Popo Agie Wilderness, Wyoming - August 18 to 241996

"We don't stop hiking because we grow old, we grow old because we stop hiking Finis Mitchell, 1901-1995

A walk up the Popo Agie to the Cirque of the Towers was the next trip scheduled. Ted, Brian, and Bob left from Laramie and drove to the campground at Dickinson Park, stopping at Split Rock along the way. It must have been impressive to have been a pioneer traveling through this area in a wagon train. When we went on this trip, road access was still allowed through Shoshone reservation land, hopefully one can still get there via this route.

Update Sept 2004: Dickinson Park road is closed. Land use issues are becoming complicated in the west, and backpackers may suffer as a result. A similar road closure has occurred on a main route to the Wilson Peak Group in the San Miguels

We picked going in through Dickinson Park to avoid the crowds at Big Sandy and to avoid Jackass Pass. This was also the first trip where Brian attempted to catch fish. While Bob was impressed with Brian's piscatorial expertise, he still told him that "Monkeys will fly out of my butt when you catch a fish". Luckily we brought along plenty of dried food as Brian didn't catch a thing on this trip and no monkeys were observed in the vicinity!

We spent the night at Dickinson park and started along the Smith Lake trail, with the ultimate goal of making it to Cliff and High Meadow Lakes. We made the correct turn at the junction to Smith Lake. However, for some reason at the next junction (marked with a black dot on map below), instead of going up to High Meadow Lake, we started down towards the Popo Agie river. We realized our mistake after dropping elevation. No one wanted to go back up, so we made camp. Because of bears, we took precautions to hang our food. This was a multi-day trip, so food bags were heavy. When we hung the food the first time, a serious accident occurred. Now we know to use little pulleys to assist in lifting the food bags. It was also here that my water pump broke (a First Need, since then I use an MSR). After a couple of bodacious stream crossings, and another campsite, we made it to the Cirque. Ted's friend Keith, and his wonder dog Roo, showed up. We popped popcorn and enjoyed the view, and did a day hike to Mitchell Peak.

We departed the next day and had a nice leisurely hike to a pack horse camp where there were nice sleeping areas. Here I managed to lose the one thing I always seem to lose. It made me cry, well almost. After consulting the map, we decided to avoid the two worst stream crossings and use fisherman/game trails along the north side of the Popo Agie (marked in red on map). Our reconnoitering skill shown as we came out after bushwhacking about 20 yards off from where we wanted. We made it down to our next campsite where we had a nice dinner and rest, followed by a hike out to Dickinson Park and the car.

A few months later, Ted and Bob received a great gift from Brian. It was complicated to assemble, with about 2 pages of written instructions, but it contained a photographic record of the trip suitable for posting in room or office.

Brian on first day (tj)

Ted on first day

A tragic accident (tj)

Ted and Brian changing shoes at the first Popo Agie crossing to the Cirque

Ted crossing the second Popo Agie crossing on the way up to the Cirque

Bob at the same Popo Agie crossing (tj)

Ted within eyeshot of the Cirque (tj)

Brian and Ted saddling up as we go up to Base camp Mitchell

Lonesome Lake

Ahhh, fresh Jiffy pop™ at Base Camp Mitchell, with Pingora in background (tj)

Wildflowers near base camp

Partial panorama of Cirque from base camp

A view of base camp and Lonesome Lake (tj)

Arrowhead Lake by Jackass Pass (tj)

Brian contemplates

Monolith located along the Popo Agie before the Cirque (tj)

Another view of the Monolith

Mitchell Peak (tj)

Near the top of Mitchell Peak (tj)

Getting Ready to leave Base camp Mitchell (tj)

Bob in Lizard Head Meadow (tj)

A view of the Popo Agie in a calm state in Sanford Park (tj)

Sanford Park (tj)

Brian crossing the Popo Agie (tj)

Almost at the end, Brian and Bob in Dickinson Park (tj)

At the car (tj)