Wyoming Round 1

1:27 p.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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My boyfriend and I left the beach June 30 for our scouting trip in Wyoming. The first day we drove seven hours to Farewell Bend State Park in Huntington, Oregon. 


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(Entrance to Park)

It was a nice campground, right on the Snake River. We really enjoyed the park, except for the 40+mph winds that lasted all through the night. We were awake more than we were asleep. I thought for sure we were going to have lift-off in our tent more than a time or two. The old Coleman tent held up well though.


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(Our campsite)


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(The Snake River)

Day two we packed up early and continued on to Alpine, Wyoming. We set up camp in a big meadow under some trees. 


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(I later set up my hammock too.)


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(View from camp. On day three we decide to head up that mountain.)

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(Another pic from camp)

Day three we take off for the top that mountain. There was only a horse trail for about half of the way, then we had to make our own. I didn't take any pictures until about half way up. It was mostly a narrow horse trail through some big pine trees, no views. Swarmed with mosquitoes. 

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(Stopped for a little break about half way up, which was only about .75 miles)

It was about 80 degrees. STEEP (not as steep as our second climb later on). Here, we have gained almost 1,000 feet in elevation thus far.

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(View to our left from half way. You can see my boyfriend to the left there. He looks like a baby tree.)

We then continued on up about another .75 miles and made it to the base of the mountain. We ended up only climbing about a quarter of the actual mountain, because there was snow and we didn't have a need to go to the top other than to say "we made it." The main purpose of the trip was scouting for his deer hunt and there weren't any that high, yet. Plus he won't actually be hunting this ridge, we just wanted to see what was up here.


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(Here we are almost to the base and decide to head right to check out what's around the corner.)

My boyfriend new there was a lake "a few ridges over this way," so we went looking for it.


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(This is looking back across from the mountain we're on)


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(Made it around the right side. The lake ended up being on top of a ridge behind that one. We didn't go that way though.) 


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My pack needed a rest. It's a TNF Terra 45. Very comfortable, love it! LOVE my sleeping bag as well. I got rid of my old heavy bag and picked up a women's REI Shasta 15 that had only been used twice for $35.00.


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(There's the top of the mountain. But, we decided to head back down a bit and check out what's on the left side of the mountain.)


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(View from the left)

I wasn't as impressed with side of the mountain. There was a neat little waterfall you could see with binoculars, though. Very steep. I had to brace myself while sitting so I wouldn't slide back down to the bottom. Here we are at about 8,200 feet. We gained about 2,000 feet in 1.8 miles from where we started and walked about 3.5-4 miles before setting up camp. After checking everything out we decided to set up camp in an open area down below us. It was too steep and rocky up above.


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We set up camp under a nice tree in a big meadow. There was a nice stream to get water from and a neat view of the mountain. We crammed ourselves in a Eureka Solitaire with a broken pole. I sold my old two-man backpacking tent and bought a Sierra Designs Gamma 2 from a lady in Colorado, but it has been lost in the USPS system for over a month, so we had to use this one. It's not a bad tent. Only weighs two and a half pounds. It sweats a lot though and the poles were garbage. After one use one snapped in half from the pressure and just about every other one is bent. It's almost like they made the poles an inch too long and there's just way too much pressure on them.
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(View from the tent)


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(Lasagna for dinner. If you're in the market for a stove, the Brunton Talon stove is awesome for the price. Boils 2 cups of water in 3-4 minutes. It's kind of loud, sounds like a jet is taking off, but it doesn't bother me. Folds up small and only weighs 3.5 ounces. You should be able to find one for $30.00)

Later that night we walked about a half mile from camp through some more meadow type areas to look for animals. We watched a young cow elk splash and play in a wallow and saw a few other elk. We also saw a fox run through the meadow. 


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(Aspens next to camp)

In the morning we packed everything up and headed back down. It only took us 45 minutes to get down. We ended up seeing 9 deer on this trek.

The next two days we relaxed around camp and did a few short hikes in the evening, we also went back into Alpine to get ice and did some site seeing around town. Then, on day six we decided to head for the big mountain. The one referred to in this is thread: http://www.trailspace.com/forums/backcountry/topics/90350.html
We ended up not storing water after all,  because we found a lake near the ridge we'll be coming back to in September. This hike was steep. In the previous forum above, I thought it was going to be a 4-5 mile hike, but to where we made it was under 2 miles and we had an elevation gain of 3,000 feet. We walked another half mile or so when it leveled out and we still didn't make it to the top. Overall, in September, I think the hike will be about 2.75 and we'll gain over 3,500 feet. The snow was just too deep this time around. The very top is .43 miles from where we stopped and where we will camp in September. 


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(Starting up the mountain. We walked across an avalanche slide of boulders for quite a ways. We jumped three bucks that ran up that little ridge.

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(The shallowest and narrowest of creeks we cross.)

None of the creeks will be here in September. Haven't been in past years anyway, but they did have record snowfall here this year.


