EIGHT STATE LOOP 2X
Up early again, I went back into Jackson for breakfast. Returning north, I stopped at the visitor center and checked on my hike. Some morning views from a vista point. It was to Lupine Meadows TH and the trail up to Amphitheater Lake. Many hikers were doing this popular trail. It is a route for the climb of the Grand Teton, and I was to see many climbers, with ropes, snow gear, and helmets.
Arriving to the lake after 3.5 hours of hiking up, I began to do my panoramas. I had seen a view of an adjacent canyon as I checked a backpackers camp. It was a sight, and I made sure I got my photos. I also photographed Surprise Lake, then took the Garnet Canyon Trail up about 10-15 minutes to get another great view.
Many hikers and climbers were still headed up, as I hiked back down, with more views of the valley and lakes below. I had another easy drive to do when I got back. I stopped at Teton Glacier roadside view, then took a quick walk in the main part of Jackson. Then, it was out of town, and along U.S. 189/191 to Daniel Junction, and Pinedale, WY. I had another nice dinner, and went to Fremont Lake to camp again.
My device was low on juice, so I didn't get to read maps or use offline apps much. I woke up early, and had my daily caffeine in Pinedale, with two eggs. Motoring to Big Piney, WY, I took the road into Middle Piney Lake, the start for my hike of Wyoming Peak. I had to walk about 25 minutes to the trailhead since the road was still washed out and unrepaired.
The trail goes around the lake, and there were good wildflowers, especially white columbine. It climbs and dips as it follows the lakeshore, with a nice forest. I figured that this would be an easy peak as well, with a trail to the top. Not so. I lost the trail, and having no good detailed topos, with only a fuzzy copy printed from the Net, sought to find it by searching ahead. I should have looked at my device's map.
Finding what I thought might be the trail, quite indistinct, but what I assumed to be due to light use or budget, I followed it up. My eyesight is poor, and my paper map seemed to suggest that this way might lead to the upper trail, the Wyoming Range trail. That, being above timberline, should have been easy to find and follow. I was pretty confused, and soon, the trail that I was trying to follow ran out. They'd never find me if I fell and hurt myself. I was grateful to make it back to the more distinct trail, and tried to discern where I had gone wrong. Having wasted perhaps an hour and a half on this way, I gave up and headed back. I hadn't seen a soul, or any footprints, and there had been warnings about bears and mountain lions.
Shooting then wildflowers, I came back to my car, with an ATV now in the vicinity.
Back in Big Piney, I inquired at the USFS ranger station and was told that the trail and area is hardly used. "Everyone goes to the Winds," they said. I saw by my map that you have to cross a stream, and did find a trail which comes to the creek, but I saw no trail on the other side, with only riparian brush and a rock on a log. I'd have had to ford the creek. I asked them if there was a bridge, and one said, "A long time ago." It seemed that my futile attempt might be repeated if I tried again. They said some local lady had hiked the trails, so I gave them my contact info for details. A sign at the trailhead said the ridge high trail was a mere 4 miles away, but I may not give it another go in the future, even if I can determine that there really is a good trail.
So, I left for civilization in Evanston, WY. I took U.S. 189 south, with dreamy clouds and distant thunderheads. They said this morning that there was a 30% chance of T-showers, and it had rained fairly good the evening before. I stopped for a panorama of Fontenelle Reservoir, then was soon on Interstate 80, westbound.
Getting a room, I dined again in the old part of town, and recharged my device. I was on my way home. It was a matter of what to do while still out here, and an app helped with that. I found an easy peak to hike by Salt Lake City, UT, so would do that while passing through.
The next day, I was whizzing along at 75 mph and took the State Street Exit to motor north toward the State Capitol. Following my directions, I came to the trailhead street parking in a subdivision, and soon was hiking up the developed trail to the top of Ensign Peak. It had a good view, said to be great at night, and though is more of a hill than a mountain, and has only about 100 feet of dip between it and a much higher ridge. I decided to count it, as a consolation. I may be back for the night view, and it is far enough from home that it constitutes as "exotic," for me.
Stopping at the Capitol visitor center, I got back on the Interstate and was heading west. The Stansburys made for a sight while zooming along, and I made a stop at the Salt Flats for more quick photos. I found the historic airbase at Wendover, UT, thanks to the visitor center help, and climbed the control tower for views. Going into the museum, a replica of the original atomic bomb made for a photo.
Making another stop in Elko, NV, I visited the Northeastern Nevada Museum to inquire about my old register book that I left on the top of Greys Peak (10,674') in the East Humboldts, back in 1982. By Nevada Magazine, a hiker found it and took it to the museum, and a phone call revealed to me that it was indeed my book. I asked to see it, then, and was told that I could just stop by. I never came by during their open hours till now, but they didn't know where it was. I left my contact info, and headed on.
Coming to Winnemucca, NV, I got another room, and would make this my last night. No major peaks to climb here, that I haven't already, and I dislike having to hike solo in desert Nevada. I had a modest meal out, and went back to my motel.
Up early again, I zoomed west on the Interstate at 75 mph again, and was slowed by construction work. I did more free Net surfing at Lovelock, NV, with iced coffee, and at a highway rest stop, then was to Reno, NV. I found nothing to buy at the outdoor clothing store that I frequent, then had a nice lunch special at the casino complex in the downtown area. My last trip photos were from Yuba Gap, of Old Man Mountain.
Hiking then some 24 miles with 6,300' gain, I captured 2,300 images and movie clips. I spent $432 in cash, charged up $270 in lodging, and drove almost 2,900 miles. Using about 74 gallons of gas, my average fuel efficiency was then some 39 mpg. Spending $220 for gas, I paid from 2.799 to 3.099. For drink and food, I figure spending $50, total, at the popular outlets with free Wi-Fi, and then $32 for the camping fees.
My plan now is to conserve and do more walking about town, and save my car for another road trip in the fall. I have a hike to do in Zion National Park, and wish to see Point Imperial and Cape Royal on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Las Vegas will be fun to visit as well. Any more peaks to do this summer will only be by some generous carpooler. I am willing to pay plenty to catch a ride, but as many do not do any of this, I expect to stay about home.
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