Andrew Slaton Photography

Did you see our new website photo’s? Gorgeous huh?

GOTCO is super lucky to have a posse full of amazing drivers, with an array of talents. We have drivers that volunteer for Search and Rescue, ex-fishing and raft guides, ex-business owners, an author, an ex-postmaster, ex-military, an ex-mayor the list could and should go on. One constant is the same, people-persons that love the outdoors here. Surely, you saw all the “ex’s” above, and that’s because we love “mature” drivers!

Two of our youngest driver’s Andrew and Ellen Slaton, return summer after summer, from touring the “Country” in their camper, hiking all the National Parks, exploring new places, and living the nomadic lifestyle, recording their journey via photography and blog, and teaching landscape photography and the “art of seeing”. “Namaste”

GOTCO is De-lighted to feature Andrew’s work in the Gallery “Alpen, Awesome…” and the header photo, and other promotional materials. If you love his work as much as I do, head on over to their website and check out some more. Even better, if you want to be a better landscape photographer, check out his classes!

https://andrewslatonphoto.com

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What is a recreational shuttle?

I’m writing about a topic that is near and dear today…

WHAT IS A RECREATIONAL SHUTTLE?

A shuttle is very simple concept, that can be extremely confusing! Oh the logistics! Recreational shuttles are easily understood by the river community. River’s only flow in one direction, so after exiting it is necessary to get a ride back to your vehicle at the start, or deliver your vehicle to the exit. Shuttles are less necessary for other activities, because you can always backtrack or do a loop and end up at the same location. However, shuttles are convenient, allow you to see more, and go longer distances!

On the other hand there are scores of people that have never heard of a shuttle. You mean an airport shuttle? Yes I have heard of that. Uhhh No! Let’s drop some knowledge bombs and get YOU in the KNOW!

Outdoor Enthusiasts need shuttles for a couple key reasons:

  1. Travel in one direction without back tracking; floating, hiking, biking
  2. Travel in one direction for long distances, like hundreds of miles
  3. Save time! Including hours to days placing vehicles at exit points
  4. Traveling with only one vehicle, you need 2 for a shuttle
  5. Traveling without a vehicle
  6. Traveling to isolated areas, where it is hard to hitchhike or call out

Bing defines a shuttle as “a form of transportation that travels regularly between two places” this is commonly understood by the non-recreational lay person as an airport shuttle between the Hilton Garden Inn and Salt Lake City International Airport, or the 5am commuter shuttle from Alpine to Jackson Hole.

I would suggest this definition  “a recreational shuttle is a people or vehicle transfer between Point A and Point B or a pick-up at Point B returning to Point A, typically between boat ramps, trailheads, or other recreational locations”.

LOGISTICS

In my mind there are 4 types of recreational shuttles which I will layout here:

VEHICLE-SHUTTLE or TRANSFER

Customer parks at Point A and Hikes to Point B. GOTCO picks-up the customer vehicle and drives it to Point B. This method requires, what I like to refer to as the chase vehicle or pace car in NASCAR terms. The chase car meets the customer vehicle with 2 drivers, 1 to drive the chase car, the 2nd to drive the customer vehicle. After parking the customer vehicle, the chase car returns both drivers to the base of operations. This is the most magical shuttle, because “VIOLA” your vehicle magically appears at the exit trailhead waiting for you!

Pro’s = You get on the trail right-away, you save time, and your vehicle is waiting

Con’s = Car may not be there if you have to turn back, someone else is driving your car

vehicle shuttle

PRE-SHUTTLE

Customer drives vehicle to Point B and parks, GOTCO picks-up the customer, and drives to Point A, customer hikes back to vehicle at Point B.

Pro’s = Your vehicle is waiting for you, no one else is driving your car

Con’s = Time lost driving back to Point A, takes time at the start of the trip

pre shuttle

POST-SHUTTLE

Customer parks at Point A and Hikes to Point B. GOTCO picks-up the customers and shuttles them back to Point A.

