Getting lost — check, demon blister— check, skinny dipping — double check! Read on to get the skinny on Big Sandy Lake in Bridger-Teton National Forest Wyoming.
The drive up to Bridger-Teton National Forest changed from high desert-like conditions to an area filled with evergreen and aspen trees, and scenery that reminded Sarah very much of home. After a tough hike up Medicine Bow Peak a couple of days prior, this gently-sloping hike to a large, mountain-lined, boulder-strewn lake was just what we had in mind.
Hiking to Big Sandy Lake in Wyoming
Hiking to Big Sandy Lake
As we set out from the trailhead, we felt at home with the familiar mix of dirt, mangled roots, and smooth rock under our feet. Two miles into this 12 mile hike we had to stop. Sarah took off her boot to reveal a demon blister from hell. She’d tried new insoles during our previous hike to see if they were any good — they weren't and she was still dealing with the after effects of that bad decision. Cue Sarah’s intellect and ingenuity: sports tape + panty liner = ultimate blister stopping power. The hike continued.
Skinny Dipping at the Lake
After another four miles we made it to the lake. We hiked around it until we found a secluded spot to relax.
Jimmy: “I am going to get in and cool off.”
Sarah: “Ok, sounds good” — momentarily looks away not knowing what Jimmy meant.
Jimmy’s cackling laughter and a splash echo across the valley as he ran into the lake, nude. Sarah promptly joined in on the fun. Pics on request — just kidding. Those will stay in the private collection.
Tired and Lost on the Trek Back
The trek back was relatively quick and easy (at first). The hike to the lake goes upwards in elevation, but it’s gradual, so you are walking slightly downward during most of your trek to the trailhead. Nevertheless, our feet were getting pretty tired toward the end, especially after tacking on an extra mile around the lake, and we were anxious to get back to our campervan, Dot, and rest. That’s when things got stressful.
There are signs marking the intercepting trails throughout, and everything was pretty well-marked — until it wasn’t. After walking past a meadow we didn’t recognize from the beginning of our hike, we stopped at a sign that pointed toward two areas: the campground and the horse corral. We were trying to get to the trailhead but it was not on the sign. There’d been another sign just back behind the sun-drenched meadow — should we turn back and make sure we didn’t go the wrong way? Sarah’s sunburnt self said no to the meadow, so we pushed onward. There were signs for the corral close to where we parked, so we decided to walk that way.
So began an epic climb toward the horse corral trail, followed by us worrying we were lost and backtracking across the sunny meadow to the first sign. This tacked on an extra couple of miles — and more time in the direct sunlight — which felt like 500 miles in the desert at the time. By the time we started walking in the direction of the campground, we were exhausted, but luckily our second guess was correct — we found the trailhead.
All in all, it was a wonderful and adventurous day. We learned a new way to handle blisters. Sarah most likely made some backpackers' day while skinny dipping in the lake and Jimmy probably prompted numerous reports of Yeti in the area….
Would you skinny dip in a (relatively) secluded lake? And if you have, we’d love to hear your stories in the comments below!
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