Wind River Mountains Backpack Trip 5 - July, 2007

Click here to go back to the Frontier Home Page.

Introduction note (by Joe): I had been trying for over a year to get my 16 year old nephew, Preston, to visit me from Kentucky for some outdoor adventure. He had never been backpacking before and I wanted to expose him to some of the unique enriching experiences that immersing yourself into nature can provide. He came prepared with an open mind and a great attitude, which resulted in a fantastic visit. We started off with a three day, 21-mile loop in the Wind River Mountains using the New Fork Lakes trailhead and climbing over Doubletop Mountain.

Monday - July 16th: We left Green River mid-morning for the two and a half hour drive to the New Fork Lakes trailhead north of Pinedale. I had planned to do no more than seven miles this first day, climbing gradually from the trailhead at 7900 feet up the New Fork River Canyon to New Fork Park at 8700 feet. Other than a couple river crossings, the hike was really a very gentle start to our trip. We stopped short of New Fork Park and camped in the woods. We were just about through with dinner when a little rain interrupted us; just a minor nuisance.

Click on thumbprint photos to see them enlarged.

Joe above The Narrows.
Preston over New Fork Lake.
Preston looking back at The Narrows.
Preston mid-way across New Fork River.
Preston balancing across New Fork River.


Tuesday - July 17th: We both slept well and began our hike in heavy morning humidity, unusual for the Wind River Mountains. Our gradual ascent up the New Fork River Canyon changed to a steep grueling couple miles up Palmer Canyon and Reynolds Creek. At one section we had to gain a thousand feet in just one mile. This is steep by any measure. Preston began to feel the effects of altitude and was forced to take it slow and steady. Our effort was rewarded with a nice break at Palmer Lake (10,165') before continuing up and over Doubletop Mountain (10,892'). We had hoped to take our packs off at the saddle (10,700') and stroll up to the summit for some great views, but the weather turned very sour with thunder and lightning, causing us to quickstep our way back down to the protection of tree line. The rain did not last long so we never got terribly wet or cold. We continued on to scenic Rainbow Lake and stopped for an early dinner. We finished the day back on the Lowline trail after hiking over ten challenging miles.

Preston resting along Reynolds Creek. Preston, finished with his climb at 10,300'. Preston & Joe taking a well-desrved break by Plamer Lake. Preston near some snow atop Doubletop Mtn. Preston with the Continental Divide.


Wednesday - July 18th: We got an early start this morning with the prospect of only going downhill back to the trailhead. Preston got to think about having restaurant food for lunch, one of the special rewards for a backpacker coming off the trail. Our hike was a brief three days, but it gave Preston a true first experience of backpacking. I'm curious to see if he would ever take the initiative to try it again.

Preston getting ready to start his third day on the trail.
Preston crossing the New Fork River delta.
Preston & Joe in front of New Fork Lake.

Read the next heading under Labyrinth Canyon Float to see Part II of Preston's visit.


Click here to go back to the Frontier Home Page.

If you have any questions about this website or want to contact Christine or Joe for any reason, please email us at or