Snowy Range Sauntering

There are some trips (such as the one to the Rawah Wilderness)) where I want high mileage, physical challenges and getting off the beaten path. These trips are (usually) solo and are an intense experience for me.

Sometimes, though, I want to share the experience with others.

Since a past partner and I continued in our relationship, we have shared various outdoor excursions together. But, we have different outdoor backgrounds and philosophies.

I am a backpacker who camps to hike more. Camping is not the destination in itself…it is a place to stage the next days hike. I am not adverse to a beautiful camping spot…it is just secondary to why I backpack.

a past partner? A different philosophy. Make basecamp at a beautiful alpine lake for two days and explore around via day hikes. The camping spot IS the destination.

So, the balance we have been striking is to find a backpacking trip that is about hiking, but keeping the mileage low (by my standards) and making sure we have a beautiful spot to end the day.

And this weekend we were in such a place. The Medicine Bow National Forest just over the Wyoming border. Locally known as the Snowy Range, it is the northern portion of the mountains I hiked last weekend.

Due to some of the campgrounds still being closed (and the roads not accessible) we had this beautiful area to ourselves.

This area is a wonderful ‘view to effort ratio’ backpacking trip with moderate climbs, beautiful lakes and stunning views.

The trip started off in a mellow, if wet, manner as we hiked through marshy terrain and stretches of snow fields.

The day became overcast and windy and I decided to make it an earlyish day and setup our new Lunar Duo. The shelter was set up just in time as the weather turned nasty with heavy rains and fierce winds. The shelter worked like a champ and was most definitely girlfriend approved:

The following morning was STUNNING with clear blue skies and just the right amount of warmth in the sunshine…


View from North Gap Lake; flank of Medicine Bow shown

After looking at the topo, I figured an off-trail route to the top of 12013′ ft Medicine Bow Peak would be quite doable. It would eliminate an out and back on a trail and make a nice loop for the weekend.

We made our way up the slope and traversed some snowfields. Eventually we crossed over talus and ended up following old telegraph poles (and the occasional line) up the summit. Wonder if there was a fire tower here back in the day?

We made it the top of the summit…and had it all to ourselves!

With the glacier carved lakes and mountains, the scenery below was nothing short of stunning.

We made our way off the peak and ended the loop by going along many more lakes with great views to where we have been.

The trip ended in a mellow trek back to my truck. All told, it was perhaps a 16 mile loop. A chill hike..but one a past partner loved…which means we’ll be doing more backpacking in the future.

When all was said and done, we made a quick pit stop to Sierra Trading Post (picked up some new trail runners on clearance!) and found a nice brewpub in the old train depot in Cheyenne, WYO. Good burger. Good beer. Great company…..

Not a bad weekend.

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