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 Cascade Bill (William Mooseker) | Home > Backpacking Trips > 2001 - 2004 Trips > 
2001 Back to Bridger
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Back to Bridger 2
Bridger Wilderness - Wyoming
Aug 2001 - Days 1 to 6

Day 1: Big Sandy Trailhead to Vee Lake
Day 2: Vee Lake to Lonesome Lake
           Cirque of the Towers
           Chickens to Jackass Pass!
Day 3: Lonesome Lake to Valentine Lake
Day 4: Valentine Lake to Grave Lake
Day 5: Grave Lake over Hailey Pass to Skull Lake
Day 6: Skull Lake to Camp near Big Sandy
            Trailhead thru Forest Fire enroute.

Backpacks in "Chicken" mode at Big Sandy Lake

This was our second trip to Wyoming's Bridger Wilderness. Our first was in 1998. The scenery was awesome, but the fishing was only so-so, not like our previous trip. The guys usually like to surprise me with something unsuspected or outlandish and on this trip they pulled off a whopper. When we got to the trailhead, they pulled out four chickens that they had specifically raised over the summer for this purpose to my complete and utter consternation.

All in all, it was a great trip with covering 6 nights and 7 days (with the first and last being very short). In total, we hiked about 42 miles with 9600 ft of elevation gain mostly over 10000 ft. We set a record for Troop 24 at 12539 ft climbing a small knoll on the Lizard Peak trail surpassing the previous record of 12420 at Italy Pass in the Sierra Nevada, California in 1999.

I wrote a narrative at the time, "Chickens to Jackass Pass", which tells the tale of this trip, which can be found here: Click Here for "Chickens to Jackass Pass Narrative"

In August 2001, only Shelby, Roger, and Austin were still in the scouts, so this trip was done as a "Kickass Trekker" trip.

Note photo titles ending in "j" are by Jason Smith; "r" by Roger Shively; all other photos & videos are by Cascade Bill

Kickass Trekkers on this trip were: Bill Mooseker,Fred Stong, Brian "Buckwheat" Sisk, Jason Smith, Danny Stallings, Peter Goodwin, Roger Shively, Shelby Stong, Austin Peckinpaugh

The descriptions under the photo thumbnails in the album sometimes contain links to maps or additional information. These are identified by "Blue” text for links. Maps are best viewed at original size.

I've revised this album recently. When I first uploaded this album back in late 2001, high speed internet was unheard of, so photo resolutions were pretty low in order to allow uploading at dial-up speeds. I've rescanned my photo negatives of this trip at the highest resolution available to me and replaced the old low resolution ones. I don't have access to the photos taken by Jason and Roger, so they remain at the low resolution. I've also digitized the Hi-8 videos that I took on the trip and have added them to the album.

Troop 24 Kickass Trekkers Backpacking Trip
-Cascade Bill Mooseker


Date(s): August 25-31, 2001. Album by Cascade Bill. 1 - 165 of 165 Total. 198 Visits.
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To get the plugin just Google "videolan" or CLICK HERE FOR DOWNLOAD for Windows. There is a MAC version as well. Disable the Quicktime plugin if you use Videolan. To view fullscreen videos click the icon on the top right of the video when it starts playing.

If you want to save photos to your computer, click the box under the thumbnails of the photos you want to download. Then click the "Download" button at the top of the album. Pick the size you'd like to download (Original is best)and the photos will be downloaded to a folder of your choice.



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Back to Bridger 2001.pdf

PDF file showing mileages and elevations for our trip with daily summary for the miles hiked and elevation climbed and lost.  Click on thumbnail and click on "Open this PDF" to view.

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2001 wy day1 vid 0 chickens.mp4
VIDEO - Click Photo to View.

After a long drive from Burley, Idaho and a lunch in Pinedale and another long drive on a washboarded dirt road we arrived at the Big Sandy trailhead in the late afternoon.  As we were getting our gear organized, Roger brought out four chickens that they had hidden in Fred's Suburban for the nearly 1000 mile trip.  My reaction is caught here.

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Big Sandy Trailhead: Getting ready to head out - chickens and all - Fred, Buckwheat, Peter, and Roger.  Note: Lawn chair doubles as chicken carrier.

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Austin in chicken carrying mode - Big Sandy Trailhead

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Jason, Buckwheat, Shelby, Fred, Austin, and Roger - Finally on the trail.

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Jason in the shadows at our camp at Vee Lake- Big Sandy Mountain at center & Sheistler Mtn at Right.

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Because of our long drive, we got a very late start and rather than go hell bent for leather up the Big Sandy Trail, we took the longer route past Meeks Lake and then on to Vee Lake for a short 2.1 miles day.

