It’s a morning of anxious anticipation. Will I have clear skies? Will the sun be in the optimal position for good lighting? Will the Cirque of the Towers be the “be all and end all” of the Winds? Will it be the just reward I’ve awaited? It was time to find out! After enjoying sunrise at Bear Lakes (see previous post for hike details), I quickly broke camp and was on trail. Goodbye Lizard Head.
Then there I was at the top of the pass. I’d considered hanging out for the day among the towering giants and hiking to Cirque Lake, and possibly even camping at Climber’s Camp, but my soul just wasn’t feeling it.
I’m sure there were easily 100 vehicles at the trailhead with nearly every state represented. It was fun to see plates from as far away as Alaska and Florida, and to meet hikers from Tennessee, Kentucky, Michigan, Wisconsin, etc. The bulk of the crowds were between the trailhead and the Cirque. Big Sandy Lake is definitely well loved and a staging area for day hikes. I was intimidated by the number of vehicles but pleasantly surprised by the ease at finding solitude.
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
- Part 4 – South Fork Lakes to Bear Lakes
- Date(s) Hiked: 8/12/17
- 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: minimal
- Overgrowth: minimal
- Signage: moderate on main trails
- Terrain: rocky and steep in sections, mucky in others (my most challenging day, the worst section for me was the rock scramble around North Lake)
- Water: plentiful
- Camping: excellent
- Solitude: Minimal, but available. This section of trail is well loved and high use.
- Bugs: plentiful but I didn’t need deet
- 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).
- Bridger Teton National Forest, Bridger Wilderness
- 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