Tuesday, August 12, 2014

 Wyoming's Wind River Range Golden Trout Epic Adventure Part 4.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday July, 29th, 30th and August 1st.


    Sometime around 2am the rain started; my new tent was about to be tested! I awoke several times through the night and would check all of the corners to make sure there were no leaks. I'm always paranoid about getting my gear wet, especially my camera. It was just a light sprinkle so the noise of the rain wasn't too bad, so going back to sleep wasn't difficult. Last year during our first trip to the Winds we encountered several storms but they were always short lived. This storm however was different, it rained for 27 hours straight. How the heck are we supposed to fish in the rain? We all stayed in out tents longer than usual but eventually we crawled out to eat breakfast. After our short breakfast the boys decided that fishing in the rain wasn't their bag and they decided to play some card games. My buddy and I decided to head down the basin to search for more Goldens. I left the camera back in the tent as I have had way too many close calls with it and with the constant relentless rain I wasn't going to take the risk.

    We slogged through many wet meadows and had to ford a few small streams on our trip down to the next four lakes. We stopped at the first lake below the one we are were camped at and threw some hardware at the fish. Nothing was caught as we fished slowly down the west side of the lake. Our visit to the next ended the same way--completely fishless. We had heard that there was a major fire on the Indian reservation so we were beginning to believe that the fires had done enough damage to the drainage to kill the fish. All the lakes we stopped by looked healthy and had plenty of insects to support fish. We continued fishing the western sides of the lakes and eventually made it to the last lake we wanted to check out.

    We skipped right by the third lake and headed for the inlet of the next. We were shocked to find a major mayfly hatch and no feeding fish. We were just stupefied at how dead this basin was and glad that what ever killed these lakes never made it passed False summit pass to the basin we just visited yesterday. We had lunch and threw every think we had at the lake just to make sure, but no fish here either! We headed back towards camp and slowly followed our soggy foot prints. The rain never let up, just a constant never-ending drizzle soaking us through our rain gear to the bone. I don't believe my feet have ever been that wet before!

    We made it back to camp around 4pm and began the arduous process of drying our boots next to the fire and started discussing our options for getting out. We new that we were not going to return to Dreams end or any of the lakes below so we decided to get up early the next morning and make our way back over the divide. We studied the maps once again and decided on our plan of attack. We had an early dinner and all of us retreated to our tents, Coltin and I played cards until we could no longer see what we were doing. Once the darkness came I fell asleep and slept quite well until I was rudely awaken by natures call around 5am and thankfully it had decided to stop raining--what a relief!

    The skies were cloudy and still looked like they wanted to dump more water on us! We had a quick breakfast and busted camp. We repacked our backpacks and shouldered them once again to head up the large drainage on the way to back to Angles pass. The hike up wasn't bad but I was really beginning to feel the last 20 miles. My feet and back hurt quite a bit, I didn't want to do anymore boulder hopping, but I new we had a few hundred to cross just to reach the pass.

    At the top of the pass I took a few pictures to remember the gateway to Dreams end.

    A look forward.

     A look back.

     Angel pass panoramic!

     Angel Pass.

     My boy and I.

     At the summit and looking at Spider lake.

     During lunch we had a feeling we were being watched and we were! By a Marmot!

     I just had to take this one, It was hard to believe we crossed this rotten pass!

     One last panoramic.

    We hiked for a few more miles and found a great camp site not to far from the trail but close to this beautiful waterfall on Pole creek.

     A few other shots.

     A phoenix is born?

     Pole creek star field.

     The  next morning we headed along the river and fished along the way, the Brook trout were ferocious, so we began referring to them as Pole creek piranha! No matter what you threw at them, they would converge on it like a pack of piranha. My son even had his first 60 plus fish day and it was nice to actually see that much excitement at catching fish. It's been a while! We fished for a couple hours until our desire to get home encouraged us to start our 9 mile trip back to the truck. We forded the last river crossing and just charged our way through the ups and downs until we made it back to the truck. The last four miles after leaving Photographers point were brutal and I felt every grain of sand and pebble as I traversed the trail. We eventually made it back to the truck and headed straight for a local restaurant; finally eating something that wasn't dehydrated. The mileage of this trip was very intense and was very difficult on my body. We didn't catch the monsters we expected but it was nice to actually catch the Golden trout that we after and as I am writing this I can't get over the desire to return as soon as I can!

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