Each year my brother and I set aside several days in late summer to spend with our sons amidst an area of wilderness. Each year we find someplace different, somewhere we have never been, and then discover it together. These are cherished memories, and ones that both Father’s and Son’s look back on with fondness. They are often difficult trips, riddled with challenges along the way. There are often tears, sore muscles, starvation, dehydration, and what feels like endless miles. However, through each of the immediate challenges, is the emergence of life long joys. The sunrise on a mountain morning, the view from the high places, trout on the end of your line, and the solitude that can only be found amidst the trees. Through the years we learn many lessons together, we teach our son’s the importance of trials, and let them learn for themselves that they are capable of succeeding in difficult things. We teach them not only the basics of outdoor survival, but help them find the peace and solitude that only wilderness can provide. They in turn teach us that it is okay to be a kid again. Yes, these are wonderful times, wonderful memories.
This year we settled on a forty mile loop through the Wind River Range in central Wyoming. The trip encompassed two crossings of the continental divide and 5 days meandering through some of the most beautiful scenery that the lower 48 states can offer. When it comes to the Wind River Range we generally spend our time on the quiet eastern slopes, away from the people and “popular” spots. This year was the first time we chose to enter through the Big Sandy area and quite honestly, we were shocked at the amount of people. The parking lot was packed, and the trail was busy…well, until the turn off to Cirque of the Towers. After the junction, the people dispersed, and once over the continental divide we finally found ourselves alone.
The mornings in the Wind River range are the most special times of the day. The solitude, glassy water, clean air, and quiet stillness is refreshing to the soul. It is amazing how tattered and torn ones soul can become from the daily onslaught that society demands. It is often not noticeable until one comes out into pure wilderness, where the wounds are realized, and a place where they can actually be healed.
Each day we marched on, from Big Sandy to Skull Lake; over Haley Pass and down to Grave Lake; up the Washakie Basin and once again over the divide into the Big Sandy Valley. I always take my camera gear on these trips, but this year I thought I would take along my video equipment as well in an effort to try and capture not only the images, but perhaps the reasons why we do these trips with our sons. The following short film is what emerged.
I am already looking forward to next summer.