Shop Sundance Catalog

icon icon

Monday, October 14, 2019

Weekly Post, High and Wild: Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers

High and Wild: Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers
by Robert Glenn Ketchum

After receiving my MFA from CalArts, I was invited by Bill Lund, Sharon Disney’s husband, to come stay at the families' Diamond-D Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming. Bill thought I might like to photograph in the nearby Wind River Mountains, which I did, backpacking through them extensively over the next three summers. Welcome to a world of big granite walls and huge alpine lakes!
~Robert Glenn Ketchum





Monday, October 14, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #112: Wind River, #112: As my partner, Vicki Golden, and I, continue our first backpack of the summer, we have risen from Big Sandy Lake, to Clear Lake, where he had lunch, and now we are on our way to Deep Lake, even higher up. We are traversing the base of Haystack Mountain, now, and the forest trail has given way to one across open granite, aflow with much running water, and pocked with beautiful pools. There is no “path” to follow, but generations of hikers before us have built cairns to guide us on the passable direction, so we do not get cut off by water that cannot be crossed. Although we are DEFINITELY climbing, at times rather steeply, it is a enjoyable effort because the granite provides an excellent, gritty walking surface, and the surroundings are strikingly beautiful. My dog, Belle Star, especially likes it, and anytime we stop to snack or rest, she goes and stands in a pool - those Labbies are such water dogs! As we rise, Haystack is more than visible with its massive, sheer walls completely blocking our eastern horizon. For awhile, all we can see ahead of us, is the upward curve of granite slabs, but in time, the summits that surround the Deep Lake Basin begin to reveal themselves. One of the tallest in the Wind Rivers is the first to emerge. Temple Peak, at 12,977ft., is still in the considerable distance, but in the image above, can be seen poking out from behind this boulder erratic. “The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get."
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd


Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:

SOCIAL MEDIA by @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________
Monday, October 7, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #111: Wind River, #111: On the first backpack of the summer, my partner, Vicki Golden, and I, have come into the Wind Rivers through the Big Sandy Lake and trail. After an acclimatizing camp at Big Sandy Lake, we push up into a much higher basin, that first brings us to Clear Lake, and then (we hope), even higher to Deep Lake. We take a lunch break at Clear Lake, and then launch for Deep, but after we round the lakeshore, our trail changes dramatically. What has been a dirt path through the forest, emerges onto massive granite slabs, flowing with water pouring out of Deep Lake, somewhere well above us. There are numerous streams and pools, and you could easily wander into an impassable position were it not for the thoughtful cairns that generations of hikers have created to guide those who might follow in their path. Cairns are a stack of stones, built just tall enough to be visible, and placed so that when you stand at one and look around, you should be able to see the next in your line of sight. Following this “visual” trail, Vicki and I pick our way up through the terraces, streams, pools, and waterfalls. This is the most interesting “path" either of has ever walked upon, and it just keeps getting better.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd


Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:

SOCIAL MEDIA by @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, September 30, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #110: Wind River, #110: On the first backpack of our summer, my partner, Vicki Golden, and I, have decided to enter the Wind River Range from a trailhead we have not previously explored, called Big Sandy. This trail is mostly trafficked by climbers headed for the Cirque of the Towers, where many big walls abound. The initial trek to Big Sandy Lake, is a short 6-miles, with relatively little rise in elevation, so it is a perfect breaking-in backpack, as we get used to carrying the weight of our needs for the next 12 days. From Big Sandy, all trails go UP, steeply! Vicki and I want to avoid the climbing campers in the Cirque, and plan to go instead, into the Temple Peak basin, but we acclimatize by finding a protected campsite at Big Sandy, directly beneath the impressive summit of War Bonnet peak (12,487’), and not far from the Jackass Pass trail that leads into the Cirque. The lake has great fishing, which my dog, Belle Star, really appreciates, as she loves trout as much as we do, and of course, we get ragingly stormed upon, just to remind us of how spooky the Winds can be when the weather gets cranked up. The morning of our departure for the Temple basin sees the storm of the night before, rather quickly, blow away. Although it still lingers after we first awake (last post), by the time we finish breakfast and break camp, it is clear, and pleasantly cool. Packs on, we are off, and as I look back, War Bonnet appears even more imposing because of how our angle of view has changed. The trail that we follow climbs steeply to Clear Lake, and although it takes work, it is nowhere near as demanding as the one into Titcomb Lakes Basin, where we camped last summer. We arrive at Clear Lake in time for a nice lunch, while we recoup, and prepare to go up, yet again, to our hopeful camping destination at Deep Lake. Although we expect considerable exposure at Deep Lake, we hope to find enough cover to stay, because the lake appears to be surrounded by some stunning summits, Haystack Mountain, East Temple Peak and spire, and tallest of all Temple Peak. Exclesior! Or, in our parlance, “The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get."
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd


Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:

SOCIAL MEDIA by @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, September 23, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #109: Wind River, #109: My partner, Vicki Golden, my black lab, Belle Star, and I, have found a nice sheltered campsite in a small group of trees at the far end of Big Sandy Lake, where many trails branch off. This is our first backpack of the year, and we are carrying 10-day-weight packs, so having come this far, it is our intention to only explore and day-hike tomorrow, before moving camp again. After some successful fishing, and a great dinner, we have a clear night, star-filled skygaze, and retire early, expecting that in the morning, we will climb Jackass Pass to view Lonesome Lake and the Cirque of the Towers. Belle does not like thunder and lightening, and about 4a.m., when I hear the first faint rumble, I also hear her awake in the vestibule, and come to the mosquito screen, so I will let her in. She wants to snuggle with us, and hide under the sleeping bags, should the weather come this way. It does,..and with a vengeance. The storm literally blows-up when it hits the Cirque of the Towers and War Bonnet Peak, beneath which we are camped. The electric-strike, light show through the tent walls is just amazing, and there are numerous passing downpours of rain, with deafening thunder that shakes the ground. Our first night in, is serving to remind the three of us, what weather in the Winds is all about, and why you want to be sure your campsite has some protection. As dawn breaks, the rain stops and the storm rolls off into the distance, so I stick my head out to see what is going on, and find War Bonnet being illuminated by the rising sun, like a fiery tongue against the dark sky .
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd


Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:

SOCIAL MEDIA by @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, September 16, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #108: Wind River, #108: By the time Vicki Golden and I arrive at the outlet of Big Sandy Lake it is mid-afternoon, and it takes a while longer to navigate around the shoreline to a big meadow. Nearby, the trail climbs Jackass Pass into the Cirque of the Towers, which we hope to day-hike tomorrow, so we find a sheltered spot in a cluster of trees, and set up camp. By the time we are finished setting up, the big meadow has developed the golden glow of late light, and my black lab, Belle Star, is running wildly around in the flowers, and jumping into the creek to chase trout skittering through the pools. It is warm and beautiful, so we sit in the sun watching Belle frolic. There are other campers here, but they are around the meadow, on the other side of the lake, so they are undisturbed by the traffic of climbers walking through to get to the Cirque. I do note, however, that Belle is chasing fish, so I grab my pole to see if dinner can be enhanced with fresh trout. It is a wonderful twilight of fishing, and I catch two, large enough to have some for Belle, as well (it is her FAVORITE thing!). After dinner, the clear day, gives way to a cold, clear night, and thankfully the full-blown mosquito population has not yet arisen, so we sit for awhile under a stunning star-filled sky, both glad we are once again high and wild in the Wind Rivers,..and we are about to get a whole lot higher.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd


Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:


SOCIAL MEDIA by @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, September 9, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #107: Wind River, #107: On the first backpack of this summer, Vicki Golden and I have come into the Wind River Range through the Big Sandy entrance. The trail into Big Sandy Lake is one of the shortest entry hikes in the range, but we are adjusting to 10-day-weight backpacks, and enjoying a dazzling clear, cool morning, so we linger along the way, in no hurry to get to the lake. Not only is the trail relatively short, it is also quite flat, but it will take us to Big Sandy Lake, from where, all branching trails go UP! Our plan is to camp at the lake tonight, day hike the trail over Jackass Pass to see the Cirque of the Towers tomorrow, and then go into the Temple Lake Basin to camp the next day, avoiding the Cirque, and the “crowd” of climbers that are camped there scaling the big walls. It is mid-afternoon when we finally reach the lakeshore, where expansive vistas open up. Most of our walk has been among forest meadows, occasionally encountering granite rock gardens, but at the outlet end of Big Sandy Lake, the forests give way to the gardens, and the lake truly is an “alpine” habitat. Small islands are abloom with flowers, and there are numerous peninsulas, such as the one above, adorned with storm-sculpted bonsai trees. Recalling our many encounters with Wind River weather, we want more protection then we see here, and we also want to get closer to the Jackass Pass trail branch, so we continue around the lakeshore, to find a huge meadow at the far end, where many trails split off. In the shadow of War Bonnet Peak, we also find a small cluster of trees to offer some cover for our camp.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd


Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:


SOCIAL MEDIA by @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, September 2, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #106: Wind River, #106: The Big Sandy Trail to Big Sandy Lake meanders through forested rock gardens throughout most of the hike. To our north, Laturio Mountain is just barely visible behind the foothill of granite benches that descend to our trail, and to the south, we parallel the tumbling waters of Big Sandy Creek. On the other side of the creek, the impressive walls of Schiestler Peak rise quite sheerly, offering themselves for occasional dramatic views through the trees of the forest. Some of the faces that tower over us as we approach Big Sandy Lake, remind me of the vertical walls around Clear Lake, that my friends and I encountered on our first Wind River backpack, 2yrs. before (posts #19-37). The morning sunlight is radiant, and as the trail rises beautiful terrace gardens begin to punctuate the forest. Stunning, groups of large limber pine assert themselves here and there, as well. Above is one such section of the trail, which you can see, crossing right through the middle of this picture.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd


Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:


SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, August 26, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #105:
Wind River, #105:  Vicki Golden and I keep ourselves in good condition throughout the winter months by doing cross-country ski camping with our friends in Idaho, The Decker Flats Climbing and Frisbee Club (DFC&FC), and regularly skiing and boulder scrambling in the Sierra’s of California, staging trips out of Sequoia National Park. For several years running now, she and I have been VERY physically active, and we are probably in the greatest shape of our lives. As such, we are more than ready to return to Pinedale in June and backpack once again into the Wind River Range with which we are growingly familiar. As before, we stage and supply from a cabin at the Log Court Motel, but this year, we are going to use a new trailhead, farther south of the Elkhart Park entrance, much of which we explored last year. For our first backpack of the new season, we intend to go in at Big Sandy. Of all the entrances, Big Sandy may be the deepest road entry, and the shortest trail walk in the entire range. The trailhead starts at nearly 9,200ft. and it is 40 miles out to the closest town. It is only about 6 miles however, to Big Sandy Lake. This entrance is also the gateway to Pingora, Warbonnett, and The Cirque of Towers, one of the most-trafficked, big wall climbing areas in the range, and this attraction helps shape our plans. We do not want to join the “crowd” in The Cirque, but we do want to see it, so we plan to camp at Big Sandy Lake for two nights, explore The Cirque on a day hike, and then move to different high basin for the rest of our trip. The morning of our departure is sparkling clear and cool, with no weather showing. The start of the trail is quite forested, and the early morning sunlight causes everything to glow. The trail is a VERY gradual ascent and in good condition, so with a relative short hike ahead of us, we linger, and adjust to being back beneath a pack for another summer.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, August 19, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #104:
Wind River, #104:  Following a cold, blustery day of on-and-off rain, Vicki Golden, Belle Star, and I awake to a dark overcast on the morning we plan to walk out to Elkhart Park, about 12-miles away. At the moment, it is not raining, so we have a “final” backpacker's breakfast for this season, and then break down camp. Although the skies ares ominous, it does not storm, and actually, the cool day makes the hike more pleasant. The Pole Creek Trail is well worn by both hikers, and horses, and with the recent rains, there are many places that are a flooded, muddy slog to get around. Since the weather is civil, we are not in a hurry to get to the trailhead, and so we take our time, stopping regularly for whatever snacks remain, and to take in our late summer presence in this astounding range of granite and high peaks. Vicki and I have already decided to return for a full summer next year, so we can explore other trailheads and basins, and at the moment we are just relishing these last few miles for this year. Especially, because we are so late in the season, there are few others still out here, and we have not seen a single other person all day. Not far from the start of the trailhead and parking lot, there is an expanse of meadows called Millers Park, and it offers a dramatic view of the numerous summits that comprise the Titcomb Lakes Basin, where we started this backpack ten days ago. It is late afternoon now, and although the skies above remain stormy, to the west it is clearing and the sun gets under the cloud deck to send warm, low angled light across the landscape. It lights up the entire peaks section which is now more raggedly defined because it is beginning to accumulate snow. There is much more there now, than there was 5 days ago when we camped there. Winter is coming! For Vicki and I, however, this is an inspiring “last look,” and we both agree we cannot wait to return in nine months for new adventures in other sections of this very long mountain range.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, August 12, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #103:
Wind River, #103:  Our rising traverse from the southern shore of Upper Cook Lake into Bald Mountain Basin, is an off-trail ascent that brings us through wildflower meadows, granite rock, and dome gardens, and some gently sloping granite slabs. It is a pleasant, nearly effortless hike, and even my dog is having fun romping around. Finally, Vicki and I reach a broad “terrace” of rolling granite that is pock-marked with small lakes, expansive meadows, and very small clusters of trees. Everything is VERY exposed, and this does NOT look like an intelligent place to camp. Our topo shows another, larger and more forested lake, not far ahead, beneath another face of Mt. Baldy, so we press on with hope, as it is our last chance before the trail descends. This last lake is spectacular, and the setting VERY dramatic, directly beneath a steep face on the opposite shore. The trees here are taller, as well, and do not show the directional wind-sculpting that those do on the other side of the plateau. We establish camp in a protected swale with big trees, and a peninsula nearby extends into the lake, offering a great view of the Mt. Baldy summit. As the day has progressed, the weather we saw this morning has been building. It is now about 4p.m. and we have established our site, set up our tent, and broken out some munchies, as we take in our new location. Belle Star has become an insane dog, and is running wild laps around the meadows, jumping on and off of boulders,..and then, we all hear it - faint, and VERY far away, the first rumble of thunder. For the moment, it does not stop our activities, BUT over the next 1/2-hour, the rumbles grow louder, and the wind begins to pick up. Eventually Belle comes back to camp to sit with us because she does NOT like thunder and lightening, and it seems this storm may pass close to us. The mosquitoes in this basin have been horrible, so I am only too happy to have a blusterous evening, but now It seems to be rising to the “raging howl” stage, so Vicki and I put Belle Star in the tent, and don our rain gear to sit outside, and watch whatever is about to happen. Within minutes, the first lightening, offers the illusion that the storm is passing to the north of us. A split second later, however, a deafening thunder clap scares the weepus out of us, and a massive cloud raining hail and lightening pours directly over the summit of Baldy, coming right down on top of us. Yelping, she and I flee inside the tent to hide under the sleeping bags with Belle Star. The fierce storm is over in a matter of moments, but the rain lingers, which makes for a wet, cold night. The next day is windy, cold, and raining on and off, so we hike around the basin to stay warm, and circumvent our lake, where we encounter this beautiful limber pine overlook. A good place for snacks. The fishing is also excellent, so a great trout dinner is had by all, Belle Star included, and we retire early because in the morning we will walk out to our van in Elkhart Park, regardless of the weather.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, August 5, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #102:
Wind River, #102:  As Vicki Golden and I slowly rise on our off-trail traverse between Upper Cook Lake and Bald Mountain basin, the initial plethora of paintbrush-filled meadows gives way to small granite domes and large sections of exposed slab granite, none of it offering any vertical challenge. Trees and shrubs begin to replace the flower patches, and as we get higher into the basin with each step, something becomes visually obvious. Although there are many trees, few of them up here are of any height. Most are stunted, sprawling horizontally, and others show signs of being struck by lightening. Curiously, they all also lean, bend, and grow in the same common direction, not because they reach for the light, but because they are being sculpted by fierce winds. When I point this out to Vicki, we agree to make our campsite selection as wind-sheltered as we possibly can. Our hike is not without effort because we are climbing slowly upwards with some substantial backpacks, but it is actually quite pleasant. The slabs and connected meadows make walking easy for us, and my black lab, Belle Star, is now carrying less then 1/2 the weight of food in her saddlepack that she started with, so she is bounding around, exploring everything. I think she likes this basin as well.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, July 29, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #101:
Wind River, #101:  Vicki Golden and I understand that we are deep into the Wind Rivers backpacking, AND it is late in the season. On the first part of this trip, we were with our friend, Michael Knowlin, and we camped in the Titcomb Lakes basin, where it snowed upon us lightly. Since leaving Michael and dropping down into the Wall Lake basin, the last few days have been clear and warm, but the nights are cold, and we know fall/winter is coming. Today, after we broke camp at Wall, and walked around the lake to where the trail and waterfall descend to Cook Lake, we could see that on the distant western horizon, clouds were forming. Because this could be incoming afternoon weather, we double down on our walk, descend to Cook, and then navigate the eastern shore. Were we to go farther down the trail, we would find an established trail juncture for Baldy Lakes Basin, that would take us up to those lakes, where we want to camp tonight. Given our successful, off-trail traverse into Wall Lake two days ago, I suggest instead, that we go off-trail again, and rather than dropping down to the trail juncture, we begin a rising traverse through rocks and meadows that will get us to the same place in less time, fewer miles, and no down-to-go-up. The topo map offers no indication of any dangerous exposure, or blocking walls, so Vicki and I depart the Cook Lake Trail past the end of the lake, and veer upward, wandering south along the east side of the Cook Lake Basin. Having NOT explored this route previously, there is always concern it may not work because of topographic obstacles, yet from the moment we step off-trail, this route-less meander welcomes us. This late into summer, and fall in the air, most meadows are loosing their blooming wildflowers, but we now find that we are surrounded by an endless array of paintbrush, and boulder strewn gardens everywhere.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, July 22, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #100:
Wind River, #100:  Vicki Golden and I succeed in our off-trail traverse between the Titcomb Lakes Basin and Wall Lake, and set up a great camp at the far end of Wall Lake, a place we know from a previous camping trip. The hike was very leisurely, and not very difficult, so after a good meal and some sleep, we arise early to another cool day with non-threatening weather passing over us. The last time we camped here, we explored the far end of the basin, back into the Pole Creek headwaters, so I suggest that today we go to other end of the lake, where we will overlook the Cook Lakes, and have a broad view, west and south. As we have also camped at the Cook Lakes previously, I want to study the topo maps and the terrain to see if there is some other place we can explore within a reasonable hiking distance. It is a BEAUTIFUL day with a light breeze, so our morning hike is another gift of late summer. When we near the outlet end of Wall, I lead a rising traverse of the dome that slopes above us from the trail, and after about an hour of gradual climbing through meadows and granite terraces, Vicki and I emerge on a bald rise surrounded by flowers, and offering an expansive 360˙ view. Obviously, this is our lunch spot. We eat while perusing our maps, and from our elevation, we can see that south of us, as Pole Creek and the Cook Lakes descend, there is a summit called Mt. Baldy that rises. More of interest to us, Baldy has a huge basin on this side that is filled with lakes. We decide that will be our destination tomorrow, so we finish lunch and start back to camp. Before we descend to the lake trail, I make this 2-image shot of the entire Wall Lake Basin, and as I/we have never returned, it is a great parting gift to me and my library. This is a high, wild world I got to enjoy for an extended period.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, July 15, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #99:
Wind River, #99:  Vicki and I have calculated correctly and successfully navigated an off-trail route between Titcomb Lakes Basin, and Wall Lake. We cross the final divide around noon, so after we negotiate the small snowfield descent into lush meadows, we find an appropriate spot to take it all in, and sit for lunch. We are through! We have been over the terrain on this side of the divide in a previous camping trip, and we know it is an enjoyable, simple descent from here to a good campsite at the far end of Wall Lake. With such a nice day, and no reason to hurry, we sunbath, munch, and walk amongst the flowers. At one point mid-afternoon, I find a pool deep enough to dip in, and so I do. Continuing our meander, the warmth of the day is melting snow at higher elevations, and the smooth granite walls around us trickle water, feeding a growing stream that flows downward with us. Flowers bloom everywhere, and bees and butterflies attend them, although I have no idea where these insects hide on freezing nights. Our leisurely hike is perfectly planned, taking most of the day, and doing minimal damage to our knees. We arrive at the shore of Wall Lake, as our connecting valley is bathed in the last light of the day. The Wall Lake Basin has slipped into the shade many hours earlier, and the breeze coming off the lake is cold. Our summer bliss is over, but we do have an amazing camp, in an amazing place once again, and a fine dinner is had by all.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, July 8, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #98:
Wind River, #98:  Our last day camped in the Titcomb Lakes Basin dawns cool and very clear, quite different from the previous one (last 5 posts). Our campmate, Michael Knowlin, is glad because he is taking a long walk out to Elkhart Park, and heading home. Vicki and I are glad because we plan to stay another week, and we are headed to the Wall Lake Basin, traversing an off-trail landscape that we are sure will let us connect the two basins directly, and spare us A LOT of up-and-down-walk-around, following the established trail. After an early breakfast, we hike with Michael down into the the Island Lake Basin, and then we part ways. Vicki and I choose a rising traverse up through some meadows and over a rolling dome that confronts us with a lush granite terrain, filled with streams, flowering meadows, and a number of small lakes. The divide we hope to cross over is to the left in this image, and the only obstacles to our progress are some marshy sections of the meadows. It is an easy walk, made more comfortable by the temperate day. Eventually, our wandering brings us to a another rise of large domes, split by a shallow valley where some snow still remains. The snow is not deep, however, it does steepen onto a declining slope when we pass through the valley. The small snowfield at our feet is a short descent, but not one you want to slide wearing a backpack, so carefully, we kick-step our way to the bottom, where we are greeted by more flowering, stream-fed meadows, and warming sunshine.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, July 1, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #97:
Wind River, #97:  Since our campmate, Michael Knowlin, has allowed the stiff, cold breeze of the passing weather, to blow him and his flimsy, inflatable raft, out into the middle of one of the Titcomb lakes, he is now a long way from both the shore, and our encampment. With little luck fishing, and the unrelenting air stream chilling him, he finally decides to retreat from the hostile conditions, and attempts to paddle back towards us. At first, it takes considerable effort, because he is paddling directly into the wind, but at least the effort warms him up a bit. Once again he begins his “out loud” dialogue with himself, this time yelling at the weather, vowing that “he is not be f*$#@%* with,” and now that he is hungry, “nothing will stand in his way of reaching food.” Vicki and I are rolling in the meadow grass with laughter. About halfway back to the campsite launching point, Michael adopts a new strategy, and begins to paddle closer to the far shore. What he can see, but we can’t, is that there is current there. Our camp sits at the head of the lake's outflow, which becomes a sizable river with a good deal of whitewater below us. From his water-level vantage, Michael can see the current building as the lake narrows, and he is headed for that flow-stream, so he does not have to paddle as hard into the wind. Once in it, he moves along quite nicely, and starts his hooting once again, this time about “shooting the rapids,” - in NO way a good idea. Floating in the current now, and only using his paddles to steer, Michael is moving along at an ever-increasing pace as the lake slips into the low gorge of granite domes, and the current accelerates. In no time at all, he is abreast of us,..then past us, and very quickly, past our camp as well. Vicki and I bolt immediately, thinking he is crazy enough to actually try to run the whitewater ahead. Thankfully he is not that gone, and very quickly he picks up his oars, and paddles into an eddy, so he can work his way back to the launch point. Once out of the water, we query his adventure, and he tells us all was well, except sitting on two layers of his folded-over ensolite sleeping pad, was not enough to “keep his ass from freezing.” As the fates would have it, this would be the last time I/we camp with Michael. He has been a very capable and fun partner with whom to enjoy these adventures, and I am glad we got to do this trip together. In the morning, he will walk out to Elkhart Park, and Vicki and I are going “off-trail,” exploring what we believe to be a route, down from the Titcomb Lakes, into the Wall Lake basin, without having to descend and re-climb, thousands of feet and several extra miles of established trail.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, June 24, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #96:
Wind River, #96:  As our campmate, Michael Knowlin, drifts farther and farther away from Vicki Golden and me, we scramble to the top of the granite dome next to our campsite to keep him in view. With little paddling, the wind generated by the low, passing weather, pushes him farther out into the lake, where he is dwarfed by the scale of the Titcomb Lakes basin and summits that surround us. He is talking loudly to the fish for a while, which is very funny, but eventually he quiets down, and actually begins to fish. In the stiff breeze, that proves more difficult than he expected, as it only allows him to cast in one direction,..with the wind. Although Vicki and I have had, and voiced, our misgivings about Michael taking a cheap raft out into a big lake in these conditions, we have calmed down and are now, just watching the spectacle. My black lab, Belle Star, on the other hand, thinks this is REALLY odd human behavior, and she is whining and pacing to show her concern. I am sure she wants to swim out and rescue him, but the last thing the flimsy raft needs is an excited, big dog with granite-sharpened toenails, trying to climb into it. We hold her in check, and the three of us just sit and snack, while Michael tries to fish. It is a COLD day, and the stiff breeze makes it even colder. Eventually, this affects all of us, but particularly Michael, who is out on the water. First we see him zipping up. Then he puts on his wool cap and neck gaiter, and pulls up his hoody. His last effort is to hunker down, as low in the boat as he can go, hoping the sides of it will shield him from the direct icy, steady stream of air. It is almost impossible to fish in this position, so before long, he sits back up and begins to paddle towards us.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, June 17, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #95:
Wind River, #95:  Despite Vicki Golden and my misgivings, such as "you can be struck by lightening,” “you're not wearing a life vest,” “the water is stunningly cold,” and, “you could hook your raft and deflate it, if you are not careful,” Michael Knowlin is not dissuadable. He has carried his raft all of this way, he has used it before, and he “knows what he is doing,” so there is no changing his mind. Finally inflated, the raft looks like a pool toy to us, but to Michael, it is his ticket to possibly catching “monster” fish,..and he is off - literally and figuratively -LOL! As Michael slowly paddles away from us, the weather ominously lowers, and clouds descend on the summits. It is not raining, but it looks like it might at any minute. A stiff breeze arises as well, blowing him further into the heart of the lakes, and causing us to wonder if he could even paddle back to us, going into the wind. Michael, however, is clearly less concerned. In fact he is doing a lot of hooting, and he keeps yelling at the fish that he is “coming for them.” Vicki and I climb up onto the boulder dome next to camp, so we can watch him grow ever smaller as he drifts into the expansive surrounding landscape of the Titcomb basin. As concerned as we are, it is amazing to watch, and his antics, and conversations with the fish are hysterical.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, June 10, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #94:
Wind River, #94:  We do get in a good breakfast and some walk-about after our dawn-patrol wake up, and a break in the rain. Meadows are squishy, rocks are slippery, and tiny rivulets are flowing everywhere, so we do not wander far. Then the rain begins again. Rather than stand around in it, just getting cold and wet, we opt to retreat to our tents and sleeping bags, and take after-breakfast naps. Maybe we will get lucky, and the storm will finally rain itself out. We arose so early, we all do get some sleep, but as the sound of rain becomes ever lighter our tents, and finally stops, it is like an alarm clock to which we all awake, and go back outside. It is about 1pm., and clouds still linger around the peaks, but the rain has momentarily ceased, and it is brightening to the west. Tomorrow Mike must walk out, and return to his job as a San Francisco police officer. Vicki and I are also launching on a trail-less traverse to Wall Lake, but for the moment, Mike has one more very specific intention. Being a fanatic fisherman, he loves places like the Wind Rivers, because he wants to believe these high altitude lakes are not fished frequently, and that there must be “monster fish” in them as a consequence. At, 11,000ft., the Titcomb Lakes qualify, so Mike has carried in an inflatable raft to access far shores, and the middle of the lake. Having slaved to get it here, he has NO intention of not using it, and thus, as we work through a lunch, he breaks it out. It has just dawned on Vicki how wonderfully nuts this guy is. Note the rod, and net stowed neatly beneath his rainfly. Fish On!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, June 3, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #93:
Wind River, #93:  Our hike around Titcomb Lakes basin on a sunny day, is followed by a beautiful sunset, whose clouds foretell of an incoming storm. During the night, it arrives, but it is not the threatening thunderstorms of summer. This is a fall-winter weather system, and it is more wet, and much colder. It pours rain on us throughout the night, so we exit our tents, when the rain stops around dawn, to survey our surroundings, and get some food. Dawn, becoming day, warms enough for the clouds to lift above the lakes and basin, and play hide-and-seek with the peaks, which are now dusted with a light snow. This change in less than 24hrs. is pretty dramatic, and we are thankful it did not snow harder. Our meadow pitch has been well chosen, so we are above puddles, and out of flow lines, some of which are now, definitely, flowing. It is all good, but we agree that there might be more of the storm yet to come, so we take advantage of the break, and fix a substantial breakfast to “ward off” what looks to be a cold day ahead.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, May 27, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #92:
Wind River, #92:  What a difference a day makes! Yesterday, our friend, Mike Knowlin, Vicki Golden, and I, had a blustery, but very sunny walk, around the upper Titcomb Lake, and beneath some of the tallest and most significant summits in Wyoming (last post). Back in camp, we had an uneventful dinner with a nice sunset, but clouds were coming in from the west, and it was getting colder. Some time after midnight it began to rain, and then rain hard. There was none of the noise and pyrotechnics of summer thunderstorms, this was a fall-winter weather system, which we all knew might happen this late into August. Last summer Mike and I were walking into Pole Creek lake in the FIRST week of August, and it snowed 8" on us. Toward dawn the rain is truly intense, so I hope our camp pitch is elevated enough in the meadow, not to flood. Minutes pass as the torrent continues, but you can tell it is getting light outside. Ever brighter, “dawn” awakes us all, so we talk between tents,..and then, the rain stops. We are immediately inspired to arise, don our gear, and get out of the tents to have a look at the morning. I say, again, what a difference a day makes!

