Sunday, September 27, 2015

Green River Lakes, 1995: A Cautionary Tale*

And so it came to pass that in the early summer of 1995, we decided to do another Wyoming vacation, starting from our home in Dallas up through New Mexico and Colorado, and then to the Green River Lakes in the Winds, and perhaps the Tetons too. I remember marveling, as we passed through Colorado, how much snow remained in the high country. Anyhow, it was my hope to climb Square Top--it has an easy back side--and then proceed as far up the Green as we wanted. Vicki, as always, was game. We neither of us connected the dots about the snow.
Oh yes, Faler's, the great Pinedale general store, as it was in
1995















Interior; the daid thangs had been thinned out somewhat by
2015















Anyhow...Green River Lakes, and Square Top














The Green, a beautiful river














Looking up the valley, Stroud's Peak, I think, a bit left of
center















Part of the back side of Square Top;
I think





















Vicki crawling across the "bridge"; I think I had her belayed on
the 7mm cord we always carry (not that it would have done any
good); our first and greatest mistake was simply heading up
the valley with so much snow above and a warm weekend
approaching...the second was crossing this two-log "bridge";
the third, though happily of no consequence, was ignoring the
dead horse on this side of the bridge--another story, with the
rangers--we were, and remain, suburban slickers



















Further up the valley, Gannet Peak, perhaps, on the left;
glorious surroundings, great hopes















And we set up camp, just a bit beyond the bridge














It's a warm night and a warm morning and we arise to see our
little bridge getting battered by the rising torrent
















Thus




















And then...no bridge















Thus; it dawns on us slowly that this is a problem; after
breakfast and lunch, Vicki counts 1400 calories of food
between us--it was supposed to be just an over-nighter; we
scrap plans for climbing Square Top, and I reconnoiter up
the trail and off trail, reasoning that, surely (don't call me
Shirley), there must be other bridges over the river; but I find
none and if anything the river rages even more wildly; I return
to camp and we spend a worried night there





















Found, a few weeks after this post,, in our
storage unit in Missoula: the calculation; I was 
wrong...it was 1,400 calories per person! 
Interestingly, I described the whole episode
as "a bridge too far"; which it was
























At length, next morning, we decided to walk back down the
river and to find a place to ford, I mean, swim it; at this point
we are now into high foolishness, and never mind the incident
with the bull moose, who stood in our way, and who gently
walked us back out of his territory; there was a curve in the
river where it narrowed; I stripped and crossed it, partially
on a log, and then Vicki floated our packs to me using the
trusty 7mm cord; and then, attached to the cord, she began
swimming toward me





















Here she is, soaking wet, an hour later;
she was swept under a cutbank, and two
U of Wyoming hikers arrived just in time
to help me pull her out; had they not
been there, perhaps both of us would
have drowned

























The Green in flood




















Me, nearly back to the campground; both
of us thinking deep thoughts about what
had gone wrong, what had gone right,
and how we might avoid such fiascoes in
the future; we developed some rules of
thumb, most all violated at one time or
another since then; we've been very
lucky


























And so we bade farewell again to the Winds, still a favorite
place, but a place with some more complicated memories
and affections



















*from the Sherouse Family Digital Archives

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