After much deliberation, consternation, meditation and flip-floppage, I have determined that the summer of 2010's trip will take me to the remote and wild Teton Wilderness in northwest Wyoming.
The state's second largest Wilderness area straddles the Continental Divide deep in the heart of Wyoming. It is bordered on the north by Yellowstone National Park, on the east by Washakie Wilderness, and on the west by Grand Teton National Park. All the cool animals live in the Teton: Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, moose, and the occasional bison find their way across the wilderness borders.
|We will finish our hike at beautiful Brooks Lake.
In the end it was a very close call between the Teton Wilderness, the Washakie Wilderness and a third straight trip to the Beartooths. The deciding factors, as it turns out, was my ever-increasing girth and a lack of desire to carry said girth up a lot of Washakie and Wind River passes. Besides, I already had the Teton Wilderness map.
Other things factored in as well: The opportunity to see the headwaters of the Yellowstone was significant, as was the opportunity to spend some time up on the grassy Buffalo Plateau. I guess I’m still tired of rock hopping for 2 or 3 hours each day. Easy trailhead access played a part which leads me to believe remote forest service roads still have me spooked after last years fun near Roscoe. At the end of the day the chance to see new and different country with easy alpine access trumped all.
Despite the clear onset of wimpiness on my part, this is going to be an 8-night trip originating from Turpin Meadows, located between Dubois and Jackson, WY. From there we'll follow the trail north along the North Fork of the Buffalo River for a couple of days and 18-20 miles, climbing slowly to the tree line and up to the Buffalo Plateau. From that point we're planning on hiking along the continental divide across the plateau and continue south to Brooks Lake.
I have to admit it’s going to feel strange hiking in an area where there are few lakes, and as of this writing I’m unsure as to whether I’m going to like it or not. We’ll see.
Along with a new destination comes new hikers. Bob from work will be popping his backpacking the Rockies cherry. Easily the oldest member of the posse at 57, Bob makes even Ward look like a spring chicken. More importantly, I know I can outrun Bob in the event of a bear attack.
I’ve also began the conversion and weaning of Steve, (Benicia CA) from national park to wonderful world of designated wilderness backpacking. I’ve “known” Steve for a few years from the Glacier National Park message boards and gave him a standing invitation a couple of years ago.
Finally, Lee from Oshkosh, WI is the final newcomer and a huge fan of www.dorfworld.net. So much so that he begged and pleaded to join us. Other than that I know nothing about him other than he might be too young to qualify as a Cheesehead Geezer.
Sadly, most previous members of the Cheesehead Posse trips (the Kid, Canadian Dude, Reed) will probably not be able to make it this year and each will be missed. As of this writing I'm not sure if Ward will make it or not. I'm hoping he'll be a 4-year starter, so to speak.
There will be one other significant change this time: The trusty Santa Fe will be possessed by my youngest son by departure and I will be taking ownership of a new Toyota Rav4. While I won’t miss the excitement of never really knowing if the Santa Fe would get me to my destination or not, It will be different without the old girl. We’ve shared many adventures to the Rockies together (8 if my count is correct), but her time has come to be put to pasture.
I’ll update the planning page as details are ironed out.