Len’s First Backpacking Adventure In The Wind River Range

Discussion in 'Physical Training For Mountain Hunting And Backpac' started by Len Backus, Oct 2, 2016.

  1. Len Backus

    Len Backus Administrator Staff Member

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    If you Google a search term such as "best backpack trails in US", the Tetons and the Wind River Range each come up pretty high on the results pages.

    Earlier this year when I was researching Tetons trips "The Winds" as they are known locally in Wyoming kept being referred to. The gist of it is if you like the Tetons a lot, you may love "The Winds" even more because the hiker density is much lower and there is never a permit required to obtain a spot to pitch your tent.

    I had seen quite a few great photos online that told me what to expect and my expectations were totally satisfied on my first trip to "The Winds just a few weeks ago.

    From the Big Sandy Trailhead I hiked three days and two nights over just under 30 miles. My guidebook (Hiking Wyoming’s Wind River Range) says:”The Big Sandy Trailhead is the most remote and isolated trailhead in the Wind River Range.” It is about a 3 hour plus drive from Jackson, Wyoming but I was coming from Oshkosh, Wisconsin so it was about a 20 hour drive for me.

    Sure it’s remote but it’s also pretty busy at the trailhead parking lot. Get a few miles along on a trail though, and it’s quite pleasant. And on my first night out as far as I could tell there was only one other tent nearby me and that one was out of sight several hundred yards away. The second night was even more isolated. I was there just as the Labor Day weekend was about to start.

    My route had me going up the Meeks Lake and Fremont Trails. At the Shadow Lake Trail I turned off and spent one night at Shadow Lake on what turns out to be the backside of world-famous Cirque Of The Towers. I’ll be hiking on the other side of The Cirque next year.

    The next morning I hiked back out to the junction with the Pyramid Lake Trail and headed north. Pyramid Lake was a beautiful spot and I enjoyed poking around the area for a while. But I decided the lack of a perfect campsite reduced my motivation to spend the night there. High winds and driving rain can make an otherwise great campsite less of a pleasure in the middle of the night.

    So Instead, I headed back south and found a great site overlooking the south shore of Skull lake. Half my motivation in this decision had to do with shortening the final day hiking back to my vehicle.

    My wife’s birthday was in just a couple days and I was on a tight schedule to get back home in time for this important event… and I made it!
     
  2. Len Backus

    Len Backus Administrator Staff Member

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    Here are some of the photos I enjoyed taking on the trip.


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    The guy in this next photo told me his partner's boot separated from the sole. He volunteered to walk 6 miles back to the vehicle and return with a spare pair of boots...in one day.
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    I saw both horses and Llamas being used for packing.
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  3. Len Backus

    Len Backus Administrator Staff Member

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    [​IMG]

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    This next photo is of my first night campsite.
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  4. Len Backus

    Len Backus Administrator Staff Member

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    [​IMG]

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  5. ssssnake529

    ssssnake529 Well-Known Member

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    Nice trip report and pictures. I love the Wind Rivers. Have hiked and fished there more than a dozen times. However, I pretty much reserve my Wind River trips for September or later. The mosquitoes and crowds are too annoying to me during the summer, and by September, the mosquitoes are gone and so are the people.
     
  6. Len Backus

    Len Backus Administrator Staff Member

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    How far from there do you live?
     
  7. oldfortyfiveauto

    oldfortyfiveauto Well-Known Member

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    I've drove down through that way on the way home from Cody. It's a gorgeous drive.
     
  8. degreen

    degreen Well-Known Member

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    Hey Len

    Looks like you had a great hiking trip. The Winds are beautiful. I live on the Eastern side of them in Lander, Wy. I have spent a lot of time up there. Just to let you know depending on time of year the Cirque can be crowded.
     
  9. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    Awesome photos. Makes me want to get out of the house and take a hike!
     
  10. ssssnake529

    ssssnake529 Well-Known Member

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    I live in Utah now. Lived in Colorado before that.

    It's a half day's drive from Salt Lake or Boulder.
     
  11. ShtrRdy

    ShtrRdy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the write up and pictures! I was able to do a couple backpacking trips in the Wind River Range in the late 70's. Really enjoyed the area. Nowadays I'm only good for a short hike.
     
  12. Len Backus

    Len Backus Administrator Staff Member

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    As of now it looks like my 2017 backpacking calendar has me back in the Winds in late August.

    Can't wait!
     
  13. Hicks

    Hicks Well-Known Member

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  14. Guy M

    Guy M Well-Known Member

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    Hunted elk up there once. Fall of 2017 I think it was.

    Good trip. Successful.

    BEAUTIFUL, and high, country!

    Guy