From 10-13 Sep 09, Jess and I backpacked in the Bridger Wilderness of the Wind River Range
in Wyoming. We left Salt Lake after work on the 9th, and spent the night in Pinedale, WY. We
got up early on Thursday, got fishing licenses for a couple of days (Wyoming out-of-state
From the trailhead we spent the day hiking to Seneca Lake. We rolled in to Seneca Lake in
the late afternoon, after a nice, steep climb up to Seneca Lake to end the day. We camped at
the lake, and shared it with only one other solo camper who was several hundred yards away.
This was a big difference from when David and I were there earlier in the summer two years
ago...on that trip we saw dozens and dozens of people at Seneca Lake. We spent a couple of
hours stargazing at the wonderfully dark night sky.
The next day we got up and headed out early to Island Lake. We made the steep climb out of
Seneca Lake, and then the steep descent down to Island, before having lunch overlooking
Island Lake while sitting on the same rock where David and I had lunch two years earlier. We
saw two groups at the lake this time, as opposed to the dozens and dozens David and I saw
on the last trip. After lunch, we hiked to the opposite side of the lake, and found a nice camp
site just behind the island, and near the inlet river coming out of Titcomb. After setting up
camp, we hiked up the river and then into Titcomb. We spent a little while in Titcomb, and
then headed back to camp for the night. Island Lake was very relaxing and a great place to
camp...especially since the lake wasn't overrun with people.
On Saturday I woke up early and headed up by myself to Indian Basin while Jess fished.
Indian Basin was new for me, and was really pretty. The basin was a classic cirque, and the
mountains surrounding it reminded me of the pinnacles of a cathederal...the cirque was very
big, and the surrounding mountains were very majestic. I had thought about hiking up to
Indian Pass, but I decided it was too far up and I had other things I wanted to do that day, so
after 45 minutes or so up at the basin, I headed back down to camp. After getting back to
camp, we packed up and headed out to Cook Lakes. We did the climb up to Lester Pass, and
enjoyed the views out over the range. I had hoped to see that the mountains on the other side
of Lester Pass would be more conducive to cross-country hiking. While the basin immediately
on the other side of the pass was less rocky than the terrain around Titcomb, it was a small
basin, and we quickly dropped below treeline. I read a lot of trip reports of the Winds, and
many people hike cross-country. However, compared to what I've seen of the Beartooths, I
haven't seen anything in the Winds that were very inviting for cross-country travel. The terrain
is just covered in boulders and rocks, and is usually really steep. It seems that the glaciers
that used to cover this area have made it difficult for off-trail hiking. I realize there may be
other areas that I haven't seen that might be easier for off-trail hiking, but so far I think I've
decided I will stick to the Beartooths when I want to go cross-country. But after coming over
Lester Pass, we headed to one of the unnamed lakes in the Cook Lakes basin. On the way
we got some good pictures of an American Marten. And we had the lake entirely to
ourselves...in fact, we only saw one group all day long once we got off the Indian Pass Trail.
On Sunday we got up to continue our loop. I didn't want to leave on Sunday, and I knew that if
we got close enough to the car that I would push on out. So I decided to try to trick myself,
and we did a two mile detour up to the main Cook Lakes, in hope of adding mileage to the day
that would ensure we couldn't make it back to the car. But then I told Jess that it would be
possible to hike to the car...and he got it in his head that he was ready to get back. So we
hiked on around the Pole Creek Trail, and ended up back at Eklund Lake, and finally back to
the car at 6:45 pm, after about 17 miles of some serious undulating trail.
This was a really nice trip. I enjoyed seeing different places in the Winds, and I enjoyed doing
close to 48 miles in 4 days. I didn't have any serious foot problems...the ball of my right foot
did bruise after all the mileage on Sunday, but that wasn't too bad. I also forgot to put
sunscreen on my lips, and my lower lip got sunburned. We enjoyed stargazing each night,
because the sky was wonderfully dark out there. I also enjoyed the fact that we only saw 3
people after leaving the main trail up to Titcomb. But even the main trail wasn't very crowded
at all. The weather was great, with just a little snow, and that was also pleasantly different
from our previous trip. I would like to do more hiking in the Winds, but I really enjoyed the area
outside Titcomb and Island Lakes, so I'd like to spend more time in those areas.