Wyoming: Wind River Range- Titcomb Lakes to Trail’s End Campground
Total Mileage- 14.00 miles
Total Elevation Gain- 2125 feet
Total Elevation Loss- 3334 feet
Our fourth and final day in the Wind River Range area of Wyoming would take us from Titcomb Lakes to Trail’s End Campground. The previous day threw a monkey wrench into our plans, as we were planning to hit Bonney Pass and take The High Route north for several days. An expected snowfall would have made our attempt too risky so we opted to exit through Titcomb Basin to Trail’s End Campground. While this was a massive downer, our trek through the basin was amazing. The views were nothing less than spectacular. The big decision that we had for this day was whether we were going to hit the full 14 miles to get out- or – do one more night. At this point it was really a decision based on how everyone was feeling.
This 14-mile trek would add up to some significant elevation changes, both ascending and descending. To be honest, I was a little surprised that we gained over 2000 feet, but we had not game-planned this route and really did not know what to expect. Surprisingly, the only reason we had a map for this trail is that on the previous day when we decided to not tackle Bonney we ran into some speed packers who let us take some pictures of their map. I suppose had we not had their map as a reference we would have still made the same trail out, but their map gave us an approximate mileage and an approximate end destination. But for the time being, we saw a beach and a lake. And that ALWAYS means a polar plunge. No joke, the water temperature was in the 40’s.
To give you a bit of an idea about this 14-mile hike, about the first half of it (the portion coming from Titcomb Lakes) is amazing. The entire time I was hiking I thought that it would be a great stretch to hike and camp with my kids on another trip. Camping at Titcomb Lakes was nothing short of stunning and the views of lakes/mountains was really special. However, the final half of the hike is not pretty at all. It is mainly a wide multi-use trail that descends among the trees making for a long, repetitive seven miles. That was the unfortunate part of this last portion- if you wanted to hike to Titcomb Basin and hit the lakes… it would take a really long and suffocating initial hike to get there. Needless to say, I didn’t take a lot of pictures the last seven miles.
We popped out of the woods and into the parking lot close to Trail’s End Campground. We were not intending to camp there, but were looking to hitchhike back to Pinedale for the night. Our vehicle was still at the Green River Lake parking lot. The unfortunate part of ending our hike at Trail’s End Campground without a vehicle was that this road was sparsely traveled… and the people who actual did drive by were… surprise, surprise… coming back to camp for the evening and NOT going to Pinedale. We had a couple of people stop, but they were unwilling to drive us into town. Cell coverage was terrible and extremely spotty, but one of the guys was able to text his wife and ask her to get a shuttle set up for us. Unfortunately, communication between us and the shuttle service completely broke down and they said that the earliest they could get us (even if they wanted to) was 11pm. This was strange because we were only a 30-minute drive from them. We think they were unclear on where we actually were. To our complete dismay, we were planning to camp in the parking lot, but then… all of a sudden… a truck slowly turned on to our road. With three of our guys working at the corporate headquarters of Cummins Engine Company in Columbus, Indiana… they were surprised and blown away that the driver of the truck not only had a Cummins engine in his truck… he was wearing a Cummins baseball cap. The stars aligned. As it turned out, the man, his wife, and daughter came up to that area to release balloons in remeberance of the daughter’s husband who had passed away a year from that date. They had just finished when they decided to just crusie around and look at the views before they went back to Pinedale. They very kindly loaded five guys, five packs into the covered bed of the truck and we were off to Pinedale. There are still some amazing people in this world and we were fortunate to have crossed paths with them.