At the end of September last year, Greg “Malto” Gressel and I spent the best part of a week hiking in Wyoming’s Wind River Range. The relatively late start date was due to an unavoidable work commitment. Well aware that our seasonally tardy beginning may result in some less than idyllic weather, we had a couple of alternate route plans in place, just in case Mother Nature decided to really turn it on.
Our original idea was to take Andy Skurka’s Route from the Bruce Bridge Trailhead to Jackass Pass, and then more or less combine it with the Dixon/Wilson route through to the Green River Lakes Trailhead.
To cut a long story short, weather-wise things didn’t turn out as we hoped. Indeed, the not unexpected storm front rolled through a mere three hours after we started. By the time we had ascended to Chimney Rock later in the day, we were hiking in driving wind and snow, and visibility was next to nothing. In those conditions, going over the adjacent Wind River Peak and downclimbing the challenging West Gully was not advisable, so we made the no-brainer decision to go with Plan B, which was to descend to Little Sandy Creek, via Tayo and Coon lakes.
By the time we reached Little Sandy on the second morning, the storm continued to rage unabated. As we trudged along the snow-lined watercourse, the idea of a short detour from our alternate route to enjoy the warmth and comfort of Big Sandy Lodge, seemed increasingly appealing. So that’s what we did, and it turned out to be a pretty good decision – both meteorologically and culinarily speaking.
The following morning we awoke to blue skies, dry gear thanks to a wood-burning stove in our cabin, and a sumo-sized breakfast at the lodge. We then pressed reset on our Wind River Range hike, and proceeded to head north on the Dixon/Wilson for the next four days to the Green Lakes Trailhead.
Time: 6 days
Distance: 120 miles (approx.) / 193 km.
Start: Bruce Bridge Trailhead (short drive from Lander)
Finish: Green River Lakes Trailhead
Highlights: Safely negotiating the two day snow storm at the beginning of the trip; Golden and Alpine Lakes; Titcomb basin, and; revisiting the Winds again for the first time since my CDT hike of 2012.
For all the lowdown on ins and outs of the Dixon/Wilson route, see “Adventure Alan’s” comprehensive WRHR guide, which includes maps, trekking notes and GPS information. As for Malto and my hike through the Winds, after that introductory summary, I think I’ll say the rest in pictures: