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 Post subject: Wind Rivers August 2017: Total Occlusion in Total Seclusion
 Post Posted: September 1st, 2017, 5:54 pm 
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Joined: July 26th, 2008, 8:16 pm
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Location: Tri-Cities, WA
I'd been planning this Wind Rivers trip since 2011, when I first read of the total solar eclipse coming August 21, 2017. Always wanted to do (a first!) Wind Rivers hike, so the eclipse was a perfect excuse. I wanted several things: to go in at Elkhart Park so I could drive my low-clearance vehicle; to get over to the east side of the divide to avoid crowds; to find a lakeview valley turned the right direction to allow for a nice totality picture; and to get a decent loop hike.

I made it all work except the loop hike. In particular, I had total solitude for the eclipse...an entire Wind Rivers lake (Camp Lake) all to myself.

There was a little more snow on Angel Pass than I expected, and I talked to a 30-year Winds veteran who said the pass he'd used was dangerously corniced, so I changed my original plans that would have taken me over 12,200-ft Alpine Pass on the way out. If its north side had been impassable (no axe, just microspikes), I wasn't sure I could get back out in time to stave off my son's chopper call.

Anyway, it was worth it all.

I probably walked about 12 miles the first day. The altitude had me beat (drove up from sea level one day, started hiking about 8:00 the next morning), but the views were worth it.

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View from Photographer's Point

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I think Eklund Lake may have the best view of all lakes I saw

I'd intended to camp in Bald Mountain Basin the first night so I'd be ready for an early approach to Angel Pass, but I missed a trail junction and found myself on the way toward Cook Lakes. Glad I did.

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"Lower" Cook Lake

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Zoom to Angel Pass, where I'll be tomorrow

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"Upper" Cook Lake where I spent my first night

The approach to Angel was easier from Cook Lakes than it would have been the way I'd planned...I know because I went out the way I'd planned to go in. Bald Mountain Basin is chock full of boulders, lakes, marshes, hills, ridges, and willow thickets.

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Bald Mountain Basin from partway up Angel Pass

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Approaching Angel Pass

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view to the east, with semi-recent(?) slide

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Dennis Lake after I'd boulder hopped down and crossed to the other side

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Golden Lakes basin, where I spent my second night

Having changed my plans, I settled in for a short day 3 and 4. I decided Camp Lake was a good spot for eclipse viewing and headed there.

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Unnamed lake at 10,787 ft

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Headed down to Camp Lake

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Tomorrow I'll watch the eclipse from the rocks by the outlet

Just NE of Camp Lake is a small, shallow lake. It has some unusual rock patterns under the water. I'm open to theories...

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Fascinating rock patterns in the shallow lake to the NE of Camp Lake

I awoke to pretty good weather, but with the first white clouds of the trip. Uh-oh? It turned out okay, though I did miss the first bit of partial eclipseness before the one ornery cloud moved on.

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Morning light on Douglas Peak above Camp lake

I parked myself in the rocks near the outlet and settled in to try for a semi-decent (hand held) scenic shot. I didn't try for close-ups because I didn't have that kind of gear.

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My view before the eclipse (Come on, cloud, move!)

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My view during the eclipse

I tracked back out and spent another night at Golden Lake, then hiked back over Angel the next day. The basin below the east side of Angel Pass is a beautiful place.

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Basin below Angel Pass (notch, center)

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Snow/ice activity since I was here three days ago

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Pole Creek on the way out

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Perfectly placed marsh

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Wind River Brewing

"I'll be back."


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 Post subject: Re: Wind Rivers August 2017: Total Occlusion in Total Seclu
 Post Posted: September 3rd, 2017, 11:08 am 
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Joined: December 13th, 2014, 12:34 am
Posts: 91
WOW. That is a gorgeous area, especially to find empty during the eclipse! I hadn't known much about this range. Thanks for sharing.


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 Post subject: Re: Wind Rivers August 2017: Total Occlusion in Total Seclu
 Post Posted: September 3rd, 2017, 11:22 am 
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Joined: April 24th, 2015, 9:53 pm
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Where is this magical place? (including the hamburger). I'm taking notes.


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 Post subject: Re: Wind Rivers August 2017: Total Occlusion in Total Seclu
 Post Posted: September 3rd, 2017, 12:20 pm 
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Joined: July 26th, 2008, 8:16 pm
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Location: Tri-Cities, WA
leiavoia wrote:
Where is this magical place? (including the hamburger). I'm taking notes.

The Wind River range is a 100-mile stretch of the Rocky Mountains straddling the continental divide in west-central Wyoming. And magical it is! The burger is on the main drag in Pinedale, WY.


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 Post subject: Re: Wind Rivers August 2017: Total Occlusion in Total Seclu
 Post Posted: September 3rd, 2017, 1:12 pm 
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Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:02 pm
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Location: SE Portland
I flew over the Wind River Range once while flying between Minnesota and California and thought, "holy crap, what are those mountains down there? They look amazing!"

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 Post subject: Re: Wind Rivers August 2017: Total Occlusion in Total Seclu
 Post Posted: September 12th, 2017, 9:57 pm 
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Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
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Location: Vancouver, WA
Wind Rivers are amazing! I've been eyeing that area for a few years too, something to dream about :) .

Thanks for the great report.

texasbb wrote:
Just NE of Camp Lake is a small, shallow lake. It has some unusual rock patterns under the water. I'm open to theories...

Image
Fascinating rock patterns in the shallow lake to the NE of Camp Lake


Such rock patterns, I've read, are common in the arctic and high mountain tundra, places that freeze and thaw repeatedly. The ice pushes rocks apart, just a fraction of an inch year after year, to form these.
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 Post subject: Re: Wind Rivers August 2017: Total Occlusion in Total Seclu
 Post Posted: September 13th, 2017, 1:21 pm 
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Joined: July 26th, 2008, 8:16 pm
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Location: Tri-Cities, WA
Interesting, romann! I can certainly see how a tiny puddle freezes and the expansion pushes the rocks out a bit, so next time it's a slightly bigger puddle. Not sure I can make the connection to these underwater rock lines, though. First of all, how would this work with rocks underwater? Second, would that mechanism even work with these football- and beach ball-sized rocks? Part of what's striking about these is that the areas between the rock lines are vegetated...not sure if it's algae or grass or what. Is that significant?

Thanks for the input. I'd just about given up on anyone having a theory, and now I've got another line of thinking to investigate.


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