Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Back For More

It had been almost two years to the date of my last exploration of the Winds and I knew all too well it was time for another trip. As usual I searched through backpacking destinations around the US but found myself drawn back to a place that I have grown particularly fond of over the past several years. It's a place of no roads, a place of no crowds, a place of freedom. You won't find tour buses unloading people at the trailheads here. You won't find traffic backed up for miles. You won't find rangers issuing permits. One word describes the Winds for me and it is freedom. Freedom to explore, freedom to mold a trip as you go, freedom to experience nature at its finest. And the Winds offer the best of it! With the snow levels seemingly too high to attempt a cross of the CD we decided to fall back to a familiar option. We headed out on our first day and made it to Seneca lake by 1pm. We always enjoy setting up camp early, then fishing and exploring the area before nightfall, so reaching our destination early is always a plus! Surprisingly at Seneca lake we found willing rainbow trout scattered throughout the deep waters. As always rainbows put on quite an aerial display once hooked! Makes for some fun fishing! Our next day would take us to Island lake, which we bypassed for more solitude in Titcomb basin. Over the years I have grown particularly fond of Island Lake. Something about the peaks along the CD that loom in the background. The lake is incredibly scenic and one I would recommend to any hiker. I had been to the Island lake/Titcomb area twice before, but each time I have been able to explore new terrain. This year we climbed the massive snowfield to what would be a mostly frozen over Mistake Lake. Titcomb basin was as beautiful as always. So many pictures you bring back from the Winds cant capture how vast and incredible the views really are, but some pictures of Titcomb basin are able to given the outside viewer a small sliver of what the Winds have to offer! From Titcomb we followed the outlet of Island lake down to Fremont crossing and then cut across to the Jean lakes. This was new territory for me and boy did I enjoy it! We settled at a campsite at Lower Jean Lakes that was unbelievable. 360 degree mountain views with a pristine lake sitting some 60 feet below us. I don't recall ever seeing anyone pass by our campsite even. Total solitude. The next day we would climb even higher over snowfield after snowfield to Upper Jean lake, the unnamed lake above that, and the finally down into the Elbow lake. It was an incredibly scenic hike, but one that took us much longer than expected fighting through all the snow. Back at Elbow lake we saw two other people the entire day. One stopping because of a storm, the other just passing through. It was like a piece of the wilderness was cutout just for us! Or perhaps everyone was deterred by the storms. The next day we headed back to Seneca lake via the highline trail and then hiked out the following morning. It was an awesome trip! Fish were caught! New sites were seen! Snow was trekked through! And I somehow failed to mention in my report it rained almost every single day, accompanied with hail on occasion! When I stepped out of the wilderness I was ready to give my feet a rest, but I also was eager to begin planning my next trip back! Hopefully that will be sooner rather than later! Til next time


Beautiful Morning

Looks like we are in for some rain today!

From our campsite 

A morning cloud rest upon the mountain

Looking down through many of the snowfields

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