Transformation in the Winds

Words by: Janelle Smiley

Photos by: Brenton Reagan

The alarm went off at 5am, minutes later I was picking up my friend Brenton en route to Pinedale, a cozy town less than two hours south of Jackson. On the outskirts of this ranching community is a trailhead to a world untouched by roads, a mountain range of silence and beauty, that goes for hundreds of miles into the wilderness. The Wind River Range is truly a Wyoming treasure. Our goal was to run into the Winds and back out the same day, an uncommon approach due to the distance. We had about 13 miles of running to get into the heart of the range.

It had snowed in the high country magnifying the majesty of the mountains. It was a beautiful crisp sunny morning when we arrived at the trailhead, just as the sun popped over the horizon. We could see our breath as we tied our shoes and tightened the straps on our running packs. Breathing in fresh mountain air while your muscles slowly start to wake up is one of the best feelings in the world. The trail is mellow and its common to see pack horses loaded with supplies for the lucky folk who get to spend several days in the winds.

After about four hours of running we arrived at Island Lake, in the heart of the range, and enjoyed a snack. Looking up the valleys in every direction was beautiful, if only we had more time to explore. This mission was simply an out and back mountain marathon for us. The wilderness of the winds is so remarkable, you feel like all your dreams are a reality. A feeling that’s hard to convey through words and photography alone.

Next fall is a unique opportunity to explore this landscape on foot, all the while diving deep into your inner landscape. You will have the opportunity to move your body, breathe intentionally, be creative, and learn from your inner guidance. We all have the still small voice within us that guides us, protects us, and moves us forward. With meditation and design, we will wake up that voice and learn how to better recognize when it speaks to us. We will spend our days running through the valleys and into the heart of the mountains. We will return to our camp as the lucky ones who have the privilege of pack horses transporting our gear. This will enable us to fast-pack/run every day of the trip. This will surely be an unforgettable adventure.

Run Titcomb Basin this summer with Arc’teryx Trips. Lead by Brenton Reagan, an IFMGA mountain guide, and Janelle Smiley, a professional endurance athlete and intuitive guide. Click here to learn more.