Pro’s = You get on the trail right-away, no one else is driving your car

Con’s = Time lost driving back to Point A, may have difficulty contacting outside world if you are not on time

post shuttle

 

POINT TO POINT SHUTTLE

The Customer flies into a regional airport. GOTCO picks-up the customer and shuttles them to Pinedale, then to Point A. Customer hikes to Point B. GOTCO picks-up the customer and shuttles them to the Airport.

Pro’s = You don’t have worry about driving, directions, or parking!

Con’s = You have to be on time to the exit and exit at the planned location.If not, you may have difficulty contacting outside world if you are late or early, or came out at a different location.

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Upper, Upper Green Shuttles

GOTCO is pleased to announce enhanced shuttle service in the Upper, Upper Green from the Forest Boundary north to Green River Lakes. This is such a gorgeous area! Who doesn’t want to fish and float here?? It is lonnggg way from Town and definitely worth a shuttle.

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We have some wonderful new drivers based in the area, James and Cathy Summerall!

Contact them directly either the day before or the morning of by 7:30am to set-up a shuttle.

307-367-4292

 

Green River Lakes South

Green River Lakes to Elk Feed Ground/Roaring Fork                    $100

Elk Feed Ground to Cow Camp  (whitewater section Class 2-3)    $100

Cow Camp to Dollar Lake                                                                      $60

Dollar Lake to Buck Fence                                                                    $60

Buck Fence to Forest Boundary                                                           $60

Kendall Bridge to Forest Boundary                                                    $60

Here’s an interactive GOTCO map of boat ramps etc. to help you out!

 

 

 

 

Best Day Hikes in the Wind River Range

Customers looking to spend a day acclimating, often ask:

“What’s a good day hike”?

The Wind River Range is massive, remote, and mostly known to backpackers doing multi-day trips or long distance hikes. However,  the south side of the Wind River Range accessed from Pinedale has amazing public access! The Wilderness area is bordered completely by Forest Service and BLM lands with 10 major trailheads and 3 lodges located almost directly adjacent to trailheads, with several more lodges just down the road. Pinedale is a great place to base out of and day hike the south side of the Winds.    Several of the trailheads are not too far from Town making for quick access.

Interactive GOTCO Map of Trailheads, Lodges, and Services

#1 Halfmoon Lake Inlet or #2 Fayette Lake

Trailhead: Halfmoon Lake, ~ 3 miles RT to inlet, 6 miles RT to Fayette

Elevation: 7600ft to 7956 ft (Fayette) +- 356 ft

Hands down my favorite after work hike. It’s close to town, short, flat, and there’s a lake to jump into if you get too hot!  From Pine Street, turn north onto Fremont Lake Road by Ridley’s Grocery store, follow this road for about 7 miles, turn right onto FR 743, there’s a big  Half Moon Lake Lodge sign, follow this dirt road all the way to the lodge about 2 miles and park. The trailhead is about a 1/4 mile past the lodge, but the road washed out last year, during run-off. The USFS has not fixed it yet, and it is not passable by vehicle, but you can walk past it to the trail (about 30 minutes from Pinedale).

The trail starts out winding through large conifer trees and up a small hill, then opens up into sagebrush and rocky hillside and parallels the lakeshore which is steep and rocky. Follow it around and you will end up at the inlet to the lake after about 1.5 miles, where you can turn around and head back. When you are almost back to the trailhead turn towards the lake before you go up the hill through the conifers, there is small 5-6 foot cliff band you can jump into the refreshing water!!

If you want more, you can cross the narrowest part of the inlet in lower water and continue following the trail another 1.5 miles to Fayette Lake. Sometime ago, someone carried a canoe up there, which they left for the benefit of the public to use and take care of.

Bonus BEERS available at Halfmoon Lake Lodge when open (New owners in 2019! Hurray, we are excited to see what they have in store!)

