Sunday, July 12, 2015

Wind River Range

The Forth Visit!

     My Son, a great friend, and I, began the planning of this trip on our way out of the Pole creek drainage last August. The last nine miles were tough but manageable, especially while thinking about coming back. Well, except the last few, as I was dragging myself to the truck. Nine miles without a break, will do that to a fella! Anyway, during our last trip we discussed the other trips that Ace in the Hole outfitters offered and he outlined a guided fishing trip, with provided meals and transportation to and from the lakes. This interested us greatly and a year later we meet with Ace, Cookie, and Hatchet at the trailhead. Ace, of course the Outfitter, Cookie is the cook and Hatchet is the horse wrangler. It was quite nice, just to bring a sleeping bag and fishing gear; everything else was provided! After some brief introductions we mounted the horses and began our twelve mile ride to base camp. I was sworn to secrecy, so I will not be give the names of any lakes or drainages. I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I did taking them!

     The view from base camp!

     On the way to our first lake.

     This is the first of many storm clouds that plagued us all week!

     Not sure the type of Lily this is, however they are everywhere in the Winds, so I refer to them as just the Wind River Lily! (Edit, a friend of mine pointed out that these are Columbines, good thing I'm a hiker, cause I would make a terrible Botanist).

     Another beautiful flower!

     The skies turn quickly up there!

     After a very brief but violent hail storm we headed back to the horses, it was only a few miles, but with views like this, it didn't seem very far.
     Our trail mascot, Shay! She is a mixed breed and very protective of the group. She would sit and watch over us everywhere we went, alert and always on watch.

     A sunset view from camp, it was also the last time we would see the sun until a couple miles before making it back to the truck, three days later!
     The next day, we checked out another drainage and did some more fishing!

     Let's ride! Coltin on Capitan.
     On the way back to camp, Cookie, was leading the way.
     A waterfall on the way to another lake, I had everyone go on ahead so I could take this, Hatchet was nice enough to stay with me. I'm sure the only reason for this was so I wouldn't kill myself trying to catch up on the horse.

     The next area we visited.

     Indian paintbrush.

     We all enjoyed taking pictures, just as much as the fishing!

     Death's Survivor, the struggle of life!
      Day three, fishing and three mile hike.

      Two of our camp visitors.

     It poured on us for four days, we had a few breaks here and there but we spent the whole week wet. Thankfully it stayed warm after the brief rain storms. During the week we had gourmet food cooked over a camp fire. Monday's dinner was 1/2 pound burgers with bacon and onions, Tuesday's was Beef Tetrazzini, Wednesday we had marinated beef tri tip, which was better than most restaurant's prime rib. Thursday we had pork tenderloin, and it was absolutely amazing! Each day for lunch we had sandwiches on artisan breads, fresh fruit, and a snack. The breakfasts were French toast and sausage, Pancakes, bacon and eggs, Eggs benedict, and the last day an egg scrabble. I have never eaten that well in the backcountry. None of it came out of a bag!
     Friday, after breakfast we broke camp and rode the twelve miles out in a heavy down pour, we were all wet from head to toe, rain gear only works in rain and not crossing swollen rivers and streams that reach the chest of your horse. Even the guides have never seen that much water! We made it to the trucks after a five hour plus horse ride and rung ourselves out. We said our goodbyes and headed for Rock Springs, Wyoming, to get a hotel and take a well deserved shower. Normally we would be screaming down the road from the trailhead in search of real food, but in this case that wasn't necessary as we ate like kings! I had taken seven days off, so we still had two days left of our well deserved vacation and my buddy owns a bass boat, so we headed for Flaming Gorge Reservoir to do some additional fishing.

     While fishing we saw an Osprey in a nest, if you look closely you can see the chick!

     The Gorge's iconic bridge.

     At the back of a cove we encountered some very aggressive small mouth bass, the little ones hung around in little packs and would attack anything thrown in their vicinity, this little one stuck my a lure, which was much larger than it. It was released safely back to the depths to grow a little bigger.

Here are a couple of large rainbow trout we caught in the same area as the little one above. These large trout grow large eating those little bass!

     A great way to spend a week! The boat ride out was interesting, 60 miles an hour on water is fast, especially during a rain storm, It appears the rain had it out for us this week. What a week, 40 miles on horse back, 10 miles or more on foot, and 20 plus on a bass boat! What a vacation!

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