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(Here we are about a quarter of the way up. We came across these three little waterfalls.)


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(Looking back behind us.)


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(Starting to get a little steep)


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(Once we broke over the ridge with the waterfalls we started getting into the snow. I forgot my sunglasses.)


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(In the very back between the trees to the left you can see a ridge completely covered in snow. That was our goal.)


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(We made it to the lake. I hope it stays frozen for a while longer so it's cold when we get back in September.)


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(There was about three feet of snow at this point. This is at 9,000 ft)


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(Had to prove I was there)


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(Across the canyon from where we were)


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Admiring the steepness while eating my lunch. To get down I built up speed and went down the snow as if I were skiing. It was a blast. Great pair of boots right there. Women's Keen Targhee II. Feel broke in right out of the box. Amazingly light and comfortable. Walked through numerous freezing creeks and didn't get a drop of water inside. Stayed warm and dry through snow. Held up fairly well to the jagged, rocky country. There's some wear on the rubber, but I think they should hold up pretty well. 


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(There's the ridge in the back. We ended up not making it due to snow. The lake is to the left on fop of that shorter ridge. We are now heading back down. The trip up took 2 hours and the trip down took 1 hour.) 

Below are just a random assortment of pics throughout the trip.


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(Prairie Dog)


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(Four bucks)


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(Three more bucks)


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(Momma doe)


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(Twins. They were so cute!)


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(Another buck)


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(From camp)


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(Sunset from camp)


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(Just before the sun disappeared)


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(An antelope on our way back to Oregon)


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(Chipmunk playing the flute. He was in one of our campgrounds on the way home.)


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(A prairie dog enjoyed a sweet potato chip.)


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(Stayed a night at Granite Hot Springs. These were the falls.)


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(But, that pic above made them look like a giant rapid, so I crossed a few FREEZING springs and went and stood right infront of them.)


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(View from our Granite Hot Springs camp site)


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(Another view from the campsite as the sun was going down)


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Swung by the Tetons. That was interesting stop. We went to the Indian Arts Museum and had a car two parking spaces down from us basically blow up. The windows exploded from something that got hot inside (It was 86+) and then this rancid smell started spreading and everyone was choking and coughing. Just one whiff of it burned your throat. There were some state cops there that told everyone to get back and when they got about 10 feet from the car their eyes got big and they grabbed there mouths and yelled "everybody run," so we got the heck out of there. I wonder what it was and what ended up happening. I had never smelt anything like that before and hope I never do again.


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(Coming down into John Day, OR)


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(Osprey nest at Clyde Holliday State Park)


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(Pond at Clyde Holliday)


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(They had beautiful flowers everywhere at Clyde Holliday)


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(Stopped by the Painted Hills about 45 miles east of Prineville, OR)


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(They're even more gorgeous in person)


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Well, that's about it. We had a great time. Saw some beautiful country. Can't wait to go back in September. 

1:55 p.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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Beautiful pics. Yeah I hear ya on the whole pole snapping issue. What kind of tent is that? Anywho equip failure can be a real p.i.t.a...

Over-all it seems that ya had a great time. Being where ya were and the scenery ya had it would have been hard not too. :)

Thanks for posting.

4:15 p.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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That is a Eureka Solitaire. It's a one man bivy-style tent. Somehow we both managed to fit okay. We woke up pretty wet though from the condensation. If it wasn't for the ants we wouldn't have needed a tent, but the ants were crazy there and they like to bite. I had a nice two man white stag tent, but it weighed close to 7 lbs, so I sold it and found a lady selling a Sierra Designs Gamma 2 that had only been used once. It was about 4.5 lbs, super easy to set up, and based on the info/reviews that I found it sounded like a great tent. She shipped it to me a month before the trip, but USPS lost it somehow, so we just used the Eureka. I have a bunch of Coated Nylon Ripstop Fabric, so I'm going to make this before our trip.

http://questoutfitters.com/patterns-tent,sleeping%20bag-cart.htm#BILGY TARP TENT

It is very pretty over there. Wish I could have stayed!

4:28 p.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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I am very familiar with the Solitaire. They are notorious for snapping poles. What did USPS say about losing your tent?

Thats a cool project ya wanna do. I wish I had the time. I would definitely go with the lime and blaze orange. You know just to blend into my surroundings... AT THE CARNIVAL :)

9:23 a.m. on July 13, 2011 (EDT)
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Capow21,

 

Awesome trip and Great pictures!

 

 I bet ya'll are stoked to return!

 

Sounds like you witnessed a mobile meth lab explosion. We read about that kind of thing a lot here in the south.

9:59 a.m. on July 13, 2011 (EDT)
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I dealt with USPS three times and they had the same tracking info I had. They did some kind of "investigation" as they call it, which consisted of them simply saying the same thing I was already told and they basically said "it gets here when it gets here." I'm going to be refunded my money and the seller is going to deal with USPS from here on out.

