Sunday, July 12, 2020

Wild Wind River

A family member said to us recently “You can plan a vacation, but you can’t plan an adventure.” We are discovering how true this is! We had very few certainties when we began this big adventure. Will the kids enjoying backpacking? Would we enjoy trail life for days on end? Could we do this safely with large margins for error? Would we be well fed? You might think that a family like ours would feel more certain about an adventure like this. After all, we do hike every single week with the kids and for years we have taken off for a month of hiking and camping since they were babies. Our kids spend more time in tents and on trails than many will their entire lives. For us, playing in the mountains aren’t just our leisure, they are our lifestyle — and yet none of this experience felt like it could prepare us for the uncertainty of one month on the trail backpacking through the extremely WILD wind river. But I suppose, that’s the definition of what an adventure is... putting your questions into your backpack and hitting the trail! 

Our adventure started with a 15 hour journey to Pinedale, Wyoming - the closest town to the Wind River. That car ride began at 3am and lasted until late in the evening.

In the days following we embarked on our family’s first, 3-day backpacking trip in the very remote-feeling Green River Lakes area. We saw very few other backpackers and the scenery was beautiful. We did two 11 mile days and one 5 mile day in between. Our hiking days included some hard hiking, some easy hiking, scary river crossings, eating by the Green River, games at camp, bloody noses, and battling mosquitos.

Though we saw very few other backpackers along the trail, we did have an experience that totally rocked our world. The reason we chose to go to the Wind River was because of a YouTube channel which documented the story of a few guys as they traveled through this wild and remote landscape. We watched their four part series on YouTube as a family and decided that we were so inspired we had to go check it out ourselves! A friend of Joe’s even bought Joe a hat from the YouTube creators. Their channel is called “Mediocre Amateurs.” Well here’s the crazy part: while we were in a particularly long slog in a more remote section of trail we happened to come across them! They were in the middle of a 36 mile journey themselves! They are literally the reason we came to the Wind River and we happened to meet them on the trail — us from California and them from Utah! We reflected a lot about why God would have provided for this simple joy. This scripture comes to mind: “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” We think God may have provided this for us out of the simple truth that He thinks that this experience would make us smile — He was caring for us.

Our 27 mile backpacking trip ended spectacularly with strong children who didn’t complain and hiked with ease on tired legs. We ended our adventure with burgers and fries and beer in the city of Pinedale. And after that, ice cream!

These are good days. 

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