Wind River High Route – Day 2. On day two, we stepped off the trail and headed into the East Fork Valley below Raid Peak. Lovely hiking through meadows and forests. The daytime temps between 10,000 and 11,000 feet were in the high 70s. As a result, we had to drink a LOT of water. Also, bugs are bad, probably due to the heat.
Also, due to the high temperatures, the mosquitoes were bad. On a scale of 1 – 10, they were a 7. Not swarming in your face. More like death from a thousand cuts. If fact you didn’t really notice them. But while walking, I’d get bit about every five minutes. And if I stopped, they I had to constantly wave them away from my face. Luckily, my long sleeved shirt and pants seemed to be mosquito proof. But any exposed flesh would get bites.
The route finding was pretty straight forward. We headed in the general direction of a large buttress and managed to stay out of the thick willows and other obstacles.
Our map had a note regarding the pass: Lots of Talus. I made a smart ass remark about the note. “Of course there’s lots of Talus. It’s a high mountain pass!” But I had to eat those words as we neared the pass summit. Before us was one of the biggest talus fields I’ve ever seen. And not just big in dimensions. The talus blocks were as big or bigger than cars. It took at least an hour to get through it.
It was a good preview of what was to come. Every pass had a version of this talus field, though none quite as bad. However, after several days of this we both noticed that our talus hopping skills improved.
In Bonneville basin we ran into a fishing party. They had just come from Middle Fork lake. When we asked about the next pass, they said “it was easy.” They were from Washington and said the passes they are used to are 4000 -5000′. Our next pass was only around 600′, but it was very steep and worked us good. Thankfully, the descent was mostly snow. Soft snow.
After the snow, you start to get into the willows above the unnamed lake above Lee lake. We took a long, gradual downhill contour toward the unnamed lake and managed to avoid any serious bushwhacking through the willows.