TR: Wind River 2 - Elkhart Loop, Aug. 17-26, 2020

A forum that'll feed your need for exploring the limitless adventure possibilities found in "other" places. Post trip reports or ask questions about outdoor adventures beyond the Sierra Nevada here.
Post Reply
arkheel
Topix Novice
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri May 26, 2017 5:51 am
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker
Location: Central North Carolina

TR: Wind River 2 - Elkhart Loop, Aug. 17-26, 2020

Post by arkheel » Sat Feb 20, 2021 6:09 pm

We spent the day before our second trip began doing laundry, eating fresh food, buying cheese and shoving a 10-day supply of food into a couple of Ursacks and a BV500 bear canister.

This trip essentially follows Route #30 in the book Beyond Trails. The trip report for Wind River 1 can be found at the following link.

http://highsierratopix.com/community/vi ... =8&t=21284

Day 1, August 17, 2020 – Elkhart Trailhead to Seneca Lake

On August 17, we drove from Pinedale to the Elkhart Trailhead. The lot was much less crowded than the Big Sandy lot had been. The day was going to be hot, with a high of 83 degrees. That’s not hot for North Carolina weather, but it seemed pretty hot for Wyoming weather. There were lots of hikers and horse riders coming and going. We stopped at Photographers Point to appreciate the view. The last three miles of the day were up and down, but mostly up. And it was hot. Near Seneca Lake, a llama packing group walked by.

We camped at a well-used site on the north side of Seneca Lake near the Lost Lake trail junction. Lots of small lakes were scattered about. We were pretty beat between the up and down of the trail and the heat. Dinner was Chicken Marbella. After dinner, we watched as a man at a neighboring campsite hang a bear bag from a narrow conifer. We reminisced about the bear pinatas that we had hung and our frustration with finding a good bear hang tree in the years before we started using Ursacks and bear canisters.

Day 1A Campsite View.jpg
View from Seneca Lake Campsite

Day 1B Campsite.jpg
Campsite at Seneca Lake


Day 2, August 18, 2020 – Seneca Lake to Lake 10,813

After a breakfast of hot Multigrain Cereal with milk, nuts and fruit, we set off. We hiked past Island Lake and toward Indian Basin. We stopped to talk with a woman and man who were hiking with two large dogs. While we were stopped, a rescue helicopter flew into Titcomb Basin and back out again. We arrived at Lake 10,813 in early afternoon. We found a soft, grassy site with an excellent view of Elephant Head. Storms brewed over Jackson and Fremont peaks, but there were just a few sprinkles of rain. Dinner was Coconut Chicken Curry.

This was the first time that we couldn’t find suitable trees for securing our Ursacks. We tied them to large blocks of talus. During the night we heard a large rock fall from across the lake that seemed to go on for several minutes. We found that the sound of rocks falling would wake us from a deep sleep and make our hearts beat faster.

Day 2A Island Lake.jpg
Island Lake

Day 2B Freemont Peak.jpg
Fremont Peak
You must be registered and logged in to view the files/photos attached to this post.
Last edited by arkheel on Sat Feb 20, 2021 6:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.








arkheel
Topix Novice
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri May 26, 2017 5:51 am
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker
Location: Central North Carolina

Re: TR: Wind River 2 - Elkhart Loop, Aug. 17-26, 2020

Post by arkheel » Sat Feb 20, 2021 6:16 pm

Day 3, August 19, 2020 – Day Hike to Titcomb Basin

Beyond Trails shows a cross country route over to Titcomb Basin, and we wanted to check it out. After Oatmeal with milk, nuts and fruit, we started our day hike. Light rain showers passed through. The route turned out to be great fun and was a bit of a shortcut to Titcomb Basin. We had to cross talus, but we had learned by then that old talus is good talus and if there was grass growing among the talus, so much the better. Titcomb Basin was impressive! Lots of other people were day hiking there too. The geologist parts of our brains tried imagining the size of the glacier that was there long ago. We did some snacking and then strolled back to Lake 10,813 via the cross-country route. We were back at our campsite by 2 p.m. After napping, we watched the clouds. Dinner was Beans, Rice and Cheese with spiced olive oil. The evening was nice with a light breeze. We were asleep a little after sunset.