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, May 20, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #91:
Wind River, #91:  Having established an excellent location for our campsite at the head of the 11,000ft. Titcomb Lakes basin, Vicki Golden, our companion, Michael Knowlin, and I, have a great dinner, a star-filled sky, and a restful, weather-free night of sleep to help us recover from our long, all-day, uphill backpack. When we wake, the day is once again, COOL and with little evidence of incoming weather. Normally, after such a long hike in yesterday, this would be a day of relaxing in camp to recover, but we are so excited by the good conditions and this amazing place, we are just the opposite - we are pumped-up to go out on a long ramble around the basin. Having been here the previous summer, Vicki and I know what a spectacular walk-around this will be, and Michael is on board to explore, so with daypacks full of gear and food, we have an early morning launch, and begin to traverse the basin. As the day wears on, a breeze picks up, but it remains sunny, and the basin full of lakes is sparkling like a jewel. Knowlin is blown away! About midday, we near the end of the last big lake in the basin, where we plan to stop for lunch. As we descend to lakeshore for that meal, I take this shot of Vicki, the skyline crowned with the ragged spires of Mt. Sacagawea, behind her. What a place! What a day! A great lunch is had by all, and my black lab, Belle Star, takes a long swim in the lake, apparently exploring it.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, May 13, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #90:
Wind River, #90:  Even though we have been hiking with heavy packs ALL day, we are so excited by the good weather, and the promise of the spectacular destination to which we are headed, the last push from Island Lake up into the Titcomb Lakes basin, seems effortless. Vicki and I know what to expect, because we were here last summer, but our companion Michael Knowlin, does not yet know what he is about to discover. Then, the trail crests, and there are resounding “huzzahs” from all of us. The 11,000ft. Titcomb Lakes basin is awash in late evening light, and to us it looks like Shangri-La. Furthermore, it appears we are the ONLY ones camping up here. At this elevation, our exposure to weather is extreme, so we want to find a place to pitch camp where we can “hide” if things turn for the worst. On the approach to the first of the big lakes, we find a snow-filled cleavage between two granite domes, that makes for the perfect encampment. Look carefully at the above image and you will see our two tents pitched on the stream-side of the snow deposit, and Michael is standing in front of his tent. If you follow the link I provide to the 3-D Google map, you can see EXACTLY the site where we pitched. The siting is perfect: being close to the river provides us with our water; the granite domes will shield us from high winds (and hopefully any lightning); and the snow bank serves as our food refrigerator. It IS Shangri-La, and everyone is doing the Happy Dance, especially my black lab, Belle Star, who is ecstatically racing around like a wild dog in the meadows, now that her saddle-packs have been taken off.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, May 6, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #89:
Wind River, #89:  After a beautiful evening without any weather at our Hobbs Lake camp, the next morning dawns clear and COOL. That is great for us because we are at the beginning of the “heavy lifting” part of the hike, and it will be considerably more comfortable, if our day's journey to the Titcomb Lakes basin is without blistering summer heat. It also makes it less likely we will have thunderstorms later in the day, so we are excited,..AND, we are off, and up! From Hobbs Lake the trail does some ruthless up-to-go-down, but eventually rises to the high basin that holds Seneca Lake. We stop at Seneca, because we are tired, and because it is time for lunch. For our companion, Michael Knowlin, however, it is also a time to break out the fishing gear and test the waters of Seneca, which offer EXCELLENT fishing, especially if you get away from the lake sections easily accessed from the trail. Because Michael is having fun, and because from here the trail goes steeply upward to Island Lake, and then beyond to the 11,000ft. Titcomb Lakes Basin, we linger at Seneca probably longer than we should. Eventually, however, we shoulder our backpacks once again and begin to climb. Late in the afternoon, we arrive at Island Lake (above) and although the evening is descending upon us, there is no threatening weather, so we are go to go for the last leg of our journey. The Titcomb Lakes basin sits just beneath the ragged peaks in this image, and with some luck, we will be there before dark. Excelsior!

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, April 29, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #88:
Wind River, #88:  Next morning in Pinedale breaks cool and clear, so Vicki Golden, Michael Knowlin and I toss our gear in my van and head to the trailhead at Elkhart Park. Before 9a.m. we walk past the position of our view the previous evening (last post), eventually arriving at the point the trail divides. Michael and I were here last summer and took the trail to Pole Creek and the Cook Lakes. Now we will turn our sites in the opposite direction, and head for the Titcomb Lakes basin. Above 11,000ft. it is one of the highest in the range. I have walked out this trail with my friends Chris and Cathy previously, and I know it be be a demanding hike. Now, with full packs it is even more so, because there are numerous up-to-go-downs - climbing and descending that offer little gain. Many people try to go all the way to Island Lake from Elkhart Park in one hiking day. It is a brutal haul. As Titcomb basin is well beyond Island Lake, there is no way we are going through in one day, so our strategy is to camp our first night at the far end of Hobbs Lake, and then ascend to Titcomb the next day. Hobbs is a good acclimatizing walk-in for Michael, who is still adjusting to the altitude, but at camp that night we still have enough energy after dinner to climb up a small granite dome to Sapphire Lake, and watch the sunset on the sheer wall that plunges nearly 2,000ft. down into the valley of Suicide Lake, somewhere below.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, April 22, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #87:
Wind River, #87:  Having walked out 18-miles from the Wall Lake basin in the course of the day, Vicki Golden and I are now happily lounging around our Log Cabin Motel room, enjoying both the shower and the bed, as we await the arrival of our friend Michale Knowlin, whom we expect tomorrow. After a luxurious night of sleep, shei and I spend most of the day preparing our gear, and shopping for supplies. Michael arrives about midday, and joins in on the shopping. His vacation time is limited, so we plan to begin a hike into the Titcomb Lakes basin, early the next morning, and we need complete all of our preparations today. We finish in late afternoon, and it has been a pleasantly warm day with no weather, so I suggest we take cocktails in Elkhart Park, and have a view of the terrain we will begin to traverse, tomorrow. Directly before us in the image above, are the high peaks that surround the Titcomb Lakes. They are about 20+miles away. Well below us on the left is the gigantic Fremont Lake, and further into that lake-valley system is also Long Lake, and Suicide. If all goes well, tomorrow night, we will be camped on the right (shaded) side of those dramatic granite domes in the foreground-right, and we can watch the sunset on the sheer wall that rises above Suicide Lake.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, April 15, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #86:
Wind River, #86:  For Vicki Golden and I, our downclimb from Wall Lake basin to the Cook Lakes will be the steepest descent of our day. Most of the walk out to Elkhart Park is relatively flat after that. Vicki and I make the scramble in less than 45-minutes, and then we pause to shift into another mode. At the foot of the waterfall trail leading up into Wall Lake basin, we stop for snacks and LOTS of water. I take this one last picture looking up the trail, and marvel that you would never know such a huge lake is up there. Then, with our break completed, I strap my cameras down, and we begin a very high-paced trail walk, intending to go all the way to our parked car without stopping again. Our day remains reasonably cool, with no weather, and we are in such good condition, our walk is tiring but, actually enjoyable, BECAUSE WE COULD. We reach Elkhart Park in the late afternoon, and head down the hill to Pinedale, where we will check in to the Log Cabin Motel, and await the arrival of our friend, Michael Knowlin.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, April 8, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #85:
Wind River, #85:  When we wake on the day of our hike out to Elkhart Park, it is cool, and clear with a light breeze blowing. These are perfect conditions to do a long hike, so the day starts well. We eat a full breakfast, stash some snacks and lunch items for easy access, drop the tent, and pack the packs. Shouldered up, they seem remarkably light, as they should, considering they were previously stuffed with 10-days of food, all of which we have now consumed. In retrospect of this summer, and the one that will follow, Vicki and I are probably in the best physical condition of our lives. We have been doing a lot of winter camping and skiing, and we backpack all through the summer months. Nonetheless, our destination today, Elkhart Park, is about 18-miles away as the trail twists and turns, and even at a good walking pace, it will be late afternoon, or twilight, before we hit the area in which we have parked our van. Our bodies warm up, and get into a walking rhythm, as we traverse the lengthy shore of Wall Lake, most of which is relatively flat. Then we arrive at our first descent, following the trail of waterfalls down to the Cook Lakes. The view is inspiring. The day remains clear and cool. The first mile or so is behind us, and Mike Knowlin, good restaurant food, and a real bed await us in Pinedale.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, April 1, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #84:
Wind River, #84:  The gods are kind to Vicki and me on our final evening at Wall Lake, as the storm we have been watching and listening to, never blows over us. After a dramatic light show (last two posts), lots of hail, rain, and thunder in the Pole Creek headwaters basin, the cell passes by, and the ridge above that basin re-emerges in the last light of the setting sun. It is a dazzling display of alpenglow, we both take as a good sign - a positive event on our last night here to send us off properly on what will be a very long walk out tomorrow. We are also excited by the idea that we will return here in less than two weeks, if in fact, we make the off-trail traverse from Island Lake that we discovered today. As the light fades, so do we, retiring early, and hoping for good weather the next morning. Our packs will be light, but 18+ miles is a long distance, and it would be made more difficult, if it were to storm.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, March 25, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #83:
Wind River, #83:  From our campsite at the far end of Wall Lake, Vicki and I are having our last dinner before we walk out the next day to Elkhart Park. We are excited by our discovery of an off-trail route between here and the Island Lake Basin, and are making plans to take advantage of it on our next backpack. In the meantime, somewhere to our north, a weather system is really cranked up, and we can hear the thunder. At the far end of our drainage, looming above the Pole Creek headwaters, a ridgeline I have been referring to as “the fortress” forms an impressive part of the view (last post, and also #77). Tonight, while we eat, it is playing hide-and-seek. The southern-most edge of the bad weather we can hear, has reached the ridge, and is blowing over, and raining upon, the headwaters. Sometimes the rain is so hard the entire wall disappears. It is interesting to us, that the storm does not extend to the sunlit wall directly in front of our camp, and does make for some stunning contrasts. While we watch, it dawns on both of us that the light on the rock face is the low angle of the sun, coming through the pass we ascended earlier in the day. We did find a stairway to heaven.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, March 18, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #82:
Wind River, #82:  The camp Vicki and I have established at Wall Lake is deep into the shade of the evening, but the sunlight and passing weather still adorn the high peaks surrounding us. Weather in the Wind Rivers can be very location specific, and tonight is going to be one of those events. When Vicki and I retreated from the high ridge of our day hike, we did so in part because we did not want be in an exposed place when incoming weather from the west arrived. By the time we are back in our camp, that weather is blowing through, but at the moment, it is not over us, but rather just the peaks at the far end of our basin. From camp, the cloud and light show is dramatic, as once again the “fortress” wall at the headwaters of Pole Creek (post #77) puts on another spectacular display.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, March 11, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #81:
Wind River, #81:  Our down-climb from the ridge that will link us off-trail to the Island Lake basin, is pretty effortless, and the incoming weather is slow to build up. By the time we arrive back at our Wall Lake campsite, the lake has passed into the shade of evening, and the weather threatens, but there is no rain at the moment. The day was hot, and the air stays warm, so we have a relaxing dinner at lakeside. For whatever reason for which we are both grateful, the mosquitoes in this basin are minimal, and we can get through our meals and hikes, without wearing head-nets. Both Vicki and I are excited by our “stairway-to-heaven” discovery, and eagerly await our opportunity to use our off-trail route, but for the time being, we chill in the twilight, expecting a LONG day tomorrow. We are going to walk out some 18-miles to Elkhart Park, and return to Pinedale for rest, a resupply, and to hook-up with our friend, Michale Knowlin. In 2-days, the three of us hope to hike back in, and camp, in the Titcomb Lakes basin.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, March 4, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #80:
Wind River, #80:  As I expected, the last section of our day hike/climb is the steepest, but it is not sheer granite. It consists of random snowfields, and some boulders with squishy, exposed terrain between them, most of it easily negotiated. Our last few steps carry us over a roll of granite at the top of the ridge, and before us, an entire basin filled with lakes appears. The surrounding landscape is rolling granite, boulders, and blooming meadows, none of it too extreme. This IS a navigable pass through to the Island Lake basin, which is about 1-mile to the right in this picture, AND there is very little up-to-go-down, since we are nearly the same elevation. Vicki and I have found a GREAT off-trail shortcut between Wall Lake basin and the Island Lake/Titcomb Lakes basin. Immediately I begin to rethink the plans that we have made when we meet our friend, Michael Knowlin. Vicki and I linger on the ridge, enjoying the view and having a leisurely lunch. By the time we finish, clouds can be seeing coming in from the West, and it would seem that we are going to have a typical afternoon build-up of weather, so we both agree to head back down from our exposed location. The down-climb is not difficult at all, and could easily be done with a backpack on, so I REALLY want to camp with Michael at Titcomb Lakes, as we planned, but after 5 days, when he walks out, I propose to Vicki we stay, and drop down to Wall Lake. Having now seen the route, she is on-board, so we amble slowly back to our present camp for an evening meal.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, February 25, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #79:
Wind River, #79:  When we arrive at the spot I noted from the day before, it does appear to be a “stairway-to-heaven.” It is a simple boulder field, interlaced with blooming terraces of dense wildflowers. It is beautiful just to walk through, but if it continues up, over, and into the smaller lakes in the Island Lake basin, it is an epic revelation. The climb is slow and steady, as we are ascending to a pass, but, as yet, we have not encountered any sheer granite. We make numerous stops to remove clothing layers, drink water, and have snacks,..also, just to look around. The wildflower bloom is breathtaking. We got an early start from our Wall Lake camp, so we near the top of the ridge around noon, and if there is to be a point that we cannot ascend, we are coming to it. If you look at this link, our route is clearly visible. At the very end of Wall Lake, you can see a band of greenery climbing up through the rocks to the west. It would seem we are ascending what might be a pass over a low ridge between Mount Lester and Harrower Peak. The greenery appears to extend all the way to the last small section of the ridge that sports several snowfields. What we don’t yet know is how steep this last section is, and can it be traversed.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, February 18, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #78:
Wind River, #78:  The next morning dawns warm and cloudless. With no weather threatening, if there were ever a time to risk climbing higher, this is it. During dinner the night before, I told Vicki about what the topo maps appear to suggest, and I propose that we investigate if, in fact, this could be an off-trail way into Island Lake. From where we are camped at Wall Lake, the marked trail to Island Lake is arduous. We would descend to the Cook Lakes, take the long walk around them, then climb up over 11,000ft.+ Lester Pass, descend to Seneca Lake, and then climb, once again, to reach Island. That is a STUNNING amount of up-to-go-down - thousands of feet of elevation gains and losses, pounding away at our knees and back. Were this “stairway to heaven” I think I have discovered, prove to be navigable, it would be a truly remarkable shortcut. Nonetheless, other trips in the Winds have taught me to be cautious of unexpectedly steep granite, so I am grateful today that we have no agenda, and we are simply going exploring with our daypacks. Once again, we begin by following Pole Creek back into the basin. Not only is it warm, it seems that EVERYTHING is blooming. The terraces and meadows are festooned with wildflowers, and I begin to have a VERY good feeling about what we are going to discover.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, February 11, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #77:
Wind River, #77:  Having reached the headwaters of Pole Creek, Vicki Golden and I, spend a good part of the day just enjoying the remarkable granite world in which we have immersed ourselves. After a late lunch at the last small lake in the basin, we begin a slow walk back to our camp at Wall Lake, and as we wander, I regularly take out the topo map, to see if there is anything we are missing. On the east side of the basin, and somewhat above us is another fairly large lake, but Vicki and I agree that we are too tired to climb again, so we pass on that exploration. Close to the actual shore of Wall, and nearly “home,” I notice a very ascendable series of garden terraces that climb up the west side, and when I locate that terrain on my topo map, it does not seem too steep, except where it nears the dome of the ridge, after that, it appears we would find ourselves in basin of small lakes, and within easy walking distance to Island Lake. The evening is upon us, however, so I will discuss my discovery over dinner in camp. While we dine, the setting sun lights up Knife Point Mountain, and we enjoy reflecting on the fact that several hours earlier, we had lunch at the foot of this “fortress” wall.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, February 11, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #77:
Wind River, #77:  Having reached the headwaters of Pole Creek, Vicki Golden and I, spend a good part of the day just enjoying the remarkable granite world in which we have immersed ourselves. After a late lunch at the last small lake in the basin, we begin a slow walk back to our camp at Wall Lake, and as we wander, I regularly take out the topo map, to see if there is anything we are missing. On the east side of the basin, and somewhat above us is another fairly large lake, but Vicki and I agree that we are too tired to climb again, so we pass on that exploration. Close to the actual shore of Wall, and nearly “home,” I notice a very ascendable series of garden terraces that climb up the west side, and when I locate that terrain on my topo map, it does not seem too steep, except where it nears the dome of the ridge, after that, it appears we would find ourselves in basin of small lakes, and within easy walking distance to Island Lake. The evening is upon us, however, so I will discuss my discovery over dinner in camp. While we dine, the setting sun lights up Knife Point Mountain, and we enjoy reflecting on the fact that several hours earlier, we had lunch at the foot of this “fortress” wall.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, February 4, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #76:
Wind River, #76:  Continuing on our walk after a morning “bath," Vicki Golden and I are surprised by how deeply into the range the Wall Lake-Pole Creek Basin cuts, but we are enjoying the leisure of this day hike, because the terrain is stunningly rugged, and beautiful. We feel like we are walking in the garden of the gods,..and we are! Our progress toward the Pole Creek headwaters winds through unusual boulder fields, over-the-top displays of blooming meadows, and flowing water everywhere. Crystal clear pools, water slides, island rocks on which to ponder the world while snacking - as The Beatles said, “It Is All Too Much!” Our walk also rises steadily, however, and as we near the headwater lake from which Pole Creek is born, we encounter a good deal of snow, now hardened by the melt-freeze cycle of the emerging summer. The basin ends with a series of small lakes surrounded by the impressive walls and summits of Harrower Peak (13, 057ft.) and Knife Point Mountain (13,007ft.), and so we sit for a good while having lunch, and watching the light of day play tag with cloud shadows racing across the faces that surround us.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, January 28, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #75:
Wind River, #75:  As Vicki Golden and I walk ever deeper into the Wall Lake-Pole Creek basin headwaters, we have entered a gently ascending world of extravagantly blooming meadows, and flowing water. There are water slides, and waterfalls, little ponds, and then this, - a REALLY nice place to swim. As anyone who has ever swum in a high-mountain pool knows, the most important thing to determine before you jump in, is how to safely exit without being injured. When you jump into water this cold, there is A LOT of thrashing around and shouting that occurs, after which you flail yourself wildly to an exit point, where you hope to get out unscathed. Having a sand floor, and very visible, round boulders, this pool could not be more inviting. Moreover, at this elevation we do not even have many mosquitoes, so Vicki and I do a quick disrobe and take the plunge. As we would discover a little farther on in our hike, this water has come directly from melting snowfields, so it is probably about 35˙, and rest assured it was surprising to us. There is quite a bit of splashing and loud noise that comes from both of us, and I do not think either of us is actually in the water for more than a few seconds. Nonetheless, after warming in the sun, we agree it has been a good place to “bathe,” and now we should continue with our day.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, January 21, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #74:
Wind River, #74:  Fleecy clouds are blowing through our morning as Vicki Golden and I slowly wander from our campsite at Wall Lake, farther into the basin behind the lake, following Pole Creek to its headwater. It is spring-summer at this elevation and the meadows are lush with grass, and blooming with flowers. The day is warm, the environment around us a kind of flowering paradise through which a sparkling creek runs, and making it all seemingly more secret, or magical, we are the only ones here. We are steadily rising as we progress, but it is not a climb, it is more like walking through a gently sloping garden. We stop frequently to take deep breaths, and drink it all in. When we sit in silence all you can hear are the sounds of wind and water. From my experience last summer, I knew I wanted to return to the Winds, but I had NO idea how much more there was to discover. Now I am beginning to realize the vastness of this huge range, and how unique every individual lake-river system, every basin, and every pass really is.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, January 14, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #73:
Wind River, #73:  The outlet end of Wall Lake is mostly granite and few gardens, and there is too much exposure, so Vicki, Belle, and I traverse the shoreline, looking for some place that offers a little more protection. At the other end of Wall, the basin becomes a bouldered terrain, speckled with some beautiful, flowering gardens through which Pole Creek is flowing. We find a nice place to pitch in amongst some very large rocks, and settle for the night with a good dinner. The next day dawns breezy, and although the sky is swimming with cloud layers, we can tell it is not going to storm on us, so we eat a casual breakfast, stock our daypacks, and begin a slow wander, ever deeper into the basin. We finally have had the good sense to acquire complete topographic maps for the entire area, so we know we are in the Pole Creek headwaters, surrounded by some impressive spires and summit walls, and we spend a good deal of the day just walking to the far end of the basin where the creek begins.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, January 7, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #72:
Wind River, #72:  When my dog, Belle Star, and I hiked the Pole Creek trail last summer, we were hit with several inches of snow on the walk in. I was with a friend, Mike Knowlin, at the time, and he and I, kicked back at the lake group for two days, before I ventured on to the Cook Lakes, and he hiked out. Belle and I, camped at the Cook Lakes for several days, and we explored the outlet end of Wall Lake, which looked spectacular. Now, with my partner, Vicki Golden, Belle and I are just doing one night at Pole Creek, and then pushing on PAST the Cook Lakes, up into the Wall Lake Basin. I reason this is new territory to explore, and from Wall Lake, we can visit Cook Lake as we choose. The hike up to the Cook Lakes is as tiring as I remember, but we start early, so we arrive by midday, and it is a nice one without being too hot. I camped near here after my hike up on my last visit. From this point, Wall Lake is still a serious trail climb up, so I suggest to Vicki we can stay here if she is tired. She says Cook is one of the most beautiful lakes she has ever seen, but if I think the next one higher is even more beautiful, “The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get,” so let’s go for it. And, we do. The staircase-like trail next to the raging creek and waterfalls is both exhilarating, and a real grunt. The view back at the afternoon light on Cook is stunning, and as we finally crest the trail into the Wall Lake Basin, we find the Wall has slipped into the shade of the afternoon and is glowing as blue as the sky. (Furthermore, we are the only ones here, and it will stay like that for the several days we camp.)

