Wyoming Wind River Range August 2022

Uwe, John, and I set out to traverse the Wind River Range. It was truly an adventure filled with awesome beauty, a little adversity, and some minor distress. (Read on)

Days 1 and 2 (12.16 miles, 1,145 elevation gain)
The trip started with a long 15-hour drive to Big Sandy WY with a forecast of rain and severe thunderstorms. The forecast didn’t disappoint. We arrived at Big Sandy Lodge late. The lodge owner saw our car lights and gave us the instructions to our cabin. This was a remote, primitive lodge with no electricity (kerosine lamps) and not even cabin keys. It did have common bath facilities and family-style meals. The lodge is very popular, and it was full.
The morning started with a beautiful rainbow causing us to get optimistic about the weather. After breakfast, we were picked up by Levi who shuttled us 100 miles to the Green River Trailhead. It was clear how Green River got its name. The sky was clear at the start and we were making good time when I slipped on a piece of talus and sprained a hip muscle. It was slow going after that and we stopped early to assess the rest of the hike. It rained all night. We were pitched in the forest and during the night there were 3 loud tree falls. They were loud but we couldn’t discern exactly how close they were.

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Days 3 and 4 (21.4 miles, 5,144 elevation gain)
We were off to a wet and foggy start the next morning and we had to decide – go on the original high route or keep lower to the Continental Divide Route. My hip was not getting better so we opted for the lower route. The weather turned nasty to rain and hail forcing an early camp at Elbow Lake, so we could huddle in a tent for warmth and dryness. The weather on the high route looked worse so our trail decision seemed even better.
Day 4 started with no rain, but we were soaking wet so when the sun came out we spread our gear and dried out. We met a doctor on the trail and after describing My injury he said it was most likely a strained inner thigh muscle (iliopsoas) and a strained iliotibial muscle and if I wasn’t turning around (no way), that I use a zip lock back filled with the ice-cold stream water to ice the hip joint. We crossed dozens of streams and rivers so that would not be a problem. It worked. The day’s hike included a steep climb up Lester Pass (11,106 ft). We camped at a nice lake and I wanted a bath, so I took a dip in the lake. Just as I was leaving, Uwe spotted a moose wanting to join me, so he shouted for me to return to camp. The moose didn’t care and stayed around eating and drinking. He even stayed in the area for breakfast the next day.

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Days 5 and 6 (24.93 miles, 4,920 elevation gain)
We barely got started the next day when we came to a wide stream crossing that looked too good, so we all took an early bath. Three guys doing the full monte in the wilderness must have looked a little strange. About mid-day we had to take shelter under a thick grove of spruce trees for about an hour because of a terrific thunderstorm. John discovered we had a cell signal, so we texted an update to our families. Uwe also checked on the progress of the storm on lightning.org. The site showed lots of lightning strikes (cloud-to-cloud) around us. Later we crossed Hat Pass (10,848 ft), descending to camp at North Fork Lake, where we got to watch a beautiful bald eagle looking for fish.
The weather held the next day and the trail was an easy contour hike through beautiful spruce forests then following on across an open plateau. We met a trail crew of about 8 cowboys on horseback and with pack mules. The trail did need some maintenance. In the evening at camp, we saw a bald eagle circle over the nearby lake.

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Days 7 and 8 (22.45, 3,865 elevation gain)
We met quite a few hikers on the trail, but the most interesting was a solo hiker with a trail name “Hippie Long Stockings”. She was a sponsored, “professional hiker” having completed the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide Trails several times. She passed along many good tidbits of advice. These two days were the most impressive and beautiful days of the adventure. Here we saw the Cirque of the Towers, a massive array of glacial carved towers several miles long. We camped at Texas Lake at the base of Texas Pass (11,400 ft). There is a trail tradition that if you’re from Texas, you had to take a swim here. I did for sure, but John and Uwe joined in the refreshing dip.
We stared at the formidable pass all evening and the next morning, it was time. It was easy compared to the large talus fields on the other side of the pass. Many pieces of talus were larger than houses and the climbing and footing was dangerous. John twisted a knee, so on the way out to Big Sandy Lodge and John’s truck, Uwe was basically nursing 2 wounded warriors.
What an adventure overall! Some minor annoyances of mosquitos, sprains, rain, and hail are quickly forgotten by the grandeur of the experience.

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Some more pics in a movie-type slideshow by Jack.

3 thoughts on “Wyoming Wind River Range August 2022

  1. Congratulations, to three incredible warriors!! So happy for you all for such an incredible experience! Even bringing out the Texan in my Daddy?! How does it get any better than that?! I want to be like you when I grow up.

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