People always bemoan the lack of spring in Pinedale, and I get it. It’s hard to stay cheerful during the month of May when your friends outside of Wyoming are all posting pictures online of their grassy picnics or spring flowers blooming. It’s hard when they’re in shorts and sandals and you’re in wool baselayers and snowboots. But, here’s the thing: Pinedale DOES have spring. Ours just is snowy, and rainy, and gray pretty much all day every day. You just have to possess a level of persistence that pushes you outside even when the weather is dismal. You just have to realize that it’s still worth it.
Josh and I headed out to Green River Lakes for the first time this season. I am happy to report that the road is basically wide open and ready for travel. There were two spots that were giant mud holes, but that was it! And, hey, that road is terrible even when it’s in great condition- in the early season…forget about it. The road is rutted out and gnarly with potholes and bumps, but again, that persistence is key. We only used our 4WD in the mud pits, so it’s not like you need anything crazy to get there, but a low clearance car is probably not your best bet until they get the road maintainer out there because of some of the rutted out areas.
The wildlife was abundant. We saw piles of geese and ducks on the river and the lakes, but we also saw 4 swans, 1 elk, 2 moose, and a black bear! Be prepared for wildlife encounters while hiking-take bear spray and make some noise as you go along. The animals are feeding heavily after the thaw and are more active and out in the open areas more frequently than is typical.
The snow level is sitting around 9,000 feet right now. Folks have been utilizing the Elkhart Park Trailhead for snowshoeing, although you cannot make it to the trailhead parking lot just yet. Big Sandy trailhead is not entirely clear, and as that road is notoriously slimy in the spring, I would recommend waiting for some drier days before pursuing that line (nobody wants to get stuck way out there!). Boulder Lake trailhead is fairly open as well, even though we are still getting snow daily. Take note that the water levels in the streams and rivers are getting high and the currents can be swift, especially in deep areas. Run-off has not truly begun just yet-the rise is due mainly to our daily precipitation so use caution when approaching any moving body of water. Dress appropriately for rapid changes in the weather, including sudden snowstorms.
And most importantly…persevere! Pinedale’s spring may not be as warm as other places, but it is beautiful in its own way. Go outside!