I arrived in Pinedale, Wyoming on Friday afternoon to check the
surroundings and see about and permissions I may need to get to hike the
"Winds" and get my body used to the elevation. I had a great Spaghetti lunch and toured the Pinedale
general store a bit and picked up my fishing license.
You start out at almost 9,000 feet in elevation and you may
dip down a bit but crossing those 11,000 foot passes are something else.
I did this 10 day trip solo, against the direction of the numerous park
rangers I talked to--if you can hike alone try this one solo. It is a
great time if you enjoy solitude. The views are great once you get out of the trees.
"Hiking the Winds" daily trip log
Day 1: Elkhart Park to Glimpse Lake el. 9100 feet-
Hike rated: 4 hours, strenuous 6 miles, elevation +1950/-1800 (I agree).
Up at the crack of dawn, a little before 6am, packed up the camp at the
campground-rolled up the rain soaked tent from Friday night's storm and headed
down the Pine Creek Trail. Pack felt good descending some 2000 feet to Long
were numerous chipmunks and (1) group of (4) people at Long Lake.
Then down to the bridge and soon headed up 2000 feet to Crows Nest Lookout. My
pack soon felt like 100 lbs. I had more than a few requests of God to give me
the strength to make it. It was a beautiful stretch of trail through the tall
timber and scattered aspen groves. Arrived at Glimpse Lake at 11am and
relaxed the rest of the day, reading my guide books and God's word. I could
not fish yet because my fishing license didn't start until Sunday ($6 a day to
Day 2: Glimpse Lake to Boram Lake el. 10,145-
Hike rated: moderate 5 1/2 miles, elevation + 1000.
Nice hike though the trees, I didn't get up early after the previous days bone jarring
experience, and beautiful wildflower meadows. I made it past Trapper Lake and
had a snack. Then I was going to try fishing Trails Lake but someone was
camped in the middle of the trail. Gottfried Lake is a pretty basin and a
steep hill afterwards. Hiking in the trees still to Boram Lake which is a huge
basin of rounded rocky mountains. It was very hot and it was only noon, so I
went swimming (brrr) and fishing. I took a nap and relaxed the rest of the
Day 3: Boram Lake to Elbow Lakes
Got up early-5am ate my breakfast paste (cold "Breakfast Surprise"
listed in Favorite recipes) and a bagel. Oh too tired still and chilly back to
sleep until 8am, Broke camp and headed out, seen two moose on the trail at the
end of Boram Lake. Broke out of the trees and into some awesome mountain tops
up by Summit and some huge meadows. At Summit Lake there are numerous trails
heading off in different directions. So I chose one and it was a good choice.
From here I headed down into the canyon of Pine Creek, it was full of pine
trees and shrubs-pretty rocky also. Trails headed off into different
directions, so again I picked one and it was a good choice also. I meandered
past some lakes-some people had llamas and about a two year old child. I broke
out of the trees and then seen Twin Lakes-10am. I grabbed my fishing pole and
dropped my pack and went cross-country. A couple of beautiful lakes lots of
fish jumping but none were biting. I ate lunch in the back canyon by the lake
and went out for a quick swim--BRRR. Back up to where I had left my pack and
lounged in the 70-80 degree sun to let my food settle. Back on the trail I
past the first set of hikers on the trail thus far. No shade, boy was it ever
hot through the miles of boulder fields. Passed another hiker-an old timer in
his 60-70's he was really tired coming up from Freemont Crossing. Lots of ups
and downs. Came around a corner and wallah-Elbow Lake. Windy as all get out.
It is a big deep lake, without a tree to be seen , lots of high granite peaks
all around. I could not find a decent place to camp, so I dropped the pack to
go exploring I climb one of the mountains and found a nice flat ledge to block
the wind. The wind was blowing so hard it collapsed my 3 season tent. So I
rolled up the tent and laid out my tarp so I could roll up like a burrito
later that night. The spot I picked was about 300 feet up on a cliff, no one
else camped in the valley that night. I went out fishing at sunset-got some
bites but no fish. Mosquitoes were out in force so I went to sleep for a
couple of hours then got up to watch the stars. I awoke to a layer of frost-BRRR.
Day 4: Elbow Lake to Cook Lakes, BEST Day of Hiking for
Strenuous day of hiking.
Up at 5am, very dark still ate some "breakfast surprise" and a
bagel. I let my food digest and watched the stars fad away as the sun lit the
sky from behind the Continental Divide. Down the trail, all the puddles
were frozen solid, I climbed out of the lake basin. I was breathing so hard I
had t stop a few times, then the Continental Divide rose up and touched the
skies. The sun still had not made it over the Divide yet. The terrain was
awesome- no trees just patches of green bushes. I seen a few camps by Upper
and Lower Jean Lakes-nobody was up yet-I had the trail all to myself. It was
still chilly. Up and down past various lakes and marshes down to Freemont Crossing-
I guess I missed the trail to 'Big Water Slide' so
I did not go down there. I then seen my first hiker, then around a corner
two more. So I took a quick break. Then back at it and past those two guys,
fly poles in hand, and then whammy-Titocomb Basin. Titocomb Basin was crawling
with people. The trails are like two feet wide here due to all the traffic.
