As my first time leading a trip since last October when I was injured, I decided to do something easy, just in case. I had been spending a lot of time in the Indian Peaks Wilderness hiking up to the beautiful lakes, so Blue Lake had made its way to my list.
The trail starts at the Mitchell Lake Trailhead, and hikes up past Mitchell Lake, then arrives at higher alpine swamps. I had never been past Mitchell Lake.
What we had not expected was the beautiful Lady moose munching at the grass in the swamp a few hundred feet off trail.
She was not a fan on the dogs, and started to charge, so we hurried on up the trail.
Blue lake was definitely blue, and had a lovely view of Mt. Toll looming above. It was gorgeous!
After relaxing in the warm sun for a while, we hiked back to the cars, no injuries, and my knee felt great. I was especially pleased that it went smoothly.
We got up early and decided that we would drive another hour and a half north to go to Teton National Park as tourists. I had been wanting to go for years, and just had never made it up there. Rather than describe every little detail about how beautiful the park was, I’m just going to show some pictures. Then explain that we got home super late because our tire decided to go flat on a dirt road outside of Fort Collins. It was tiring. (heh, heh,heh).
Here are some Pretty Pictures!
I absolutely cannot wait to go back and backpack/climb in that national park. Those mountains are spectacular.
I like the idea of waking up to watch a sunrise, but sometimes the act of getting out of my sleeping bag, just doesn’t appeal to me, especially on a chilly morning. Greg on the other hand, forced me out of my sleeping bag, and after I was up and moving, I was glad we had watched the sunrise.
We packed up camp after breakfast and made our way back to the dirt road. The day had come for the eclipse and we wanted to make sure that we had a good view, so we intended on hiking up to Union Pass.
We stopped short of the pass, and sat down to eat lunch, while watching through our eclipse glasses.
Now, as I had mentioned before, I have never seen an eclipse, but this absolutely blew my mind!
The landscape got cold and dark, like it was after sunset, and you could see the stars around 11:35AM.
We don’t have a fancy camera, but this was such a cool natural event. I was glad Greg had insisted that we go, totality lasted about 2.5 mins.
Once the eclipse had ended, we had to make our way the last 3 or so miles back to the truck. It was rather steep going down, and my knee wasn’t so happy with it. I had to hike then take a break, then continue down more, and take a break. Jessie had also managed to acquire a raw spot on her foot, so we packed that with gauze and taped it. You would have thought the world ended.
She refused to put weight on it for a while, but eventually decided to walk.
Walking back to the truck looked so much closer than it actually was, but we took a beer break at the edge of the creek when we arrived.
We packed everything back in the truck, and drove back down the gnarly 4WD road, and camped in the Shoshone National forest. We spent the evening, enjoying a nice warm fire, some beer, and a decent dinner. It was a great end to a backpacking trip, and my first full solar eclipse. I am so glad we went, next one is in 2024 in Vermont…here I go!
I love waking up in the backcountry. No cars, no people– just wind, water, and wildlife. The air was cool, but hot oatmeal and coffee made for a wonderful breakfast. We packed everything back up, and studied the map…today was a day filled with bushwhacking.
We made our way down to Dollar Lake, followed by Deep Lake, then to Granite Lake. It was undulating terrain, with no trails– so we had to work our way around the lakes. I had been worried that my knee would end up hurting really bad, but it ended up just being tired, which is amazing!
I was amazed at how quiet it was back at these lakes, we had seen maybe two fly fisherman earlier in our hike, but no one else.
The closer we got to Granite Lake, we began to see Fishman, and the beginnings of a trail. Jessie had been free, but she was put back on leash.
The map showed an older dirt trail right down to the water, but it took a few minutes and running into two rangers to find it. After looking at the landscape around the edge of the lake, we realized it was mainly cliff’s, and decided to take the dirt road up to Marion Lake.
There was a trail that spurs off of the road and hikes down between Marion Lake, to Peat Lake, and Dyke Lake. Our first thought was Marion Lake, until we realized just how windy it was there.
We continued to make our way over near Dyke Lake, and found a perfect campsite, sheltered from the wind, where we could have a small campfire.
By this time it was later in the evening, and we were hungry. We set up camp, then wandered to an area that overlooked Dyke Lake.
After Dinner, we enjoyed our small fire, with a mug of wine, then crawled into our sleeping bags. It had been a very long day, with rough terrain…and I definitely went more than 1K elevation gain…BUT it was entirely worth it.
I have seen partial solar eclipses, lunar eclipses, and meteor showers, but the total solar eclipse was new to me. The point of totality(point where it was fully covered), happened to be right over the Wind River Range in Wyoming, one of my most favorites places in the world.
Human and I decided to take 4-5 days and backpack to watch the eclipse in the middle of the Winds. There were a few rules however; no more than 1K gain a day, less than 6 miles a day, and less than 20 lbs in my pack. These were all doable, so we decided to backpack down to Horseshoe Lake for the first night, then over to Dollar Lake, Deep Lake, Granite Lake, then past Marion lake, to camp over Dyke Lake. Then on the last day we’d view the eclipse from Near Union Pass, then hike back to the truck and find a campsite for the night. It was going to be a blast!
Rather than battle the traffic on i25 north, we decided to go to bed early, then get on the road at like 2AM- and start driving north. We were mostly able to stay awake, until we hit Split Rock, right outside of Rawlins. The sun wasn’t up yet, but it was rising– so we walked the dog, and took an hour long nap.
After we woke up from our nap, we continued on to Dubois, WY which apparently has the largest collection of Jackalope items.
We wandered our way up a gnarly 4WD road to Flat Lake, where we decided to park, and work our way down the hill to Horseshoe lake.
After we got beneath the lake, Jessie got free reign, and was able to be a wild dog and run around. The first camp was not far, and we set up our camp along the shore of Horseshoe Lake.
I had been hoping to see moose, but all I got was the lousy elk/ deer wading through the water at sunset. It was just ugly.
We relaxed after dinner, drank some wine, and watched the sun set. I also managed to drop my phone into rapid in the creek flowing into the lake. It was gone. I looked 3-4 times at different times of day, but it was gone. I lost quite a few nice photos, but it could be worse.
We hung up our food, and stared up at the carpet of stars before retiring to our tent for the evening. It was a great first day!
This week I was cleared to do up to 800 vertical feet and 5 miles, so I chose Silver Dollar Lakes. The only downside was we had to get up a 3AM, in order to be hiking by 6, so I could get to work on time at 1… yeah… I planned it that well.
We arrived the only car at the trailhead just as the sun peaked from behind the hills, and slowly started up the trail with our dog in tow.
There were some clouds in the sky, but very little wind which made for a very pleasant hike. I had been worried that my knee wouldn’t feel any better, but with the knee brace it made such a difference!
It’s rare on a Saturday that you get the trail entirely to your selves, but we got so lucky, and relaxed at the lake for a bit, then headed back down the trail. That’s when we saw people, on the way down. I made my way slowly down the trail, trekking poles in hand, carefully choosing my steps.
The wildflowers were so beautiful, a bit past the normal season, but we got lucky! It was such a great hike, though my leg was sore after. It baffles me how weak my legs have become over the last month and change, but it’s time to start building up strength!