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, December 31, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #71:
Wind River, #71:  Vicki Golden and I spend a lot of time on the road during the winter season, shooting stories for POWDER magazine, and expanding my personal B&W winter work. On many of these adventures, we hook-up with our DFC&FC colleagues in Sun Valley, ID, and undertake some serious winter backcountry skiing and camping. When we are in LA, we spend A LOT of time on roller skates, and we always take our skates with us when I go to Manhattan (NY) seeking editors and galleries, so we skate many epic days and nights in Gotham with our friend, Doug Metro. As a result, she and I are very fit, and when summer returns, I am eager to take her backpacking in the Wind Rivers, knowing what I know now, from my previous summer’s experience in the range with Chris and Cathy. My dog, Belle Star, is certainly up for this as well, and so we plan to spend the entire summer based out of Pinedale, attempting many different hikes. My adventure the previous year at the Cook Lakes was SO rewarding and beautiful, I wanted to return there first, but not to repeat what I had already done. Walking in from Elkhart Park to the Pole Creek Lakes is a long first day, but a perfect warm-up for Vicki, as she has not seen these trails before. It is a pleasant day, without too much heat, and we make a nice lake camp by late afternoon. Unlike this stop last year, we have not been snowed upon on the walk in, AND we are only here one night. We are moving the next day to Wall Lake, above the Cook Lakes.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, December 24, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #70:
Wind River, #70:  Many miles down the trail from Island Lake, the light is fading and so is my strength. The very long day hike is now catching up with us, and Belle and I are quite happy to see Seneca Lake, and our campsite. We both eat a little more food, and then zone completely out. In the morning, we enjoy a slow breakfast and await Chris and Cathy, who are breaking their camp at Island Lake. They will join me here and we will walk out together, all the way to Elkhart Park. This backpack is to be the last of this season, and we will all return to LA once we are out. It is clear to me, however, that I have a growing body of work, and I am just beginning to understand the Wind Rivers, so there is MUCH more to explore. I intend to come back next summer, so I call my friend with whom I camped this year, Mike Nowlin, and ask him if he wants to join me, which he does. In fact, he promises to bring an inflatable backpack raft, so he can float out into the big lakes and catch “monster” fish. That should be amusing!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, December 17, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #69:
Wind River, #69:  Chris, Cathy, Belle (my dog), and I, are working on the end of 20+ miles day hike. An AMAZING day!!! It is now late, however, and we are headed down, out of the Titcomb Lakes basin, and back to Island Lake, where Chris and Cathy have their camp. We walk into the evening, enjoying a long, slow sunset. Above, the waning light sets Jackson Peak, Fremont Peak, and Sacajawea aglow. These are some of the tallest summits in the range, and walking beneath their towering walls all day has been an incredible experience. Arriving at Chris and Cathy’s camp, they suggest I stay with them and bivouac, as Belle and I are still miles from our camp at Seneca Lake, well below us. I still feel great, however, and opt to do some food refuel, but insist I will move on. We have a nice, heartening dinner together. Belle gets a rest in the meadow grass. Then, before darkness makes the trail dangerous, she and I head for Seneca, and home.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, December 10, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #68:
Wind River, #68:  Mistake Lake is long, skinny, and completely hidden from any view were you below it in the Titcomb Lakes Basin. We would not know it was here if I had not seen it this morning when studying the topo map on our hike in. The lake is ice-cold, a completely different color of blue from Titcomb, and bordered by snow patches along a good part of its shoreline. Because we are now well above 11,000ft., the crazy gusting wind that has been with us all day, is even crazier. Belle’s ears are in their “pin-backed” mode. We all have on our hooded rain panchos to to give us some protection from the chill, and when we stop to ponder, we shield behind rocks. This is a nice one! At the end of our shoreline traverse, we rise up the dome that divides us from the Titcomb Basin, and pick a steep, but unchallenging decent through boulders and meadows, back down to the Titcomb Basin. From there, a well established trail takes us back to Island Lake, still several miles away, where we will arrive at Chris and Cathy’s camp.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, December 3, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #67:
Wind River, #67:  If you look at the last post, you will see a meadow covered ridge between Mistake Lake and the Titcomb Lakes Basin. Chris, Cathy, Belle, and I have now crossed over to it and are standing upon it, looking down at the Titcomb Lakes. It has been wildly windy all day, and that has only been exacerbated by our climb higher. We are currently standing behind some boulder protection, which I need to hold the camera steady in this shot, I am being so blown about. You can see the silver sheen of the wind trails here, as they rip across the surface of Titcomb. It is an eye-dazzling afternoon, but the wind chill is relentless and taking a toll. We need to keep moving, get back to the first camp, and have some warm food. We all feel relieved at the moment as well, because from here we can see that there is a safe way to descend from Mistake Lake, back into the Titcomb Basin.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, November 26, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #66:
Wind River, #66:  Chris, Cathy, Belle, and I are having an epic day that covers MANY miles of hiking. At the end of the Titcomb Lakes basin, we enter a world of rock, water, and strange erratics (posts #64-65). We have also been steadily rising as we traversed into the rocky basin, so our new position puts above the Titcomb Lakes. It is well past midday and we are all a LONG way from home, so we decide to start back, but rather than retrace our steps, I suggest we continue our rising traverse, and find Mistake Lake, which I saw was above us on the topo as we walked in. Chris and Cathy agree, and we begin a slow, rising ascent through boulders and gently sloping meadows. At this point you can see what our gradual climb reveals - the pale blue lakes on the right are Titcomb; the skinny, deep blue lake on the left is the relatively hidden, Mistake Lake. We are walking in the direction of this view, and our camps are still many miles away. Now that we are here, we will walk the shoreline of the lake, then descend down the wall (we hope) back into the Titcomb basin.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, November 19, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #65:
Wind River, #65:  After some time spent wandering through the rocky valley at the end of the Titcomb Lakes, Chris, Cathy, Belle, and I turn back towards our camps at the lakes well below us. Although our walk along the lakeshore coming in seemed relatively flat, it actually was rising ever so gradually as moved along. Now, as we reverse our POV, we are looking DOWN at the Titcomb Lakes, so I suggest that on the way back we stay close to the eastern summit walls, rather than the lakeshore. I feel we should traverse into the basin holding the long, thin, very high elevation, Mistake Lake, which I saw on the topo when we walked in this morning. Even though we have hiked as far as we have, after snacks and rest, we all seem to have recovered enough, that we agree to visit Mistake Lake in our retreat. We do need to gradually ascend through some meadows and open granite as we walk back, but our stroll is endlessly entertaining, surrounded as we are by raging peaks, and sculptural erratics that I found (above), and those spires and towers in the background belong to Sacajawea, at 13,575ft., it is the eight tallest peak in the state, and the wall we are looking up is Yosemite-esque to say the least.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, November 12, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #64:
Wind River, #64:  There are many curiosities in the rock-strewn valley past the end of the last Titcomb Lake. The flowering meadows have all but disappeared, and in their place stand erratic boulders, and places where the slab granite has been fractured so perfectly, it appears to be hand-hewn. Belle and I have wandered off in our own direction when we come to this - a place where the river is wide, shallow, and flowing through rock pools. These are not typical “wild” pools, however, as they are more like manufactured ones, some are so perfectly cut. The fracturing of the granite all about us is sheer and precise - straight lines and AMAZING right angles! Then, Belle finds a perfect bathtub (left) and, of course, jumps in. The amazing rock “pool” is so tempting, I nearly join here, but decide against it as I would easily get hypothermic in the cold water, and then trying to dry of in this wind. Belle is NOT having that problem - LOL!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, November 5, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #63:
Wind River, #63:  After a lengthy walk through meadows and around odd, random boulder erratics, Chris, Cathy, and I finally reach the end of the Titcomb Lakes, and we are now deeply into a basin encircled on three sides by some of the tallest peaks in the state of Wyoming. In our passage to this point, we have been walking on exposed granite, or through flowering meadows. Now here, that changes. We have now entered a word of rock and water. There is very little growth showing anywhere. The summits tower above us, and the wind comes in howling gusts,..and I mean HOWLING! It is past midday, and we are a long way from Chris and Cathy’s camp at Island Lake, and Belle and I are MUCH father away from our pitch at Seneca lake, in fact, about 12 miles. For a while we rest and snack, trying to gauge our strength, and the effects of the unrelenting bluster of the weather. The light play is quite a show, and after a bit of sitting around in the warmth of the sun, we all get up and just begin to wander through the stoney terrain.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, October 29, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #62:
Wind River, #62:  As Chris, Cathy, Belle, and I walk around the upper Titcomb Lakes, we pass at the foot of some of the tallest mountains in the state. Although we are not “climbing,” as we move further towards the end of the basin, we ARE rising gradually. The lakes are shades of shimmering blue, depending on the wind, and the alpine gardens are abloom with flowers and boulder erratics. As we approach the end of the second large lake, the world is very “stoney.” On our right are the jagged spires and summit of 13,575ft. Mount Sacagawea, and ahead, a valley with hundreds of erratics, leads back into an even rockier basin at the foot of 13,502ft. Mount Woodrow Wilson (above). The blustery weather has driven clouds across this basin and it’s surrounding peaks all morning long, and the play of light is amazing. Pondering how much farther we will walk, we stop here for some lunch, Belle goes for a swim, and a good time is being had by all. We sense we are being allowed to play in the “garden of the gods."
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, October 22, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #61:
Wind River, #61:  Having found my friends, Chris and Cathy, at their Island Lake campsite very early in the morning, we agree that we will spend the very nice day we have awakening, by day-hiking in the Titcomb Lakes Basin further UP the trail. It is windy, but without weather, and it blows evermore as the trail climbs. By the time we reach the first of the Titcomb Lakes, it is a stunning view, punctuated by howling gusts. We have full-rig gear with us, so we are fine, and the basin is dramatically surrounded by some of the tallest summits in the state, that are now dappled by the shadows of clouds racing by. We are “trippin’.” When we arrive at the first of the two largest lakes, Jackson Peak, the eighth tallest in the state, 13,523ft. of VERY SHEER granite looms above us to the right. Next, just ahead all, 13,751ft. of Fremont Peak juts into the sky, third tallest in the state. These lakes are at 11,000ft. AND they are miles long. About halfway around the first large lake, we stop for snacks, water, and some relief from the wind, so I pull out my topo map for a look at our surroundings. Surprise! Surprise! The summit above is Fremont Peak. The map shows us that there is a long skinny lake called Mistake, up there somewhere. Are you kidding me! Look how smooth that granite is.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, October 15, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #60:
Wind River, #60:  Because I was supposed to meet them yesterday, I am worried that my friends, Chris and Cathy, are wondering where I am, so Belle and I get started early from Seneca Lake. There is a considerable UP to where they are, Island Lake, but we arrive before most campers are stirring. The lake is huge, and high, and VERY beautiful, but in the scale of it, not all campsites are that visible, so I wander the trail slowly, scanning for my friends. I should have known that Belle would find them for me. Belle NEVER runs at other campers or their campsites, as she has been taught that is unwelcome, BUT she atypically bounds off the trail in-between large boulders, to a campsite where Chris and Cathy are having breakfast. We are all relieved to see each other, and Belle is wildly excited. I tell them the tale of my delay, to which I learn they can relate, because it took them a day longer to get here than they had planned, as well - Wind River trails have A LOT of “up-to-go-downs” in them, and it is exhausting at high altitude. We share some further food, and discuss the day. It is very windy, but radiant with clouds scudding over the peaks, and OMG! are there peaks! Interestingly, we all feel GREAT, exhilarated, and adjusted to the altitude, so we decide to go further up, into the Titcomb Lakes Basin and day-hike there, at the foot of some of the tallest peaks in the entire state of Wyoming. When the climbing trail finally flattens out, and we can see the basin for the first time, and it is breathtaking. The summits and big walls form a DEEP U-shaped valley, that has a string of large lakes, and alpine meadows, but no trees. What is lacking in trees, however, is made up for in glacial erratics. They are EVERYWHERE!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, October 8, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #59:
Wind River, #59:  At my Seneca Lake camp, the morning comes with some hazy skies, but so far weather does not seem threatening. I rise early and eat. I want to get moving up the trail to Island Lake, and find my friends, Chris and Cathy, so they do not get into a panic because I am a day late in my promised arrival. When we planned this trip, none of us knew exactly what we were getting into, and given my bad judgement on our previous backpack into Clear Lake (posts #11-37), they were very concerned that I would be “solo” for three days before we would connect. Now, I knew they would be worried. Given the oppressive heat of the previous day, this morning was clear, but cool, and a refreshing breeze was rising. Rather than move my Seneca camp up, I decided to leave it standing, and just go with a daypack, so I could travel light and fast. My meals and sleep greatly helped my recovery, and the light pack sets me free. I feel amazingly strong and unburdened, so Belle and I surmount the Island Lake trail (1,500ft. or so) rather quickly, giving us our first view of Island Lake before most of the campers are awake. In this picture, Island Lake is in the foreground. Beneath the rugged background summits, which are some of the tallest peaks in the Wind River range, lies Titcomb Lakes Basin, and if I read my topo map correctly, there is a lake there that is almost 7-miles long. What! No matter, the job at hand is to find my friends, and that may not be easy given the scale. Island Lake is one of the most popular camping destinations in the range, and there are dozens of camps around the lake, but CAN THEY BE SEEN? Everything seems so small in this vast alpine landscape. For example, have you noticed the bright blue tent on the small rock dome, near the center of this picture? Where are all the other camps? Where are my friends? Their tent is green!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, October 1, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #58:
Wind River, #58:  Belle and I have crossed over Lester Pass and descended to Seneca Lake in the heat of a very clear day. It is mid-afternoon when we reach the lakeshore, and we are exhausted. Belle has zoned-out on meadow grass, and I have come to the realization that I am too tired to climb the trail into the Island Lake basin where my friends await my arrival. Resigned to making that hike the next morning, I set up a camp, crawl inside my tent, and like my dog, pass out cold. When I awake, the evening has begun, and Belle wants to be fed. The good news, Seneca Lake has trout. The bad news, my friends expected to see me today, and I know they will be worried that I do not show up. I reason that they will come looking for me in the morning, so my Seneca campsite is close enough to the trail, that I will see them if they come. This day has been clear and hot, but now the cloudless skies are giving way to some amazing alpenglow, and it is cooling down. I catch several trout which makes Belle VERY happy, we have great dinner, and we watch an amazing evening light show, before retiring once again. I need to find Chris and Cathy as quickly as possible the next morning so they do not get into a panic about me having gone missing.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, September 24, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #57:
Wind River, #57:  When Belle and I awake the next morning at our camp at Cook Lake, the day looks like it is going to be clear and hot. That is good for the hike we must do, because we have A LOT of work ahead of us. From Cook Lake, we must go up and over Lester Pass (11,060ft.), descending to Seneca Lake, and then we must go back up into the basin that holds Island Lake, because that is where my friends Chris and Cathy are camped, and they expect to see us tonight based on our plans. Having a crystal clear morning means I do not have to be worried about being stormed upon in a high pass, but unfortunately, it is going to be HOT! Recognizing this, we eat quickly, break camp, shoulder our packs, and head up the trail. UP is the word! Belle and I have about 2,000ft of trail climb to reach the summit, and every 1/2-hour the temperature goes up another degree. The weight of my solo pack slowly wears me down, and both us us have to drink water constantly. I am sweating so much, I am also taking salt tabs. The view at the top is stunning, and I can see the basin I hope to reach by days end, but the line between me and there is VERY indirect. I must now descend about 2,500ft. to Seneca Lake, and then begin climbing once again to get to Island Lake. At first I think my summit rest has renewed my strength, but as I descend, I find myself stumbling and struggling under my pack weight. When we finally reach Seneca and shed our packs, Belle flops to the ground in a meadow and zones out immediately. Then, as I sit taking in our new location, I realize I am also toast, and there is NO WAY I am putting the pack on again, and going back up a 1,500ft. trail. It is mid-afternnon, and we are here for the night.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, September 17, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #56:
Wind River, #56:  Back in camp, eating a good meal (trout), and watching the end of the evening, Belle and I will retire early because tomorrow we have to climb Lester Pass (11,060ft.), en route to meeting my friends Chris and Cathy that await us at Island Lake. My Cook Lake experience has not been without its learning curve, but having survived, I ponder what a remarkable location this is. Cook Lake is BEAUTIFUL, and my brief visit to Wall Lake today, revealed an even more spectacular basin, literally surround by a fortress of peaks. I know at some point, I must return and camp “up there.” In this final shot from my Cook Lake campsite, I am looking directly into the Wall Lake basin. You can see the river and waterfalls that Belle and I had to work our way around earlier in the day, quite clearly. The established trail runs through the boulder strewn ledge on the right side of the river, and levels off where the shadow begins. It may seem small here, but in actuality, the basin is large, and Wall Lake is about the size of Cook. Remarkably to me, the dramatic summit you see in the distance is not even part of the Wall basin. That is Harrower Peak, and it is much farther away, but from this angle, the 13,057ft. summit is revealed. You cannot see it when you are in the Wall Basin. Also remarkably, Harrower is only the 28th tallest mountain in the Wind River range. Ten of the tallest peaks dominate the skyline of where I am headed tomorrow morning, Island Lake .
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, September 10, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #55:
Wind River, #55:  The morning of our Cook Lake circumnavigation begins clear and warm. Belle Star, my black lab, and I take a simple stroll along the shore, enjoying some beautiful gardens and rock peninsulas. Cook Lake is sparkling, and we can see lots of fish in the water. However, the lake is deceptive large and the traverse takes much more doing than I expect. When we finally reach the far end, the steep walls and boulder fields of Mt. Lester and the Elephant Head tower above us, and are of much greater scale than they seemed from camp. It takes awhile for us to work through and around this terrain, but it is nothing like the badly-judged clamor up the rock wall at Clear Lake on our previous hike (posts #11-37). In this picture you see the face of Elephant Head (the summit on the left) as it extends to the Cook Lake shore. On the right, in the dark gorge, you can see the whitewater of the river coming out of Wall Lake from the basin above. Belle and I navigate the Cook Lake shoreline with little difficulty, it just takes more work and is much larger than we thought when starting out. Now we have come to the river flowing from Wall Lake, where we expect to cross and join the established trail. Good luck! Another judgement error about scale - the river is BIG, fast, and cold, and the gorge is really steep! We are NOT getting across at the Cook Lake shoreline safely, so we must go up along the left side of the gorge and hope we can find a crossing in the Wall Lake basin. It is another 1,500ft of climbing, and we do not know what we will find, but we are relieved that a crossing can be made. Belle and I stop for snacks and water, while we take in Wall Lake and its VERY dramatic basin, and then we return to the trail and head back to Cook Lake. There are no more surprises on our walk home, other than being reminded once again that Cook Lake is really large, and walking around it takes much more time than I expect. It is getting dark by the time we finally return to camp. We have been out ALL day!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, September 3, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #54:
Wind River, #54:  Looking in the opposite direction (from the last post) I can see the other end of the lake which comes to the foot of Elephant Head peak and Mt. Lester. In this shot, Wall Lake is in the basin behind the rolling dome on the right. I study this view as the sun sets, and then again in the morning, before I make another significant decision that will prove a further learning experience for Belle and me. I decide the next day's adventure will be to see Wall Lake, BUT, since I am already more than halfway around Cook Lake (and it is quite large), I reason that rather than backtrack to where I hiked in, I will go around the lake on my side, traversing the view in this picture from left-to-right, and joining the Cook Lake/Wall Lake trail where it begins to ascend to Wall Lake. I mean, this does not look like the really vertical terrain at Clear Lake (posts #11-37), where I made a small error in judgment about scale... and yet, what can I really see?
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, August 27, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #53:
Wind River, #53:  The campsite my black lab, Belle Star, and I have found is PRIMO! It is about 100ft above Cook Lake, and affords dramatic views up and down the entire shoreline. The weather has cleared completely, humidity has dropped, and the lake is shimmering in the breeze and late evening light. I get our tent set up, and take my rod down to the water edge, for a little fishing from atop a ledge. Being in a less-frequented part of the lake, there has been limited fishing here, and I am successful immediately because the trout are not wary. Belle is VERY excited as she LOVES trout as a supplement to her dry food, so a good evening is had by all, and she and I enjoy our dinner as we watch the radiant light sweep the landscape, and then fade away. In this view, I am looking at the south end of the lake, where I walked in on the trail from Pole Creek.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, August 20, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #52:
Wind River, #52:  As Belle Star, my black lab, and I navigate across Pole Creek and around the west shore of upper Cook Lake, the weather not only completely dissipates, but the humidity breaks and it becomes more comfortably arid. Even though we are off-trail, we are traversing relatively flat terrain without too much scrambling around. The calm, glassy lake and granite rock gardens are radiant in the late light, and Belle and I find a number of nice spots, but for some reason I keep pressing on. Eventually we come to a dome we must climb, as it drops sheer to the lake. It is not very high and quite easy to surmount, but I had no way to realize what we would find at the top. The dome is broad, supporting a few trees, and there is a well established campsite with a fire-circle that faces a SPECTACULAR view. There is no one there, so dog and I are home for the night.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, August 13, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #51:
Wind River, #51:  It is clear to me that there many nice places to camp, so I am in no hurry to don my backpack and leave the vantage point of the granite peninsula upon which Belle Star, my black lab, and I are resting. As day draws down, the build-up of weather dissipates, and the sky grows ever clearer. The angle of the setting sun REALLY defines the sculpting of the surrounding rugged summits. I have finally entered a truly deep part of the Wind River range, and this IS the rumored world-of-granite in which my friends and I have come to camp and hike. To the right is Elephant Head peak at 12,160 feet, and to the left is Mount Lester at 12,342 feet. They look just AMAZING! But, it is finally getting late, and Belle and I need to find a campsite and set up house. We groan back into our packs, and then I make a great decision. The Cook Lake Trail continues off to Wall Lake, around the east shore of the lake. Although there are meadows along the trail in which to camp, they seem too close to the trail, so I decide to cross back over Pole Creek, and search for a site around the western shore of Cook.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, August 6, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #50:
Wind River, #50:  Things are never as close as we (my black lab, Belle Star, and I ) might wish. After crossing Pole Creek, the terrain does, thankfully, flatten, but the upper Cook Lake is still some distance. It is surprising to me that as large as it is, it is not yet visible... and then suddenly, with a modest turn in the trail, there it is! The scope of the landscape in front of me, and the beauty of the lake, take my breath away. EVERYTHING is blooming! There are flowering meadows everywhere, and more granite than I have ever seen. The weather gods are kind, and light clouds keep the heat away, so Belle and I take off our packs and settle onto a lovely rock peninsula to take in the view of our new “home” for the next few days. A great afternoon is to be had by all. Minimal insects, lots of water and snacks, and as the day wears on, conditions only get better, and the lake basin puts on an evening show.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, July 30, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #49:
Wind River, #49:  Proceeding from the lower Cook Lake to the upper one, there are a few brutal elevation gains that keep my black lab, Belle Star, and I moving slowly (especially me). Even so, our progress is relentless and seems to be paying off. By late afternoon the trail flattens out and this comes into view. The impressive summit on the left is Elephant Head. If you follow the right side ridgeline down, you can see the gorge created by the river flowing out of Wall Lake. The upper Cook Lake, where we hope to camp, is somewhere just ahead and to the left, at the foot of Elephant Head and 12,342+ feet, Mount Lester, out-of-sight and further to the left. The last challenge is crossing this considerable river that has no bridge. Belle does not think it a big deal, but rock-hopping with my heavy pack is not fun, and actually dangerous, so I hope all of the effort proves to be worth it. (Just FYI: That fin-like summit in the distance is Harrower Peak, 13,057 feet.) Yeow!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, July 23, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #48:
Wind River, #48:  There is a lot of up-to-go-down on the trail to the Cook Lakes, and under my 10-day pack weight, I am stumbling along. Nonetheless, with each step the terrain becomes more beautiful... more granite. Summits and domes are everywhere. Around 2 p.m., the weather that appeared to be building, dissipates completely and it returns to being very hot. Just about the point I am toast, Belle Star, my black lab, and I arrive at the “lower” Cook Lake. It is huge, and has a beautiful convoluted shoreline of rock and gardens. It is time for our lunch break. While munching, I study the topography, trying to better understand my surrounding environment and identify distinctive summits. Because the “upper” Cook Lake is even bigger, I am also wondering exactly where it might be. At 10,200+ feet, the upper lake is still above me, but if I am reading the topo correctly, that summit on the left in this view is Elephant Head. Between Elephant Head and the dome to the right, Wall Lake lies hidden, and the upper Cook Lake, should run to the feet of Elephant Head. Belle and I still have a good distance to go, however with food, water, and a little rest, we have recovered, so the packs go back on and we march forward.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Monday, July 16, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #47:
Wind River, #47:  As Belle Starr (my black lab), and I work our way toward the Cook Lakes, we begin to gain more elevation and the trees become fewer and farther between. This is very different terrain from my experience in previous weeks hiking around Clear Lake. Clear Lake had many trees and was in a narrow canyon between towering peaks. On this trail I am already at a higher elevation than Clear Lake, and I still have some miles to go and elevation to gain. The landscape is broad, with expansive meadows and a stunning amount of clean granite EVERYWHERE. There are streams, tarns, and small lakes everywhere, as well. Ahead of me in the distant peaks, it appears that midday weather is beginning to build, but it is hot, so I welcome some cloud cover. My backpack is 10-day-heavy, and I am tired after several hours, but the rolling domes of granite bedecked with hanging gardens, energize me, and beckon me ever upward. Belle does not like her pack any more than I like mine, but she is ready to role because there will be places to play and trout to eat when we finally stop.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Thursday, July 12, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #46:
Wind River, #46:  Ever since it snowed on us when we walked in three days ago, the weather has been hot and relatively clear. On this morning that seems to be the case as well, although there are a few more clouds. Mike and I have a good breakfast, and then break camp. He is walking about nine-miles, back to Elkhart Park, his car, and a return to civilization. Belle and I are “soloing” and headed for the Cook Lakes, about a six-mile journey with a modest gain in elevation, AND much further into the heart of the Wind Rivers. We will camp there for a few days, and then continue on to meet my friends, Chris and Cathy, who have gone to Island Lake. The cool of the morning and the reasonable trail are most welcome, because I am now carrying a REALLY heavy pack. It also helps that the walk is beautiful with many flowering gardens, and spectacular trees. It seems to get better with each passing mile, like there is an energy building in the landscape as I get closer to these new lakes.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Thursday, July 5, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #45:
Wind River, #45:  With great weather and fantastic views, Mike Knowlin and I spend most of the day up on the dome we have ascended. In the late light of evening, we finally climb down to the lakeshore to do a little “soul” fishing - actually my dog, Belle Star, is demanding trout for dinner (LOL). Our camp is behind the trees on the left side, and the massif in front of you is Bald Mountain, also noted in the last post, but from a very different angle. From my lake-level POV, the size of this granite dome is amazing, and the topo maps indicate there several large lakes in pockets, well up the flanks of the peak. The scale of the Wind River Range is finally beginning to register,..but only just barely. In the next few days my understanding will take some quantum leaps. For now, the fish are biting. A last note about this image - although I did not know it at the time, and probably thought it unimaginable, I would return to Bald Mountain several times to camp at various lakes, but most amazingly, I would come with an expedition group and summit Baldy in the WINTER, then ski down, for a story in POWDER magazine.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Thursday, June 28, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #44:
Wind River, #44:  The granite dome that Mike Knowlin and I ascend is an easy scramble-up of ledges and small gardens. Our weather is perfect - hot, with a light breeze, a few clouds, and LOTS of visibility. Mike will walk out tomorrow, and I will go solo, walking to Cook Lake, deeper into the range, so on this day we are just cruising and taking it easy. Our thought in summiting this dome was to have an overview of our lake, and to see if I could read any of the terrain I would hike into tomorrow. Atop the dome, however, we discover it offers much more. We are camped at the largest of the Pole Creek Lakes, but as it turns out, there are quite a few of them. Our lake connects to another large one, and then there is a series of smaller ones that descend down a valley. We can walk along the top of the dome for quite a distance, and the clarity of the day lets us see all the way out onto the high plains around Pinedale (image, right). The peak in the far left of the left frame is Bald Mountain. Our camp is in the trees below it, and I will walk around its base, hiking in to Cook Lake tomorrow. It is also notable that there is a much smaller insect population up here than there is down at the lake.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Thursday, June 21, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #43:
Wind River, #43:  After a great trout dinner and a beautiful evening, Mike Knowlin and I, retire early, intending to rise with the sun and summit a nearby mountain. The morning breaks clear and without any sign of weather, so we quickly fix a breakfast and organize our daypacks. Leaving our campsite to approach the base of our climb takes us through dazzling morning meadows. Although crushed to the ground under the weight of snow from the storm, now two days previous, all the grasses and blooming wildflowers are beginning to “rise” as two sunny, warm days in a row are now reviving them. Have some scarlet paintbrush! Once again, proof of a long held DFC&FC view, that a secret army of bonsai gardeners attend all alpine gardens. Now, “The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get."
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Thursday, June 14, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #42:
Wind River, #42:  On our first day camping at Pole Creek Lakes, Mike Knowlin and I enjoy the warmth and lack of threatening weather. Re-energizing after the 9-mile backpack through a snowstorm on the hike in, our hours of fishing, swimming, and gawking this day are the perfect recovery response. The Pole Creek Lakes are numerous, and several are large. Their shorelines are granite terraces and peninsulas, occasionally broken by a meadow, and there are numerous shallow bays in which Belle likes to chase the fish. Knowlin and I stroll, snack, and cast our day away. Back in camp for trout dinner, we enjoy a beautiful twilight near our tent site on a small jetty of rock overlooking the lake. Although some clouds have come into the sky, there is no weather build-up, and we hope for another day like this, tomorrow, as we have decided to summit a nearby mountain to have a better look around.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Thursday, June 7, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #41:
Wind River, #41:  Because it is the first week in AUGUST! and it started out hot and clear, it is pretty amazing that in the middle of our 9-mile trail walk into Pole Creek Lakes, Mike Knowlin and I are beset by a snowstorm. Even though it is putting down several inches, we reason it won’t last forever and push on. Arriving at the lakes, we are wet and cold, but we find a great campsite. The snow has stopped, the lake is shrouded in fog. Intending to dry out while fixing dinner, Knowlin builds a big fire which we huddle around, while our wet clothes steam. Warm, fed, and finally dry, we retreat for a good night’s sleep. What a difference a day makes! We awake in the morning to a crystal clear sky, a hot sun shining, and nearly all evidence of yesterday’s snowfall, vanished. By the time we finish breakfast, we are in shorts and t-shirts, and my dog, Belle Star has gone swimming, something she does on-and-off for the rest of the day. Mike and I go fishing, and are successful - me especially so. After a bad cast and reel-in, my lure drags on the bottom, where I snag a lost wallet, recovering $25. The trout is tasty as well!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Thursday, May 31, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #40:
Wind River, #40:  Mike Knowlin and I are backpacking into the Wind River Range ( wind River Range - Wikipedia ) on the Pole Creek Trail, bound for the Pole Creek Lakes, where we hope to camp. It is the first week in August and the day has begun clear and hot. Our hike covers about nine miles, and some time after the halfway point, the clear sky grows more cloudy and the wind begins to blow. About 3-miles from Pole Creek Lake(s), we are at ground zero of a screaming electric storm. There is DEAFENING thunder, lots of rain, a good bit of hail, and more lightning than either of us has ever seen. We dawn our ponchos and trudge on when we safely can between storm-cell bursts. This is now the second time I have been part of one of these summer thunderstorm assaults in the Wind Rivers, and they are amazingly fierce. Then, it begins to snow! Mike and I are just boggled! WHAT! Thunder while it is snowing - a fairly rare occurrence. We are now wet and cold, even having used the ponchos, so we press on to the lake and a hopeful campsite. While we walk, the storm begins to abate, and the rain, wind and lightning cease. The clouds remain low, so the day stays dark and gray, but warmth begins to return, and so does humidity. The 3-4” of snow that has accumulated begins to disappear as quickly as it arrived, and when we arrive at Pole Creek Lake, this is the view from a nice campsite we find.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Thursday, May 24, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #39:
Wind River, #39:  To reach Island Lake, Chris and Cathy have a big hike ahead of nearly 16-miles with a considerable gain in elevation (several times - too many up-to-go-down). Mike Knowlin and I have a much flatter trail of 9-miles that will take us to the Pole Creek Lakes. Our early start is perfect, as there are few others on the trail yet. It is a relatively clear day, so since it is the first week in August, we know it will be really hot later, and it feels good to cover several miles in the cool of the morning. Walking in on the Pole Creek Trail also provides some dramatic views of the tallest peaks in the range from an area called Miller Park. Then lakes begin to surround us everywhere - Miller Lake, the Sweeney Lakes, and numerous smaller ones that have no topo names. Finally we are at the trail juncture where we will split. It is really hot, so in the shade of trees, we have some water and snacks, then Chris and Cathy head for Island Lake and the Titcomb Lakes Basin, and Michael and I follow the Pole Creek Trail to those lakes, where we will camp. As he and I walk on and past Barbara Lake, we start to get into some exciting terrain of big granite. We also begin to have blustery winds and the beginning of building cumulus clouds, often the sign of possible afternoon thunderstorms in the summer. About 3-miles from Pole Creek, it becomes a VERY different day. Within a few hours of the picture above, the sky has grown dark, the wind is blowing hard and cold, there are occasional sprinkles of rain, AND we can hear thunder. Then, with little warning, all hell breaks loose!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Thursday, May 17, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #38:
Wind River, #38:  When Chris Korody, Cathy (soon to be Mrs. Korody), myself, and my dog Belle arrive in Pinedale, there is a flurry of activity. After 10 days of backpacking in the Green River Valley end of the Wind Rivers, we are very happy to have showers, real beds, and food that is not canned or freeze-dried. However, we are also meeting my good friend, Michael Holmes, who has been with three other guys, camping, hiking, and fishing in Montana and Yellowstone. We intend to resupply, and then begin another backpack taking us to a different part of the Wind River range. When they arrive, however, we learn that Michael has terrible heel blisters on both feet, and of his three friends - all of whom are policemen - two need to fly home for duty. We decide that Michael Holmes should rest and heal, but that the remaining policeman, Mike Knowlin, and I, will walk in with Chris and Kathy and do the backpack trip. Knowlin can only spend four days, though, and not ten, so we devise a trail strategy. We will start at Elkhart Park, already a high-elevation trailhead, and we will walk the first 1/3 together. At a major trail juncture, Chris and Kathy will go to Island Lake, in the heart of the peaks. Mike and I will go to Pole Creek Lakes, fish and hike there for four days, then he will go out, and I will connect with Chris and Cathy. The morning of our departure is a lovely day in early August. It is summer-hot, wildflowers are blooming everywhere, and the trail is relatively trouble free, and very scenic.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, May 10, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #37:
Wind River, #37:  Our little “adventure” now over, this picture pretty much says it all. Having reunited with Chris and Cathy, my dog, Belle Star, simply lay down and passed out, once again happy to be in the company of friends. Having been chased by a terrible lightening storm the night before, and today, following me through my stupid “extended” hike, has been more than enough Wind River for her for the time being, and now she just needs some love (and food - LOL). The weather blows through without breaking over us, so after some early evening snacks and a good rest, the four of us descend the trail back to our campsite. The remaining evening is uneventful (no sudden storming) and in the morning we break camp and head back to the Green River Lakes trailhead, and our cars. We are going to drive to nearby Pinedale where we expect to meet my friend, Michael Holmes, and three buddies of his from San Francisco. They have been camping and fishing in Montana, and Yellowstone, so I have proposed we all meet in Pinedale, restock, get some hotel rest and restaurant food, and then go into the heart of the Wind River range through Elkhart Park, just outside of town, which has a starting point trailhead above 9,000ft.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, May 3, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #36:
Wind River, #36:  With everyone much happier now that Belle and I have descended from our foolish position on the sheer wall above Clear Lake, Chris and Cathy begin to collect there gear and deflate their raft. Belle and I navigate the final section of shoreline and the crossing of the outlet stream, intending to meet them at the point where the trail starts back down to the meadow in which we are camped. The shoreline is a simple traverse, but the outlet is a little tricky because there is a lot of fast, deep water, and a maze of wet rocks I must hop across. Belle could care less and simply goes swimming because she can see Chris and Cathy approaching and she wants to greet them. Across the lake is the most direct line. While she pursues them, I stop a moment for this. Hey, we finally got “alpine” in the Wind Rivers. There are definitely lakes, fish, and plenty of granite. Now what have we learned?
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, April 26, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #35:
Wind River, #35:  Chris and Cathy can hear me calling to them from my precarious position on a sheer granite wall at Clear Lake, but it takes awhile to actually see my dog, Belle, and me because we are so small and insignificant. Once they realize where we are, and I explain the predicament, they are none-to-happy with the choices I have made, and to make matters worse, the late afternoon weather seems to be building once again. The LAST place I want to be in a screaming lightening storm like the one we experienced last night, is up in these ledges, completely exposed with a terrified, wet dog. We need to get down ASAP! Cathy is ashore, and Chris paddles in as well, so they can break out binoculars and do some scouting for me from their side. Shouting out directions they think will lead us down, we spend about 1/2-hour trying various routes, some of which work, and some of which don’t. All the while the weather keeps building. Then, just as one especially dark cloud sweeps over, Belle and I come to the end of a terrace choked with stunted trees, and this sculptural fallen trunk is aglow in the storm light. I take it as a cosmic sign, climb around the rock, and push through the trees. The sheer wall disappears. Belle and I are back in forest, and a short descent brings us to the lakeshore in a matter of minutes. We are finally safely down!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, April 19, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #34:
Wind River, #34:  The granite bench Belle and I occupy momentarily, is great relief from the tiny ledges and vertical exposure through which we have been climbing. It seems to extend a good distance, so we walk along it trying to take as much advantage as we can. I am intending to find my friends, Chris and Cathy, who stayed on the opposite shore to fish and sun, and I am hoping from their viewpoint, they might be able to guide my choice of terraces, and get Belle and me off of this vertical face. Our navigable ledge shortly brings us to this expansive view, and now we can see our destination, the end of the lake. Just ahead, on the opposite shore, I can also see the cove where I left my friends earlier in the day. Excited by the hope of communicating with them, Belle and I are about to continue our wall traverse, when a funny, little orange raft floats into view just below us. Chris is chasing trout! Perfect! Perhaps, now, we are saved. Ahoy, matey! Can you hear me?
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, April 12, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #33:
Wind River, #33:  Belle and I finally reach a ledge broad enough to allow us to sit a moment, relax, and further consider our situation. I estimate that we are about 800ft. above the lake, and VERY close to the end we hope to be. Unfortunately, almost every forward move I make has taken us higher up as well, and from what I can see, it appears that will continue. I also realize that we have climbed such a meandering path, we could never retrace our steps and find our way back, so going forward is now our only option, and I am truly flying blind. There are connections between some small granite benches that I can make, but clearly Belle cannot, so my choices are limited. Because she swims so well, and LOVES cold water, I even ponder throwing her off, into the lake, but conclude we are too high, and the impact might injure her, or knock her out. Then, it occurs to me that Chris and Cathy are on the far shore, somewhere, so if I can call to them, perhaps they can see my dilemna, and guide my choices from the opposite shore, from where they have a MUCH clearer POV.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, April 5, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #32:
Wind River, #32:  Having left my friends to fish and sunbath, my dog, Belle, and I are attempting to circumnavigate Clear Lake, only one side of which has a designated trail. Now that we have abandoned that more sensible path, she and I are scrambling across boulder fields and around ledges. We do negotiate several sheer walls that to drop into the lake by climbing around them, using connected terraces, but when we are about 2/3 of the way along our shore, and far too committed and tired to retrace our path, we meet one last VERY large face. The climb up has been intimidatingly steep, and before we even find any lateral pathway across, we ascend to our highest point of the day. This is our new world! Narrow, unconnected ledges with stunning vertical exposure, and no sense of what path to choose forward, because from this POV I cannot see anything. From one terrace to another is just a best guess, as we try to move on.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, March 29, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #31:
Wind River, #31:  When I look back at this image now, I realize that this is the moment when I should have considered returning to my friends via the established trail, even though it would have been a long walk. Instead, my dog, Belle, and I opt to reach them by circumnavigating the lake which involves a few sheer wall-into-water faces we must climb around by (hopefully) finding inter-connectiing, navigable terraces and ledges. So far, our gamble has paid off and we have surmounted three sections, but now we have come to the this last one, and it is strikingly, and unrelentingly vertical. We are almost home, at least 2/3 of the way back, and as WRONG as this looks, I reason we are to tired to retreat, and this will look better once we are climbing, so we start up. It is not hard to do, just wearing and slow, but where are we actually going?
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, March 22, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #30:
Wind River, #30:  The Clear Lake trail I am upon continues into deep forest after the bridge, so for awhile I stare up the divergent Faler Lake trail, but reason that the day is getting short and the climb up would take a good deal of work and time. Belle and I, therefore, ponder a return to my friends, but by way of OPPOSITE shore, rather than the one we have just walked. This was something I had thought about while sitting with Chris and Cathy on the dome earlier in the day. My concern at that time was whether or not Belle and I could navigate around several sheer walls that came down to the lake in deep water by climbing over them using ledges. Having now seen these three backpackers come down a BIG wall, I feel confident there is plenty of room to scramble around anything that might be an obstacle to our return, and so we are off. If you look back at post #27, you will see in that view that the far shore is MOSTLY navigable boulder rubble, with just an occasional sheer face, which is just what we encounter. The traverses take a lot of work, but the boulder rubble is easily managed and our encounter with the first walls is uneventful. We climb around several quite easily using ledges and terraced gardens. At a point about 2/3 of the way back, we are nearly opposite the dome where I left my friends, so I am hoping to see them. Belle and I are also WAY too far around the lake to consider retracing our steps to head home, so we just need to get around this one last sheer wall,..and it is a bit more intimidating than the previous ones we have encountered!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, March 15, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #29:
Wind River, #29:  It is clear the three backpackers are descending from somewhere, and apparently they are on a trail, so Belle and I decide to wait until they reach us so we can question them. As they draw closer, their voices become more discernible above the water noises, and I can tell that are happy, laughing, and complaining a lot about the rugged down-climb. The trees and rocks hide them until they are almost upon me, and when they emerge, they are on the far side of the bridge. We greet each other, and they use conversation as an excuse to shed their packs and drink water. They tell me they have just come DOWN from Faler Lake, which I saw on the crude trail map, but did not know where it might actually be located. Apparently, it is about 2-miles of trail and 1,200ft above me. The bridge crosses the outflow from Faler. When I ask about fishing, they go nuts! Not only was Faler great fishing, but another lake, Native, was MUCH higher (!!!!!) and even better, sporting large Golden trout. Because they are walking all the way out today, the three soon hoist their packs and continue down the trail that I walked in upon. Belle and I, on the other hand, cross the bridge.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, March 8, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #28:
Wind River, #28:  Just steps beyond my expanded view that has opened up, the sound of rushing water intensifies greatly, and I come upon a very large river flowing into Clear Lake,..so large it has a significant bridge. I have also arrived at the “end” of Clear Lake, as once I cross the bridge, the shoreline begins a return along the other side. While I am pondering what I might do next, the splashing water begins to echo around the steep walls beneath which I am standing, AND I am sure I can hear voices. They seem to be coming from ABOVE on the rock wall..somewhere. Belle hears something, too. Along with no topo map, I also have no binoculars with me, so I strain to see color or movement that might confirm people are are up in these rocks. Look at the tree group, highest on the left-hand side of this image - there are three guys in those trees wearing a lot of colorful gear. No you cannot see them in this shot, AND they would be SO small, even standing on the rocks in front of the trees, they would just barely be noticeable. When I finally see them, I am boggled by this realization of scale, AND where are they coming from?
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, March 1, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #27:
Wind River, #27:  The previous post of Mt. Osborn is from my side of the lake. Looking toward the other side, I am studying those walls with the same consideration, what is navigable, and what is not. Although the boulder field you see here is hard work, it is simple enough to traverse, but when you come to the sheer walls at water's edge, that obstacle must be circumnavigated. Are there enough CONNECTED, tree-supporting terraces to work around or over that face? Who knows! Hard to tell from here. Hard to tell anything with so little experience in these mountains and NO topo maps. BUT, next best thing is to learn first hand by exploration, so snackies ingested, sun-warmed, my dog, my loaded daypack, and I, scramble down from our dome and rejoin the trail. It parallels the edge of the lake, wandering in and out of trees, and crosses a surprising number of small streams. The shoreline is much larger than I realized, but it finally takes a bend to the right, where the view of a much deeper canyon opens up. Ahh, I think! This must be where those other lakes are hidden.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, February 22, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #26:
Wind River, #26:  While sitting, snacking on our sunny dome, I survey my surroundings, trying to judge, scale, distance, and navigability - where can I go, where can I not. Above us is Mt. Osborn, which looks formidable, but as a true colleague of the DFC&FC, I am always interested in getting to the top of things because I believe our motto, “The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get.” I view subjects like this to consider whether they might be ascended. It is important to this story to notice the tree-covered terraces and cracks on this face. It is clear to me that they are large enough to walk on,..but do they connect and go anywhere? That is to be the lesson of this day - learning to better read what can be traversed,..with a dog!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, February 15, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #25:
Wind River, #25:  Looking INTO the Wind River range from atop our granite dome perch at the shore of Clear Lake is a very different view. The forested slopes have become fewer and further between, and the granite has emerged. Huge domes, spires, and glaciated faces are visible, well ABOVE our position at this point. I expect to see other lakes in this vista, as they were represented on the crude trail map carving, which also indicated they were larger than Clear Lake, but nothing is visible. Perhaps they are down in those trees at the end of the canyon. Clear Lake surprised us when we came upon it so suddenly, so who knows. On our dome, we are well above the lake and trail, and there is no one, nor any camps to be seen, and it is HOT. We shed clothes and break out lunch snacks, sunning ourselves for awhile. I bore easily, however, and remain curious about the rest of the lake, and the others I cannot not see, so I suggest we continue on the trail. Chris and Cathy want to laze-around more, though, and Chris brought his inflatable boat, and wants to go fishing. Sounds good, but not my style, thus dog (Belle Star) and I are planning a different adventure for our day.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, February 8, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #24:
Wind River, #24:  The first granite dome that we encounter on the shoreline of Clear Lake looks like an easy climb up, so the three of us do. All the better to have a look around. And, quite a look it is! The top of the dome is smooth lichen-spotted granite, warm to the touch because of morning sun. We can now see the entire lake and surroundings, but are still struggling to judge the scale of our new environment. Our dome is about 1/3 of the way to the other end of the lake from the outlet. Looking back in the direction from which we have come, we can see the narrow slot through which Clear Creek plunges into the gorge, and up which the granite “staircase” on our trail in, ascended. Mount Osborn is just out-of-frame to the right, and Flat Top Mountain rises to the left. At the base of the mountains in the distance lie the Green River Valley and lakes, where we have previously been camping. Of course, the other 2/3 of this lake is just a swivel of the head away.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, February 1, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #23:
Wind River, #23:  The trail continues into a cluster of trees that spread from the walls of Osborn Mountain, on our left, across a narrow valley floor, intersecting similarly steep walls of Flat Top Mountain, to our right. A short distance into the trees the echoes of Clear Creek fade, to be replaced by a different, louder water sound, which we seem to be approaching. Within a few more steps, I realize we are hearing a waterfall that marks the LAKE outlet, where Clear Creek pours into the gorge. We are about to finally see THE lake. Then, within very few steps, IT IS THERE! Very there! It is huge! It is narrow, long, and we cannot see the far end. It is also radiant, and SO sparkly in the morning sun, it is hard to see at all. Clear Lake is, indeed, clear. It has layers of beautiful colors, and as we are standing, staring, and trying to take it all in, a BIG trout flashes by. Everyone is excited. My dog, Belle Star, jumps in. We decide to explore our shore to see if there are camping sites (there are), and so we follow the trail for a bit, until we come to a large, ascendable granite dome, right at the lakeshore. The trail continues on behind, and around the dome, but the three of us all have the same idea. As our colleagues in the Decker Flats Climbing and Frisbee Club from Idaho would have reminded us, “The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get.” So, UP we go!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, January 25, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #22:
Wind River, #22:  Granite boulders, walls trickling with water, and blooming alpine meadows, but still no Clear Lake, and the trail we are following seems to be approaching a wall. In what we would learn is a classic, steep Wind River “up,” the trail slips between huge boulders with a rock arch, and then begins a series of staircase steps straight up the narrow crack between them. It is not a long climb, but is does take our breath away as we are also gaining altitude rapidly. The crack leads to some small benches, which the trail continues up and over. Clear Creek now is loud, but well below us in a gorge that echoes that water noises. We have huge granite summits quite close to us on both sides, and our surrounding terrain is little more than rock outcrops and patches of forest. Clear Lake is supposed to be of good size, and from where we are, it is hard to imagine just where that lake might be.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, January 18, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #21:
Wind River, #21:  Following the path up onto the granite bench, we literally change our environment in a matter of minutes. The trees do not disappear, but now they are just here-and-there, growing out of the granite boulders, and surrounded by blooming alpine meadows. This looks like what we were hoping to find - a granite, high-alpine terrain, that hopefully offers lakes, camping, and fishing. Water trickles down the surrounding rock faces in many places, and the meadows are buzzing with insects. As we stand here to take this all in, I note that everything seems oversized, bigger in dimension than other ranges in which we have hiked. In particular, it is clear that if you choose to go off trail and wander in the granite, the abrupt sheer faces of various boulders, and walls require some intelligent navigating to get around. Boy, will that idea become more clear as the day wears on.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, January 11, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #20:
Wind River, #20:  Farther along the Clear Lake Trail, it continues to ascend and the river becomes increasingly dramatic. We finally reach a point where the trees thin, and much more exposed granite defines the landscape. A rather ominous “fang” also appears on the horizon. I am not sure if it is part of Flat Top Mountain, or perhaps some adjacent peak, but it quite impressive, AND it is all granite. We ARE getting excited because we have been camping and hiking in Wyoming for more than two weeks now, and FINALLY we are seeing an environment that looks like the alpine terrain that we have been hoping for. For perhaps another 1/2 mile, we wander through diminishing stands of trees, and then come to a very steep part of the trail that takes us up over a large granite bench.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, January 4, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #19:
Wind River, #19:  Chris, Cathy, Belle Star, and I sleep well enough but wake extremely sobered by last evening’s storm. There is more weather rolling through today, but it is not storming, and it is warming up. After a leisurely breakfast, we agree that it “feels” safe enough to proceed up the trail without further weather worries, so we pack lunches, shoulder our day packs, and start off,..and UP. Shortly after passing out of the meadow and into the trees, the trail begins to climb, and the river begins to be noisy, as there are more cascades and pools. At the moment, we are not exactly “in” granite, but we seem to be getting closer with every step.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, December 28, 2017

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #18:
Wind River, #18:  By late afternoon the weather is getting worse. Once we start up the Clear Lake trail, it opens into a very broad meadow, and the our path parallels the river coming down from Clear Lake. The meadow is bordered by trees, but there are only a few growing out in it. By the time we reach the other side of the open expanse and re-enter the forest cover, we know it will still be a good walk to reach the lake, and we are not sure if campsites can be found there, so we decide to stop where we are, have dinner before the weather gets worse, and we will daypack into Clear Lake in the morning. We set up and eat, and after dinner we are sitting on a log enjoying the low, late light that has turned the meadow golden under the dark clouds. Across from us, the steep walls of Flat Top Mountain rise up into the sky, and beyond that we can hear a lot of thunder and see the glow of lightening flashes, even though we were sitting in sunshine. Within a few startling seconds, however, all of that changes. VERY suddenly a massive dark cloud just rolls over the top of the mountain, and we can see sheets of rain working down the slope toward us. Then there is a deafening thunderclap, and lightning strikes a tree in the meadow right in front of us. My dog, Belle, goes first, but we all bolt for cover, actually abandoning our tents and gear and running into the forest of trees closer to the river. The storm rains, hails, and thrashes us with lightening so intense, I have my eyes closed, and I can still see different flashes have different colors. Then, as quickly as it came, the storm is gone. Wow! That was real!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, December 21, 2017

