Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bighorn National Forest: Circle Park Loop

I had wanted to visit the Bighorns all summer. Despite the fact that I had the evening program last night, I was determined that this would be the weekend to do it. Last night after the evening program (which I presented in a driving rain) I made my way home to change and jumped in my packed Civic. It was already 9:30 when I hit the road and I was pretty tired but I was itching for some fun in the mountains. I made it as far as Gillette, Wyoming before my drowsiness forced me to stop for a hotel for the night.

When I woke up this morning I was ready to go. I got some breakfast and bought some last minute food items before driving I-90 west towards Buffalo. The morning was beautiful. It looked like it was going to be a great day for a hike. I pulled into the Circle Park Trailhead at around 10. I soon hit the trail with my first destination Sherd Lake.
Sherd Lake
The hiking was pleasant with the temperature nearly perfect. Sherd Lake was pretty, but I had to move on. My next stop would be Willow Lake.

Willow Lake was okay, but not too spectacular. I decided to hike up past the inlet of the lake to see if I could get a better view. I was rewarded not only with a spectacular view of the mountains and Oliver Creek, but with a bull moose sighting as well!
What a magnificent looking animal. From Willow Lake I backtracked a bit before heading over to Old Crow Lake.
Old Crow Lake
Wow! Old Crow offered the most beautiful scenery yet. I stopped there and rested a bit before continuing on. Trigger Lake was the next stop on the “Lakes Tour”. While it was a pretty spot, it was not as jaw-droppingly pretty as Old Crow. I finally completed my loop by heading back to Sherd Lake before returning to the trailhead. What a great hike. I only wish Noelle was with me to experience it.

After my great hike I headed farther west. I took a rough side trip to Sheep Mountain Lookout Tower
before finding a campsite for the night at Deer Park Campground. I had the place all to myself. The quiet here should offer plenty of rest for tomorrow’s adventure: a day hike up Cloud Peak. The roundtrip is about 20 miles. It should be challenging, but I’ve hiked 25 miles up and down Pikes Peak.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I love the Bighorns! I'm jealous...