Gunny drove down and stayed at my house on Thursday. On Friday we got up at 3am and drove to the Patrick Henry airport in Hampton. (yawn)
Going through TSA, the feds found a zip lock full of bullets Gunny had forgotten about in his camera bag – SURPRISE!, and called the police, YIKES!
No problem, but they made a fuss, and kept the bullets and let us (him) go on the trip, WHEW!!
In Charlotte we met up with Biscuit, Jai, and Mike and flew together on to Denver. Mike rented the car and we were off to Pinedale, arriving about 6pm, where we all checked into the Hampton Inn.
About 7pm we met up with the rest of the gang, minus Bob, Cathlyn, and Zack and had beers at the Wind Rivers Brewery.
On Saturday morning we met up with the others for breakfast, then headed off to the only outfitters in town for last minute stuff.
Then we visited the Museum of the Mountain Man. After that we drove up to the Elkhardt Trail Head (@9500′) for acclimatization. We took a hike to a scenic overlook called Sacred Ridge and took lots of photos.
We then drove back to Pinedale (@7100′), stopping at the grocery store/hardware store/liquor store for more supplies and booze and fishing licenses.
We all met up again for dinner at the brewery for a last minute planning and pre-trip trip feast!
Sunday were off to the trailhead and hiked to Upper Sweeny Lake.
Monday we hiked to Lost Lake. The trail was sort of sketchy and we got pretty stretched out with those in the back having some trouble finding the path. We all made it down to the lake, but a few were pretty pissed off that those in front hadn’t waited at spots where the trail was hard to find so we had a tribunal to discuss leaving cairns to make the turns or someone just waiting around for those coming from behind. After that was sorted out, we didn’t have any route issues for the rest of the trip.
On Monday night, I scouted out the un-maintained trail for Tuesday and couldn’t find it, leaving me a bit worried that night. In my tent I realized we were looking for the trail in the wrong place, so Tuesday, after the water crossing we used the map apps to locate the real trail (whew!) and after that had no route finding problems.
On Tuesday the trail up to the ‘big water slide’ and Fremont Crossing was pretty rugged and slow going, as was what I’ll call ‘Fremont Basin’ up and over to the plateau leading to Lower Jean Lake.
Our large group was going pretty slow, so we decided to go head and camp at Lower Jean Lake, but it turned out to be a fantastic camp site with tremendous views and outstanding fishing.
Bob caught a fish EVERY SINGLE TIME he cast his line! He had found THE SPOT. When he got tired, he handed is pole to Cathlyn, who then proceeded to catch a fish every time she cast! DAMN!
But this was all after dinner, so it was catch and release.
Wednesday we hiked up to and past Island Lake, to an unnamed lake at 10,467, where we forded a creek and found another fantastic camp site.
We camped there both Wednesday and Thursday, fished and day hiked all around, the highlight being a hike to Titcomb Basin.
We experienced a few short thunder showers almost every day. The storms would roll in, the temperatures would drop, getting pretty cold sometimes, then the storm would pass, sometimes rain, sometimes not, then the sun would come back out.
Thursday evening the rains came in about dinner time, forcing dinners in the tents. This time the rain lasted until about 8pm. The rain returned about 9 and it rained until about midnight so we had to pack up wet tents on Friday.
On Friday we were hiking towards Middle Sweeny Lake and making very good time, so we all decided to go ahead and hike the final 6 miles to the trail head and call it a trip. It was a long day, about 13 miles or so.
On the last leg of the hike in, we got a combination of rain, hail, and sleet to cap off the trip. And, wouldn’t you know it, as we neared the trail head, the sun came out, drying everyone out and allowing lots of photos and high-fives as each of us entered the parking area!
We drove back down to Pinedale, managed to get rooms in the Hampton Inn, and a had fantastic post trip feast at the Brewery.
Saturday morning we all met at the Wrangler Diner (thanks Happy (Anna)!) for another giant feast.
What a great end to a fantastic trip!