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RE: [CDT-L] CDT '99 Schedule -- Willis Whoa

Wllis Whoa:

Your proposed schedule looks interesting, but those 90* afternoons you're
experiencing may be minimizing in your mind the snow ahead of you !  :)

I'm sure you've heard it from others, but depending on the snow year - and I
haven't checked for New Mexico yet - the rangers in the Santa Fe and Carson
NF's do warn of snow often being a problem during May from Cuba north to
Cumbres Pass.  It's a really nice section and you wouldn't want to road walk
around it , if it can be helped.  Remember, a lot of the snowpack build-up
can and often does occur in late spring, after you've started hiking in the

But even more of concern to you will be attempting the Wind River Range in
the last half of May. The snowpack there usually doesn't allow easy access
until late June, and often later.  I have a friend who planned it for
mid-to-late May one year - as you have - and ended up walking the main
tarred highway west of the Winds. He's been trying to get back to hike that
section.  It a gorgeous section of the trail and you won't want to miss it.
My wife, Shell, and I stood at South Pass 2 summers ago, before hiking south
to Rawlins and just gawked at the huge amount of snow visible in the Winds
just to our north.  This was in late June, and believe me, there was no way
one could have gotten me to head north into that stuff, despite all the
Sierra snow experience on the PCT.

Regardless, whether you approach the southern Wind River Range from the SW
or SE, coming from the South Pass area - we chose the SE - don't miss the
Cirque of the Towers!
It really is worth taking the side loop that many hikers opt for to see this
special place, which is one of the single most stunning spots I've seen, AT
and PCT included.

No one is saying you can't do it on your proposed schedule... just that,
particularly in the Winds, it would be very slow going, with the need to
therefore carry much more food. 

Forgive these two quick, knee-jerk reactions to your schedule.... I wish you
a most exciting, gratifying, and safe hike!!  

Bob Ellinwood

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