Sunday, July 19, 2009

PoPo and Bridger Wilderness

After checking out things for a couple of days on the east side of the Winds near Dubois, I decided I might be better off on the west side, near Pinedale. Access is a little easier and I was hoping the mosquitoes might be a bit less dense. Besides, some of the best hikes go from there. Unfortunately there is no road directly across the Winds, so I worked my way south and cut across the southern tip, making short hikes as I went. Again, I found PoPo Agie wilderness to be surprisingly interesting.

I have managed to see a bit more wildlife, For instance, this mule deer seemed pretty unafraid as I snapped multiple pictures.

Some of the wildlife is a bit too well adapted. I caught this bighorn sheep visiting the lew near the trailhead. He was definitely a male, so I assume he was just following the time honored traits of males everywhere, waiting outside the ladies room for his mate to appear.

Scenery abounded, even in the less well known areas. I snapped this photo of Fiddler’s Lake with the Wind River Peak in the background from a short walk near the Continental divide in PoPo.

On arrival in Pinedale, I drove up to Elkhart Park, one of the most popular trailheads in the Winds leading into the Bridger Wilderness. On a whim, I decided to start with an easy 4.5 mile day hike to Long Lake starting at 9450’ Elevation. And to help me get acclimated, I carried my full pack. Unfortunately, it went straight down to 7800’. That wasn’t so much a problem, but the hike back up had me thinking I’m too old for this. I was bushed after the short 4 hour hike. I felt a bit better when I consulted my book to learn that the author labeled this one of the most difficult trails in the Winds. For my trouble, I took this picture of Long Lake.

I camped near Elkhart Trailhead last night. I don’t think the mosquitoes were quite as bad, but they still were pretty bad. Add swarms of horse flies and I spent almost as much energy swatting as hiking and was forced to retreat to the tent early, even with heavy doses of repellent. I did get this shot of Mount Freemont from near the campsite.

One of the best hikes in the Winds is from Elkhart to the Titcomb basin. It is a 30 mile round trip, mostly above 10,000’ elevation. The ranger reported that there is quite a bit of snow remaining up there, but that it is passable. She also tells me the mosquitoes and flies are not as bad at the higher elevations. I’ve decided to try that hike over the next 3-4 days, but I needed a good night’s sleep, a shower and shave. So, I splurged with a $130 hotel room tonight. It was the cheapest I could find at a little place called the Riviera Lodge. Not a bad place and it has WiFi. I’ll head out in the morning. Look for me to be back on line in about 4-5 days with a report.

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