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The Best Hikes in Bridger Wilderness

16 Triplog Reviews in the Bridger Wilderness
Most recent of 3 deeper Triplog Reviews
7.5 mi • 200 ft aeg
We had grand ideas for this day. Plan A, Mitchell Peak, which was blown when I awoke at 530 to the sound of rain. Then plan B, a trip back to the Cirque to Lonesome Lake was aborted due to a wall of rain coming at us. We ended up retreating under the community tarp. After about 45 minutes under the tarp Joel and I decided to bail. Why coward under a tarp when we could hike out a day early and go back to Jackson. With an extra day we could go explore the Teton's which were waiting for us!

We packed up our gear in record time in pouring rain. Then we proceeded to hike out the way we came in. The rain finally stopped after about 1.5 miles. Then we started to encounter the flocks of humans flooding into the area for Labor Day weekend. I was surprised by how many people were on the trail. This is Wyoming! There is barely a half of million people in the whole state! Then my other surprise was the number of people carrying bear spray. We weren't in a grizzly bear area, so what's the big deal? We just spent nearly a week in the area and didn't even seem pile of bear poop...

Anyway, we made it out and then headed into Jackson. Thanks to the iPhone and Travelocity we got a huge suite on Labor Day weekend in touristy Jackson Hole to dry out all our gear before repacking it. Next up a visit to Teton National Park!
10 mi • 3,000 ft aeg
East Temple Peak
After the day before's awesome off trail adventure, Scott had to up the ante. Our epic adventure for Thursday was to climb East Temple Peak. We hiked about 10 miles with 3000 feet accumulated elevation gain.

We awoke to a cloudy yet not windy day. After breakfast, we climbed up and over the ridge between Black Joe and Clear Lakes. There was a well beat in path off the main trail.

The reflections off the lake were stunning. It actually seemed at one point that all 11 of us had nothing to say. We were speechless from the views.

We continued past the lake and went up slick rock to a view point near Deep Lake. The view point back towards Clear Lake was of the Peaks of the Cirque. It was incredible to see them from this vantage point. They seemed to be packed into such a small area which was unlike what it seemed when we were in the Cirque ourselves. We took a nice long break soaking in the views.

On the far side of Deep Lake rose East Temple Peak. It is a ramp that juts out into space. It seemed a long ways up to the peak from where we sat.

We continued past Deep Lake up to a route above Temple Lake instead of taking Little Sandy Lake trail which goes down to the lake. We had great views of Temple Peak which rose high above us. You could see the glacier on the North Face that fed Temple Lake.

We more or less contoured high slightly at an angle until we reached a boulder field, from there we hopped across and picked up the Little Sandy trail up to the saddle. It was a very steep sandy trail. The saddle was mostly a boulder field. A little Marmot heralded our arrival at the saddle while the Pica joined in short chorus of high pitched chirps.

We then began our assault on the ramp up to East Temple Peak. We ended up in yet another boulder field. The ramp itself is almost a mile long to the peak. I told Joel to pace himself. Someone thought they saw the top and they took off really fast and Joel and another followed. It was just a false summit. We continued up and found yet another false summit. Finally hopping over the boulders we reached the peak. This peak has the appearance of being very scary. You can easy lean over the edge and cause yourself a heart attack because of the long drop off. The views from the peak were outstanding. You could see peaks in practically every direction. Weather moved in and it started to rain. This caused the pictures to not be as good as they could have been. We put on our rain gear and started to descend the ramp.

Ironically, we found a route down that avoided a lot of the boulder field. Note to self, next time stay to the left on the way up!

By the time we hit the saddle the rain had left us so we headed over to a small glacier/snowpack to play. I managed to get in some minor glissading before we had to leave.

Then down the steep slope we went. It wasn't as bad as I had anticipated. Soon, we were crossing the boulder field to catch our route out to Deep Lake.

We took a nice long break at the shore of Deep Lake. After our break we were all tired from our adventure so we didn't pause much on the way back to camp.

Joel stopped for a pit stop and he scared up a moose. We were all jealous when he arrived back to camp and told us about it.

We filtered some water and did some laundry before dinner. During dinner we started to talk about food. You could tell that four days of trail food was starting to make us desire what we could not have. I do have to say that my choices of homestyle food is a lot better than Mountain House :)

Sunset was really nice since there were several clouds. After sunset we slowly crawled into our tents looking forward to an easy day in the morning. We planned to explore the Clear Lake area. There was another dam thing to check out. Plus we'll try stalking moose!
7.5 mi • 1,000 ft aeg
We hiked from Big Sandy Trailhead to Black Joe Lake in the Wind River Range in Wyoming. In a way it's a homecoming because I grew up in Wyoming. However, I've never backpacked in the Winds before. My family were hunters and fishers rather than hikers. While we spent a lot of time outdoors it wasn't like I do now.

Our total hike in hike it was about 7.5 miles with about 1000 feet of elevation gain. It was a fairly easy hike except for the fact that we were at about 10,000 feet.

The first six miles of the hike was along Big Sandy Creek. It was mostly forested with a few meadows that gave glimpses of what was to be seen up ahead.

I spent some of my time catching up with a friend who is currently living in Denver but will probably be moving back to Arizona. The rest of the time I took photos and enjoyed the views.

Surprisingly there were a lot of squirrels out and about. They were collecting their pine cones at a very fast pace. It reminded me that in the mountains of Wyoming it really was already turning to fall. It also reminded me that weather in the mountain here can change suddenly and it wouldn't be unusual for it to snow.

There has been a drought so most of the grasses are already yellow. Many of the trees had some color change as well. The creeks and lakes seemed to have plenty of water from run off.

When we got to Big Sandy Lake the views changed dramatically. We were greeted by the high peaks of the Continental Divide. There is something special about lakes and peaks all in the same frame! I was in photography heaven. We took a nice break at the edge of the lake and then continued around it to where Black Joe Creek ran into Big Sandy. Then we headed off uphill to reach Black Joe Lake.

The majority of the elevation was gained in the last mile of the hike. We finally got to the lake and then claimed a spot that would be our home for the next seven days. We set up our tents approximately 200 feet from both Lake land trail as required.

After setting up camp Joel and I explored along the south side of Black Joe Lake. Before we left we were warned that the route was nasty. I responded with a flippant, 'I like nasty!' and off we went! There was several rockslides that made traveling very slow. We had to climb up and over boulders piled on top of boulders. The views were quite outstanding. We only went about two thirds of the length of the lake before we turned back. We didn't need a big adventure to round out our day.

I went and checked out the drainage of the lake where it becomes a creek. There was a man made structure set up to control the water leaving the lake. It was in ruins now but it was easy to make out that it had not been a complete dam.

In that area it was quite rocky and one of my favorite high altitude animals makes it home in rocky areas like that. I was happy to see the little picas running about shyly. These picas were not as skittish as I'm used to seeing them. So I had a great Pica Photoshoot!

We had a few sprinkles of rain around dinner time. However, we didn't have to make use of the tarp that we had set up. We enjoyed our dinner of Parma Rosa Tuna while discussing our plans for the next day. We're going to go big and visit the Cirque of the Towers!

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