Big Sandy Lodge(28.8)-Lake 10566 below Raid Peak Pass(33.8) *not including mileage of side trail Mileage: 14mi (9 on side trail, 5 on route)
Campsite Elevation: 10,600ft
Today is where we felt like the real Wind River High Route begins for us. Yesterday was great, but we had all been to that area before. What lies ahead over the next 6.5 days is new to all of us, and looks to be one grand thing after another. So far, I know it hasn’t been what I dreamt it to be, but if today is any indication, things are going to be stellar!
We got up leisurely and had breakfast at the lodge. The Big Sandy Lodge has a cook that makes some great stuff, and I was for sure spoiled by dinner last night and breakfast this morning. It’s fun to eat big breakfasts when I hike because I’m not normally a big morning eater, but I am when I’m hiking. I can fully enjoy a full breakfast with eggs, ham, biscuits and gravy, mixed fruit, and juice. I had two full plates and walked out fully stuffed. It was awesome.
We packed up and got out around 10:30am. None of us were looking forward to hiking 9mi back to the route on the same trail we came down yesterday with packs stuffed with 6.5 days of food. Once again, we lucked out just like we did when we had a similar carry over Bishop Pass to get back on the Sierra High Route a few weeks ago (Day 8 of the SHR). We had cooler weather and clouds even formed to give us breaks from the sun. I love when things like that happen. It makes me feel like we made the right choice to break up the carries on this hike and resupply at the Big Sandy Lodge.
After those 9mi, we had a mile more of on trail hiking before we set off cross country from Skull Lake. For those wondering, this is another point where the Skurka route splits from the Dixon route. For about 4mi, they parallel each other before coming back together. We really enjoyed our route and had fun with it, but can’t compare it to what we missed. We got to go off trail downhill to the East Fork River.
Then we followed the river all the way up a valley leading to Raid Peak Pass (both routes go over). We loved it! The mountains all around were grand and the hiking was really pleasant and easy to avoid willows or marsh (it’s fairly dry right now in the Winds).
We hiked up halfway and stopped and boiled water to soak our dinners. Then we walked for a bit while they soaked. After awhile, before we picked a camp, we sat and ate dinner. Then we hiked a bit longer and setup camp around 7pm. That’s our routine for the bear safety in the Winds. We heard there was a bear at Skull Lake that got human food recently and to beware.
Today was a great day! I don’t know the comparison of the Dixon route, but his was just above us in the same canyon. The Skurka route does go low here in comparison, but I enjoy walking low and seeing all the mountains high around me.