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Old 07-26-2012, 10:25 AM   #1
Joe H.
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Winded in Wyoming - 7/17-7/22

I first visited the Wind River Range last summer after a family reunion in Yellowstone. Very late snows and the resulting extremely high stream crossings stopped that trip about 6.5 miles from the trailhead. I very much wanted to return, and thanks to a very understanding wife who cleared the decks and took on some extra work, I was good to go again this year with a long-time hiking buddy from Denver. I was a bit concerned with my conditioning this year. Training was going great until some unexpected surgery. Despite the very quick recovery, I lost a few weeks of training, and this year's family reunion in Galveston, TX the week prior did not help with the altitude. I did manage a nice trail run in the mountain around Hot Springs, AR on the way to Texas, and running in Galveston on the sea wall at least raised me slightly about the level of the ocean. I flew into Denver on the 16th and the next morning we were off.

Day 1 - Elkhart Park to Lake Hobbs. We were in the forest for much of this walk, but it is broken up by nice meadows and the very picturesque Photographer's point. Hobbs Lake was fine campsite, and the lake appeared to be loaded with trout based on our observations and the success of the fishermen also camped in the area.

Day 2 - Hobbs Lake to Titcomb Basin. This was a spectacular walk. We passed lake after lake - Seneca, Little Seneca, Island, and many more. There was a lot more topography out there than a quick look at the map would reveal, but the stunning scenery kept coming and coming. The wildflowers were also much further along than last year. We found a nice camp on a small rise in the floor of the basin to use a base for the next few days. We hoped being up in the wind a bit more would thwart the many mosquitos. This goal was met with varying degrees of success. We spent the early evening exploring the lower part of the basin and scrambling up another small rise from the floor for views of the upper end and the rest of our surroundings.

Day 3 - We took this day to explore the length of Titcomb Basin, and hiked up past the two huge lakes in its floor. At the head of the valley we decided to leave the more crowded route up what this year was a very narrow rocky slot to Bonney Pass, and head up the valley that contained the Twins Glacier to Knapsack Col instead. We had some nice rock hopping and snow climbing until the last rock scramble to the col. From there we headed up Winifred Peak stopping at rocky point on the ridge at about 12,400 feet due to our lack of condition. We explored a few more minor bumps along other ridges on the way back down.

Day 4 - We awoke to rain and decided to move camp back towards the road and have a shot at exloring perhaps another part of the range on the way home. It was a equally nice walk back to Hobbs Lake in far more shaded and cool conditions due to the clouds and rain. It cleared up nicely by late afternoon, and we explored the area around Hobbs finding a nice collection of lakes (Sapphire Lakes) and some small overlooks that looked straight down into the canyon that our walk in on skirted around.

Day 5 - We made it back to the trailhead in Elkhart Park, and spent a few hours restocking some items, getting great hamburgers in Pinedale, WY, and having some nice calls to wives and family. We spent the next few hours navigating miles of dirt and, at times, unsigned roads to find the Big Sandy trailhead were we camped at the roadside for the night.

Day 6 - Up at 3:45 and off at 4:15 to make the most of our last day before the 8 hour drive back to Denver. We reached Big Sandy Lake and its fine views of the many surrounding rock routes by day light. We headed up Jackass Pass (Big Sandy Pass) and scrambled and linked many grass patches to reach some rock towers on the Mitchell Peak - Dog Tooth Peak ridge before we reached the turnaround time to get back to Denver and get me on my flight. From the ridge top we spotted another way down so we had the additional adventure getting to explore yet another scenic wildflower filled valley on our way back to the trail. Being further south, this region seemed more along in terms of both wildflowers and wildlife. A quick trip out to the trailhead followed by another 30-40 miles of dirt through uninhabited scrub deposited us on the highway and the trip back.

It was an amazing area and a great trip.

Pics are here:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=ecb74229fd
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Last edited by Joe H.; 07-26-2012 at 12:33 PM.
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:35 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rik View Post
Brings back fond memories. Thanks.
You're welcome - I have been many places in the US to camp, hike, and climb, and this one, to me, may have been the most striking of all.
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:47 PM   #3
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Titcomb Basin is one of the prettiest pristine area in United States (minus Alaska maybe), according to Backpacker Magazine... I totally agree. The 2 days hike in is worthed, although you can get there by horse if you have the extra $$$.

