Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Wind River Range

The Call of The Wild by Robert Service

Have you gazed on naked grandeur
where there’s nothing else to gaze on,

Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore,

Big mountains heaved to heaven, which the blinding sunsets blazon, 

Black canyons where the rapids rip and roar?

Have you swept the visioned valley
with the green stream streaking through it,

Searched the Vastness for a something you have lost?

Have you strung your soul to silence?

Then for God’s sake go and do it;

Hear the challenge, learn the lesson, pay the cost.

Have you wandered in the wilderness, the sagebrush desolation,
The bunch-grass levels where the cattle graze?

Have you whistled bits of rag-time at the end of all creation,
And learned to know the desert’s little ways?

Have you camped upon the foothills,
have you galloped o'er the ranges

Have you roamed the arid sun-lands through and through?
Have you chummed up with the mesa?

Do you know its moods and changes?

Then listen to the Wild -- it’s calling you.

Have you known the Great White Silence,
not a snow-gemmed twig aquiver?
(Eternal truths that shame our soothing lies).

Have you broken trail on snowshoes? mushed your huskies up the river,
Dared the unknown, led the way, and clutched the prize?

Have you marked the map’s void spaces, mingled with the mongrel races,
Felt the savage strength of brute in every thew?

And though grim as hell the worst is,
can you round it off with curses?

Then hearken to the Wild -- it’s wanting you.

Have you suffered, starved and triumphed,
groveled down, yet grasped at glory,
Grown bigger in the bigness of the whole?

"Done things" just for the doing, letting babblers tell the story,
Seeing through the nice veneer the naked soul?

Have you seen God in His splendors,
heard the text that nature renders?
(You'll never hear it in the family pew).

The simple things, the true things, the silent men who do things --
Then listen to the Wild -- it’s calling you.

They have cradled you in custom,
they have primed you with their preaching,

They have soaked you in convention through and through;
They have put you in a showcase; you're a credit to their teaching --
But can't you hear the Wild? -- it’s calling you.

Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us;
Let us journey to a lonely land I know.

There’s a whisper on the night-wind,
there’s a star agleam to guide us,

And the Wild is calling, calling. . .let us go.

2013 Wind River Range Traverse

In July 2013 I completed a four-day traverse through the heart of the Wind River Range. Starting in the Wind River Roadless Area and finishing in the Bridger Wilderness at Big Sandy Opening, I was joined at times by Hank Williams, Scott and Cindy Parish, and Amy McCarthy. My faithful hound Fryxell accompanied me for the entire 80 miles.


  1. Hi - I'm very interested in the route you took through the Winds. Planning to do something along the same lines this summer. Do you have a higher resolution map of your route or gpx track that you could share?

    1. I intentionally did not post a high-resolution map nor a gpx file from the trip. One of the wonderful wilderness attributes of exploring the Wind River high-country is having to do your own route finding.

  2. Thanks forest, great read and great photos as usual. Was Milky Lake the boating crux? Could you walk the shoreline do you think>

  3. Thanks forest, great read and great photos as usual. Was Milky Lake the boating crux? Could you walk the shoreline do you think>

    1. Yes, Milky Lake was the crux. Walking around it would involve a major detour.