Soon enough it was time to say goodbye to South Fork Lakes (see previous post for hike details).
The day started with a climb on Bears Ears Trail to the junction with Lizard Head Trail #714. Nancy’s book provided an off-trail option direct from South Fork Lakes. In retrospect I wish I would have taken it.
The trail is nicely switchbacked and sandwiched between the boulders. This is a group of NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) students working their way down the trail while I’m climbing up. The gap is the junction for Bears Ears and Lizard Head Trails. If I’d gone cross country, I’d be coming up on the shoulder, bypassing this climb. It took me about 90 minutes to climb the 2.5 miles from the Moss Lake junction to the Lizard Head Junction.
My guidebook recommends visiting a viewpoint. I’m assuming this is it as I saw a couple people standing on top as I was completing the climb. This gully is where I would have been ascending off trail. Looks can be deceiving. Easier? Who knows.
This somewhat fresh kill bone was on the trail to Bear Lakes. Any ideas? I’ve been told possibly cow. If so, it was either carried a long distance or a lost stray as there is no open grazing for miles and miles.
There were quite a few campers in the area, but I found a nice view with waterfall feature site, ensuring first I was the mandatory 200 feet away from the lakes edge. This was my first day in nearly a month with dry feet and even though I was camped in a green area, I had a dry tent in the morning, thanks to a breeze to dry out the few overnight sprinkles.
To be continued . . .
- Part 1 – Big Sandy Trailhead to East Fork Lakes
- Part 2 – East Fork Lakes to Baptiste Lake
- Part 3 – Baptiste Lake to South Fork Lakes
- Date(s) Hiked: 8/11/17
- Mileage: Approximately 10 (conserving battery so didn’t track)
- Elevation Gain/Loss: Unknown, constant up and down (conserving battery so didn’t track)
- Trail Conditions:
- Tree obstacles: minimal
- Overgrowth: minimal
- Signage: moderate on main trails
- Terrain: rocky and steep in sections, mucky in others (my most challenging day)
- Water: plentiful
- Camping: excellent
- Solitude: Moderate. I saw a solo guy on the ascent to the junction of Bears Ears and Lizard Head plus the group of 10 NOLS students. Didn’t see anyone else until Bear Lakes where there were lots of folks including another groups of NOLS students. Overall it was quiet and there were plenty of spots to camp away from others.
- Bugs: plentiful but I didn’t need deet (my second lake with overwhelming gnats)
- Wildlife Sightings: none beyond birds, squirrels, chipmunks, pika, and marmuts
- Precip: expect thunderstorms in July/August; I’ve been wet and dumped on with hail and rain nearly daily
- 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).
- 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
- Beartooth Publishing Wind River Range South Outdoor Recreation Map