Monday, July 23, 2012

The mountains call

Peak Lake Basin in the northern Winds - high and wild
The Wind River Mountains! It’s that time of year again, poring over a topographic map of the northern Winds. Seeing the trail (Elkhart-Seneca-Indian Pass) going up up up through forests and across meadows and on the second day out of the forest into mostly open sub-alpine terrain (below photo, right) with lakes, glacier-scoured granite domes, groves of pine trees and on the third day, into the alpine (like in the above photo, left) where it’s all rock and tundra, ice and snow and water. Still going up and on the fourth day, if the weather is clear and my strength is good, leaving most gear behind and climbing Freemont Peak (13,745). The next day is off-trail over Indian Pass at ~12,000 feet and down Knife Point Glacier. I’ll set up a base camp for a few days and wander in the rock, ice, snow at the terminuses of this and other glaciers.

Then back over Indian Pass, down Indian Basin, past Island Lake back into the sub-alpine, where maybe I’ll sit for a day before walking out. The photo at right (below) is where I camped my second night in 2011 – I regretted not walking at least up to that little rise in the right center of the photo, maybe back there for a place to sit. I may spend one more night at the edge of one of the huge meadows they call “parks” up here, then out and it’s time for a cheeseburger and fries at the Wind River Brewery and a hot shower, sleep, and start home. Total 10-12 days on the trail, about 50 miles.
Sub-alpine area campsite along the Seneca Lake Trail

It’s unclear exactly when this will happen as the work on the hail damage at our house continues. It isn’t all that important when, except I need to be out of the mountains by mid to late September because of the snow.

House repairs drag on. Even though we seem to have a good guy in charge of the various subcontracting crews, it’s been stressful, but we’ve hung in there, mutually supportive. All this is against a background of how lucky we are (no tornado, no fire, no flood). Anyway, it’s far more pleasant studying the map, looking at photos, planning what I’ll eat, and so on.

I had to clear out the attic (with some help from Ron the construction superintendent) so all the insulation can be removed and new insulation put it. Leslie and I went through some Christmas decos and I ended up with more lights for the welcome lights on the arbor at the front sidewalk. I put them up today and this evening walked out to look at the lights and the fragrance of the four o’clocks was intense. Nice.

Campsite in southern Titcomb Basin
It looks like I’ll celebrate my 68th birthday somewhere high in the alpine. My 65th was deep in the northern end of the incomparable Titcomb Basin “… a sight that will haunt you forevermore” (The World’s Great Adventure Treks) ”… dark and foreboding, almost like something out of the Lord of the Rings” (Dorf’s Winds, 2006). What a birthday that was, at the end of an epic journey! 

"The mountains call and I must go" (John Muir). 

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