We were in no big hurry to leave our glorious camping spot next to Clear Lake, however, we were excited to see more of the beautiful Wind River Range. We’d picked a spot on the map beyond our campsite, known as Deep Lake, and it looked pretty great. We’d decided to leave the camping equipment and large packs at Clear Lake, and hike with only some water and a couple of snickers bars, which Shannon carried in a small pack. That was the ticket, and was the inspiration for how we decided to carry out the rest of our trip in the Wind River Range.
As I mentioned in my previous post, most of the people we met in the Wind River Range of Wyoming were from the Southeastern US. There were the 3 gentleman from Georgia who we met in the parking lot, and a man named LD from Kingsport, TN, and ironically enough, a couple from our area in Alabama. The couple from Alabama were Tim and Sue Hardy, and we were sort of playing leap-frog with them on the trail on the first day. We’d stop for water and they’d pass by us on the trail. Then they’d stop for a break and we’d pass them….. and so on. At some point on the first day we greeted each other and immediately recognized the southern drawls we all shared. This led to introductions and “where ya from?” We were all tickled with finding each other here. So it was like we were greeting old friends on the 2nd day when we ran into them again on the way to Deep Lake.
Deep Lake was Shannon’s favorite spot on the trip. Not only was it a beautiful spot, but something about the hike to it, up the face of a mountain, was spectacular.
After some thought, and the realization that the altitude was indeed a huge factor in our abilities, we decided to set up a “permanent” camping spot in the central location of Big Sandy Lake, and leave our packs and camping equipment in one spot for the remainder of our hikes. The following day we were planning to hike to the main event, the Cirque of the Towers, and we expected it to be a difficult climb. I was very happy to consider leaving my 25Lb backpack behind.
- side note – this area is a popular destination for rock climbers. And by rock climbers, I mean the ones who use ropes and helmets and special shoes and scale the sides of mountains with carabeeners and belays. We saw groups of 3-5 folks on the trails, with giant, heavy laden packs. The ropes themselves must have weighed 20 Lbs at least, on top of their camping gear and helmets. Every time we stopped we looked up at the rocks and expected to see people climbing them but we never saw the first one. We only saw them walking on the trails with the heavy packs. That said, if I’d have had to carry even one rope with my pack I’d have died.
When we got back to Big Sandy Lake, Shannon found a great spot for our next 2 nights
By the time we got to this spot, we were exhausted. It was only about a 6 mile hike from Clear Lake up to Deep Lake and then back to Big Sandy. But there was something about being in that high altitude that zapped our energy, and about 4 miles of the 6 was strait up a mountain. Shannon always likes to look around for the perfect spot, but on this day, I was saying “please can we just stop right here?” I loved where we were and it was close to a creek that we could get water and wash dishes, but I think he’d rather have kept searching.
We’d decided to go fishing in Big Sandy Lake, as it was early afternoon when we got settled. Shannon got the fishing rods all ready and we walked over to the Lake which was about 100 yards away. The area where we were walking was marshy and there wasn’t a good spot to settle in. We walked up on a man, who we realized too late, was trying to bathe. I’m sure he was not pleased with our choice to go right near him instead of literally the entire rest of the lake. To think of it now, it doesn’t seem like it was that much trouble to have gone elsewhere, but again, we were tired. Too tired to keep walking around in our camp shoes (crocs) in the marsh carrying poles, so we abandoned the idea of having fresh fish cooked on the fire for the 2nd night in a row, and opted for the dehydrated camp meals Shannon had carried on his back in the bear box.
There was a large rock face beside our campsite, with piles of boulders at the base. These boulder fields make the perfect homes for small critters. As it happened, we were serenaded by a Pika (linked there if you’re interested) for 2 strait days, who we believe was calling out for a mate. We watched him call out his little sqeak, and then watched as another one came and answered his call. Off they ran together into the rocks, into a deep dark hole. *cue the 70’s bow chicka wow wow music*. We also saw a couple of marmot’s (also linked) and a family of chipmunks. We did not see any bears, elk, or moose in case you’re wondering.
We ended the day by mentally preparing ourselves for Shannon’s birthday and for tomorrow’s hike to “The Cirque”. I’ll tell you about that next!