ArrivalAfter sleeping off the effects of a long travel day from the East Coast and a huge dinner at the Red Iguana in Salt Lake City, John, Phil and I hit the road to the Wind Rver Range in our rented Chevy Suburban (not an environmentally friendly choice, I know, but I've built up some carbon credits biking to work everyday). Actually I hadn't really slept off the effects of the previous day's travel. I had no sleep the night before I left home, as I had to drive to Montreal (2 hours) in the middle of the night for an early morning flight. Once in SLC we weren't in bed until midnight (with a belly full of spicy Mexican food), and Phil had us up at 5:30 the next morning. So as we departed SLC at 6:30 on a beatiful morning, I wasn't in peak form. To top it off, Phil wouldn't let us eat until we had a couple of hours of driving under out belts. After a traditional truck stop breakfast at Little America, Wyoming, I was finally perking up and getting pumped to hit the trail.
The long drive up to Dubois took much of the day, allowing for a long stop at Walmart in Rock Springs to stock up on supplies for the week. We had some great views of the Winds on the way to the trailhead. After a long drive down a dirt road, we finally arrived at the Glacier Trailhead in mid-afternoon.
Day 1: Torrey Creek Trailhead to Bomber MeadowJuly 13
The sun was blazing as we shut of the A/C and climbed out of the Suburban into the scrubby terrain at the trailhead. We had a bit of sorting and organizing to do since we had about 37 full shopping bags from Walmart in the back of the car. The bugs were only slightly annoying at this point, but we already sensed things would be getting worse as we got farther into the mountains.
A couple of weeks prior to our arrival, fresh snow was still accumulating in the mountains. We had been a bit worried about whether or not we could make a go of it without snowshoes. Since then, the weather had been clear,dry and hot everyday. Now we were more concerned about high water at the river crossings and bugs with voracious appetites. As an outfitter in Pinedale asked me when I called to inquire about conditions, "You like hiking, right? Because you aren't going to want to stop at the end of the day until you are ready to climb into your tent." The legendary bugs were particularly bad this year. Well, Phil and I had spent 6 weeks in Alaska and the Yukon a couple of summers ago and we have survived dozens of black fly seasons in Vermont so we figured we could put up with a few Wyoming mosquitos. More later.
Phil, who loves to analyze everything, had brought a spring scale with him and we weighed in our packs before heading out for the 5 to 8 days we expected to be gone. I expected to have a heavier pack than usual on this trip, with over a week's worth of food and lots of climbing gear (axe, crampons, helmet, rope, snow pickets, harness, etc.) But having worked to perfect my lightweight backpacking techniques over the past 10 years or so, I was shocked to see my pack tip the scales at just under 60 pounds. Mine turned out to be the lightest of the three. Phil was a shade over 60 and John was close to 70 pounds with lots of camera equipment.
The three mile jaunt into our campsite along the bank of East Torrey Creek was beautiful. We climbed about 1000', crossing a bridge over a powerful waterfall not too far from the trailhead. As we climbed, higher, we left the dry, dusty environment and entered a much greener woodsy meadow area.