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #17:
Wind River, #17:  If we were lucky, our hike reached a point slightly to the left of Squaretop Mountain. We could see granite UP THERE, but it did not appear to support the “vast alpine terrain and lots of lakes” that we were hoping to find. It also seemed you would need to do technical climbing to summit. As I previously posted, naively we had come here to hike without topographic maps, so we really had no idea where anything was,..YET! The night remains warm and very buggy, so we spend the evening moving around a lot and just generally goofing, as you see Chris and Cathy doing here. That is MY hiking companion Belle Star, standing there with them. After dinner, we agree that this river valley is not exactly what we came for, so I suggest we move camp. I feel we should backtrack down-valley to the point in the trail beneath White Rock. At that juncture, trail signs indicate two other trails we have not explored, and both appear to go UP. One leads to Slide Lake and the other leads to Clear Lake. Once there, we can then chose one of those for our next camp. Chris and Cathy agree, so next morning we break camp, but by the time we are on the trail, weather is starting to roll through again. Upon reaching the place where our path begins to ascend, we stop for some lunch, and a last survey of the valley floor. Afterwards, we head for what we hope might be alpine terrain. At the base of White Rock, drawings on the trail sign indicate mileage distances to the two different lakes. Slide Lake, the closest of the two, is up much higher and the drawing suggests the trail has a lot of switchbacks and NOT much camping terrain around the lake. Clear lake is a bit further away, but appears to be larger, and in a larger basin, so we speculate there are likely more places to camp there, and head that way.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, December 14, 2017