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Beach at Halfmoon Trailhead

#3 Sacred Rim or #4 Photographers Point

Trailhead: Elkhart Park ~ 3 miles RT to Sacred, 10 miles RT to Photographer’s

Elevation: 9300ft to 10,095 feet (Photographers) +- 795ft

From Pine Street, turn north onto Fremont Lake Road by Ridley’s Grocery store, follow this road for about 15 miles, past the Halfmoon turn, past White Pine Ski Area, all the way to the end Park at Pole Creek Trail (about 30 minutes from Pinedale).

Pinedale’s most popular day hike! It is close to town, short, flat, and spectacular! Take the Pole Creek Trail next to the large parking lot and restrooms. The trail is well worn and winds through somewhat thick forest, hike for about a 1/2 mile, there is no sign (bonus points!), but you will see a trail that heads north take and hike another 1/2 miles through a lot of downfall. You will come to 1000ft drop looking down at Long Lake and Fremont Peak, SPECTACULAR! If you want more hike back to the main trail and head east for another 4 miles until you see Eklund and Barbara Lakes, another SPECTACULAR view, and the trail heads north to Titcomb basin, you’ve made it to Photographer’s Point!

Bonus BEERS available at Lakeside Lodge

 

sacred rim

Sacred Rim looking down at Long Lake

#5 Long Lake Loop

Trailhead: Elkhart Park ~ 5 miles RT to Long Lake 8 miles RT to Loop

Elevation: 9300ft to 8475 ft (Long Lake) +- 825 ft

From Pine Street, turn north onto Fremont Lake Road by Ridley’s Grocery store, follow this road for about 15 miles, past the Halfmoon turn, past White Pine Ski Area, all the way to the end Park at Trail’s End Trailhead (about 30 minutes from Pinedale).

For those looking to get a work-out look no further. Long Lake is close to town, short, STEEP, and spectacular. Once at Elkhart Park, continue past the main parking area, past the campground towards the stock pens, park at this parking lot to access Trails End. The trail heads straight downhill from the parking lot through the forest with switchbacks for about 2.5 miles to the bottom of Pine Creek Canyon. You can go off-piste and check out the lake, turn around and head back up or continue towards Glimpse Lake (FYI wicked steep) around the loop to the back of Fremont Lake then back up!

Bonus BEERS available at Lakeside Lodge

#9 Blueberry Lake

Trailhead: Boulder Lake, 4 miles RT

Elevation: 7300 ft to 8476 ft (Blueberry) +- 1,175 ft

From Pinedale head south on Highway 191 to Boulder 11 miles turn left at the Store onto Highway 353 proceed for 2 miles to the Boulder Lake turnoff, turn left onto County Road 125 follow dirt road for 10 miles to Boulder Lake Campground and Trailhead (about 1 hour from Pinedale).

Take the Ruff Lake trail which you access from the back of the campground, after 1/2 mile or so you will begin a steep uphill ascent the trail will fork turn right and proceed towards Blueberry another 1.5 miles or so.

Bonus BEERS available at Boulder Lake Lodge  or head back to the Boulder Store for beers (Boulder Lake Lodge is between managers, not sure it’s open for 2019?)

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Boulder Lake Road

#6 Clear Creek Natural Bridge or #7 Fish Bowl Spring or#8 Green River Lake Loop

Trailhead: Green River Lakes, 8 miles RT Clear Creek, 10.5 miles RT to Fish Bowl, 6 miles RT Lake Loop (by itself)

Elevation: 8000 ft to 8400 ft (Clear)  9490 feet (Fish) +- 1,490 ft

From Pinedale head west on Highway 191 6 miles to the Cora Y, turn north onto Highway 352 for ~27 miles the pavement will end at the National Forest Boundary, proceed on the dirt road for ~18 miles to the trailhead (about 1.5 hours from Pinedale).

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Natural Bridge

A well worn, flat trail with OUTSTANDING views of the lake and Square top mountain. Proceed from the trailhead on the north side of the lake for 2 miles turn north towards Clear Creek, which you parallel for another 2 miles to the bridge.  For Fish Bowl head up the Clear Creek trail for a bout 3/4 of mile turn right on the Slide Lake Trail proceed about 2.5 miles to Fish Bowl Springs. Hikers choice; backtrack to the trailhead or if you want more proceed up trail at the Clear Creek intersection head east towards  the inlet lake to Green River Lakes. You will come to an intersection  cross the Green River and head down the south side of Green River Lake back to the Trailhead.

