Backpacking in the Wind River Range
2013 - Green River Lakes - Titcomb Basin - Elkhart Park
Way back in about 2002 or so, we did a beginner backpacking trip in the Wind River Range. Heavy packs, no bear storage for our food, and general ignorance of backpacking. It was great. We have wanted to return every since. We finally made a plan to go back to the Winds in the summer of 2013.
And then again in 2014. It was awesome!
We started at the Green River Lakes trailhead and hiked the Highline trail to Island Lake where we detoured to the must-see Titcomb Basin. We also did a side trip up to Indian Pass. We shuttled a car for that trip and ended at Elkhart Park. 5 nights, 6 days and something like 65 miles?
We wanted to finish the north to south route through the Wind River Range basically along the Continental Divide Trail. So we started at Elkhart park and joined the Fremont Trail and exited at Big Sandy Trailhead. 4 nights and 5 days and also about 65 miles? - Blog Post to follow. Stay tuned.
Here is our 2013 Trip:
|Peek-a-boo View of the Northern Wind River Range from Photographer's point, Pole Creek Trail|
|View of the Southern Wind River Range from the road to Big Sandy TH|
The trailhead is something like 45 miles from Pinedale. At least 15 miles is dirt road and can be pretty greasy after a storm. We drive a 2000 Honda Insight - 2-wheel, front-wheel drive with a 1.0 liter 3 cylinder engine and low clearance and we had no problems with the road. Local inquiry is suggested before driving the road though!
Before we started we shuttled a car to the Elkhart Park Trailhead (paved the entire way, good road).
|Green River Lakes and Squaretop Mountain from Highline Trail|
|Beaver Park Campsite|
**Robin adds: I decided to pre-emptively wear a knee brace to prevent my IT band pain, and it turns out you aren't supposed to wear a tight knee brace for eight hours while doing intense activity in the heat of summer...because all of a sudden I had incredible burning pain on my leg and saw that I had an incredible heat rash. Woops. Sooo bad I almost turned back, but seeing as we were ten miles in, had to camp either way. Great start to the trip! Oh, and Grant's camera was dead, so yeah, comedy of errors for first day, as usual :) The next day, my rash wasn't as bad, so we kept going...
Once up on the plateau the trail becomes somewhat exposed however. If there is any threatening weather, Summit lake would not be a great location.
It was early when we reached Summit lake but very windy. We had a short snack and kept moving along the Highline trail until we found a great campsite at Pass Lake.
|Approaching Summit Lake on the Highline Trail|
We found a great campsite near Pass lake - flat spot for the tent and good cooking area. Also, we arrived early enough for a nice sunset swim in Pass Lake.
|Campsite near Pass Lake|
|Pass Lake Supper Views|
|Beautiful Pass Lake Morning|
|A little morning rain shower near Elbow Lake|
|Highline Trail Near Elbow Lake|
|Highline Trail Near Elbow Lake|
|Pass between Elbow Lake and Lake 10935 on the Highline Trail|
|Upper Jean Lake? (might be lake 10935)|
|I'll just hold this rock up so you can safely pass by|
|Lower Jean Lake, and now the weather is awesome!|
|Looking SE Toward Mount Lester from Lower Jean Lake area|
|Viewing SE on the Highline Trail above Fremont Crossing|
|Looking down at Island Lake with Fremont Peak in the background|
This also means it is a very popular camping area and we managed to be there on the weekend. Despite all the popularity, we found a decently secluded campsite although from the rest of the trail we were a little shell-shocked due to all the people.
|Island Lake, Fremont Peak, Jackson Peak, Indian Pass|
|Boy are we glad we are here! I mean, we could be at work pfffffftt...|
|Island Lake Base-camp|
|Island Lake Breakfast|
|Fremont Peak and Jackson Peak from Island Lake campsite|
|Peaking into Titcomb Basin|
|Viewing SE in the Titcomb area|
|Titcomb Basin above upper Titcomb lake|
|You see Captain, the reason I don't like work is because I'd rather be here. Why is that so hard to explain to you people?|
|Classic Titcomb Basin|
|Morning storm blowing across Fremont Peak|
We woke up to questionable weather and so we snoozed a little to see what would develop. The mantra in the mountains is 'go early, go fast, go high' - getting a later start might mean turning around early due to afternoon thunderstorms. Instead of getting out of the tent and making progress, we thought we'd try to catch up on some of the sleep we missed for the lighting and thunder the night before. And who wants to get out of a nice warm sleeping bag when it's gray and cloudy outside?
|Questionable weather moving through Indian Basin|
|Indian Basin morning|
|Questionable? I meant nasty weather! Lets hide under this rock for lunch!|
|Ok, it's gonna rain. Let's keep going?|
|Indian Pass - not snowing though!|
|Looking back down toward Indian Basin from Indian Pass|
|Hey look! The weather's clearing...Woohoo!|
|Earliest Departure yet! Guess who's thirsty?|
|Pole Creek Trail near Photographer's Point (2013)|
We had a great trip on our 2013 hike. Most of our trip was above Ten Thousand feet and the Highline trail was stunning. The scenery is just awesome and we couldn't wait to get back for another taste.