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #16:
Wind River, #16:  We establish a pleasant camp, the weather passes, and except for too many mosquitoes, the evening is quite nice.The next day dawns sunny and warm with no weather showing as yet, so we shoulder daypacks and continue to explore the trail we have camped near. Surely if we follow it we will eventually find the famous Wind River granite alpine terrain. We walk some miles, however, and the trail remains relatively flat, and DOWN on the valley floor. It has become much warmer, and weather is now appearing, so we stop for lunch, and Chris breaks out his rod and reel to chase those also-famous Wind River trout. At this particular moment, he is “sneaking” up on an undercut bank where something might be hiding. There are fish, and he does catch them, but none of them are trout, they are all whitefish, and Chris is VERY disappointed. After his numerous attempts, we decide it isn’t getting any better, so we retrace our path to camp, and settle in for the evening, enjoying the fact that the weather of the day never got worse. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes did not go away!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, December 7, 2017

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #15:
Wind River, #15:  After a really pleasant day atop White Rock surveying our surroundings, we wander back to our car camp at the bottom end of the lower Green River Lake. We do not have an afternoon storm, so we have a pleasant dinner with Gordon around a campfire,..and then he departs for Idaho, because he needs to be back for his job. Chris, Cathy, and I, send him off and slumber early, as we intend to backpack into the depths of the Green River Valley in the morning. The day breaks hot, with early weather coming in, so we get moving early as well. We follow the same trail from our day hike yesterday to the junction with the Clear Lake trail and the base of White Rock. Then we continue along it as it wends its way back down through the trees and onto the valley floor adjacent the end of the upper lake and the beginning of the river. It is a far more tiring hike today because we have full multi-day backpacks, and because it is hot. Hot enough to storm, and so it does. At first, the rain is refreshing, then it intensifies, and we can hear not-so-distant thunder. We are glad to be down in the valley when the storm rolls over us because the lightening is fierce and the thunder deafening. Some claps directly above us, make the ground shake. It is frightening, and we huddle in trees to ride it out. When it finally passes, we walk on a few more miles, and decide to camp at a very nice spot we find overlooking the meanders in the river. Dinner is uneventful, but we all agree, the storm was sobering, and it must have been REALLY scary if you were up higher in open granite.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, November 30, 2017

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #14:
Wind River, #14:  Looking off the summit of White Rock, this is the valley and upper end of the upper Green River Lake. We are car camped at the opposite end of the larger, lower lake, and from there the view is quite different (post #11). Now we can see the continuation of the river into the backcountry, and also the trail that follows, coming in from the lower right. Chris is especially excited because he wants to fish, and we have been told the lakes in these mountains host fantastic trout fishing, so this looks like the place. On a crude wooden trail map we passed along the way, I noted that there is a Clear Lake trail and also another to Slide Lake and it seemed as though we might be able to see them from up here, but we cannot. You might say, “why not look at your topo maps?”, but unfortunately, when we have backpacked in the company of our DFC&FC colleagues in Idaho, we are in the company of those who know where they are going, so we do not use maps. Now, here in the Wind Rivers, maps seem like a good idea whose time has come, but our trip has already started without them, and it is too late, and too far to go get some now. Our learning curve is going to occur in another way.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, November 23, 2017

