Wind River Range -- Part One -- Trail Conditions

At the beginning of this month my friend Dr. G and I went hiking in the Wind River Range in Wyoming. It was hard for us to find online information regarding weather etc., so my trip report is going to consist of three parts: (1) Weather Report / Trail Conditions, (2) Logistics and (3) Trip Report. This way if anyone needs trail info, they will hopefully be able to find it here. If you are reading this and don't plan on hiking, you can skip part one and wait until part two or three come out! 

A taste of what's to come

I will go into this in more detail later, but most of our hike consisted of traveling on the semi-charted and very informal "Wind River High Route." (See here for the Skurka version or the Wilson/Dixon version) Described by Andrew Skurka as being approximately 66% off trail, it consisted of a lot of boulder hopping, stream fording, snowfield crossing, bushwhacking and route finding. This was a huge challenge as well as being a lot of fun. However, there were some things that it would have been nice to know beforehand. 

First and foremost, there was A LOT more snow than I expected. Most of the route is above 10,500 feet and much of it is even in the 12,000 foot plus range. I knew there would be some snow; I knew this year was more snowy than others have been. However, there was still even more snow that I expected even after taking certain factors into consideration. I brought Yaktrax and Dr. G had micro-spikes and we used them a lot! However, depending on your expertise, I would even say that some sections warranted crampons/ice axes or at least trekking poles, especially if you are inexperienced or faint at heart. 

Wilson/Dixon descending the south side of Alpine Lakes Pass in 2013 (source)

Dr. G ascending the south side of Alpine Lakes Pass Aug 2017

Dr. G ascending the south side of Alpine Lakes Pass Aug 2017 (he is the tiny speck beyond the tiny rock)

Foodwise, I ate ALL of my food. When the hike was done, I had one packet of peanut butter (180 calories) left over. I had eaten every other scrap of food that I brought. I will go into more detail about this in the logistics portion of this series, but basically my takeaway is that I forgot how much the altitude and constant movement can burn up those calories!

In addition, of the seven days we hiked, five of them had rain, hail or snow. One night, as we were camping at about 11,000 feet, we got snowed on and woke up to the sound of the snow sliding off the top of the tent to the ground. The next day there was a beautiful layer of new snow, which was priceless, but it was hard to see the rocks underneath to see where to step or to determine where the best path was. Needless to say, I wore pretty much everything that I brought, even the "just in case" layers, and I was mighty glad to have bought a new sleeping bag before setting out. Also, if you do not have a waterproof backpack, I suggest dry bags or at the very least a trash bag pack liner. 

Rainy but never gloomy!

New snow! Beautiful but hard to get traction! Looking north from Europe peak.

Due to the above and probably other things such as route finding errors and variability of the route in general, the hike took us a lot longer than expected. The total route is supposed to be 96 miles, so we thought it realistic that we would take five or maybe six days to complete the route. However, due to a few wrong turns and snowy days, it took us seven days, we only averaged about 15 miles per day AND ended up with a total route distance of 114 miles. 

If you have any questions, I am happy to answer them! 

For my normal readers, have you ever gone off trail when hiking? Have you ever heard of the Wind River Range?


Looking Back: July

“Warm, mellow summer. The glowing sunbeams make every nerve tingle. The new needles of the pines and fir are nearly full grown and shine gloriously.”  - John Muir

Running: I had a couple of pretty substantial weeks of running, bringing the total in July to 238 miles and about 40,800 feet of climbing. In addition, I am finally getting back on the bike, and logged about 65 miles this month. Last month, I also did about 20 miles. My goal was to ride to work once a week, which is about 5 miles. However, for the first half of the year, I basically did not ride at all. So now I have to maintain an average of about 10 miles per week or 40 miles a month, which I am on track to do if I keep it up!

I have also been doing yoga 1 - 2 times per week (this one). The yoga and the biking are definitely making my legs more heavy when I run, but I think that's mostly because this is the first month of doing all of it together. Hopefully my body will get accustomed to all the different activities and it will be stronger rather than more tired!

Reading: In July, I did a lot of driving and quite a few solo runs and bike rides. What this ended up translating to was more "reading" in the form of audiobooks! I read a total of 11 books, 5 of which were audiobooks (in italics). There were some pretty good ones. I have listed them below in order of preference (with books from my own shelf in bold). I have noticed one thing: my liking an audiobook can depend a lot on whether or not I like the narrator, which isn't really fair to the author. Also, I tend to not pay as much attention when I am listening to a book versus reading it myself, especially since usually I am driving or doing something else at the same time rather than focusing only on the book. However, it is a great way to get two times as many books read!

My First Summer in the Sierra***** (see review here)
These is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine 1881 - 1901****
Everything You Want Me To Be****
Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town****
The Mothers***
Silver Bay***
Everything, Everything***
By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept***
The Reason For God**
Fortune's Rocks**
My Brilliant Friend**

Travel: What a great month! I actually had a couple of weekends at home, which is very odd for a July, but I am not complaining! I got to finally do some things around the house, as well as prepping for my next trip, which is in August. However, I did spend some time in Oregon, as I always do in July, and I also went on a camping trip to Mammoth, which was a little different than expected due to the heavy amount of snow in the Sierras this year. Let's just say that running was superseded by slip-sliding, hiking and route finding and the camp site that we wanted was still located on a closed road. It was still a lot of fun and the high Sierras were beautiful covered in snow and ice.

Thousand Island Lake, CA

Emerald Lake, CA

Garnet Lake, CA

Garnet Lake, CA

Shadow Lake, CA

Devils Postpile, CA

Smith Rock State Park, OR

Mt. Washington, OR

Etc.: So far in the garden there are some ripe tomatoes and a few cucumbers, but I think that a rat is eating my zucchini as I keep finding chewed nubs. Darn it, varmit. So I am just starting to be able to have tomato salads and to have a once in a while cucumber snack. I also had some potatoes that were sprouting eyes, so I planted them last week for a "fall planting." We shall see if they take! And the corn is growing! No ears yet, but it's getting taller!

Corn (on the left), end of July. Tomatoes in the background on the right.

Where did you go in July? What is your favorite summer read so far? Do you have anything fun planned for the rest of the summer?