This past fall I was lucky enough to spend three months in the breathtaking wilderness of Wyoming and Utah. It was the first half of the gap year that I had planned for myself after high school. My three months consisted of hiking in the Wind River mountains, rock climbing in Lankin Dome, and canyoneering in southeast Utah. These three months were easily the best of my life and they were made better by the serenity of the wilderness and how I was able to escape all the distractions of my life and really live in the moment. .
My first trek started September 7th 2014, when I was greeted by a foot of snow. Already unsure of my ability to complete my eighteen day, 140 mile trip, I wasn't happy about seeing my entire landscape shaded with a heavy coat of snow. The first couple of days were rough. I had been recovering from knee surgery at the time and the change from nearly sea level Arlington to 10,000 ft had left me gasping for air like a fish out of water. After a week, the days started getting easier rather than harder, and I was finally able to put away my doubts and truly immerse myself in my surroundings. I remember one day that I took a day trip to reach the highest peak in the entire mountain range, Wind River peak. It stood at a crisp 14,000 ft, about half as high as Mount Everest. As I reached the peak, overcome with jubilation, I threw my hat up, where 30mph winds proceed to claim my cap as some sort of offering to the mountain. There were many more high and low points throughout the rest of the hike, but when I finally reached the end of my trip, I couldn't wait to get back into town. It was the longest I had ever been in the wilderness. .
After some well deserved rest in an actual bed, I set off for 18 days rock climbing in Lankin Dome, Wyoming. Unlike in the Wind River mountains, where I would have to pack up everything I owned every morning and hike for several miles before unloading and doing it all the next day, I base camped in Lankin Dome.