Lupe started this hike in the Beartooth Mountains of NW Wyoming from a trailhead located just to the SE of Long Lake and Beartooth Highway No. 212. This may well be the trailhead for the Beartooth Loop National Recreational Trail, but Lupe didn’t follow that trail. Instead she crossed to the N of Hwy 212 where her wanderings among many beautiful high country lakes took place. The trailhead is about 3 miles E of the Top of the World Store & Motel or 2 miles E of the Island Lake Campground.
For a topo map of the area, click this link to Lonesome Mountain on Peakbagger.com and scroll the topo map to the SE.
After the splendid, but long, trek to Two Bits Lake on 7-12-13, Lupe and SPHP had arrived back at camp on the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River after midnight. SPHP had been simply too tired to get out of the G6 and set things up in the tent, so Lupe and SPHP had spent the night in the G6 once again.
It had been a tough night. SPHP woke to the sound of Lupe licking her sore paws in the darkness, and then had trouble getting back to sleep. SPHP’s feet were cold, wet, and still in the hiking boots SPHP hadn’t even bothered to remove. (Both a miserable situation and a very bad idea!) Eventually sleep returned. Later a gorgeous morning arrived.
SPHP finally got up somewhere around 8 AM. The sun was already up and shining on the beautiful river. SPHP cooked some beef stew for Lupe. Lupe was so, well, dog-tired that she hadn’t even gotten out of the G6. SPHP had to feed the beef stew to her. She really did enjoy it though, once she got going on it. She ate most of the can. SPHP polished off the rest.
After 3 days of non-stop activity, SPHP decided this 4th day of Lupe’s 2013 Dingo Vacation would have to be a rest day in camp to recuperate. SPHP cleaned and organized. Lupe snoozed fitfully in the G6. Later on, she wanted to get in the “tiny house” (tent), where she snoozed some more. SPHP joined her in the tent to snack, look at maps, and take a siesta. About mid-afternoon there was a trip to Cooke City, MT to charge up the camera battery. The evening was spent pleasantly at camp, and a much more comfortable night was spent in Lupe’s “tiny house”.
After the big rest day, 7-14-13 was destined to be an action day! SPHP had decided Lupe should go explore around some of the alpine lakes NE of Island Lake. Lupe set off about 10:05 AM under beautiful blue skies. The temperature was an ideal 60°F. Lupe liked the open ground and ran about sniffing happily. She crossed Beartooth Hwy No. 212 and made for the N end of Long Lake.
Everything was great until Lupe and SPHP reached a creek coming in from the E down to the N end of Long Lake. It wasn’t very large and took only a couple of stepping stones to cross it. However, the first stone SPHP stepped on proved slippery. SPHP got instantly dumped in the creek. Sopping wet from the waist down, (sitting in a creek does that to you) SPHP was unharmed. SPHP scrambled out of the creek and marched on soggily. The sun would eventually dry SPHP off.
SPHP decided to head for Frozen Lake instead of Lower Sheepherder Lake. Lupe and SPHP climbed a good bit and were starting to get some good views, when SPHP discovered the next tragedy – SPHP had forgotten to bring the camera. After a brief debate, SPHP decided not to go all the way back to the G6 to get it. Lupe continued on up towards Frozen Lake a bit longer when SPHP discovered another problem. SPHP had lost the tall blue water bottle out of the backpack falling in the creek.
The water bottle was a loss SPHP could not afford. Running out of water would make for a horrible day. So back down to the creek Lupe and SPHP went, losing hundreds of feet of precious elevation gain. When Lupe got back to the creek, SPHP spotted the tall blue water bottle floating in it maybe 15 feet downstream of where SPHP had fallen in. SPHP nearly fell in again trying to reach it to get it out. After SPHP retrieved the tall blue water bottle, SPHP decided Lupe may as well go all the rest of the way back to the G6 and get the camera, too.
So around 11:30 AM, Lupe and SPHP once again set out from the G6 for Frozen Lake. Arriving back at the creek at the N end of Long Lake, footing once again proved tricky for SPHP. SPHP narrowly escaped another dunking. Lupe must have wondered what was going on. Although she likes to wade in streams, ordinarily SPHP doesn’t splash around like this. SPHP decided to christen this small stream “Dump Me Creek”.
This time, Lupe and SPHP managed to get all the way up to the S shore of Frozen Lake without further surprises. Three men were along the W shore. They must have hiked down from Hwy 212, which was just a short distance E of Frozen Lake, but considerably above it. From Frozen Lake, Lupe and SPHP climbed and headed NW, avoiding the three men who had by now moved to the N end of Frozen Lake. They were the only people Lupe and SPHP saw until getting back close to Hwy 212 at the end of the day.
All of this day’s explorations were spent just wandering. There were no trails. SPHP navigated by topo map. There were so many little lakes around, at times it was a bit confusing. Lupe visited Lower Sheepherder Lake, Upper Sheepherder Lake, Snyder Lake, Z Lake, Lake Promise, Heart Lake and saw quite a few smaller lakes not named on the map.
The prettiest lake was a small unnamed lake above and NE of Heart Lake. This lake was tucked in a corner of the bare higher ridge to the N and E. There was a fair amount of snow still around there. Lupe’s highest elevation reached was around 10,600 feet in the vicinity of Lake Promise and the little snowy lake, where Lupe and SPHP climbed considerably above both lakes. That area was well above tree line, and Lupe and SPHP’s favorite part of the journey.
SPHP had hoped Lupe would get to go to Snow Lake and Wall Lake, both farther NW toward Becker Lake, but too much time had been lost by SPHP getting dumped in Dump Me Creek and losing the water bottle, compounded by forgetting the camera. Lupe did scramble clear around the N & W sides of Heart Lake over the debris of a collapsed mountainside, before following the outlet stream S down a steep canyon.
Despite the self-inflicted problems early on with Dump Me Creek and the camera, the most vexing problem Lupe and SPHP faced this day was the endless horde of mosquitoes encountered. The mosquitoes weren’t a problem until after Lupe left Frozen Lake and approached the Sheepherder Lakes. Lupe escaped them to some degree above Lake Promise and Heart Lake, but elsewhere they forced Lupe and SPHP to stay continually on the move to avoid falling prey to them. SPHP designated July 14th as National Mosquito Day. Both Lupe and SPHP sincerely hoped the festivities would be completely over and done with by the next day.
Toward the end of the day, Lupe and SPHP headed back down to the G6 tramping through the forest E of Night Lake, Island Lake and Little Bear Lake to arrive at Hwy 212 just E of Little Bear Lake. Lupe then followed Hwy 212 E back to the G6. It was 8:28 PM when she arrived. The sun was still up, but in the process of setting. On the way W back to camp, SPHP stopped at a turnout. There Lupe and SPHP watched the golden glow of the sunset fading away just to the N of Pilot and Index Peaks.
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