The trail forked left to Titocomb Basin and with people building up in front
of me I punched the legs into high gear straight up the side of the mountain
passing people right and left. As I was looking down dogging the 8 inch
diameter boulders on the trail I noticed a guys hiking boots as I passed him.
'Nice boots' (he had a pair of Vasque boots on, my all time favorite hiking
boots) I said and the guys smiled and let me past him. I passed a few more
people and hung a left on the trail to Lester Pass. I stopped and talked to a
nice older couple with their dogs for about 10 minutes and none of the people
I had passed had made it to the ridge yet. Lester Pass what a back breaker up,
up and up. The other side down, down and down amongst 3 inch diameter
rocks-try not to break an ankle. Now I am tired and just looking for a place
to stop. A couple of miles later Cook Lakes now I am really tired. I stop find
a nice established campsite above the lake to rest and take a nap. I get up to
go over my maps and boom a backcountry forest ranger comes by and informs me I
am camped too close to the lake. (you have to camp out of site from the lake)
So I pack up camp hoist the pack and climb up the adjacent canyon wall. Great
spots up here. So I grabbed my water purifier and fishing pole and headed to
the lower lake and stream. I caught my first to my tenth fish, Yeeha. I
hiked back to camp and had some vegie chili and corn pasta. Fishing was in my
blood and the only thing on my mind. Energy was shooting out of me. I headed
to the lake I had taken a nap at-no fish biting. So I headed to the lakes in
the nearby canyon-it starting raining. I caught one huge brookie and then the
thunder started and the rain drops were getting bigger and more of them. I
found a nice rock shelter and waited the storm out. It was about 8pm and
getting dark, so I headed back to camp. The lighting put on a show this night.
It was so bright, it was like someone was turning a light on in your bedroom.
Day 5: Cook Lakes to Baldy Lake el 10,175
Hike rated: moderate 4 miles, elevation + 1000.
Woke up early but just could not get the ole bones to move, so back to bed
until 8am. Headed out under partly cloudy skies down to the Upper Pole Creek
crossing, tried to find a spot to rock hop across but only succeeded get
wetter from the bushes, finally just took off my boots and waded across. The
valley was so beautiful with wildflowers under foot and the high mountain
peaks in the background. Quite a bit of uphill and then the sign-"Hat
Pass" my legs said another pass? It was not near as bad as Lester Pass
but t was up, up and up. It was great scenery in the treeless basin with
wildflowers and shrubs and half dozen lakes. The mountains were all rock at
this altitude. Straight down the other side of the pass to a marshy meadow. I
got off the Freemont Trail and headed towards the marshy Baldy Lakes basin.
Tired I looked for a spot to rest and boom a thunderstorm was rolling in
fast. The skies sent down the rain for a couple of hours-12pm. I pitched my
tent up on the ridge and then the sun came out-go figure!
Day 6: Baldy Lake to Pole Creek
This was a nice jaunt by a couple of lakes, I met a fellow fisherman at them.
The first person I had seen in a couple days. This a great stretch for seeing
some foresty scenery. I really enjoyed walking through the big meadows and did
see a few horsemen. I wandered on over to the Lower Pole Creek area. The Park
Ranger had mentioned that a guy had been said to be missing in this area for a
week and still had not been found. So I grabbed my pole and headed out to
Island lake in the back valley. I lounged and fished the creek. Then I made my
way out to the lake-huge lake I say. I went swimming after no luck with
swimming. I took a nap and ate some lunch. I headed back to camp and decided I
would fish the Lower Pole Creek. Good choice I caught a bunch a brook trout
and the scenery was breathe taking.
Day 7: Pole Creek to Elkhart Park Trailhead
Talk about picking them up and laying them down, I flat was making good time
this day. The morning was great walking in the forest past a lake and then
boom-wide open prairie and the smell of horse. The trail now was about 6 feet
wide and very muddy from all the horse traffic coming in this way.
Fishing-- It was good. 11-13 inchers
Do it again? yes, in a heart beat
Online! Visitor's Guide to Pinedale, Wyoming!
Week in Wyoming's Wind River Range
GORP - The
Wind River Range - Hiking Wyoming
BRIDGER-TETON NATIONAL FOREST BRIDGER WILDERNESS
Wind River Range
Earthwalk Press maps
from Omni Resources
Wind River Range trip
reports from 1979 and 1998