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #13:
Wind River, #13:  Following Gordon Williams' suggestion that we try to summit White Rock for a look around, we leave the marked trail at the base of the mountain and begin a long, slow ascent through meadows and boulders. It is surprisingly easy going, but even though we are not in granite, we are at serious elevation, and we all feel the altitude and are breathing hard. We are also amazed that we are as high as we are, and we are still walking in boulder-littered meadows with flowers. We can SEE granite spires, but none of them look particularly approachable without serious climbing, so we are still not clear about where the vast domain of granite in the Wind Rivers really is? One thing is clear, however, this is a much bigger realm to wander in than the Sawtooths or Pioneer mountains of Idaho. It is also much higher. Gordon has just discovered the views are sweeping as well. If you will look back at post #11, you will see White Rock in the spot of sunlight on the left side of the lake. Note the steep, striated walls that cascade down to the lake. Our hike today has taken us high into the trees you can see on the left, and then up the sloping backside of White Rock, where, now near the top, Gordon is looking off of the steep face, down onto the lake and valley below.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, November 16, 2017

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #12:
Wind River, #12: The morning is crisp and cool, more like a fall day than a summer one, so we rise early, eat, pack, and are off. We decide to walk the trail on the east shore of the lake which will bring us to the foot of White Rock. From there the trail divides. It rises into the forest toward Clear Lake, and it also continues back down to the valley floor, following the river to further, smaller Green River lakes that lie beneath the distant granite spires. Our walk gives us a much better sense of the granite domain above us, and we also begin to realize how large the lakes and valley are, in which we have camped. Still, we are not IN granite, mostly forest, and it is clear to us now as the day wears on, that we are NOT going to reach any granite on this hike, so Gordon opts for the next best thing, “The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get,” the motto of the DFC&FC advises the day, and he thinks we should summit White Rock to have a better look around.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, November 9, 2017

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #11:
Wind River, #11: In a matter of a very few miles, I change my mind about the appearance of the Wind Rivers. The road we are on draws close to the narrowing river and leaves the rolling sagebrush to enter the forest. Shortly thereafter, we encounter the Green River Lakes campground, which is half-empty, so we secure a nice spot, weather a passing thundershower, and decide to take a walkabout. We have yet to explore where we are, so there is quite a bit of squacking when the campground trail to the lakeshore reveals this. We are looking across the largest of the Green River lakes, and the sloping, sunlit summit to the left is White Rock - while it IS rock, it is NOT granite, BUT the profile of the angular summit in the shadows to the right, Squaretop Mountain, is definitely ALL granite. It seems to us that we are indeed at an entrance to that world, but as yet we have some elevation to gain before we are actually IN it. Our DFC&FC friend from Idaho, Gordon Williams, arrives before dark, so we dine, enjoy the evening, and retire at a respectable hour, because we plan to do an all-day hike on one of the lake trails in the morning.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, November 2, 2017

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #10:
Wind River, #10: Chris, Cathy, and I, leave DuBois and head for the west side of the Wind River Range, where most of the trail access to the high country of granite is to be found. Our drive takes us, past the Tetons, and through Jackson Hole, south through the Hoback Valley, and up, onto the high plains at the western foot of the range, to the small town of Pinedale. We would eventually learn that many hikers/climbers come here and stay for a few days to acclimatize before going higher into the Winds. For us, however, this is a gas and grocery stop. The closest trailhead is Elkhart Park, just above Pinedale, but it is the most-used access point, and offers no car camping, so we are going to drive up, into the Upper Green River Valley, and approach the peaks from the Green River Lakes campground, where we are also hoping to meet Gordon Williams, our DFC&FC colleague from Idaho. Most of the road we take is dirt, following the Upper Green River Basin back into headwater streams. We see a lot of rolling, sagebrush covered hills, an occasional antelope, and a cow or two. As was my impression of the Wind Rivers from the east side, my first view of the range from this side is also underwhelming - MOSTLY BECAUSE I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM LOOKING AT! I can see a peak-less, alpine terrain with some snow, but where are the 14 tallest summits in the state, the 40 summits above 13,000ft, and the ferocious climbing walls with exotic names? What I DON’T understand yet, is the vast scale of this alpine terrain, and what I DON’T process is that it is snow-covered in August! Our weather is pleasant for the drive, but as with most afternoons since we have been in Wyoming, there is a daily build-up of heat and clouds, usually ending with some hours, or minutes, of passing thunderstorms, and that pattern appears to be progressing as we get closer to the campground.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, October 26, 2017

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #9:
Wind River, #9: Not quite sure exactly where the actual Ramshorn is, we scramble up really steep meadows of small flowers and tiny grasses to emerge here. As it turns out, we are on Ramshorn Peak, but NOT the actual Ramshorn, which you can see, poking up at the sky in the middle of this picture. These are truly strange mountains as this image reveals: the faces of these summits look like a layer cake, that we now know to be composed of conglomerate boulders and compressed mud; the backsides are not even mountains, they are 11,000ft meadows - and not a solid rock face to be seen anywhere. Our weather holds. We have a cool, dramatic-sky day with a stunning view of the Badlands, the Du Noir Valley, and to the west, the sloping shoulders of the Wind River Range. Our walk down, is a stroll, we have a beautiful evening in camp with a 3-D, full color sunset, but no storm. All is good. No badgers! We sleep well, wake to a warming day, pack up, and head down. The hike is hot, summer has returned, and buy the time we reach the car, the afternoon build-up to thunderstorms has begun. We dump our gear in the car, and race down to the highway to get off the grease-mud before the rain starts. The first burst comes with major lightening nearby, literally making the weird formations of the Badlands glow, then the road gets REALLY slippery, and we slither our way the last 1/2-mile to the paved highway and safety. By the time we reach the ranch house at the Diamond-D, the storm is over, and the sun is returning. We, on the other hand, are NOT going back into the Du Noir. Our plan is to access the Wind Rivers through one of, what are know to be, their “popular” (read easy) entrances, the Upper Green River Valley and Pinedale. The Upper Green River has a campground that is supposedly quite beautiful and dramatic, with numerous trails, AND it is portal to the GRANITE domain of the Wind Rivers. We also call Gordon Williams, our DFC&FC friend from Sun Valley, ID, and tell him he should join us at the campground. He agrees, and thus we all set out for the Upper Green River Lake campground.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, October 19, 2017

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #8:
Wind River, #8: The morning dawns cool and breezy, and we wake to the sound of the wind blowing through the stands of trees. Weather is pouring over us in the form of small, puffy cumulus clouds, but they are NOT building up, they are blowing through - at least at the moment. It feels like a fall day, more than a summer one, and we all agree to proceed with our plans. Breakfast, daypacks and cameras, out on to the trail, and into Ramshorn Basin. The “basin” begins as another expansive pitch of meadows with tree stands, but it rises more steeply. The constant breeze increases as we ascend, and then becomes wind storm, as the tree stands sheltering us somewhat, cease, and our walk continues through a big, broad meadow that is totally exposed. These meadows are not as lush or as tall with flowers as those where we have been, but they are still completely covered with tiny alpine blooms that are hugging the ground, and staying out of the cold breeze as much as possible. At the head of the basin, we find numerous snow patches left from the previous winter, even though we are in the heat of August. The terrain is very spare, but quite weirdly garden-like with flowers popping up anywhere there is supportive soil. To us, strangely, summiting is a meadow walk-up, with the only rock we encounter being the rubble where no meadows are growing. Note also that it is hard to tell from here which of these is the actual Ramshorn.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, October 12, 2017

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #7:
Wind River, #7: Our path leads us through several broad meadows filled with flowers, that are punctuated by stands of trees. The expansive terrain at this elevation is really surprising to us, as it was invisible from below, and although we are “alpine” at about 9,000ft. by all description, this does not look like the alpine we know from hiking in granite mountains. Were these alpine meadows and lakes as we knew them from adventures in Idaho ( dfc7fc), we would be surrounded by rock at this point, the lake would be jewel-like, set in that rocky terrain, and the “meadows” would be small and intimate, in many places only supporting space for a single tent. Right now it feels to us like we are still walking in the the trees and meadows of the forest floor, that is now several thousand feet below us. AND, where is the lake? Then the trail rounds a bend, and this appears. With room to camp an army almost anywhere, we pick a nice viewpoint of these summits, and settle in. The trail goes on past our site, so after we set up and square away camp, we return to it to see where it leads. In this image, we have come in from the left, and the continuing trail goes to the right, through that spot of sunlight on the other side of this POV. What we discover is that it winds around BEHIND the cliff faces that form the front of the range and lie before us here. We ARE at the heart of it all, for sure, as we hoped to summit, and preferably Ramshorn Peak, 11,800ft.. What we do not expect is the trail takes us to Ramshorn Basin, where we can approach these mountains from their backside. Knowing the basin is our ascent point, we scramble in the nearby crumbling ledges for the remaining afternoon, gaining some treeless elevation so we can watch the afternoon storm build over the Du Noir Valley. With weather past, we descend and head back to camp for the evening. Enroute along the trail, we encounter (at a good safe distance) a MONSTER badger prowling around, so after dinner we have a new food storage protocol involving really tall trees, then - sunset, star show, lights out! Tomorrow, weather permitting, we will take in new views and breathe a much thinner part of the atmosphere at 11,000+.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, October 5, 2017

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #6:
Wind River, #6: Our hike through the trees brings us right to the base of the steep, layered walls, and then the trail runs along them for awhile, until it comes to a stream tumbling down a verdant and flower-filled ravine of boulder rubble. Turning rather steeply up the ravine, our trail ascends through a scree of small rocks, and bridges various rock band layers as it climbs. Progress is slow because the rubble makes traction difficult. We get some rain as we slog upward, but nothing that makes life miserable. Although these are NOT the kind of mountains we expected to hike in, they are strangely beautiful at the peak of their summer bloom. As quickly as our ascent began, it ends, leveling off once again into a broad meadow of grass and more flowers. It is clear we have risen considerably higher, and all of us can tell we are exercising at 7,000ft. or more, because we work harder to breathe, and stop more often to catch our breath. What surprises me now, is how expansive this new meadow is. From below, none of us had any sense that there were pockets of terrain this size, so far up the slopes of these strangely configured mountains.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, September 28, 2017

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #5:
Wind River, #5: Our trailhead/car corral does not seem very alpine to us. The path wanders off through a broad flat basin filled with flowers and grasses, and hardly seems to climb at all. This particular trail supposedly goes to a “high” lake affording access to several summits, but from where we are, it is still unclear where that lake might be. The afternoon weather has started to roll through, but the day is quite hot, so we are not really concerned if it rains, and we walk on. We finally enter some forest and draw closer to the sheer faces of the cliffs. When I put on my telephoto to study them, I see how truly odd they are. This is NOT big granite. These mountains look like layers of hardened mud and conglomerate rock that poke weirdly shaped spires skyward, like goofy sand drip-castles that you make at the beach. According to an occasional trail sign, we are not far from the lake of our intended destination, and it is several thousand feet higher, but I am still skeptical because it sure does not look like there is any place for an alpine lake in the image to the right.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, September 21, 2017

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #4:
Wind River, #4:  Weather over the Du Noir Valley and Dubois has included thunderstorms and rain every day in the late afternoon. Bill Lund has warned us not to be on the backroads of the badlands (previous post) if they are wet because they become “grease-mud,” so Chris, Kathy, and I, get an early start on our first backpacking adventure in Wyoming. The dirt track we follow winds through the desert-like badlands, past colorful mud mounds, and across occasional washes that clearly fill with flash floods when it storms. Then the road begins to rise, and our view changes dramatically. What was not visible from our previous position in the valley, were the foothills beneath the ridge of peaks we hoped to summit. View of them had been blocked by the badlands, but now that we are here, the scale of things is much larger, and there is an entire forested woodland we must still work though before we arrive at the trailhead. I think all three of us are taken aback by this unanticipated change, but the meadows that are around us now are filled with flowers, there are streams everywhere, and although the afternoon weather has arrived, we are no longer on “grease-mud”, so we forge ahead. We continue to wind through relatively lush woodlands, and finally come to a “car corral” that marks the starting point of the trail.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, September 14, 2017

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #3:
Wind River, #3:  Awaiting the arrival of my friend Chris Korody and his girlfriend, Kathy, I explore the area around the Disney ranch, where I am staying. I am amazed that the tallest range in the state barely shows any summits, but rather just long, sloping, heavily forested hills and valleys. What I learn is that I am on the eastern side of the Wind Rivers, and the granite summits are more visible from the abrupt western faces. On this side there are few hikers into the high range, because it is 18-20 miles up one of these valleys just the leave the treeline. Over here, cattle are grazed in those high valleys, and hunters and cowboys do everything from horseback. It appears the most direct approach to the heart of the Wind Rivers is from Pinedale, WY on the other side of the range. When Chris and Kathy arrive, I explain what I have learned to them, and we decide to do something around Dubois first, just so that they can acclimate to our elevation, and Kathy can become more comfortable with backpacking, which she has only done a few times. Bill tells us that the Du Noir “backcountry” is supposed to be beautiful, with many lakes, and it all can be accessed from roads through the badlands. With Ramshorn Peak, so prominently on the skyline, I suggest we should try to camp near it, and summit if we can, to which all agree. Now, to avoid any grease-mud incidents...
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, September 7, 2017

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #2:
Wind River, #2:  Bill Lund, Sharon Disney, and their extended family and friends are all happy to see me when I arrive at the front porch of their Diamond-D Ranch near Dubois, WY. I have a lot of gear, and they have a lot of family, so it is mutually agreed that I will sleep, and spread out, in one of the cowboy bunkhouses that is not being used at the moment. Over the next few days, I explore the area, sometimes riding around the property on horseback with Bill. One evening, on one such ride, this view offers me a much greater sense of where I am. I am looking east, out over the Du Noir valley and into the colorful, desert-like formations I passed driving in. I can now see that they are the foothills of taller summits that Bill says are part of the Du Noir Wilderness Area, and that especially pointy peak is Ramshorn, the tallest in the range (11,800ft.) He also refers to the desert foothills as the “badlands,” and warns that if I go exploring the roads in them with my van, I will need get back to the highway if it starts rain, because the dirt turns to grease mud, “and you will simply slide off into a ditch.” Those formations ARE, literally, mud mounds melting down.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Thursday, August 31, 2017

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #1:
Wind River, #1:  I receive my MFA from CalArts in 1974, at a time when Bill Lund, the husband of one of the school’s founders, Sharon Disney, is serving as the school’s President. My graduate show attracts a lot of attention from him and the board of trustees, and Bill and Sharon invite me to visit them during the coming summer at the Diamond-D, a large ranch they own, outside of Dubois, WY. The ranch lies in the Du Noir River valley on the eastern slope of the Wind River Range, a very tall part of The Continental Divide. In climbing lore I know the range has a lot of granite, with famous faces and specific summits, that bear some unusual names: The Cirque of Towers; Pingora; Wolf’s Head; Haystack Mountain; Warbonnet, AND it has more than 40 of the tallest peaks in WY, although most people mistakenly think those are The Grand Tetons. I have hiked and camped in Yellowstone and the Tetons, but I have never seen the Wind Rivers, so I am not exactly sure what to expect. Hoping to have some company, I ask my Decker Flats Climbing and Frisbee Club friends in nearby Sun Valley, ID, to consider joining me, and I extend the same invitation to my friend, Chris Korody, who in previous summers, has been one of the teachers in the photography workshop program, I have helped to found at the Sun Valley Creative Arts Center. For reasons of employment, no one from the DFC&FC can join at the moment, but Chris has a blossoming relationship with Kathy Schleussner, a girl who lives next door to my family home in LA, and he and she offer to come. Driving to the Dubois highway junction from Sun Valley gives me a view of the Tetons to the west, and the Gros Ventre to the south, but I cannot see what are supposed to be the sky-piercing summits of the Wind Rivers. The road to Dubois then passes over a low divide and begins to descend into a broad valley with evergreen forests and big pastures on one side, and a strangely colorful desert that looks like mounds of mud melting down, on the other.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

Social Media by @LittleBearProd

Shop Sundance Catalog

icon icon