Too bad I can't look at the pictures, FB is lock at work !

Thanks anyway.
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:53 PM   #4
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Wow your pictures are fantastic and I enjoyed your report! This looks like an amazing area I'd like to someday visit. Let's say I wanted to plan a visit there, which town would you recommend as a place to stop along the way for a night or two?
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Old 07-26-2012, 02:04 PM   #5
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Pinedale has all you will need - Great Outdoors shop, couple of good restaurants, hamburger stand, grocery and other things, plus good lodging. My family stayed at some cabins on Lake Fremont last year during the "trip that wasn't" We ended up fishing in the lake, exploring the area, and using the community center for 5 days. It was very nice.
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Old 07-26-2012, 04:34 PM   #6
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Nice! The Winds are one of my top 3 mountain ranges in the US. I'm familiar with the places you went so it was nice to read about them. Well, kind of. There was also some jealousy involved.....glad to hear you had a good trip! How were the mosquitos? I was there late July one year when the snow was slow to melt out......the mosquitos were pretty horrible.
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Old 07-26-2012, 05:59 PM   #7
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Nice! The Winds are one of my top 3 mountain ranges in the US. I'm familiar with the places you went so it was nice to read about them. Well, kind of. There was also some jealousy involved.....glad to hear you had a good trip! How were the mosquitos? I was there late July one year when the snow was slow to melt out......the mosquitos were pretty horrible.
Everybody mentions the mosquitos! :-) Been there to climb Gannett and didn't think the mosquitos were bad. Bad was trying to find places to camp that wasn't covered in horse crap, a lot of camps and horsepackers apparently used the area we came in from..

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Old 07-26-2012, 08:43 PM   #8
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Although I am partial to the Tetons your photos make that area look very inviting. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-26-2012, 10:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Nice! The Winds are one of my top 3 mountain ranges in the US. I'm familiar with the places you went so it was nice to read about them. Well, kind of. There was also some jealousy involved.....glad to hear you had a good trip! How were the mosquitos? I was there late July one year when the snow was slow to melt out......the mosquitos were pretty horrible.
The pic attached is from a stop for views and blister repair at a rocky knob above Lake Barbara last year - just shy of the crossing of the outlet from Seneca Lake that was RAGING from very late snow. We found plenty of mosquitos but not nearly like this. The snow pack was much less this year. They were suprisingly adept at flying in the wind around our exposed site in Titcomb though.
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Old 07-27-2012, 08:19 AM   #10
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Looks just as beautiful as it was when I was there in 1974.

Thanks for posting.
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Old 07-28-2012, 09:19 AM   #11
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Great pics! What a trip!
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:50 AM   #12
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Beautiful, looks like you had fun, thanks for sharing. That range is on my wishlist.
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:23 AM   #13
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Thanks for your TR! What a beautiful place!
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:14 PM   #14
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Thanks for posting! I love that area. Went there with JayH to do Gannett - Would definitely like to return for more of a wandering adventure. I remember lots of water crossings of various difficulties. It's definitely a wet place thus all the mosquitoes!

It's wonderful to read your enthusiasm and love for the place.
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:51 AM   #15
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this looks like a great trip - I've been to Yellowstone and the Teton's several times but never this area. I did a 6 day horse pack trip through the Thorofare area of Yellowstone but in retrospect I wish I hiked. This goes on the...THE LIST!!!

thanks for posting
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Old 08-03-2012, 10:50 PM   #16
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Terrific set of pics! Looked like you had a great trip. Glad you made it in this year. We camped at Island Lake and Titcomb Basin last year, but our trip was in August so although snow melt was behind schedule, it didn't impact our trip.

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You're welcome - I have been many places in the US to camp, hike, and climb, and this one, to me, may have been the most striking of all.
Totally agree. Last year was our first time there and we are now hooked. My husband was just there last week for a week long trip with a buddy and we are going back again end of this month (husband, me, and daughter). Can't wait!
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:17 PM   #17
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Have fun! The bugs will be gone by then.
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