Wyoming is slowly entering into an “exceptional drought” phase, meaning, “the highest category, exceptional drought, or D4, corresponds to an area experiencing exceptional and widespread crop and pasture losses, fire risk, and water shortages that result in water emergencies.” Please be sure you’re adhering to the fire ban set in place by the Bridger-Teton National Forest, and do be sure to thank the men and women of the Wildland Fire Units for doing what they do to keep our public lands open and us safe.
Although there is one small fire burning south of us in Big Piney, the Winds have been, fortunately, fire-free. With the recent rain and cooler temps we’re able to see the mountains here from Pinedale, with a very slight haze. Once you get up high, the visibility gets much better; from on top of East Temple last weekend I was able to see clear north to Fremont Peak.
We’ve been getting conflicting reports of the snow bridge on Gannett still being “in, although very thin and shouldn’t last long”. Ice axe and crampons are still required.
The blow down situation is slowly being cleared in the most heavily affected areas. In the areas where blowdown damage was slight, there are “walk-arounds” if the main trail was covered. Both the Cirque and Titcomb Basin are blowdown-free on the trails. In areas with heavy damage or less use, expect some trees to be cleared but not all. Use discretion and caution when attempting off-trail travel below treeline.
The Forest Service has limited parking at the Big Sandy Parking lot. If the main parking lot fills up, please use the lot .5 miles down the road marked as “Overflow Parking”. The areas they have marked off from parking are clearly marked.
You are REQUIRED to adhere to Bridger-Teton National Forest food storage protocols. This means hanging your food 10 up and 4 feet out, using a BearVault, or Ursack with an odor-proof sack. There are a few bears in the range that are responding negatively to human presence, so we should be doing what we can to prevent them from becoming habituated to humans.
The rain we’re receiving is much needed! Expect on-and-off rain for the next few days and for the afternoon thunderstorms to continue after that. The rain is going to cool things down a bit, so expect lower lows than we’ve been experiencing lately. As we move into the traditional backpacking season, the Winds still have a lot to offer. Come on by and let us help you get into the mountains!