Haha, lime and blaze orange. I have black and sage green. I'll stick with that. =)

Patman- We are super excited to get back! Not to the Indian Arts Museum though. I think you may be right. My boyfriend and I were trying to think of everything under the sun it could be and meth lab was the first thought thrown out. I'm pretty sure it was sitting on the backseat behind the driver's seat, so that would be REALLY stupid to leave your meth lab right there. It definitely didn't smell like any type of gas or propane. I was wondering if it was some kind of product in an aerosol can, but I've never smelt anything like it in my life. Could have been some type of plant fertilizer...who knows.

2:40 p.m. on July 13, 2011 (EDT)
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Sounds like a nice trip.  I wish we had antelope here in WA. 

2:51 p.m. on July 13, 2011 (EDT)
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Wyoming is a beautiful state. I lived in Jackson Hole every summer for 30 years. Thats just south of the Tetons and Yellowstone and surrounded by many mountain ranges.

6:15 p.m. on July 13, 2011 (EDT)
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Great report, wonderful photos. I have had friends of mine comment on my Brunton Talon stove saying it sounded like a jet. Of course I pointed out that I boiled water for two peoples dinner in half the time they did for one. Trade offs.

 

9:39 a.m. on July 14, 2011 (EDT)
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FromSageToSnow- I didn't know Washington didn't haven't any antelope. Interesting. Have you ever gone out of state to hunt them?

Gary- You're lucky! I love Jackson Hole. It's very touristy now, but I thought it was a cool town. I really like that area over there. Things start to get pretty around Swan Valley, ID. I'd love to live over that way, I can't get enough of it.

Robby- I'm impressed with the Talon. I actually ordered a Brunton Raptor, but they sent me a Talon and I decided to just keep it. I'm amazed at how fast it boils water. I didn't time it, but on this trip I boiled 2 cups of water at 7,500ft and I'm pretty sure it boiled it around 3 minutes. Our Coleman single burner we use car camping takes 6-8 minutes.

10:45 a.m. on July 14, 2011 (EDT)
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Though I think antelope is one of the yummiest four leged things ever, I haven't yet left the state to hunt.  I usually hunt locally.  I want to go go WY or MT to chase them sometime.  Our fish and game dept is trying to import them here but it will be forever till we have enough to hunt.

Send us a TR after your hunt this Fall!

12:37 p.m. on July 14, 2011 (EDT)
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Will do!

1:45 p.m. on July 14, 2011 (EDT)
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I have had elk and buffalo but never antelope. what is it like. I dislike deer to gamey for me.

3:01 p.m. on July 14, 2011 (EDT)
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I think its a lot more like elk but with more savory flavor

2:08 p.m. on July 15, 2011 (EDT)
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Great pics.  Thanks for sharing!

 

KD

6:56 p.m. on July 15, 2011 (EDT)
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Great trip, Capow! I am so looking forward to my trip out there this sept. I am planning to hike the Teton Crest Trail as well as some spots up in the Shoshone NF.  It's great you guys found the lake, much better than the hassle of melting snow :)

You got some really great photos, what camera/lenses were you carrying? You're getting some great saturation, tone, and low noise in the higher density shots.

10:17 p.m. on July 16, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks guys.

Gonzan - I had my Nikon D3000 with the Nikkor 18-55mm lens. I also took a few of these with a little Pentax camera and I have a digiscope attachment for the Pentax to use with a Nikon spotting scope. The close-ups of the deer were mostly taken with the Nikon and then I cropped them really quick when I got home. That's why they're blurry. A lot of the deer were about 50+ yards away. I need a 300mm lens. I'm hoping to get one before we go back in September. I wouldn't mind a decent teleconverter too, but just the 300mm would be nice over there.

I LOVE shooting wildlife and different nature shots. I just started getting into photography about six months ago and the D3000 is my first Dslr, so I have tons to learn.

12:30 a.m. on July 21, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks for the great pics and report.   Very glad the water issue worked it's self out.  And don't be to surprised if some of those creeks are still running.  Their was a lot of snow this year!

Funny on the Bilgy, I was thinking about making the same tent, probably won't happen until later in the winter.  I was looking at tarp materials and found that design at Seattle Fabrics.  Please let us know how that goes too! 

Wolfman

9:58 a.m. on July 21, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks Wolfman. I think there will  be at least a creek or two still running when we go back there. One of them we had to cross was about waist deep and moving pretty good. The only way across was a log we found. There was record snow fall in the area, so I'm hoping there is still one there we go back. In fact, I think there will still be some snow at the top. Where we got to there was about four feet, so I'm guess the top we didn't get to had 6ft+. 

I'm going to try and get started on the Bilgy first week of August. I'll post some pics and tell how it went in the Gear Selection Forum when I'm done.

10:51 a.m. on July 28, 2011 (EDT)
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  Antelope have been reintroduced in Washington state.  http://www.kuow.org/northwestnews.php?storyID=133761698

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