Round 2 Preparation
We were back in the Winds for another attempt at the Winds River High Route (based on Adventure Alan’s trip. For this try, we invited a ringer along, Charles Nolt, hiker extraordinaire with an uncanny ability to spot rock cairns in a talus field. We also decided to take Ross’ huge truck instead of my tiny Mazda. It made the 10 mile gravel road in to the trail head much more comfortable.
We had the same plan - hike the high route in five days. Once again we got sidetracked, this time by inclement weather. Here’s the route we ended up taking.
Although we still haven’t finished the High Route, we hiked a lovely loop and saw some new parts of the park.
Here are some highlights.
Green River Lake to Peak Lake
We met up with Charles in the Winds and started hiking from Green River Lake.
Peak Lake to Indian Pass
We easily found our way over Knapsack Col and into Titcomb Basin. Although clouds were building, the basin is covered with these gorgeous alpine lakes hanging underneath bands of colored rock.
As we were hiking through Titcomb Basin, the misting rain turned to snow and when we got to Indian Pass, it began collecting on the rocks. Nearing the top of the pass, we were getting worried scrambling up a snow-covered boulder field with fully-loaded packs. We descended a bit and found a flat place to camp at the bottom of the pass.
Indian Pass to Elbow Creek
We hurriedly set up our tents and settled in for the next 16 hours of snow. I’ve never been stuck in a tent for 16 hours but it’s an extraordinarily long time to be cooped up in an ultrasmall backpacking tent while the snow accumulates on the sides and top - making the tent smaller every passing hour. When we finally emerged, we realized the pass was still covered in snow and we did not have the proper gear to cross safely. Instead we consulted the map and and decided to turn our through-hike into a loop. Although the snow covering the trail made for cold and wet hiking conditions, it also dusted the trees and mountain peaks, turning the whole scene into a Bob Ross painting. Once the snow melted out, we passed Island Lake, still the most gorgeous lake I’ve ever seen.
We camped by Elbow Creek in a golden, sunny meadow. It was warm enough to dry all our wet gear and we scrambled around by our campsite for a glorious sunset.