July 1: Day 14 (1761-1776) Wind River Range (WRR)
We left Meeks lake knowing we had a day of climbing (elevation gain). The skies threatened us constantly, and we eventually switched to our rain jackets. If anything, it helped buffet us against the wind.
Today we headed towards the snow capped mountains. The air was brisk, and a good part of the trail was flooded or muddy. Keeping our shoes dry would not be an option…again. As we gained in elevation, the views became more stunning.
Weather threatened us most of the day. The bulk of the day was spent in an “uphill” posture. The jagged grey relief frosted in white against the troubled blue sky made for awe inspiring views. A feast for the eyes, and soul for that matter.
Water in The “WRR” is NOT scarce like the Great Divide Basin. Also, in the WRR, required attention to ones footing, is a MUST now. There is no mindless rhythm to walking.
Uneven, rock strewn, often waterlogged, tread is the norm here. Ones brain and feet must stay in “sync”. The “sync” part, however, has eluded me most of my life. Hence my penchant for water sports. The more I told myself NOT to trip on that rock or root, the more it happened. Paul on the other hand can walk, talk and look at the Guthook mapping without fear of an unexpected faceplant or ankle turnover. I tried walking behind Paul and watching where he put his feet with marginal success. My problem is that my ADHD brain gets sidetracked from concentrating on walking with all the splendor and beauty around me. Thus, I end up with a 30 mile effort for 15 miles.
We passed the NOBO “exit” for the Cirque de Towers alternative, where it rejoins with the CDT. Considering all the mountains within that alternate route, we are glad we did not take it. Far too treacherous for us with the snow and all the “scrambling” that goes with that route.
The literal and actual “high” point of the day was when we reached the top of this knoll. It felt like we were on the top of the world. The 360° view was mesmerizing. Granted, we had a hard time standing fully erect against the forceful wind, and were a little concerned about having our rain fly’s ripped off our packs, but it was the absolute “high” to our day. I assume this is why it is called the “Wind River Range”. We were fighting against a “river of wind” to remain standing.
Down the other side we plodded in marsh like conditions till we twisted and wound our way to a relatively dry and mosquito-less meadow. Here we called it an exhausting but wonderful day.