Women in the Wind Rivers

There is something about being far enough out into the wilderness that you see very few signs of humans, even from the mountain tops.  Something that comforts me at the same time that it frightens me.   This feeling reminds me how lucky I am to be alive and to enjoy the simple miracles, like a bee sipping nectar from a delicate wildflower despite the gale force winds above 11,000 feet.  It also reminds me that like the flower and the bee, we and Mother Nature are both delicate and powerful.

I was given this awesome opportunity to enjoy the outdoors by my friend Crystal Wright, who did all the organizing for this second annual women’s trip into the Wind River Range of Wyoming.   Crystal was a child of the Wind Rivers, spending her summers living, working, and exploring around the Big Sandy Ranch, and spending her winters in Jackson.  You can barely imagine what a tough, amazing woman this life made her into!   She managed to pull together 9 women who were spread between Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah, pack our food (and box wine) onto two of the ranch pack horses, and lead us more than 10 miles into the Wind River mountains.  Not to mention that she left for a ski trip to South America the day after we returned!

Half of these ladies I had never met.  Its so fun to mix it up on girls trips and meet more amazing women who share your love for the outdoors.  We ended up having two Hannah’s and three Ashley’s along with Crystal, Autumn, Sydney, and Bridgid!  Most of us arrived at the Big Sandy Ranch around mid-day on Thursday August 19th, and helped Crystal pack the panniers for our two pack horses.  You have to distribute the weight evenly for the horses, which isn’t the easiest thing to do when you have everything from eggs to aluminum frying pans!  We still hiked with backpacks, but lucky for us we were only carrying our clothes and maybe sleeping bags…not so lucky for the horses!  The horses were the only males on our trip…but we won’t hold it against them!  Even Tip, one of the Wright’s hard working dogs, was a lady.  And probably the most well behaved lady on the trip!

The hike to our camp was a little longer than some of us were anticipating, and being rained on was an added challenge.  However when we found our camping spot we were greeted by the most gorgeous rainbow that ended right in the pool!  The Wolf’s Head peaks were in the background and I knew that this spot was so much more valuable than a pot of gold!   We ate like queens the entire trip thanks to our horse companions!  Fajitas, berry pancakes, eggs and bacon, juevos rancheros, and scrambled brownies to name a few!

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Over the next 3 days we hiked, rode horses bareback, swam (very briefly!), and relaxed.  One of my favorites was scrambling up a huge scree field and being rewarded at the top by views of Pingora and the other peaks of the Cirque of the Towers!  In the evenings we walked 10 minutes from camp to enjoy the serenity of shadow lake and each other’s company.  We watched the sun set and the moon rise and we laughed and talked.  We certainly had some challenges on this trip between the gusting wind and challenging some of our fears of heights, but overall it was such a treat to get away into these untamed mountains.  I’m thankful to each of these women for being so much fun!  I hope we have one hundred more of these adventures!!!

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