Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Yellowstone - Sept 2010

Mount Moran on the way to Yellowstone

Crystal Falls near Upper and Lower Yellowstone Falls. I had tried to find this waterfall for the last few years and a friend pointed it out to me!

Lonestar Gyser

Sheds and skull at a near by camp

Fall on the firehole river

Hot tubbing!

Buffalo at Lonestar Gyser

Mount Moran on the way home. The leaves were much better!

Fall - Star Valley, Jackson Hole, and Swan Valley

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wind Rivers - Cook Lakes

Well, I just got back from my annual backpacking trip into the Wind Rivers! The plan was to head in Sunday morning and come out Saturday. The plan changed.... and that is fine.


Sunday: Day 1 - Elkhart Park to Pole Creek Lake
We left the trail head around 9:30 and started hiking. After about 3 miles of hiking I was getting blisters on the back of my heals from my new boots. I was debating turning around because we were going in 15 miles and I didn't want to have horrible foot problems where I couldn't do anything once we were back in. My friend suggested that I try hiking in my sandals, which I had brought for camp shoes. So I changed shoes, but kept the two layers of socks on, and we continued on. I figured I could make the decision to turn around or not at Photographers Point (2 miles ahead). The sandals worked great despite my pack weighing 55 lbs, although I was a bit slower on the loose rocks than with boots on. I ended up hiking almost 30 miles in those sandals with my pack on with no trouble! I wouldn't recommend it to anyone though! ha. Just before reaching the lake we had to cross Pole Creek. The creek is more a small river and entails taking off your boots and socks, putting on your sandals, crossing, drying your feet, and putting your socks and boots back on. Even though I had sandals on I still had to take them off take off my socks and then put them back on. It slows you down quite a bit. After getting to camp we were all exhausted and layed around for a bit and then setup camp, gathered firewood, and did a little fishing.

Monday: Day 2 - Pole Creek Lake
Monday morning we headed out to fish the stream from Pole Creek Lake down to 1000 Island Lake. The stream is really pretty with nice little water falls along it with one bigger one near the top of 1000 Island Lake. The stream was full of lots of small brookies and was fun fishing! We tried fishing 1000 Island Lake for a few hours, but no one caught anything. We saw a storm brewing and decided to head back to camp. On the way back up the stream to camp I turned and looked down stream toward the storm and could see smoke rising (lots more than a campfire) in front of the dark clouds and figured there was a forest fire near Junction Lake (below 1000 Island Lake). The fire never got close to us though. After getting back to camp (late afternoon) the rain storm came in and we all jumped in our tents and took a much needed nap for an hour or so while the storm passed. After dinner that night we went down and fished the Pole Creek Lake. I caught about 7-8 brookies in 30 minutes.

Tuesday: Day 3 - Pole Creek Lake to Cook Lakes
We packed up in the morning and head out to the Cook Lakes (4 miles). We had to cross Pole Creek three times to get to the lake. The forest service needs to build some foot bridges across these creeks! The climb to the Cook Lakes isn't bad except for one short steep part. After getting camp setup, water pumped/filtered and firewood gathered we headed off to fish the lake. The fishing was great on the lake and we all caught a bunch. They were all brooks and average from 6-10 inches. We kept 8 of the larger ones and took them back for dinner. While we were fishing we heard someone from the campsite near ours shouting. We couldn't make it out as we were about 1/2 mile away and then it ended so we didn't think much of it. Around 8:30 that evening we heard a helicopter coming up the canyon. It flew right over us, out across the lake, making a circle around the lake and coming back towards the campers to the side of us that were about 200 yards away from our camp. We all instantly thought it was life-flight and it was. The helicopter landed in a really small clearing near there camp (we were all impressed with the pilot). About 15-20 minutes later it took off and flew to the North and was gone. After seeing the life-flight helicopter come in we figured that the shouting we had barely heard was for help. The funny thing is, is that we had talked to the people at the camp when we went past them heading back to out camp after fishing and they hadn't said anything or acted liked anything was wrong. What had happened is that some of them were out rock climbing and one of them fell and got hurt. It took them about 2.5 hours to get back to camp, where they shouted to the rest of their party for help. Someone then climbed a ridge and got a cell signal and called for help. The rest of the party was gone before morning and we never knew what had happened until we got out of the wilderness two days later and read about it in the Pinedale newspaper.

Wednesday: Day 4 - Hike to Wall Lake
We hiked up to Wall Lake on Wednesday. It was really pretty up there, unfortunately the fishing was lousy. We fished and fished and caught nothing. We tried all different lures, trying each and different depths and different locations, nothing... So we decided to try the stream above the lake. The stream above Wall Lake is very pretty with lots of little water falls. We hiked about 2 miles above the lake before heading back and didn't see any fish in the stream. The scenery up there was beautiful, but the fishing was a big let down.

Thursday: Day 5 - 15 mile hike out
One of the guys we went with wanted to head out a day early, so Thursday morning we packed up was going to head out half way and stay at Mary's Lake. Just as we got to Mary's Lake he said that he was going all the way out. Rob and I were going to stay and the other two were going to head out; but we got looking at the sky and it looked like rain was coming. Since we both love packing up wet tents and everything else; and with the trail being muddy if it rained, I'd have to put on my boots and go much much slower we decided to head out too. So we ended up hiking out 15 miles. We made it in 7 hours, which was pretty good for having to cross Pole Creek twice and stopping to rest, eat, and pump water. We stayed the night in Pinedale and headed home the next morning.

Over all it was a good trip. I wished my boots wouldn't have given me so much trouble. I only used them on the day hikes and when it was too cold outside for socks and sandals.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Cache Valley Sunset

Yellowstone Backpacking Trip

WARNING: DO NOT go backpacking in Yellowstone in July, the mosquitoes are HORRIBLE!

Yellowstone river - Hayden Valley

Buffalo with their calves - Hayden Valley

Yellowstone Lake sunset

Shoshone Lake sunset

Shoshone Lake sunset

Shoshone Gyser Basin

Shoshone Gyser Basin

Shoshone Gyser Basin