In an age of urban sprawl, technology, and connectivity, being able to escape is a luxury many cannot access. Cities are growing, eating open space. Buildings are getting taller, traffic is getting more congested. Before you know it, you’re spending a lifetime sitting in traffic so you can sit in an office, just so you can sit in traffic again. There has to be something better, somewhere more open, somewhere free.
That place is Wyoming. A weekend isn’t enough to do Wyoming justice; there is more than you can see in a lifetime. From the Great Plains to the Tetons, Wyoming is still America.
Nestled at the foot of Wyoming’s Wind River Range, Pinedale was one of the most prominent locations in “mountain man” culture during the booming fur trade. Now one of the most highly regarded fly fishing destinations in North America, Pinedale is a small town that has never lost the frontier feel.
Pinedale is home base for the Wyoming adventure. In a secluded house on Pine Creek, you’ve got climbing, fishing, hiking, or four-wheeling right outside the door. It would be easy to justify staying here. After a day or two, load up the trucks, because there is so much more Wyoming to see.
Wyoming evokes a lot of images in people’s minds. Plains, mountains, buffalo herds, or antelope; many people do not expect to also find the largest living dune system in the United States. Killpecker Dunes is a sea of pristine white sand on the Continental Divide, ringed by jagged mountains. Pick the right time of the year, and your only company will be elk, antelope, and birds.
The dunes can be daunting. It isn’t hard to get a vehicle stuck and spend hours digging out. The wind can be brutal, sandblasting everything in its path. Pick the right line, find the right spot, and do the work and you’re rewarded with a view that cannot be had in any other place.
The Snowy Range of Wyoming lives up to the name. Closed for over half of the year, with limited access even after the highway opens, the Snowy Range juts from the plains west of Laramie like a sawblade. Dominating the skyline of the Snowy Range is Medicine Bow Peak, a monolith standing 12,013 feet above sea level. 11,000 feet plus peaks sit on either shoulder. Clear lakes and an abundance of wildlife surround the mountains in Libby Flats. On a clear night you can see Laramie, 50 miles distant across the valley.
There are few places more scenic than the Medicine Bow Peak area. It is very easy to forget that there is a highway nearby, or a town in the distance. A few miles down an unmaintained off-road trail and you have found wilderness. Recovery gear and a rain jacket is a very good idea; so is a tent with a view. If there is a better place to build a fire and get away from the rat race, we haven’t found it yet.