Bonus BEERS available at Kendall Valley Lodge or The Place (Open in 2019!)

Wind River Range

Fall time Green River Lakes looking at Square Top Mountain

Fontanelle – Seedskadee Shuttles

The Seedskadee – Fontanelle area is the Green River below Fontanelle Reservoir. It is located in the high desert about 25 miles from Labarge and about 25 miles from Kemmerer, Wyoming. It flows out of the dam, and has the feel of an oasis, as it is surrounded by sagebrush steppe for miles around. The area has 2 BLM campgrounds, Weeping Rock and Slate Creek. Seedskadee National Wildlife refuge is home to many bird species, desert elk, moose, and wild horses.

River Shuttles are available! You can drop your boat at the put-in, drive to the takeout, Dennis will pick you up and drive you back to the put-in.

Dennis is based out of Labarge,  you can contact him to set-up a date, time, boatramp for pick-up. He does not text.

307-390-7011

Below Fontanelle Dam

Dam to Slate Creek                      $40

Weeping Rock to Slate Creek    $40

Weeping Rock/Slate/Dam to Dodge Bottom $50

Dodge Bottom to Hay Bottom    $55

Hay Bottom to Highway 28        $65

Highway 28 to Six Mile               $70

Add $10 for each additional rider after 1

For example 3 people want a ride from Slate to Dam $40 for 1 rider, $50 for 2 riders, $60 for 3 riders. ($60/3 people = $20/each for the shuttle)

Here’s an interactive GOTCO map of boat ramps etc. to help you out!

Above Fontanelle Reservoir

Labarge to Name’s Hill    $20

Fear #2 to Name’s Hill     $35

Fear #2 to Labarge           $25

Fear #1 to Fear #2            $35

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Biking Pinedale

Pinedale looks like a great place for biking, what’s available?

GO SPOKES! Bike Share Program
Pinedale recently rolled out the first paid bike share program in Wyoming last June 2017, and maybe one of the first rural bike share programs from what we can tell. It consists of 13 bikes spread between 5 stations located at the Hampton Inn, Wind River Brewing Company, Sublette County Visitor’s Center, Pinedale Aquatic Center and Lakeside Lodge. You do have to download an app called MOVATIC in order to rent a bike, as rental kiosks are not available. Bikes rent for 10 cents a minute ($6/hour) and can be rented or returned to any location. They are one size fits all comfort bikes, with bells! Bikes are available from about May to October. Rental proceeds benefit Main Street Pinedale, the local non-profit charged with improving downtown. These are awesome for a hour long activity, running errands, riding Pinedale’s many bike paths spidering out from downtown, or riding up to Fremont Lake skinny dipping, and having a beer on the deck at Lakeside Lodge. For more info visit here.BikeProof1

Mountain Biking

Although Pinedale looks like an awesome place for mountain biking, it really hasn’t taken off like other places. Maybe because almost all of Pinedale’s existing trails head straight into designated Wilderness where they are not allowed. Quite awhile ago, I attempted to start a mountain bike club to see who wanted to ride and share trail info. We met weekly as the Pinedale Bike Riders (PBR haha) and would go ride what we could find, there was a varying group of about 5 people. The club kind of petered out, then was taken over by an ambitious individual that did some trail maintenance, and some holdovers from the previous year changed the name to the Sublette County Freeride Coalition and produced a trail map which is available locally at the Great Outdoor Shop and Sublette County Visitor’s center. Please note most of these trails have no markings, and probably no maintenance as the ambitious individual moved away. The 3 best trails in my opinion are Elkchase (Elkhart Park), Tyler Draw (Mesa), and West Fremont Lake (start at dam). Go to Singletracks.com for the most complete listing.

Click this SC_Mtn_Bike_Guide link for the trail map.

