Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Backpacking in the Wind Rivers - August 2020


The last week of summer we spent 3 days backpacking in the Wind River mountains of northwestern Wyoming.  This was my first trek into this stunning area.  Zach had visited this location multiple times before and always spoke about its beauty.  Well...it didn't disappoint.  I was told that these mountains have always been a best kept secret of the locals in the area.  Apparently, some people are letting the secret out because the trailheads were totally full with vehicles parked a mile down along the road.  In all his years coming up here, Zach had never seen so many visitors to the area.  I know that our Colorado mountains are getting overpopulated, but this was kind of sad to see a spot that's in the middle of nowhere in the least populated state have such traffic.  The silver lining is that it's likely the Corona-virus is the cause of so many people going to the mountains.  With everything else shut down, there's not much for people to do.  Outdoor activities are one of the only "safe" suggestions given to us from the government.  Hopefully, once the virus induced madness has subsided, the mountains will belong to the regulars again. 

This was also my first venture into grizzly country.  I slept very little the night before we went on this trip.  It wasn't because I was afraid of grizzly bears, but because I was afraid of not being able to sleep at night in the tent because of the thoughts about grizzly bears.  

"There's nothing to fear but fear itself" 

This is a true statement.  Fortunately, I was so exhausted by the time we reached Dads Lake due to lack of sleep that I slept like a baby that night.  No bear problems, just lots of people.

Dads Lake Wind River Wyoming
Dads Lake - Prints Available

Mirror Lake


The next day we planned on heading to Pyramid Lake, then on the third day hit Shadow Lake near the Cirque de Towers.  We quickly realized that we were not in great backpacking shape.  So, we decided to do one or the other.  Zach was partial to Shadow, so there we went.  The views on the backside of the cirque are stunning:


A small pond with views of the Mt. Hooker group


First views of the Cirque



As we sat at our camp that afternoon, a young girl only 21 years old came by and visited with us.  She was doing the Continental Divide Trail from Canada to Mexico....on foot....by herself.  Wow!  You could tell that she was a little starved for any type of connection with real people as she lingered around our camp for a good hour or so talking about all her adventures so far and her plans for the next few months.  Finally, we offered her some of our extra snacks from our packs which she gladly accepted.  It's crazy to think about someone so vulnerable just walking across the wilderness by herself.  This is not a thing I would ever support my own daughter doing.   In our minds, the biggest danger for someone in her situation is not the animals or elements, but the crazy people she might happen upon.  Still, we were amazed at her bravery and dedication toward accomplishing such a lofty goal. 


Sunset on Shadow Lake - Prints Available

Shadow Lake Cirque De Towers Sunrise Wind River Range Wyoming
Sunrise on Shadow Lake - Prints Available




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