Lupe was gone. The bright-eyed, sharp-eared Wild Dingo of the Night had taken her place. Stars blazed above while the Wild Dingo of the Night sniffed eagerly around this way and that in the darkness. In and out of the tiny house, again and again. Finally the Wild Dingo of the Night was gone for good. Lupe snoozed on her red down sleeping bag. SPHP could finally pass out, too.
Morning came. Day 25 of Lupe’s great Summer of 2015 Dingo Vacation. Lupe was camped in the Cirque of the Towers in the Wind River Range of Wyoming. She had come over Jackass Pass from Big Sandy Lake the previous day. There was lots to do and see! Lupe and SPHP began the day by climbing up the valley just SW of Pingora Peak (11,884 ft.) to see Cirque Lake.
Lupe and SPHP took a short break up at Cirque Lake. Lupe drank from the lake and had some Taste of the Wild. SPHP watched mountain climbers way up on the ridge between Pingora Peak and Wolf’s Head. They were shouting to each other, and apparently having a great time as they worked their way slowly toward Wolf’s Head.
Lupe and SPHP were quite content with the stunning views from Cirque Lake. American Dingoes don’t go in for any sports that require ropes, except Tug-‘O-War. SPHP feels the same way about it. It’s both fun and scary enough just watching those daring souls who enjoy clinging to the face of some precipice.
Only the day before, on her way up the trail from Big Sandy Lake to Jackass Pass, Lupe had seen a climber coming down the trail who had been injured in a fall. The climber had been limping along under his own power, but others in the party said he had a rather badly injured leg due to a 50 foot fall on Pingora Peak. In his case, ropes and equipment had prevented a more disastrous outcome.
After shouts of joy and triumph were heard from the climbers now on top of Wolf’s Head, Lupe and SPHP left Cirque Lake and started back down into the main part of the Cirque of the Towers where Lupe’s tiny house was still set up. Lupe’s next destination was the biggest waterfall in the Cirque of the Towers.
The waterfall was gorgeous. Lupe took a big refreshing drink, of course. No trip to the Cirque of the Towers is complete without a side excursion down to Lonesome Lake to the E. So Lonesome Lake was Lupe’s next destination. SPHP also had plans for Lupe to complete one peakbagging goal, too. After checking out Lonesome Lake, Lupe was going to climb up towering Skunk Knob (11,099 ft.)!
Lupe certainly had one of the most gorgeous playgrounds a Carolina Dog ever had this day. She spent the entire day absolutely surrounded by spectacular peaks. She saw sparkling lakes and drank from cold, clear streams. She searched for squirrels in shady green forests. She explored long, twisting secret passages in jungles of tall bushes. She climbed up high rocky hills and ridges. All of the time she was busy having an epic wonderful day.
After reaching Lonesome Lake, Lupe crossed the North Popo Agie River where it leaves the E end of the lake. She then headed W on a trail in the forest. The trail paralleled the N shore of Lonesome Lake at some distance from it. SPHP thought this trail would ultimately lead up to Texas Pass. However, when the trail emerged from the forest out into some open ground close to Pingora Peak, it pretty much just disappeared.
There was still forested ground higher up. Not knowing where else to look for the trail, Lupe and SPHP began climbing higher and entered the forest again, heading toward Texas Pass.
Part way up through the forest, Lupe found a semblance of a trail heading up toward Texas Pass. Lupe and SPHP followed it above tree line. Once above tree line, Lupe left the trail and started climbing the open ground heading directly for Skunk Knob. When Lupe reached the top, SPHP was surprised to find two other people already there. They were quite friendly.
The two people were on a long backpacking trip and had come up from their camp down at Lizard Head Meadows. They planned on climbing Mitchell Peak the next day, which is supposed to be a relatively easy scramble. Lupe and SPHP wanted to climb Mitchell Peak, too, but there wasn’t going to be time. The two backpackers were busy watching climbers up on the ridge between Pingora Peak and Wolf’s Head through binoculars.
