After the OR Summer Market in Salt Lake City, my family and I slipped away into the mountains of Wyoming. I grew up spending half the year in the Wind River Range outside of Pinedale. It was here where I learned how to climb rocks, ride, pack, and shoe horses, backpack, run rivers, and live outdoors in all conditions, often without much of anything.
This spot in particular where we went, I’ve spent over one hundred days of my life camping there, and it’s called…
(Well, heck: It’s off the trail, and not marked on any map. I know what it’s called, anyway. Just ask and maybe I’ll tell you, but prolly not.)
When I worked for Skinner Brother’s Wilderness Schools in the Seventies, Eighties, and – okay – even into the Nineties, we ran our climbing programs out of a little lake high up in the mountains. There are cliffs nearby and a boulder in the camp made from some of the oldest rock on the planet. This rock has roots that shoot clear through me, and through most people who have ever spent time there. For some, these roots span generations. It was time we gave them their due.
So, six adults and eight kids (ages four to fifteen) got on pack-horses and rode fifteen miles over five hours through one of the largest wilderness areas in the Lower 48 to sit beside this little lake for five days. We were: My family (Me, Vera, Emma, Misa, and John-Pio); The Skinner Family (Amy, Hannah, Sara, and Jake); The Sheafor Family (Mattie, Alex, and Lucas); and our frequent partners-in-crime, Anne Hughes and Stanley Livingston.
Since the horses packed the gear, we took everything and then some. It was rather plush. We hiked, climbed, bouldered, rafted, swam, jumped off cliffs, caught fish, laughed, told stories, and remembered old friends and family long-gone.
It was a great trip, and – truth is – part of me didn’t come back. But, it’s also true that part of me also never left there, either.
And, you know, I’ll go back again.
I hope you enjoy the pictures, and that they make you think of someplace special.
For that matter: Where do you go when you go to that place outdoors that made you?