Next Meeting:   January 15, 2014 

                 

Program:            Biking the Berlin Wall Trail in Germany and

                 Hiking in the Sachsische Schweiz National Park

                  By Chris and Margit Krato

 

 The Vulcan Trail Association

                 

 

 

Wind River Range by Mountain Man Lem

 Mountain Men and Women: Tom and Catherine, Tony, Ginny, Ken, Merideth, and Lem  

Early flight Saturday to Salt Lake City...all duffels with backpacks arrive
uneventfully (a good sign indeed)! Tom has scoped out an outfitter and
early arriving Tony is on the way back with the fuel (you can't carry on
the plane). In a flash, we're in two rental cars heading North thru desert
terrain, excited about our six day and five-night backpack.  Five hours later
we arrive in late afternoon in beautiful weather at 7895 alt at New Fork
Lake trailhead where we car camp at a nice NFS campground.  With tents
pitched and bags out, we head back into Pinedale, Wyo for dinner at the
local brew pub...cheers to all! I avoid the buffalo burger...some kind of
local favorite. 
 

Basically you're looking at two pack styles: the "go lighter's" and the
"pack mules"....my motto...I don't want to be COLD, HUNGRY, or SOBER (in
moderation of course)...  during my week in the high country so you can bet
there is a 20 pound differential between my pack weight and that of those
more "fleet of foot"...hey, life is all about about choices! Sunday with
maximum loads, we do 7+ miles into the Bridger-Teton Wilderness up New Fork
River canyon...high walls leading to a beautiful site in New Fork
Park...(another name for a meadow).  Sun showers...big fire...cigar, whiskey
drink and Snickers bar and man is life good! Monday we "die" with a 9+ mile
march over two passes at 10,400 alt and 10,920...how to say this....WE GET
SEPARATED with two of our group stopping short of our planned camp at Trail
Creek Park down sharply at 9,300 alt. Signs posted, darkness falls with no
sign...we are pretty worried.  Tuesday was our free day where we planned to
just day hike...instead; we did a "quick search" back up the trail where we
met another group who confirmed sighting our two the evening before "alive
and well.”  Figured they had just missed our signs and had gone on up the
Highline Trail a bit....back down and then up a mile or so...NOPE, no sign
again! We talk about splitting our remaining group but decide we'd better
stick to our plan...mental telepathy....surely they have backtracked and
will meet up with us at our first campsite on our way out.
 

Tuesday night a horse train / outfitters camp across creek from us...it is
raining...I am being ribbed about having an umbrella...cowboy comes
over...must be seven feet tall...just a 19 year old Texan with four city
slicker "touroids"...confirms grizzly bear sightings all the way down the
Winds...I so want to always be on the "top of " the food chain! Another
great fire and conjecture re our missing....Wednesday we are rested and
ready for our other two passes to Summit Lake at 10,300 and on thru the No
Name Lakes region where we catch the Doubletop Mtn trail over to Penny Lake
at 10,300...it rains most of the morning but by mid-afternoon camp it is
bright blue and everyone has all their stuff drying in the sun...plenty of
time for naps, sun showers, etc.  Clouds roll in over a beautiful moon and we
batten down the hatches. Rain begins about 2 am. 
 

Thursday brings a wet weather "bailout" and we begin what ends up being an
eleven mile day in an ever increasing downpour. A "Joyce Kilmer like"
descent below, believe it or not 2,000 foot granite walls with several
spectacular waterfalls from all the runoff and we're soon down Palmer
Canyon and back to New Fork Park...Praise the Lord, there are our two
missing looking fine...a real sight for sore eyes....we had planned to
continue down and camp one last night about four miles from the cars and the
beer...the rain is SO BAD and the mud / horse stuff mix so viscous that we
unanimously bail all the way back to the cars. Nobody minds the overpriced
hotel rooms in Pinedale....hot showers, back to the brewpub....we are
happy "thru hikers"!! It snows in the mountains that night. 
 

Friday we tour the Mountain Man Museum...a lot of fun...myths dispelled:
Bridger and the like wore wool clothing and not buckskin which was
considered "ghetto"....beards were not popular...Native peoples were really
looked down upon...Hawkin rifles were rare, etc.
 

In summary, we had quite a trip with a little bit of everything...easy
days, hard days, good and bad weather, plentiful wildlife ( moose, elk,
golden eagles)...we hated we got separated but "them's the breaks".  The
trip route plan and all travel details were perfect (Thanx Tom and
Catherine!).  A couple of "variables" sure, but the trip was a real
success...ready for next year's!!!!!!  -- Lem

Wind River Range: A View From The Rear Of The Pack By Merideth

In short, the trip to the Wind River Range exceeded my expectations.  Tom organizes and leads great trips.  Every detail received his personal and thorough attention.

It has been said that life is like a dog sled; if you are not the lead dog, the view never changes.  Well, I was at the rear of the pack the entire week in the Wind River Range, and I can tell you that the views from the rear of the pack were spectacular.  Post cards, photographs, or pictures in magazines can never do justice to the majestic views of the Rocky Mountains.

I do not hike with the speed and endurance that I once did.  The years and the inactivity and the cheeseburgers have taken their toll.  My drive to stay in tiptop shape has faded, but my love for the outdoors is as strong as ever.  So, I have become content to soak-in the wonder of nature from the rear of the pack.  On this trip, my trusted hiking companion was Ken.

On Sunday, Tom, Catherine, Lem, Ginny, Tony, Ken and I backpacked 7 miles to a campsite in New Fork Park.  The campsite is a lush meadow in a canyon with high, steep walls and the New Fork River running through it.  We shared the location with a family of Moose.  It is an absolutely gorgeous site.

On Monday, we all began our trek to Trail Creek Park.  This 12-mile day took us by several lakes, vistas and an 11,000-foot pass.  Due to some miscommunication and faulty map reading, Ken and I stopped and camped about a quarter of a mile from our intended destination.  The next day, thinking that we had missed a trail junction, Ken and I began backtracking and looking for the rest of our party.  Finally, we decided to hike the 12 miles back to Trail Creek Park and camp there for two nights and wait for the rest of our party.

On Thursday, the others showed up right on queue and we all hiked out together.  I realize that I must be getting old and hard of hearing.  As we were hiking out Lem exclaimed to me, “Windy, isn’t it?”  So I exclaimed back to Lem “No, it’s Thursday!”  To that Lem replied, “So am I.  Let’s go get a beer!”

 

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