The climbers were not the same ones Lupe and SPHP had seen earlier in the day in the same location. The backpackers were concerned that these climbers were going rather slowly. They needed to get to Wolf’s Head pretty soon, so they would have time to get safely back down before storms or darkness.
Now and then the climber’s shouts to one another could be heard, but SPHP couldn’t make out what they were saying. No doubt with those big soft keen ears, Lupe knew, but she wasn’t providing any translations.
SPHP chatted with the two backpackers on Skunk Knob. They let SPHP look at the climbers nearing Wolf’s Head through their binoculars. Lupe rested happily among the boulders. Well, pretty happily, it was rather windy on Skunk Knob. Wind is not a favorite with Lupe. When SPHP finally finished the conversation with the backpackers, Lupe was ready to go.
Just NE of Skunk Knob is a deep cirque with an unnamed lake in it. The way down to it looked pretty easy, so Lupe and SPHP headed down toward it. Lupe didn’t get all the way down to the lake, but got pretty close to it before turning SSE and following the valley below the lake back down into the forest.
There was a stream in the valley that came down from the unnamed lake. Lupe crossed it several times. Eventually she left the stream to head through the forest. SPHP was looking for Lonesome Lake. Lupe was looking for squirrels. She found a few, too. There were even a few deer in the forest.
Lupe and SPHP emerged from the forest at the E end of Lonesome Lake right where the North Popo Agie River flows out of it. Lupe and SPHP crossed the stream (easy rock hopping this time of year, but no bridge), and followed the trail to Jackass Pass for a little way near the shore of Lonesome Lake.
It looked like autumn was arriving today. The fall colors looked stronger and brighter than they had just this morning. Before leaving Lonesome Lake, it was time to stop and appreciate this view for a while longer. SPHP and Lupe took a break near the shore. Soon the very busy American Dingo was conked out among the pretty leaves.
There was time left in the day to climb back up to Jackass Pass to see the Cirque of the Towers and Lonesome Lake from that splendid vantage point. SPHP lost the trail going up there, and didn’t run into it again until nearing the pass. Lupe didn’t care, she had fun in the forest.
Once again, it was quite windy up on Jackass Pass, but Lupe and SPHP had a stupendous view of nearly all the territory Lupe had explored on this fantastic day in the Wind River Range.
Evening was coming on. It was time to leave Jackass Pass and head once more down into the Cirque of the Towers to Lupe’s tiny house. Her big day of exploring the Cirque of the Towers, Lonesome Lake, mighty Skunk Knob, and Jackass Pass was almost over. So was her great Summer of 2015 Dingo Vacation.
There was still a surprising amount of daylight left when Lupe got back to her tiny house. She rested a little bit, but not for long. She spent the evening racing up and down the mountainsides. It was simply amazing.
SPHP wasn’t racing up and down anything. Instead, SPHP watched the sunlight retreat higher and higher up the mountain slopes. For dramatic effect, every 20 or 30 minutes big boulders were sliding off long melting snowbanks on Warrior Peaks. SPHP saw them go, and heard them crashing down on the rocks below.
Even for high-spirited, fun-loving American Dingoes, all good things must come to an end. Lupe’s first little backpacking trip enabling her to spend a whole day up at the Cirque of the Towers, Lonesome Lake, and Skunk Knob was a huge success, but except for the trip back, it was over. Essentially, so was her great Summer of 2015 Dingo Vacation.
Lupe spent another restless, excited night in the Cirque of the Towers. She and SPHP were up before dawn the next day (Day 26 of her 2015 Dingo Vacation) to head back out over Jackass Pass, down to Big Sandy Lake, and on to the G6. The road trip back home (involving a lot of hard barking at hundreds, maybe thousands, of cows and horses along the way) began shortly after reaching the G6. Lupe spent that evening at Guille’s in Casper, WY.
About 2:30 PM on 9-4-15 (Day 27 of her 2015 Dingo Vacation), Lupe arrived back home in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She ran over to Dog Heaven at the neighbor’s, and was welcomed back with a big Milk Bone. She raced back home with it to show SPHP what a smart, lucky and beloved Dingo she is.