Day 3A Titcomb.jpg
Titcomb Basin

Day 3B Elephant Head.jpg
Elephant Head


Day 4, August 20, 2020 – Day Hike to Indian Pass

After a breakfast of Cheesy Potatoes, we started our day hike to Indian Pass via Indian Basin Lake. We began to smell wood smoke and the view became hazy. Someone told us that the smoke was from far away, maybe from California. The trail to Indian Pass was nicely graded but wet in spots. We passed wildflowers and bright, green patches of moss. Nearing the top of the pass, we noticed large, dark minerals that looked like they might be from a dark rock called gabbro. The Harrower glacier and the view from Indian Pass looked desolate and gray through the smoky air. At the top of the pass, we met a young couple from Wisconsin who had recently thru hiked the Appalachian Trail. One of them had lost their job due to the pandemic.

We hiked back towards our campsite but left the main trail at Lake 11,008 to go cross country the rest of the way. We passed the most intense wildflowers yet and two terminal glacial moraines that looked like they had been breached by water flow. We (unavoidably) crept quietly by the campsite of a couple of rock climbers who were sound asleep in their tent. We dined on Wiedamoo Stew. The air was still smoky at bedtime.

Day 4A Smoky Freemont.jpg
Smoky Fremont Peak

Day 4B Indian Pass East Side.jpg
East Side View from Indian Pass

Day 4C Harrower Glacier.jpg
Harrower Glacier

Day 4D Wildflowers XC Route.jpg
Cross-Country Route Wildflowers
You must be registered and logged in to view the files/photos attached to this post.

arkheel
Topix Novice
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri May 26, 2017 5:51 am
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker
Location: Central North Carolina

Re: TR: Wind River 2 - Elkhart Loop, Aug. 17-26, 2020

Post by arkheel » Sat Feb 20, 2021 6:23 pm

Day 5, August 21, 2020 – Lake 10,813 to Wall Lake

After breakfast of Banana Nut Bread Pudding with chocolate chips, we began hiking to Wall Lake. The air was smoky. We took our time, enjoying the cross-country route as we passed Lake 10,794 and South Indian Basin. At the top of Island-Wall Pass, we looked down towards Wall Lake valley. The route looked steep with lots of talus. We climbed down to a snow field. One at time, we climbed down by kicking steps in the soft snow. Then we climbed down another snow field. The route continued down through steep moraine and talus in a hanging valley. The last 300 feet of the hanging valley seemed very steep to us. The route became less steep, and before long we arrived at Wall Lake. Our grassy tent site was on a small hill overlooking the north side of Wall Lake. An interesting multi-channeled stream with rock slabs, slides and pools flowed nearby. It felt like our own private water garden. Dinner was Chicken Curry. The smoke began to clear a little just before sunset.

Day 5B Lake 10,794.jpg
Lake 10,794

Day 5C Island Wall Pass East Side.jpg
East Side of Island-Wall Pass

Day 5D Wall Lake.jpg
Wall Lake


Day 6, August 22, 2020 – Day Hike to Harrower Lakes

There was light frost in the morning. Breakfast was Polenta, eggs, veggie sausage and cheese. While we were enjoying our breakfast tea and coffee, an insect with translucent wings and thorax crawled up on my leg and sat in the sun. After it warmed for several minutes, it flew away. Our plan was to hike up the Harrower Valley to Harrower Lakes. We went up the west side of the valley and returned down the east side. The valley was very scenic, with interesting water slides and interesting rocks. We lunched at the upper lake. Small willow trees we passed on the way back to camp were starting to turn yellow. The smoke cleared out more as the day went on.

Since the Shepherd’s Pie on trip 1 was a flop, we had purchased Good to Go Pad Thai while in Pinedale. We added extra cashews to the Pad Thai and that was dinner. A small rain shower moved across the valley around sunset.