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Tyler Draw

Great Divide Mountain Biking Route 

Pinedale is almost in the middle of the Great Divide Mountain Biking Route which spans from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico and follows the Continental Divide. It is about 2,700 miles and is adventure cycle’s greatest route. The route crosses Union Pass from Dubois between the Gros Ventre and Wind River Mountain ranges to Pinedale which passes through the Green River Lakes area. There is an annual mountain bike race called the Tour Divide  and is the subject of the award winning documentary Ride the Divide which is an enlightening look at the ride and challenges and triumphs of the journey, and definitely worth a watch!

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Green River Lakes Road 

Road Biking

Pinedale is seeing more and more road bikers around especially from Pinedale to Cora to the Upper Green area. This is a beautiful ride and doesn’t see the major truck traffic like other routes. Road biking is also slow to catch on, which I mostly suspect is because natural gas boom created a TON of truck traffic, which made for seriously  sketchy riding on the roadways. Pinedale is on a couple major tour routes such as the Tour De Wyoming and Cycle Greater Yellowstone.

wyocycle

 

Fishing Fleet Replaced

GOTCO International announced today via the Sagebrush wireless live from their headquarters based behind Jensen Feed, that the fishing fleet would be retired and replaced by “newer” vehicles. CEO Kate Dahl made the announcement amidst shareholder concern and threats of strike from top level drivers.  Dahl stated ” The vehicles simply could no longer compete in the global market place and it was necessary to bring on a new fleet.” Dahl shared “Rez Runner” and the “old White Subaru” hold a special  place in my heart and bring back the nostalgia of my high schools days growing up in a mountain town”.

Pinedale had been experiencing unseasonably warm weather, when long time driver Tina told Dahl get some “damn air conditioning”. Tina had recently purchased cooling snap towels off Amazon to ease her work day shuttling. The towels were only marginally effective in the hot weather.  Rez Runner went into early retirement last season after tagging an antelope on the way to Eastfork boat ramp. Although the hood was straightened, and radiator replaced, driver perception persisted that Rez could no longer do the job. Rez still had his tally sheet in the visor 1 antelope, 395 chizlers, 21 rabbits, 1 owl, 11 magpies, 1 badger, 4 unknown subjects it is unclear how long it took to acquire these stats, they were written in pencil.

Dahl recently took the Old White Subaru to have part of the muffler reattached and was told by the mechanic it would die any day. Dahl ignored the mechanics advise and shuttle crews hit the blacktop. Approximately 1 week later Old White died unexpectedly at the Town put-in. Old white’s condition is unknown at this point, but the vehicle does have a “DNR” order on file at GOTCO. Dahl said she would give it a week, if Old White was unable to be revived, it would be sold for parts or donated to the High School Homecoming car bash. Both vehicles would receive a boisterous retirement party from the Drivers who planned to drink a beer and celebrate their good fortune. CEO Dahl closed with the following remarks ” Both Subaru’s served GOTCO for many, many years and were a model of the shuttling industries seasonal nature, and frugality. These were strictly fishing shuttle vehicles and simply not appropriate to haul our hiking clientele around in. I would like to say they will be missed, but that’s probably not true.”

Res Runner and the Old White Subaru will be replaced by the New White Subaru and the Black Subaru which was recently acquired on a whirlwind trip to Salt Lake after Old White bit the dust. Both newer Subaru’s will split their time between fishing and hiking shuttles.

It is expected the two 1990’s mini vans affectionately known as the “dust buckets” are next on the chopping block.

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Custom Mountain Hats

And yet more rad Wind River Mountain memento’s are available! Myriah Nystrom of MTN ATTIRE airbrushes some beautiful trucker hats with Wind River Peaks, trout patterns, and eclipse scenes for sale for $48/each. You can even custom order! Customs are $60/each. She is at the Pinedale High Altitude Farmer’s Market every Thursday from 4-7pm at Legion Park, or check them out on INSTAGRAM.

pink hat

 

Welcome to the Wyoming Range

While most visitors come to Pinedale to check the Wind River Range off the bucket list, Sublette County boasts another lesser known mountain range. The Wyoming Range falls on the western side of Sublette County and is a National Forest with great accessibility. The area is actually 2 mountain ranges. The Wyoming Range lies on the east side of the road, and the Salt River Range on the west. A dirt road splits the ranges and parallels the Greys River which flows north. Wyoming Peak, is the highest peak at 11, 383 feet with several other peaks including Mount Mcdougal.

