Sunday, July 26, 2020

Looking for room to roam? Try a ‘pack trip’ - Full Article

Horseback journeys in the Wyoming wilderness offer a deep connection to nature.

Story and Photographs by Matt Stirn

I snapped awake in my sleeping bag as the day’s first light set fire to the granite peaks above our campsite. Deep in Wyoming’s Wind River Range, the air was frosty as I unzipped my tent and crawled outside. Across a meadow vibrant with wildflowers, I saw our horses look up from their morning graze.

“Breakfast is ready!” my dad called. Heath, our guide and a true Wyoming cowboy, handed me a tin cup of coffee and a plate of eggs and grilled trout that we had caught the day before. On this third morning of our weeklong wilderness pack trip, we had no pressing plans, and our only task was to watch the sun rising over the mountains. We would need the energy—later in the day we would hike to see a glacier along the Continental Divide.

The history of pack trips in the United States can be traced to the early 19th century, when explorers and trappers ventured west into the uncharted territory of the Rocky Mountains. Small strings of mules and horses were employed to help lessen the burden of carrying heavy equipment and supplies across great distances...

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