took a photo and marked the waypoint in case I hear of someone MIA.
To be continued . . .
- Date(s) Hiked: 8/7-8/17
- Mileage: Approximately 12 (conserving battery so didn’t track)
- Elevation Gain/Loss: Unknown, constant up and down (conserving battery so didn’t track)
- Trail Conditions:
- Tree obstacles: none
- Overgrowth: none
- Signage: moderate on main trails
- Terrain: very good, a few spots of muck
- Water: plentiful
- Camping: excellent
- Solitude: Shared the trail with others between the trailhead and Dads Lake, but then saw no one until I met two CDT thru hikers near the East Fork junction. I also met three guys at Upper East Fork Lake who were out for a 12-day jaunt.
- Bugs: plentiful but I didn’t need deet
- Wildlife Sightings: none beyond birds, squirrels, chipmunks, pika, and marmuts
- Precip: expect thunderstorms in July/August
- Temp: Overnight varied and seemed to fluctuate a lot in the 30’s and 40’s, highs were probably in 60’s-70’s.
- Jan’s Cherry Picker Delight Scale: 4++ cherries (out of 5)
- Be prepared for altitude, elevation changes, weather changes, bugs and navigation. Also review current food protection requirements/guidelines (I used an Ursack with an Opsack liner).
- Bridger Teton National Forest, Bridger Wilderness
- Nancy Pallister’s book, Beyond Trails in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming
- Ron Adkison’s book, Hiking Wyoming’s Wind River Range
- Beartooth Publishing Wind River Range South Outdoor Recreation Map