Great escapes into wild Wyoming

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By the time most of you read this, I’ll be somewhere in the Bighorn Mountains, likely out of breath and hauling my behind up the mountainside.

Saturday marks the beginning of my annual backpacking trip with three gal pals. We’ll spend five days making our way through the Cloud Peak Wilderness. It’s certainly our most ambitious trek to date. I often receive some teasing because I talk about our annual trip like it has been happening for decades, when in reality this is just year three.

Still, the challenge admittedly has me a little anxious for our trip. Anxious in the true sense of the word. Well, maybe 40 percent anxious, 20 percent inspired and 40 percent psyched for the ability to escape with some amazing people into the wilderness for a few days.

We’re starting at Battle Park and will hike into the wilderness, to Mistymoon Lake and over Florence Pass. Then, we’re planning to take a day to venture up Bomber Mountain to check out the wreckage of the plane that crashed there. Maybe we’ll summit, maybe we won’t. Then we plan to continue on and spend a night or two at Seven Brothers — a group of lakes — before hiking out and heading home. 

Our schedule is flexible and based mostly on how far we get each day. Given that none of us are in tip-top shape, we’re giving ourselves permission to rethink schedules based on how we feel, the weather and any number of other factors.

The weather will be a little sketchy. It looks like high temperatures won’t top 60 degrees or so and there is a chance for rain and thunderstorms each day. 

We have each joked that our packs will likely be heavier than normal due to the extra layers we’re planning to carry.

Throughout the rest of the year — the 51 weeks I’m not backpacking with this group — I read things like Backpacker Magazine, Outside, National Geographic and a number of blogs. I say they help ease the wanderlust, but really they feed it. They make me wish I had the time and funds to explore the far reaches of the globe. The stories people have from their travels feed my curiosity about the world and simultaneously make me yearn to know more. 

As an introvert, I refuel my soul alone rather than among friends. I enjoy social gatherings, but also find them exhausting at times. I know, strange that I’m in the profession I am. As an introvert, this trip allows me to escape from the hectic pace of the day to day and recharge. It’s a trip that feeds my soul all year.

The group of women with which I backpack interacts effortlessly, so there is little stress. If I don’t want to talk, the group knows I’m either in my head thinking about other things or happy to simply listen.

I’m happy to take in the sights, smells, sounds and sensations of wild Wyoming.

By |August 4th, 2017|

About the Author:

Kristen Czaban joined The Sheridan Press staff in 2008 and covered beats including local government, cops and courts and the energy industry. In 2012, she was promoted and now serves as the managing editor for The Press. Czaban has a journalism degree from Northwestern University.