Monday, April 21, 2014

Wind Rivers - Big Sandy 2013

I’m a little late on posting a TR (Trip Report) from last year’s trip.  There were only three of us that made this year, Trav flew in from Arizona and Wade and I from Utah.  This would be our mix bag of weather trip to the Winds.  As usual, the Big Sandy Trailhead was packed with cars.  The weather was warm for 10AM in the morning, that changed as we made our way to the Big Sandy lake opening.  As we were coming up to the lake it started raining, the rain quickly changed to hail with a steady downpour.  We waited it out for 15 minutes and were on our way to camp.  We had about two hours before dark.  Once camp was setup we took off to catch a few Wind River cuts.  No more than 5 minutes out of camp, we had another rain storm set in.  It started off as a light drizzle, then turned into a downpour.  20 minutes later, that storm clear for a great evening with no mosquitos.
Over the course of the next three days, we experienced the same thing.  We would have 15-20 minute downpours then sunny weather, we a few lightning storms.  The jagged granite peaks seem to throw the thunder booms around, making it sound worst then it is.  We spent a lot of time up around Deep and Temple lakes.  The place was covered with climbers, almost ever granite peak we looked at, you could spot a climber.  The fishing wasn’t bad for early fall, we pulled fish out of every lake.  Lots of small brookies, that’s expected in the Big Sandy drainage.

Enjoy the pic’s from the trip.

Big Sandy - Clear Lake - Big Sandy  - Miller Lake - Rapid Lake - Temple Lake - Cirque of the Towers - Fly Fishing - Back Packing - Southern Winds

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Titcomb Basin - Wind River Range 2012

The planning for our Wind River trips always starts in January.  The group email is sent out asking for ideas where everybody would like to go.  Only a handful reply back on where they would like to go.  This year we only had 4 people chime in.  Titcomb Basin was topping the list of places the group would like to see.   Over the past 5 year the group gets smaller and smaller.  As summer was closing in, we only had 4 of us going.  Then work plans and office issues interfered with two more of the group.  It was looking like it would just be Wade and Myself.

Then Wade was informed by his family that there would be a wedding the main weekend we were heading in.  He was still planned on the 11 mile hike in, spending the next day hiking to Titcomb Basin then hiking out the next morning.  I was contacted by Boyd in June that he and Jer were in.  I would drive in with Wade and hike out Sunday with the other two.

Body and Jer would be heading in from Salt Lake and Wade and I from Logan.  We managed to make Photographers Point by noon,  We dropped the packs, ate lunch and snapped a few photos.  After a 35 minute break we were off.  The hike from Eklund to Seneca Lake kicked our BUTTS!  It was hot, the trail was pounded into a fine dust from all the foot traffic.  We made Seneca lake just before dark, I don't even remember how long it took us to get in.  It was by far the most time I have ever spent hiking on a trail.

Photographers Point

One of the guys in our group had blisters so bad he stayed in camp the next day and enjoyed Seneca Lake and his hammock while we headed up the trail to Titcomb Basin.

Little Seneca Lake

Little Seneca Panorama

The hike from Seneca Lake over to Island Lake wasn't all that bad.  With just small day packs and no weight on our backs, we made good time.  The hike from Seneca Lake to Island has a few ups and a few downs.  There just big enough to make the hike with a big pack a bear.  At one of the big trail junctions coming from the Cooks Lakes we ran into people from all over the US.  It was fun chitchatting with all these people.  The sight of Island Lake, standing in the last saddle was amazing.  It's by far one of the most picturesque places in the Winds.

Island Lake

We took our time hiking over to Titcomb Basin.  As we hiked the south end of Island Lake we decided to hike over to Titcomb Creek and follow that up to Titcomb Basin.

Island Lake looking west

By the time we made it to the edge of Titcomb Basin, the storm clouds started piling up against the jagged peaks.  It looked as if we might be in for a storm.  We stopped long enough to eat lunch, snap a few photos and fish for the elusive Golden Trout.   Wade was able to hook into his first ever Golden, but he was unable to land it.  Boyd was able to land his first Golden Trout on this day hike.  Due to the storm clouds we didn't have a chance to fish many of the lakes.  At a later date I will post the fishing photos, I don't have those photos with me right now.  The size of the fish we caught were small, nothing over 12".

As we started the steep climb out of Island Lake the clouds really started to bunch up.  We were lucky enough to only get sprinkled on once.  Back at Seneca lake we had large storm clouds west of us and east of us, they split right over us giving us nice cool temps and no ran.  The worst of the storms were east of camp, the poor people camping at Island Lake, Titcomb and Indian Basin sure got a scare.  The sky lite up for the next hour and a half over that way.

Storm west of camp

Lightning west of camp

Evening glow

Lightning east of camp

While we were enjoying the evening glow and the low rumbles of thunder we discuses hiking out in the morning.  With Wade needed to make it to his Sisters wedding and one of the other guys wanting to get out of there, we decided to all leave in the morning.  Talk about a long hike for such a short trip.  At some point I will be going back.  I want to hike Fremont Peak and fish a few more lakes in the area.  2013 isn't looking to good for a long backpacking trip.  Maybe 2014 will be my year.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Wind River Gold Rush is on!

After find gold in the Wind River lakes and streams in July we knew we had to go back.  In August Justin, Travis and myself loaded up my wife’s car and were off in search of the elusive Golden Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita).  The lakes we were after consisted of some serous off trail hiking.  After hiking 5 miles of dead fall, filled with elk herds and bear droppings we busted out of the thick pine forest to a small opening to the lake we would call home for the next four days.  That evening we fished camp lake, like most lakes in the Wind Rivers, all we caught were stunted brook trout.

Here are a few evening shots of the inlet above camp lake.

Evening camp

We had 3 day hikes planned on this trip, the first day ended up being our biggest hike of the trip.  We logged 11.4 miles on our boots looking for golden trout in the wind river lakes and streams.   We found new lakes that had golden trout in them, I had a small arsenal of flies that the goldens love.  The only problem with golden trout, they are by far the hardest trout I’ve ever fished.   Luck was not on my side this morning.  Travis and Justin threw out every spinner they had, with no luck.  Things were looking grim for us, it didn't help the winds were howling at a steady pace all day!

We had one last lake to fish before heading off the mountain, most of the streams we fished on the way up held no fish.  But that soon changed, as we turned up the inlet from our last lake we started catching golden trout.  Most were small goldens, that didn't matter to us, we were catching them.

I was going for a small golden trout at the upper inlet of the last lake we fished when I noticed a big flash.  Whatever it was, it sure didn't want my fly.  I dropped a copper john off of my dry fly, on my second pass where I saw the flash....FISH ON!   And this was one big fish.  I have no idea how I managed to keep this monster golden from snapping my line, thanks to the help of Travis and Justin I was able to pull the beast out.

That wouldn't be the last one that evening.  I pull another one out that had been beaten by the boulders in this small creek.  We ended up eating this one, this was by far the best trout I've ever eaten.  We cooked it over the fire with no butter, spices and no tinfoil.  When you can eat fresh trout with nothing on it you know your eating a tasty fish.

After day two in the Wind Rivers hiking for Golden Trout we ended up not making it back to those lakes.  We had no energy to hike the passes again.  We decided to head south into another small drainage to see what it held.  That was the end to our golden trout, all we caught the rest of the trip were small brookies.  Well, we did find one lake with some bigger, stunted brookies.