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2001 wy day1 vid 1 vee lake.mp4
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Fred and Jason enjoy the sunset at Vee Lake


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Roger putting the chickens to bed (They wanted to roost on Peter but he didn't think that was a good idea).

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Roger, who will never make it as a geek!

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Day 1: Big Sandy Trailhead to Vee Lake
Day 2: Vee Lake to Big Sandy Lake (via Diamond Lake Trail)
(This Map best Viewed at Original size)


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Trail between Vee Lake and Diamond Lake. Big Sandy Mtn at right center.

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2001 wy day2 vid 1.mp4
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Heading out from Vee Lake in the morning.


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Fred at Big Sandy Lake.

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Shelby & friend - break at Big Sandy Lake

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Jason, Brian, and Peter - Big Sandy Lake

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Day 2: Big Sandy Lake to Lonesome Lake vi a Jackass Pass.
(This Map best viewed at "Original" size.)


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Danny & Austin - Big Sandy Mtn above Big Sandy Lake

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2001 wy day2 vid 2.mp4
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Hiking past Big Sandy Lake and then up the Jackass Pass Trail.


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Junction of the Big Sandy and Jackass Pass trails at the upper end of Big Sandy Lake.

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View from trail above Big Sandy Lake - looking south.

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View along trail above Big Sandy Lake.

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Bill making his way along trail.

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During a break- Shelby practices his rock climbing techniques.

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Jason trying his.

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Austin and Fred pick their way along a rough section of the trail up to Jackass Pass.

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Peter poses at the "Tooth" near Jackass Pass.

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2001 wy day2 vid 3 Jackass Pass.mp4
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On the last stretch up to Jackass Pass.  Views from the pass of Lonesome Lake and the impressive Cirque of the Towers.

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The trail climbs high to a false summit and then drops a couple of hundred feet before the final climb to Jackass Pass.  The peaks of the Cirque of the Towers are seen beyond.

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Fred checking out an interesting rock near Jackass Pass.

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2001 wy day2 vid 4 Jackass Pass 2.mp4
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Taking a break at Jackass Pass


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The guys at Jackass Pass: (Front) Austin, Shelby, and Danny. (rear) Roger, Jason, Brian, and Peter.

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Back: Roger, Jason, Brian, and Peter.  Front: Austin, Shelby, & Danny

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Peaks of the Cirque of the Towers- Pylon (left) & Watch Tower (right)

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From Left to Right: Sharks Nose, Overhanging Tower, Wolf's Head, & Pingora Peak - a favorite of the climbers who come to the Cirque of the Towers.

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Pingora Peak on the left and Texas Pass on the right.

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Pingora Peak and beautiful Lonesome Lake.

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Lonesome Lake - We had hoped to go over Texas Pass (the obvious low point on the ridge) but we decided to use the Lizard Head trail instead.

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Upper meadows above Lonesome Lake - Peaks: Pylon and Watch Tower.

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2001 wy day2 vid 5 Jackass Pass 3.mp4
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Heading down from Jackass Pass to Lonesome Lake.


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Fred on his way down to Lonesome Lake.

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Bill at Jackass Pass.

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Close up of Bill

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Jason at Jackass Pass.

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Close up of Jason.

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Camp near Lonesome Lake.- Most of the guys are still in their bags. Day 2 was a pretty hard day: 7 miles and over 2000 ft climbed.  Day 3 would be even harder!

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Peter - breaking camp near Lonesome Lake.

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Filtered sunlight hits the camp as breakfast is being prepared.

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Day 3: Camp 2 (near Lonesome Lake) to Valentine Lake via the Lizard Head & Bears Ears Trail.  (This Map best viewed at "Original" size.)

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View of the Cirque of the Towers from our camp near Lonesome Lake.

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2001 wy day3 vid 1 camp.mp4
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View of the Cirque of the Towers from our camp and getting ready to move out.

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Cirque of the Towers down the valley from Lonesome Lake - Pingora Peak dominates the group of peaks.

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The Popo Agie canyon below the C.O.T. is very impressive, almost Yosemite-like.

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Popo Agie Canyon Walls (Dog Tooth Peak)  near the junction with the Lizard Head Trail.

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Looking back at the Cirque of the Towers from near the junction of the Lizard Head Trail.

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From the Junction here, the Lizard Head Trail heads into the trees and up the side of the canyon.

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Taking a break at the Lizard Head Trail jctn.

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Close up of Jason and Shelby

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Danny and Austin- lawn chair bliss.

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View of the Cirque of the Towers from the Lizard Head Trail (Near the Bear Lakes)

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Fred & Shelby - C.O.T. and Lonesome Lake are way back there now.

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View of the Cirque of the Towers and Lonesome Lake.

