Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Washakie Pass

We woke yet again to a kind of quite that can only be expressed by wilderness. It's a soft calm silence. It's gentle with nothing harsh about it. It eases you from sleep beckoning you to see what's lying just  outside your tent. This is the best way to be woken up by silence and sunlight peaking into your tent. This morning went smoothly as both James and I fell into our roles.

James went to go fill up our drom and began to heat up water for our oatmeal. While'll I started start to pack up the tent. After breakfast James went to back his stuff up while I started to divide and pack up our food. By day three we'd really become quite efficient. It was great to wake up and be ready to go in 45 minutes verses an hour to an hour and half.

Today we both started off with a trekking pole, since the common consensuses among the other hikers that we meet along the way seemed to be that this section of trails were especially hard on ones knees, despite how in shape you were. We were off. Our first  mile and a half was down hill through woods which was big change from most of yesterday's hike. It was very pleasent. It had been about a half hour before we left that a group of boy fly fishes pasted our camp site all waves and smiles, we weren't too worried about running into them since they had a whole half hour on us. Sadly I was wrong.

Once we came all the way down we had our first river crossing. And there we came upon the group of young fly fishers. Now it was very apparent that we'd be play leap frog with this large group; which, to say the least is very disheartening for a few reasons. For one it slows you down a considerable amount and two it takes away from the remote experience of the hike.  Our solution to the problem was to out hike this larger and slower group.

Our plan worked until we had to stop to take off a layer of clothes and apply sunblock. As we were doing this 20 boys along with 3 adults passed us. Our only hope was that they would not be going as far as we were.  Thankfully  having this large group in front and sometimes behind us didn't ruin the hike like we had anticipated.  We were soon distracted by all the lakes.

Now I don't know about you, but generally when I think about mountains I don't associate lakes with them. The longer we hiked the more lakes we saw and they were large lakes. Each lake fed the lake below it like some giant water feature. With each step higher the view of the lakes became more astonishing.

while we did drink the water right out of the stream I would not recommend anyone do this unless they are able to verify that it is all snow melt and even then it can be risky. 

 We were fast approaching Washakie Pass. The closer we got the more we would see the slope of the land. It was as if it was all slanted down creating the masse movement of water down this side of the Continental Divide.  The lake at the top just before what looked to be like an almost vertical assent spilled over it's edge and slipped though a low bolder field where it filled the next lake. Which in turn fed the lake below that and the cascade effect continued it's way down unlike you lost sight of the water in the trees.

There were small glacier like in the picture above which fed the streams all the way down the ridge. I know I keep saying it, but I don't think that I'll be able to say it enough. The views were so fantastic!  I mean just look at that! The pass started out lush and very grassy and the grass was sprinkled with small white flowers.  To say the least it was enchanting.  It went from enchanting to desolate quickly with the elevation gain. Washakie Pass stands at a  height of 11,611ft. which isn't quit as high as were were the day before but it still quite high.

It was one of the best things to come to the top of the pass and cross the Continental Divide and see the word just open up for hundreds and hundreds of miles around you. It was like seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time - jaw dropping. I'm not usually an emotional person, but when we crested the ridge and saw mountains and range land that was hundreds of miles away I had tears in my eyes. You're looking at what you know is real, but your mind is unable to comprehend it.

You know it will be beautiful, but you are unprepared for how beautiful it actually is and you're left there just trying to grasp it's vastness so you can put words to what you're seeing, but you're simply unable to come to terms for what your eyes are telling you. This photo will not bring tears to your eyes, but if you could be there and see if for your self the view just might bring tears to your eyes.

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