It slopes are less rugged and rocky than the Winds.  The range does have much less surface water than the winds, although there are several small lakes and mountain streams, like Middle Piney Lake.

The closest towns to the range are Big Piney and Marbleton. The range while accessible is isolated.

The range is popular regionally for a variety of recreation pursuits, the most popular are listed below.

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Red Castles

Wyoming Range National Recreation Trail

The Range boasts the 70 mile long Wyoming Range National Recreation Trail which begins at the Bryan Flats Trailhead just south of Jackson Hole and terminates at South Piney Creek just west of Big Piney. The condition of the full length of the trail can be spotty. Popular sections that are well used by hunters and day hikers are in the best condition. More isolated sections maybe grown over from lack of use. Given the topography and trail length it lends itself especially well to hikers, mountain bikers, and horsepackers looking for multi-day trips.

GOTCO will provide shuttle service to these trailheads! Contact us for a quote!

Maps

Bridger-Teton National Forest, Big Piney, Greys River, and Kemmerer Ranger Districts (2014 USDA)

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Book

Visitor Guide to the Wyoming Range, by Susan Marsh (day hike information)

Beyond the Tetons, by Susan Marsh (Wyoming Recreation Trail details)

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Soda Lake

OFF-ROAD VEHICLES

The entire range is very accessible. The range also lends itself to other modes of travel as it is not a designated Wilderness Area. It is intersected by numerous roads and trails accessed by off-road vehicles. It also boasts some of the only single-track mountain dirt biking in Wyoming.

Maps available here:

http://wyotrails.state.wy.us/Maps/ORVMaps.aspx

http://www.avenza.com/pdf-maps

WINTERTIME

The Wyoming Range is also known for it’s outstanding backcountry snowmobiling. A groomed snowmobile trail runs between Horsecreek and Alpine (east-west) and (north-south) down to Big Piney.

I have always thought the backcountry skiing in the range looked absolutely amazing, but *full disclosure* I also was always having so much fun sledding (snowmobiling) I never brought my skis and actually skied, someday soon!

Not into backcountry? Go to Pine Creek Ski Resort just outside of Cokeville, Wyoming and located at the very southern tip. A small family friendly ski area boasting 1400 feet of vertical and 30 runs!

More info and maps here:

http://www.visitpinedale.org/activities/snowmobile

CABINS

The range has an outstanding network of cabins most built by the CCC in the 1930’s these cabins are available for rent during the entire year. It is almost like a built in yurt system, but  unfortunately most of the cabins are at least 10 miles in from a plowed road in the winter, and 10-20 miles apart. So they don’t lend themselves well for the average skier. They can however be easily accessed by snowmobile, so if you want to take a snowmobile trip or have a snowmobile supported ski trip it is awesome. During the summer they are accessible by vehicle.  It is important to note the cabins are primarily along roads and not the Rec Trail.

Cabins can be reserved via this link:

http://www.reserveamerica.com

ENERGY DEVELOPMENT

Energy Development is no stranger to the Southern part of the Wyoming Range. Companies having been drilling near Labarge as far back as the late 1800’s. There are numerous well pads in the southeast foothills of the range between Big Piney and Kemmerer.

The Wyoming Range made headlines several years back, when several energy companies owned leases in the northern part of the range and intended to drill. A major grassroots campaign was launched and the leases were successfully terminated. Thanks to the Citizens for the Wyoming Range.

OUTFITTERS

Hunting is extremely popular in the Range for many species including elk, moose, mule deer, bears, and mountain lion.

Box Y Lodge

CK Outfitters

Timberline Lodge

General Overview Map (trailheads, lodges, cabins)

Keep checking back for more updates!