Instead of returning to the trail junction, I opted to hike cross country through the Island Lake basin to connect with the Highline Trail #094 (aka Continental Divide Trail aka CDT) near the Fremont Crossing Bridge. I was so sick of hiking stock-beaten trails. I’d sank to my knee in this muck my first day.
I know these for-profit pack trains are required to obtain permits, but I wonder if a fee is involved? If so, the forest service should be using those funds to repair the trails. If not, the groups should be required to participate in maintenance. There were so many on these trails and as a result the tread was a mess for hikers. Rant over! When rocks had been placed in low spots, it made a huge difference in being able to hike through, although it was still a bit like playing hopscotch.
It’s hard to tell, but my tent is on a bench above Upper Jean Lake. There were many benches and options for camping although finding privacy for potty time was another issue. There is a small lake just off trail, perfect for a short dip.
Peak Lake is another popular destination. The scree fields on the far side of the lake are the beginning of the route over Knapsack Col. I’m so happy with my decision to skip that option after seeing this. I really dislike hiking on scree!
I passed over Vista Pass without noticing anything special. It certainly wasn’t memorable. I transitioned to the Highline Trail #094 (aka CDT) heading south toward Summit Lake. It took me about 2.5 hours to descend to this junction from Cube Rock Pass.
I decided to stop here for the eclipse viewing. I was headed toward higher mountains and worried the clouds might back up against the peaks preventing a clear view. The wind was blowing and it was quite chilly while I hung out for about 1.5 hours.
I hadn’t researched options for capturing the big event so mostly I just experienced it. But I did capture this photo during Total Eclipse and the next one as the eclipse passed. You can also compare to the before photo above. They don’t even come close to the WOW I experienced during and after the event. The wind stopped, it became freezing cold, so very quiet and a little eerie.
To be continued . . .
- Date(s) Hiked: 8/19-20/17
- Mileage: Approximately 20-25 miles (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: minimal
- Signage: moderate on main trails
- Terrain: most memorable was the challenge of Cube Rock Pass with some bouldering, plus several areas of snow travel, some soggy hiking and wet feet water crossings.
- Water: plentiful
- Camping: excellent
- Solitude: Moderate
- Bugs: plentiful but I didn’t use any repellent this trip
- Wildlife Sightings: none beyond birds, squirrels, chipmunks, pika, and marmuts
- Precip: None this day
- Temp: Dropped to 33 overnight in my tent
- 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). If I were to hike this loop again, I’d use my bear canister as in many areas there were no trees to use as an anchor for my Ursack.
- 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 North Outdoor Recreation Map