An mid-afternoon start had me skinning through deep, fresh powder up a north-facing slope to the crest of the range.
At this point, the next few miles became a bit unpredictable – from windswept bare rock to sun-baked crust to deep, unconsolidated snow that found me sinking to my hips, even with skis. My skis spent a fair bit of time on and off my back as I worked my way over the multi-ridge mountain crest to the south side.
As darkness fell, I opted to keep moving, and finally settled in under a big ponderosa as temperatures begin to drop in this high meadow overlooking the Haunted Forest.
Rolling out my sole shelter, an MSR Pro Bivy, and my winter bed, it didn’t take much to fall asleep after a six-hour slog.
Morning came with bright, sunny skies and rising temperatures.
Breakfast and coffee. Pack up. Ski back down the north side of the range to the valley leading back up to my car.
I enjoyed one more mid-morning brew, basked in the warmth, and celebrated another winter trip with the solitude and quiet that is so unique to Southeast Wyoming.
Some of the notable gear I brought on this trip: