Backpacking? Why not

Wind River Range of Wyoming, Somewhere you can bike

Let me note that first, each time upon returning from a trip of walking in wilderness I return a little less attached. Waking up in the morning to a room of things and a house and making breakfast with such ease; it all seems that we weren't meant to live in such stable environments; that in order to truly be free, and to be human, we must live a life with a bit of uncertainty, unknown, and most of all, clean air. The modern way of life, I wonder, Is it stripping the human race of men?

So in prepping for a quick Wind River backpacking trip I began with my usual assessment of the situation: gear. My gear is getting close to 20 years old. Hard to believe that my stove, an MSR Whisperlite International, has been in use for that many years and it is one of the greatest stoves ever made. While it may be a bit heavier than the new things it is reliable and outperforms every time. And the same can be said about all my gear. My bag is so old that the original name has been bought and cycled into two other brands. Isn't that just it though? This kind of thing should last lifetimes? Gear that has stories and heritage? I packed up this old gear and took off to meet my new friends.

Taking to trail without a bike has got to be the most ancient and slowest form of travel. The trails of the Wind Rivers are smooth and buff and made me wish I was on a bike for an afternoon ride rather than going high into the hills on foot, mostly because trail riding is so fun. But there was also my thumb. I injured the bursa on my right thumb a couple weeks ago and it's been tough to ride the trail without pain and concern. So packing up the trail on foot was a nice break from having to use my thumbs.

We passed though small quiet town after small quiet town, Wyoming, in the cover of night; as the night drew on the towns grew quieter, the mountains closer. I was between naps in the back seat, listening to the deep rhythm of the Glitch Mob. I had never been to the Wind Rivers and had always wanted to go, so there I was, being whisked across a darkening countryside, half asleep like in a dream.

After a couple of stops we arrived in Pinedale, Wyoming, where is was basically winter temperatures and made a final stop for supplies and porcelain toilets. You forget sometimes that you'll be squatting out in the brush wishing for the relative comfort of a toilet. And 30 minutes later we had set up a quick camp in the grassy parking lot at the trailhead where hands froze after exposure of any length of time to the frigid air. We slept at 8300' that night. Through the night, there was no sign of life. But the moon was bright, which was a promise of a werewolf somewhere, searching, searching...

As for me, I slept great except for a little chill. Having a warm bag feels the best when you're in it. I stayed there, safe from the relative discomfort of knowing that somewhere outside, in the hills and deep in the forest, werewolf hunted. I had good dreams. Waking to a crisp morning and an odd camp of 2 in the car, me in a tent, and Ricky off in the woods in a hammock. In a parking lot. We had taken over. "Welcome to back to the mountains" said the voice on the wind, "Gone too long you have been."

It seems odd to me, but there isn't ever a reason for the voice on the wind to impersonate Yoda. There isn't ever a reason to talk backwards, unless you're schizophrenic.

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