Cirque of the Towers
I just returned from a short backpacking trip into the Wind River Range. This intimidating and isolated set of mountains is widely known around the country by backpackers and climbers, but few others. The remoteness of these mountains cannot be understated or overlooked. No roads traverse the range, and although only ten miles from the trailhead, we were thirty from the nearest paved road, and seventy from the nearest town. The mountain range cuts sharply and decisively into Wyoming's sagebrush desert, forming an inter-mountain basin between it and the Tetons' parent range that traps weather so effectively, those living in the basin experience the coldest temperatures in the lower 48.
Our destination, Cirque of the Towers, is a rock climber's oasis in the summer, but a secluded escape for us in the fall. Fresh snow dusted the peaks, alpine willows were turning yellow, and the pools of water along the trail were just beginning to ice over. These cliffs make up only the smallest fraction of the severe and endless mountains, canyons, and alpine lakes that this landscape offered. A well-prepared hiker may trek here for months without coming out the other end.