Advice Sought on ten day Wind River Range or Teton/Washakie Wilderness
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Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Advice Sought on ten day Wind River Range or Teton/Washakie Wilderness on 03/28/2013 09:56:15 MDT Print View

My plans keep changing but right now it looks like I will have some free time the first two weeks of August for a serious 10-12 day trip in Wyoming. I've looked over topo maps, pictures and google earth so I have a basic idea what different areas have to offer.

Option 1 - Hike down the Wind River Range using partly the CDT and partly cross country hiking.

Option 2. Big loop through through Teton/Washakie Wilderness areas. Possibly going south along Yellowstone Lake and linking upper Therofare River and upper Yellowstone River Valleys with some cross country travel up on the plateaus.

I'm interested in hearing from people who've been there about a couple questions

1. What would conditions be like in August? Will there still be some snow and moisture up high or will things be all dried up?

2. Bugs, I keep hearing they are bad. Would I survive okay in my MLD bivy (I hike most of the day) or would you recommend a tarptent.

3. I want to avoid popular over used places. Right now the plan is to go remote, minimize time on popular trails, and go cross country wherever possible.

Any suggestions would be welcome. There are so many good options I'm just trying to narrow things down a bit.

Edit - I'd be interested in avoiding any trails that are popular with horse groups.

Edited by Cameron on 03/28/2013 10:36:08 MDT.

Ben Wortman
(bwortman) - M

Locale: Nebraska
Winds on 03/28/2013 12:44:50 MDT Print View

I can only give a few thoughts on the winds. When I have been there (3rd week of August) the bugs were not too much of an issue at all. In a normal snow year, I only found snow on the lee side of ridges where it piles up all winter. (there was a good sized snowdrift at the top of the east side of Knapsack Col)

I have not been to the tetons for comparison.

If I had 10 days I would hike the winds from north to south.

Ben

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Ben on 03/28/2013 13:01:37 MDT Print View

Thanks a lot Ben. I saw Reynold's virtual tour of a Wind river trip that started on the Northeast side and worked its way cross country to the Elkhart Park area. I saw that and thought maybe instead of leaving there I could just follow the CDT north to the Green River Lakes and go cross country across some of those ridges to my original starting point.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Animals in Teton on 03/28/2013 16:30:35 MDT Print View

Well I spent a lot of time on google earth and playing with maps today. It really seems to boil down to this. Winds win for scenery. Teton Wilderness is better if I want to see more big game. The Winds look very appealing but I don't get to hike with wolves and grizzlies that often so the chance to see more critters is a big factor.

How good is the wildlife viewing in the Teton Wilderness? I hear there are lots of bears and wolves but no one seems to see them in the trip reports I've read through.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Teton Wilderness on 03/29/2013 12:36:25 MDT Print View

Luke, I'm not hugely familiar with the Teton Wilderness, but will say what I can.

The lower areas (still 7-9k) are remarkably gentle. Big vallys, rolling passes, thick forests alternating with big meadows. Great griz terrain. I've never been in the summer, but off-season it is easy to see that the main trails get a massive amount of horse use. Other trails, like the south boundary in Yellowstone between the Thorofare and road, get little use. The high plateaus probably see little traffic outside elk season, and often have easy walking on tundra. A route which sticks to those areas would probably give you wildlife and few people.

Forrest McCarthy would be the person to ask, but he's skiing in Mongolia at the moment.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re re Teton Wilderness on 03/29/2013 13:33:14 MDT Print View

Thanks for trying David. I liked your trip report on that area but since I wont' be skiing things will be different.

I've had relatively little trouble finding resources on the Winds. The Teton Wilderness is much more obscure. No Trails Illustrated maps, no guidebooks in print and very few trip reports. I'm guessing that means the area sees relatively few hikers. I'm pretty sure I can avoid the worst of the horse packer crowd by avoiding certain trails and going cross country as much as possible.

Glad you mentioned thick forests. I like cross country but not through dense woods (especially full of bears). I'll keep most of my cross country hiking up high.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Teton Wilderness on 03/29/2013 14:42:59 MDT Print View

Stay on trails below 9k or so and you should be all set.

Andrew Wolff
(Andrew)

Locale: Chattanooga
Winds on 04/03/2013 19:50:06 MDT Print View

Luke, I did a Wind River trip 3 years ago in late August Early September. No bugs to speak of and very little snow, that will vary depending on the winter of course and that was a dry year, but I'm under the impression that mostly by August its pretty decent around there. I went in at Elkart Park, up over Knapsack Col and then on down to the Cirque and out at Big Sandy hitting lots of other stuff along the way. I did some time on the Highline/CDT and quite a bit of cross country. The trip report is here in the index. Took me nine days and I didn't see many people, just camp away from the handfull of hotspots.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Winds on 04/03/2013 23:12:24 MDT Print View

Thanks Andrew, I'll check out that trip report. Right now it looks like I'll be doing something around YNP/Teton Wilderness with a quick trip to the Winds at the end if everything goes smoothly.