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2001 wy day3 vid 2 Lizard Head.mp4
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Taking a break above the magnificent Popo Agie Valley as we climb the steep Lizard Head trail.

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Lizard Head Peak and the Bear Lakes from the Lizard Head Trail.

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Jason - the Bear Lakes form the backdrop.

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Unnamed lakes above the Bear Lakes. Glaciers are on the back side of Lizard Head.

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Fred makes his way across the barren landscape near the highest point of the Lizard Head Trail.

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Roger and the rugged country along the summit of the Lizard Head Trail.

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Close up of Roger (World's Greatest Dad!)

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Lunch Break at the summit (11875')  of the Lizard Head Trail.

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"Hammerin" Pete with a honey soaked bagel.

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Jason and Brian at summit of 12539' peak near where we took our lunch break. (This set a record for altitude for Troop 24).

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Shelby at summit of 12539' peak.

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Jason - Lizard Head from 12539' summit.

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If you look at this from the side, it looks like Jason is in a very tight spot.

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One of the few glaciers we saw - this was a short way past the high point of the Lizard Head Trail.

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2001 wy day3 vid 3 Lizard Head.mp4
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Taking a break near Cathedral Peak in the desolate terrain along the higher elevations of the Lizard Head trail.

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We took a break at a pass near Cathedral Peak and the guys climbed this strange outcrop.

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Closeup of guys on rock.

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Austin - taking in the view of the Eastern side of the Wind Rivers.  The mountains to the est were not nearly as spectacular or as rugged as those near the Continental Divide.

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The Lizard Head trail ends at the junction with  Bears Ears trail in the valley below.

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A few switchbacks had to be negotiated - we can see the Bear's Ear  trail crossing the valley floor beyond.  Our route follows the Bears Ears trail to the left after the junction at the end of the trail that is visible here.

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Fred - Heading northwest along the Bears Ears trail - its a long way down to timberline and our camp at Valentine Lake.  We were getting tired after one of the longest days ever: 11.4 miles and over 3200 ft climbed all above 10000' in elevation.

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Close up of Fred.

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Valentine Lake - a beautiful but heavilly used area.

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2001 wy day4 vid 1 valentine Lk.mp4
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View of Valentine Lake - Boulder hopping across the Little Wind River

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Day 4: Valentine Lake to Grave Lake Camp.
(This Map best viewed at "Original" size.)


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Another shot of Valentine Lake with Payson Peak beyond - the fishing was poor.

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After a mile or so from Valentine Lake, the trail enters the beautiful meadows of Ranger Park

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Close up of Bill

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A passing hiker volunteered to take this group picture - Roger, Bill, Austin, Fred, Shelby, Jason, Peter, Danny, and Brian.

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Close up - Payson Peak in background.

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Jason, Brian, Peter, and Danny

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The meadows of Little Wind River (we crossed here) and Payson Peak.

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Another view of Payson Peak as we hiked north down the Little Wind River Valley.

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2001 wy day4 vid 2 Grave Lk.mp4
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Taking advantage of the beach near the outlet of Grave Lake. Hiking around the lake on our way to Camp 4.

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Taking a break at the upper end of Grave Lake - Shelby and Austin enjoy this sandy beach

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View up Grave Lake - Musembeah Peak in the far distance is on the continental divide.  The trail skirts Pilot Knob - the rounded peak to the left.

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Danny takes a swim in Grave Lake.
"Our rule on our trip was, if you went in you went und..."
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View up Grave Lake - Pilot Knob ahead - The lake does a dog leg to the left of Pilot Knob and extends about as far as we can see here.  It is a huge lake..

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Fred follows the trail as it winds around Grave Lake.  This is near the junction with the "Onyon Medius" (Onion Meadows) trail.

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Because of a huge talus slope at the base of Pilot Knob, the trail climbs a few hundred feet to give this view.  Fred makes his way at the right.

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View back to the end of Grave Lake from the high point below Pilot Knob.  You can see that it is really a huge lake.

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The upper end of Grave Lake.  Our camp near the sandy peninsula jutting into the lake on the right below.

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The water was shallow and warm at our camp on Grave Lake.

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Jason at our camp at Grave Lake - Pilot Knob in the background.

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Creek flowing into Grave Lake near our camp.

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Taking it easy in our camp.

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Jason and Peter doing a little reading.

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Afternoon sun on Grave Lake. After the ball buster of a day the previous day, today was fairly moderate with 6 miles and about 1850 ft of climbing.

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Day 5: Grave Lake to Skull Lake vi Hailey Pass.
(This Map best viewed at "Original" size.)


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Packing up at Grave Lake.

