Wind River Range: Scab Creek to Middle Fork, Rainbow, and Raid Lakes plus others

Wind River trip #6 is in the bag. I and 3 of the usual suspects (RC, TC, & PDC) did a 6-night 35-mile “lollipop” (Aug 29 – Sep 4 2021) that took us past Toboggan, Little Divide, Lightning, Dream, Bobs, Sandpoint, Middle Fork, Rainbow, Dream, Raid, and South Fork Lakes, and then out past Lightning, Little Divide, and Toboggan Lakes again. We spent an extra day at Middle Fork Lake with a day-hike up to Donna Lake at the base of Pronghorn Peak.

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Black Canyon of the Gunnison

We’re driving for miles across a gently-rolling landscape covered with sage brush and an occasional small shrub. Suddenly, there’s a giant crack in the earth. We’ve arrived at Black Canyon of the Gunnison, specifically the North Rim of the National Park. It’s not really a crack but the result of millions of years of the Gunnison River cutting down as the surrounding land was uplifted. However it formed, the result is pretty awe-inspiring.

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West Elk Wilderness, CO – a Cliff Creek, Castle Creek, and Lowline loop

Colorado’s West Elk Wilderness covers over 176K acres of the Gunnison National Forest north of Gunnison and west of Crested Butte. Outdoor Trail Maps LLC has a good map of the area. See also Trails Illustrated maps # 133 and 134 for less-accurate alternatives.

Some friends and I did a 5-day, 24-mile “lollipop” starting July 25 at the Cliff Creek trail head on County Road 12 aka Kebler Pass Road, headed south over Beckwith Pass into a counter-clockwise loop consisting of the remainder of the Cliff Creek trail, Castle Creek trail, and Lowline trail, then back north over Beckwith Pass to return to the trail head July 29.

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Upper Buffalo Wilderness – Compton, Wild Burro, and Beagle Point Falls

It was a great weekend for checking out some more waterfalls in the Upper Buffalo Wilderness, with a bit of rain a couple days before the trip and relatively good weather during.  The targets this time were Compton Double Falls (39′), Wild Burro Falls (21′), and Beagle Point Falls (76′) – all on or near Whitaker Creek.

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Upper Buffalo Wilderness – a Boen Gulf bushwhack

The Boen Gulf access point for the Upper Buffalo Wilderness is the primary way of accessing 4 nearby waterfalls – Magnolia, Woods Boys, Stahle, and Hadlock Cascade, though you can also get to Paradise Falls with a bit more walking.  I’ve day-hiked this area 2 or 3 times but this was first time backpacking there – a 2-nighter accompanied by RC and CC.  Rain the previous day had the creeks flowing well.

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Eagle Rock Loop, take 2

This was my second time doing the 27-mile Eagle Rock Loop and was accompanied by RC (who was also with me 6 years ago) and first-timer TC.  I was surprised at how little of this great scenery I remembered, and think I need to make a point of doing this hike every 2 or 3 years.

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Wind River Range – a Titcomb & Indian Basins loop

My 5th annual trip to the Wind River Range!  This time we started in the Elkhart Park area, near Pinedale, at the Pole Creek trail head.  The target area is almost entirely within the Bridger Wilderness of the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

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Platte River Wilderness, Snowy Range, WY

The Platte River Wilderness covers about 23K acres of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest in southern Wyoming’s Snowy Range and was the site of a recent 3-day trip.  Our original plan was for an area about 20 miles north near Medicine Bow Peak but a week before the trip there was still too much snow at that elevation so an alternate plan was hastily assembled.

Platte River Wilderness

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Chaco Canyon

Chaco Culture National Historical Park encompasses an important collection of ancient Puebloan ruins in NW New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon and a visit here has long been on my to do list.  A big difference here as opposed to places like Canyon de Chelly is that you can see the ruins up close and generally even walk through them.  I took 350 photos here over a day and a half and only 100 over 3 days at the Grand Canyon so I guess that says something.

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Canyon de Chelly

Canyon de Chelly (pronounced də-SHAY) National Monument in NE Arizona wasn’t on my radar when I started the trip but some folks in Kanab convinced me to consider it, and I’m glad I did.  I was headed from the Grand Canyon to Farmington NM via US160, so it was not far out of the way.

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