Wind River Range

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I got just a bit ahead of myself with my Porcupine World War. That was actually in the Wind River Range and later the Tetons. So let me step back just a bit and talk about Wyoming’s Wind River Range (a.k.a. the Winds).

The beautiful mountains of the Winds were a welcome sight after the long, boring stretches of Wyoming’s Red Desert (despite the fact that the desert was filled with horny roads). In this stretch, the CDT has two highly-praised alternates that you can take instead of the main route: Cirque of the Towers and Knapsack Col. 

South Pass City, last northbound stop before entering the Wind River Range.

Cirque of the Towers

If you don’t know, a cirque is a steep-walled basin in a mountain that may contain a lake. That’s exactly what this was. The “Towers” comes from the spiky tops of the steep walls. The lakes and streams were gorgeous and were loaded with trout. 

This section was also loaded with people, about half of which were carrying fishing poles. Even the long-distance thru-hikers, who do things like cut their toothbrush in half to save weight, were packing poles. Crazy obsession (says the guy who is packing a full-blown Windows 11 Pro computer, foldable Bluetooth keyboard, and mouse so he can work on his amazingly witty and entertaining blog). Obsession or not, the fish were apparently biting like crazy. Most people were simply doing a catch and release. However, one thru-hiker who I spoke to had a delicious trout dinner a few days prior.

Mini stick computer, keyboard, and mouse.
Some people pack fishing poles and eat well. I pack a full-blown Windows 11 Pro computer and blog well.

The Winds are where I also finally started to encounter a plethora of pikas. So cute! I couldn’t get any good photos, but I got some great videos. Rather than drone on with paragraphs of text, let me share my photos and videos of Cirque of the Towers.

Actually, I do have to explain one thing. I met a hiker named High Country who lives in the Wyoming. He told me that there’s a place between the Winds and Yellowstone where a river divides. One path goes to the East of the Continental Divide and drains into the Atlantic while the other path goes West and drains into the Pacific. High Country took a handful of water from one side and put it into the other. With that, he upset the balance of the world. Hence, all the recent chaos. I was supposed to go there and put a scoop of water back to restore balance.

Unfortunately, I went to the Tetons instead. Plus, I forgot which side he put into the other, so I might have amplified the chaos by doubling the displacement. If someone goes to that spot where this river divides, please scoop a handful of water from one stream into the other. If the world is still in chaos, go back and put two handfuls of water into the opposite stream. That way balance should be restored. Thank you!

Knapsack Col

Despite originally planning to take the Knapsack Col alternate, the weather forecast said three days of rain. Not ideal for a technical scramble over a 12,000+ foot high pass. Thus, when I got to the turnoff, I skipped it. (And that fateful decision led to the start of the Porcupine Wars that night. Little buggers.)

However, the rain never came that day. Or the next. So when I got to Shannon Pass that cuts across to Knapsack Col, I took that. Unfortunately, that pass misses basically all of Knapsack except the very last little cirque and pass, respectively Peak Lake and Cube Rock Pass. Thus, unlike Cirque of the Towers, I don’t have a lot of cool photos to share. However, I did find some wild raspberries and strawberries, so totally worth it.

Green River Lakes

After Knapsack, the CDT follows the Green River. It really is green. A pale green. Not sure why, but looks really cool.

I realized that I was about a day and a half short on food to get to Dubious, so I decided to hitch to Pinedale. I had planned to skip Pinedale. It’s kinda out of the way. Most people exit earlier and do a 10-mile hike (one way) to a trailhead, then get a short hitch to town. I’m way farther north at Green River Lakes where the hitch is long and difficult, like an hour-long car ride farther north.

Consequently, I camped close to Green River Lakes campground so I could try to get an early hitch as the weekend warriors were heading home. Turned out great because I got some amazing sunrise photos of Squaretop Mountain, plus got a hitch to Pinedale. (Actually, took two separate hitches, including one where I helped an old farmer unload a huge welder, but I made it.)

Stay Tuned for the Tetons

While I was at the Jackalope hostel in Pinedale with a bunch of other hikers, one of the SOBO hikers told me about an unofficial alternate route that he made through the Tetons. I gotta do that! The Tetons are on my bucket list. The CDT comes so close but doesn’t pass through them, so I’m doing yet another alternate.

Stay tuned for my Teton adventures with more great photos.

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One Response

  1. Hey, Tight Squeeze. It’s High Country from your Wind River Range encounter.
    I was wandering if you completed The CDT this year? Or is that a 2024 hike?
    I’m considering redoing the CT or maybe the PNWT this year. Maybe run into you again this year out on the trail.
    Enjoy your photography. Take care.

    High Country

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