Peak Climbed: Valentine Peak

Peak Height: 11,361'

Route: South Slopes

Difficulty: Class 2

Location: Wind River Range, Wyoming

Trailhead: Big Sandy Opening

Mileage & Gain: 2.6 mi & 900 ft RT

Date Climbed: August 23, 2018

Valentine Peak wasn't on my agenda for this trip, but you know, bonus peaks.

I climbed Loch Leven Peak in the morning and then packed up camp at Washakie Lake and headed for Valentine Lake, my next planned camp spot. Over the last couple of days curiously named Dutch Oven Lake had begun piquing my curiosity and I found myself considering a slight detour to camp there instead... and, well Valentine Peak was right there.

I was disappointed with popular Valentine Lake. Thick forest obscured views of the lake from the trail and even when I wandered over to the shore I couldn't see much. The area was teaming with backpackers and stock animals. Not inspired to stick around, it was an easy decision to continue on to Dutch Oven, which I thought might be more my style.

The trail to Dutch Oven Lake was much less used than the ones I'd been hiking, and promised more solitude ahead. The side trip didn't require much effort and I was very happy with my decision when I got there. Even though Dutch Oven is only 200 feet higher than Valentine it felt more alpine. The shores of the lake weren't choked with trees and the views were more wide open.

Valentine Peak is a short and straightforward excursion from the lake. Unranked Valentine Mountain (1 mile north of Valentine Peak) tempted me, but I restrained myself knowing I had a big day ahead. It did look kind of cool though.

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