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Day 17 8/10/17 Below Shadow Lake to Below Deep Lake

Miles: 12.5 Steps: 32,698 Vertical gain: Strava Liquid consumed: 116oz Wildlife: Deer, chipmunks, squirrels, birds, marmot (one tiny baby marmot was real cute) Faith in Humanity: I asked a hiker how he was doing. "OH MY GOD!! IF THIS DOESN'T DO IT FOR YA THEN THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG, BROTHER!!!" True that, fine sir. True that! Made me laugh for quite a while. Right now I'm sitting on the shore of Big Sandy Lake. You have no idea how excited I am to consume some Kraft Mac n Cheese, a packet of tuna, some hot sauce and some ketchup! Mmmmmm! It rained for quite a while last night. The pitter patter noise made me struggle to go to sleep, but I did. Brrrrr, it was cold in the morning when I woke up. Packed up everything wet and hit the trail before 8. I was expecting this Cirque of the Towers to be a remote cross country route. Instead? I saw at least 40 people camped before my first climb and ran into 7 people actually doing the route on the first pass alone. Oh well, it sure was gorgeous, I don't blame everyone for going up there one bit. It's gorgeous and apparently somewhat easily accessible via the Big Sandy Trailhead. Something funny happened on the no-trail route finding section: I slipped on a steep wet patch of grass, spun around as I slipped and fell completely into some mud. I wasn't hurt at all, so I laughed hysterically. I was covered in mud and super wet. Oops! I'm not sure why but today I wasn't as social as I normally am. Sure I said hi to everyone and the dude who was super stoked was great, but every conversation was rather surface level. It's all good though, some days are just like that I suppose. My water filter was leaking today and it took me a bit to figure out why: the seal gasket had fallen off into the water bottle. This caused me not to drink much water. I also didn't each much either in the first part of the day. Not smart! I eventually fixed the filter and took a long extended break to eat and drink and generally be merry. Worked quite well! The Cirque of the Towers was pretty cool! A little bit of somewhat sketch snow, a steep climb up and down the first pass and a little bit of route finding kept things interesting. I failed at talking to this group of 4 backpackers but I was curious about them. They were quite fit and fast. I wondered where they were from, etc but didn't get a chance to find out. Oh well. There were a lot of people on the trail down to Big Sandy Lake and beyond. Big Sandy and Elkhart and Green River Lakes are definitely the busiest Trailheads for the Winds. One thing I was thinking today: us humans, we always go for the best. In some ways it's great, but in others it kind of horrible. For example, much of the Wind River range is absolutely stunning. But so many people congregate at such a small number of areas. I know it's a factor of fitness, time away, wanting to make the most of your trip, etc, but it creates such crowding. The things that are the coolest just get loved to death, especially in the backcountry. A lot of times I'd rather have something slightly less scenic to enjoy a bit less crowding. Anyway, just something I was thinking today. I cut today quite short. Clouds were dark and the trail went far above treeline for a long time and I was just thinking: why rush? I've got food, this valley is absolutely gorgeous, and realistically I only have 25 mikes or so more of this mountain range, so why not go easy on the body and mind and have a mellow day? It was great. I relaxed, cleaned up a bit in a stream, watched every video I've shot so far on this trip and brainstormed how to make them better, and stared longingly at all the breath taking surrounding peaks. Ok I've blabbed on long enough. Time for sleep!

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