Friday, September 3, 2010

Wind River Memories

I'm not sure I'm comfortable admitting this but I evidently have forgotten how beautiful the Wind River mountains of western Wyoming are. I look at these pictures and though they are familiar, their beauty has faded away from me until I scanned them in. Sitting here at a computer in southeast Iowa, it is hard to imagine how I ever tore myself from that scene to return much less spend my days hiking, fishing and climbing.

Although I have gone on many backpacking trips over the years, I have only gone on four in the Wind River mountains. They were three in a row from 1990 to 1992 with these two pictures being from the second year and a fourth trip in 1994. The top picture I believe is in the region of Baptiste Lake near Mt. Hooker, the mountain with the very shear face in the background. The second one is a little further away probably on our way to the Robert's Mountain area.

Our backpacking trips followed a pretty set formula mostly because it was tried and true for a 14 day outing. We would normally spend two days hiking 'in' to an area where we wanted to set up our first base camp. We would then proceed to spend the next four or five days doing day hikes, climbing a nearby mountain or two (I've climbed both Mt. Hooker and Robert's Mountain) and fish for cutthroat and rainbow trout.

After we grew tired of an area, relatively speaking of course, we would generally load up and move to a different area a day's hike away and set up our second base camp. There we would proceed to spend the next four or five days doing the same thing as our last base camp. Finally, the last two days would be reserved for hiking out though we generally always did it in one because we were A: generally hiking downhill with very light packs and B: ready to just get back to the land of civilization with hot showers and food that we didn't have to catch or rehydrate.

Leaving the mountains, a simple car seat never felt so plush, a cheap motel room never felt so luxurious, a shower never felt so good, and pizza never tasted so good. But sitting here looking at these pictures as my computer scans them, I can't help but think that a warm rock on the edge of a crystal clear lake never felt so plush, a tent with either of these two views never felt so luxurious, a snow melt cold sponging never felt so refreshing, and a minutes old trout fried over a fire never tasted so good.


Eutychus2 said...

Ed............. I love that last picture you gave us - it needs to enlarged and covering a whole wall in my office! Congratulations on your photography.

sage said...

Beautiful photos, Ed. And you have hiked in the Wind River exactually 3x more than me! It's always been on my list, but I haven't had a chance to get there.

Vince said...

Wow, lovely shots.
And you must have one kick ass camera to pick up the detail in the first one given you are about a mile further out between it and the 2nd one.
And how are you getting National Geographic quality.
I wonder if the Baptiste was a mountain-man.

Beau said...

Some day... just beautiful.

Ed said...

Eutychus2 - Unfortunately due to the age of the slides, I'm not sure they would turn out without some digital editing anyway.

Sage - Actually, after talking with my parents, I lied. I made four trips out there. Three trips between 1990 and 1992 and one more in 1994 that I had forgotten about.

Vince - For me, it was dumb luck. I'm not sure of any of the history of the Wind River mountains but I'm sure it would be interesting to learn someday.

Beau - I'm saying someday again myself.

TC said...


Never been there.

I think it's easy to forget how amazing things are with distance and time.

R. Sherman said...

I'm sorry I missed this the first go around. Damn it. I need a vacation.