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2001 wy day5 vid 1 Grave Lk camp.mp4
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Breaking camp at Grave Lake


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The sheer face of Hooker Mountain - This was near the crossing of Baptiste Creek.

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2001 wy day5 vid 2 Hailey Pass pt 1.mp4
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On our way up to Hailey Pass


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Heading up the trail near Baptiste Creek - Danny hangs back.

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Close up.

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Peter & Jason.

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Peter & Jason - just below the final ascent up Hailey Pass.

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Roger and Austin coming up the trail to Hailey Pass.

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Jason and Shelby - Hailey Pass behind them.  The final climb was very steep with a lot of switchbacks.

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Close up of Jason.

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2001 wy day5 vid 3 Hailey Pass pt 2.mp4
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Final climb up to Hailey Pass, which lies on the Continental Divide.


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Close up of Shelby.

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The crew at the top of Hailey Pass.

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Bill, Fred, Shelby, Danny, Jason, Buckwheat, Peter, Austin, and Roger. At the pass we met a couple of women hikers, who were chemical engineers, who engaged Fred in a lively conversation on the way down.

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Looking down at our route from the top of Hailey Pass.

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Buckwheat at Hailey Pass.

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Upper Twin Lake below Hailey Pass (beyond lake)

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Descending the trail below Hailey Pass - Mt Geikie across valley.

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Danny & Peter thread their way between the boulders.

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Waiting for Bill at the junction of the Hailey Pass (Bear's Ears) trail and the Pyramid Lake Trail - Shelby, Fred, Austin, (green haired Roger)

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Maes Lake - Hailey Pass is at the upper right beyond the shoulder of Pyramid Peak.

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Taking a break at Maes Lake - we were going to camp here but the fishing was poor (no strikes or fish) so we went on to Skull Lake.

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Austin at Maes Lake.

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Brian and Roger - Maes Lake.

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2001 wy day5 vid 4 Break at Maes Lk.mp4
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Taking a break at Maes Lake


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Maes Lake - Tower Peak and the western side of Mt. Hooker(right)

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Our camp at Skull Lake -(Left to Right) Tower, Hooker, & Pyramid Peaks.

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2001 wy day5 vid 5 Skull Lk camp.mp4
VIDEO - Click Photo to View.

Relaxing at our camp at Skull Lake - An enjoyable card game (Danny, Austin, Peter, Roger,and Shelby; Fred takes a nap, and Brian is fly fishing for small trout

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Peter - in Camp at Skull Lake. It was a fairly easy day - 5.5 miles and about 1500' climbed.

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Sunset at Skull Lake.

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Day 6: Skull Lake to Dad's Lake.
Note: North is to the left. (This Map best viewed at "Original" size.)


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Day 6: Dad's Lake to Camp 6 (near Trailhead)

Note: North is to the left. (This Map best viewed at "Original" size.)

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Cooking breakfast at Skull Lake - Peter & Danny.

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Group Picture before we head out from Skull Lake.

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Group pic #2.

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Jason, Shelby, Fred, Danny, Brian, Peter, Roger, Austin, Bill.

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Danny and Peter crossing Washakie Creek.

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View back towards Washakie Cr meadows- Pyramid peak at the right & Mt. Geikie to the left.

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Bill and Fred near Marm's Lake - We stopped and had our best fishing of the trip.

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Peter and Danny - at Mirror Lake.

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Looking over Fish Creek Park from Mirror Lake we could see there was a forest fire ahead (copter is dot above trees)

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2001 wy day6 vid 1 forest fire 1.mp4
VIDEO - Click Photo to View.

As we rounded Mirror Lake, we could see smoke ahead with helicopters ferrying water to a forest fire right where we were headed.

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The fire was on both sides of the trail - Shelby kicking dirt on a hot spot.

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Roger and Fred, check out the fire.

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Looking west, to the treeline at the edge of the meadow at the smoke of the fire.

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Copter with bucket heads to fire.  We had intended to camp at the little lake (Divide Lake) that the copter was getting water from.

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Copter getting water from lake (enlarge to original size).

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2001 wy day6 vid 2 forest fire 2.mp4
VIDEO - Click Photo to View.

Hiking right through the fire doesn't give one confidence - we passed the fire fighter's staging area.

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Close up of copter.

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A second copter lands in the meadows just off the trail - the command post for the fire was here.

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Looking back (Mt Geikie is to left of center) - the smoke of the fire can be seen.

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2001 wy day6 vid 3 mooseker hotel.mp4
VIDEO - Click Photo to View.

Instead of camping at Divide Lake, we hiked on passing by the cutoff to Vee Lake by Meeks lake that we had taken on our first day and on to our final camp near the Big Sandy River about a half mile from the cars. It was a long 9.3 mile day but not much climb.

 
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