Thursday I decided to stay close to home and revisited the area above Sinks Canyon State Park. The Park itself isn’t very big but the road through the area beyond the Park, Shoshone National Forest, goes on for quite a distance. Last week it was only open to Bruce’s Camp but just after Memorial Day weekend the “switchbacks” opened. For those of you unfamiliar with mountain roads, switchbacks are where the road makes a series of sharp U-turns as elevation rapidly changes. This enables vehicles to navigate an incline/decline which is not as steep as a more direct route. As I write this post it is now a little over a week later and the remainder of the road, the “Loop Road,” has now opened all the way out to Highway 28 near where my nephew works. Sam, Ellie (my brother and sister-in-law’s corgi) and I will be making that drive this afternoon using my brother’s high-clearance F-150 truck. Those photos will appear in a future post. But for now, let’s take a look at what I saw as I drove “the switchbacks”:
Looking back as I drove uphill you can see a switchback below. If you look real close at the left side of the photo you will see a bicyclist who had just zipped past me as he coasted downhill. That’s the reward for pedaling all the way up!
This was the view down the canyon I had just driven through to get up this far:
And this was the view as I continued to drive uphill:
Note that there is NO GUARDRAIL (except on the curves). I went through a few more curves, climbing even higher, and soon found myself facing the formation which contained the outward looking “face” I showed in an earlier post. At this point I was at 7,680 feet elevation and the temperature had dropped from 82 degrees when I left the house, down to 73 degrees.
I soon crested top of road over this mountain and was in a parking area looking up at the back of the aforementioned rock formation. I was now at 8,442 feet:
This was the view looking east-southeast, away from the mountain I was on.
The paved road then started to descend a short ways before climbing again to where there was a beautiful lake, with the snow-covered Wind River mountain range in the background:
And while I was on a paved road, I was in the mountains and in bear country so I had my trusty bear spray on my belt.
Here is a wide, panoramic photo of the lake:
And some single shots showing more detail:
The lake is at 8,541 feet and when I resumed driving I got to the point where the road was again closed, at 8,690 feet.
I did have the option to turn right and drive 2 1/2 miles back a rocky dirt road to the Worthen Reservoir, which I did.
That boat ramp and dock is at 8,830 feet elevation and I had only traveled about 20 miles from home.
I may come back up here to hike near the reservoir (Sam tells me it is fairly level, albeit at high elevation) but today I was here alone and there weren’t too many other people nearby. Even after living at 5,700 feet elevation for two weeks I’m still not quite ready for a long walk at 8,800 feet.
I headed back in to Lander, turned right, and set off on my next adventure, southwest of town.