Day 6A Wall Lake.jpg
Wall Lake

Day 6B Harrower Valley.jpg
Harrower Valley

Day 6C Harrower Valley.jpg
Harrower Valley Panorama
You must be registered and logged in to view the files/photos attached to this post.

arkheel
Topix Novice
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri May 26, 2017 5:51 am
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker
Location: Central North Carolina

Re: TR: Wind River 2 - Elkhart Loop, Aug. 17-26, 2020

Post by arkheel » Sat Feb 20, 2021 6:28 pm

Day 7, August 23, 2020 – Wall Lake to Spider Lake

The morning was frosty, and the willows seemed to be getting more yellow. Fireweed was turning red. We ate Chunky Monkey Granola with milk for breakfast. We were sad to leave Wall Lake, which we had started calling “our happy place”. The hiking was fun on rock slabs and before long we were past the crux. We hiked a use trail past Upper Cook Lake. Once past Upper Cook Lake, the route went cross country up a steep, wooded slope. There were lots of elk paths going up the slope. We crossed a rocky plateau to Lake 10,442. We made our way to Spider Lake by following a creek between Lake 10,442 and Spider Lake. I’m not sure that we chose the best route, but it worked.

It was windy at Spider Lake, so we wandered around for an hour looking for a sheltered, level site that was close to the outlet stream. We took a little nap in the tent during a rain shower. The first people that we had seen in two days walked by. Spider Lake is very scenic, with great views of Angel Peak, Angel Pass and Bald Mountain. Dinner was Beans, Rice, Cheese and Fritos. The night was humid and chilly.

Day 7A Walls of Wall Lake.jpg
The Walls of Wall Lake

Day 7B Upper Cook Lake.jpg
Upper Cook Lake

Day 7C Angel Pass.jpg
Angel Pass


Day 8, August 24, 2020 – Day Hike Towards Cook Pass

In the morning, our tent was wet with condensation, and our sleeping quilts were damp. There was spotty frost. After a breakfast of Rice Pudding with chocolate chips and almonds, we hiked toward Cook Pass and up to Lake 10,950. At the lake, many tiny fish swam around in the shallows. American pipets were eating some sort of insect hatch. On our way back from Lake 10,950, we scrambled up some rocks to get a better view of a triple drop waterfall on an inlet stream to Spider Lake. We hiked over to a place where Spider Lake narrowed so much that it almost seemed like one could rock hop across, but not quite.

The afternoon was humid and warm. We sat in shade and watched storms brewing over Bald Mountain. The afternoon was windless, and first a few fish then many fish began rising to the surface of glassy Spider Lake. An Osprey tried several times to catch a fish but came up empty each time. We ate Pesto Pasta for dinner. The stars were bright, even through a thin layer of clouds.

Day 8A Lake 10950.jpg
Lake 10,950
You must be registered and logged in to view the files/photos attached to this post.

arkheel
Topix Novice
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri May 26, 2017 5:51 am
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker
Location: Central North Carolina

Re: TR: Wind River 2 - Elkhart Loop, Aug. 17-26, 2020

Post by arkheel » Sat Feb 20, 2021 6:41 pm

Day 9, August 25, 2020 – Spider Lake to Eklund Lake

We started the day with breakfast of Bobo’s Toaster Pastries and decided right then that would never eat them on a backpacking trip again. A short cross-country route intersected the Fremont trail. Next, we hiked on the Highline trail to Pole Creek Crossing. The water was low, and we were able to rock hop across. We thought of stopping for the night at Marys Lake but continued to Eklund Lake. We found a sheltered and well used site on the east side of Eklund Lake.

I don’t remember what we had for dinner. We had to eat it quickly and then jump into the tent before several thunderstorms rumbled through in succession. It hailed for a long time and rained so hard that water sheet flowed under the tent. The tent was bone dry inside, but there was a small lake in one of the vestibules. Dyneema is amazing stuff. After the storms passed, it was chilly.

Day 9A Eklund Lake.png
Eklund Lake

Day 9B Eklund Lake.png
Eklund Lake


Day 10, August 26, 2020 – Eklund Lake to Elkhart Trailhead

In the morning, the tent fly was very wet from rain and condensation. We wiped it down with a bit of chamois and packed up the tent. This was the first morning that we had to pack up a truly wet tent. I don’t recall what we had for breakfast. We hustled down the trail. At Photographers Point we stopped and took a few more photos. Then we hiked quickly to the parking lot. It was time for a shower and second breakfast.

Day 10A Photographers Point.jpg
View from Photographers Point


Epilogue

I first want to give a big shout out to Wandering Daisy. Without Beyond Trails, we could not have done the trips that we did. We were and are extremely grateful to have had an amazing 20-day vacation from COVID-19 and cancer. We hope that our 2020 visit to the Wind River Range was the first of many.
You must be registered and logged in to view the files/photos attached to this post.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests