Enjoying the Wyoming Wild

*Guest post from Rick Hawbaker describing his recent backpacking trip into the Wyoming Wild*

Backpacking in Wyoming's Snowy Range with eight friends was a grand time. It was my third visit to Medicine Bow National Forest and second time backpacking there. This relatively unvisited area is 45 miles west of Laramie, Wyoming.

We began our three day/two night adventure at Brooklyn Lake on the Sheep Lake Trail. We headed north through the forest toward Twin Lakes and then west to Sheep Lake. At the junction of Deep Lake and Sheep Lake Trail we began to follow the North Gap Lake Trail.

At 5.1 miles we reached Cutthoat Lake. We found great flat sites for our tents near the trickling streams and small waterfalls just west of Cutthoat off of the main trail.

I had bought inflatable sleeping pads from Sierra Trading Post online the previous week. I lost an extra two and a half pounds, exactly what one of the pads weighed, so I felt I could handle carrying the extra weight. Have to admit though I did considered burning my dirty clothes to save weight packing out of the Wyoming wild.

I had a good headlamp so I would not stumble around camp in the dark, but took along a small flash light too. Twice I ripped the headlamp and headband off of my head in the night and the light came apart and batteries fell out on the tent floor. The extra light helped me find the batteries and get them laying the right direction in the lamp so I could use it again before sunrise.

A lightweight quick drying shirt, fleece and rain jacket was not enough to turn back the cold on these two mid-August nights. I threw in my long underwear top into my 35 pound backpack on the last pass through my bedroom before leaving the cities.

Wyoming Wild

I enjoyed eating freeze dried ice cream sandwiches and laughed out loud watching others carefully eating around the unneeded paper wrap they had left on theirs. Guess the ice cream sandwiches tasted so much like the real thing that they expected the freeze dried ice cream to drip.

We didn't see any moose this year or witness elk running by our camp like they did last year, but watching a bald eagle and soaring hawks overhead was cool. The butterfly that landed on my hand and sat there for five minutes was a special treat, too.

It was 3.5 miles from our camp spot to the Lewis Lake parking lot where we had dropped off two vehicles. The entire adventure was beautiful in the alpine meadows as wild flowers were still in bloom. The lakes were plentiful and the scenery were great.

The majority of the trip was spent at an elevation of 10,000 to 11,000 feet. The trail was easy to moderate and occasionally you could see a bicycle tread mark on the path. I would guess I saw a dozen people besides the eight men I was with.

If you like mountain views and mountain lakes you will love this trail. It takes you through the gap between Medicine Bow Peak and Browns Peak and you have a good view of Sugarloaf Mountain. Enjoy the Wyoming wild!
Rick Hawbaker has been an avid hiker of trails in Colorado and Utah for the past 35 years. He has hiked to the summit of 15 of Colorado's 14,000 foot peaks and has just begun backpacking and hiking in Wyoming. He hikes, rides his bike and is hooked on pickleball.

*Editor's note: Rick is a customer of Sierra Trading Post and wanted to share his adventure on the Sierra SocialHub. If you have a story you'd like to share, email me at ahawbaker (at) sierratradingpost (dot) com.
Andy Hawbaker
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Andy Hawbaker
Andy is a hiker, backpacker, snowboarder and outdoor fanatic. When he isn't exploring the Rocky Mountains, burning marshmallows or scratching his dog behind the ear, he shares his experiences here on the Sierra Trading Post Blog.
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