I am sitting near Wall Lake in the Wind River range (part of the Rockies) in Wyoming. It’s day 4 of a 6-day backpack. We came off- trail to get here today and there are no other humans here. I am in an incredibly gorgeous lake basin near Wall Lake. I’ve lost count of how many spectacular glacier-carved lakes we have seen. Somewhere more than a dozen.
The Wind River range crosses the Continental Divide and there was a moment yesterday where we were standing in a spot where water flows each direction on either side of us. The wild beauty, and spectacular pristine balance of all the elements is breathtaking.
Our trailhead was at 9450 feet of elevation and we have meandered between 10,300 and 11,400 feet for most of the trip. Glaciers once covered the area. They have left peaks of 12,000 to nearly 14,000 feet completely surrounding a landscape dotted with very small ponds or lakes (tarns) up to incredibly huge lakes nearly a mile and a half long. Wall Lake that I am sitting just north and east of is that mile and half long lake.
Surrounding me are mountains that are mostly above treeline. There are a few clumps of spruces here and there giving a respite from the wind and protection to set up a camp. The rock is an amazing matrix of numerous shades of gray, black, orange-reddish, golden with some amazing streaks of green and purple. The basins have an air of magnificence and a spectacular wild austere beauty. The peaks are jagged with names like Harrower, Elephant Head, Sacajawea, and the two tallest: Fremont Peak and Gannett.
The rock hugging the streams and sensously arising from the lakes in islands, isthmuses, scattered droppings of boulders and long rounded humps are so beautiful I just want to carress them.
We are camping high on a long rounded arm reaching curiously out into Wall Lake towards a group of islands that smoothly scatter themselves over the water like pieces of popcorn half submerged. The lake bends and has isthmuses of rounded rock snaking out into the glassy dark blue water. They remind me of blobs of cookie dough.
Today is a layover day and we have been communing with the gorgeous creek dropping from lake 10,488 into Wall Lake at 10, 460. There are so many lakes they are named by their elevation. The backside of Harrower Peak is to my right and Mt. Lester to my left. The water is flowing down a beautiful creek bed of orangish-tan-grayish-red rock in waterfalls gurgling and roaring it’s way to Wall Lake.
The glaciers carved out an incredible place on our planet. Pristine harmony of bright fiery sun, clear deep lakes, rushing streams, rounded and jagged rocks, golden grasses, willow, spruce and incredibly hardy and delicate wild flowers. Asters, fireweed, paintbrush, all in peak bloom. This incredible balance of austere harshness and delicate wild beaty supports life. Moose, elk, marmots, grizzly bear, pine martens, and a stunning array of birds and ground dwellers like chipmunks, mice, pika and squirrels.