IS­LAND LAKE, WY

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Squeeze the last of sum­mer on an epic back­pack­ing trip in the Wind River Range, where a menu of peaks, lakes, and cirques awaits.

There’s a rea­son hik­ers tend to talk about the Wind River Range in hushed tones. Be­tween its pin­na­cled peaks, high-rise cirques, and turquoise lakes, you just won’t find that many peo­ple. That doesn’t mean they don’t know about it, though. Iso­la­tion, long ap­proaches, and lack of na­tional park sta­tus are the area’s best pro­tec­tors, keep­ing it solidly on most back­pack­ers’ life lists—rather than in their photo al­bums. Change that this Septem­ber by stag­ing a mul­ti­day epic into the gran­ite won­der­land when the weather is rel­a­tively mild and the wilder­ness’s no­to­ri­ous ’skeeters have abated.

The best way in is via Is­land Lake (pic­tured), it­self a rough, 12-mile haul from Elkhart Park. From there, you’re right at the fanged mouth of Tit­comb Basin, in the heart of the Winds. Link the Pole Creek, Seneca Lake, and In­dian Pass Trails to get to the 140-acre tarn, then pitch your tent on an es­tab­lished spot on the south­west­ern shore of the pool, where tent­door views frame 13,745-foot Fre­mont Peak (back­ground) and the crest of the Winds. Next day, you could turn around af­ter a per­fectly ac­cept­able in­tro­duc­tion to the range, but we rec­om­mend ex­plor­ing the Tit­comb Basin Trail, which leads some 4 miles from camp into a glacier-bull­dozed cirque of gran­ite mas­sifs that’s sure to leave you speech­less. PER­MIT None CON­TACT www.fs.usda.gov/btnf

EMILY PO­LAR / TANDEMSTOCK.COM

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