August 6, 2013
Leaks Creek to Green River Lake
~28 miles (+bonus)
After staying up later than usual while at Togwotee Lodge the night before, I ended up sleeping in until 6:30. For the first time this trip I awoke with frost on the outside of my tent! Needless to say it was a cold start and I wasn't disappointed that I was still in my sleeping bag as the sun rose over the hill and started to warm things up and defrost my tent.
The morning's miles went by fairly quickly and were nothing much to speak of. I did get a glimpse of some mountains off in the hazy distance that may have been the Grand Tetons, but I can't be sure. A little later I came across two NOBOs, Birdman and Horton. They said the same thing as everyone else, the Winds are amazing, but they didn't get to do the cool alternates due to threatening stormy weather.
Not too long after as I was making my way towards Gunsight Pass I noticed some smoke on the other side of the ridge in the general direction I was heading. I didn't think too much of it, but it did cause me some slight concern. As I made it over the pass I got a better look at the source of the smoke and sure enough it was a forest fire. As I descended the pass I kept getting closer to the smoke on the opposing ridge and eventually found that the fire/smoke was directly in my planned path of travel. I could see orange and red flames stretching into the air from the tops of the green trees on the small ridge separating me from the Green River and my planned camp for the night. In order to stay safely out of the path of the flames I headed northeast down a little valley upwind and away from the fire. After some distance down I bushwacked my way through the trees over the ridge. The other side of the ridge was mostly cross country travel through grass and sagebrush with the occasional game/cow trail I make things a little easier. I made it back to the actual trail just after 7pm after hours of off trail travel and probably an additional 5 miles distance. Definitely worth it to avoid the fire and I am supremely happy that the fire did not cause me to miss the Winds. I would have been furious and extremely disappointed, and it may have completely killed my will to keep hiking the remainder of the trail. Close one.
Tomorrow it's on to the Winds! From my camp on the edge of one of the Green River Lakes I can see some sweet rocky cliffs and mountains that mark the beginning of the wonderment!