Pictures of the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming

The Wind River Range in Wyoming has long been one of my favorite places in the US. I’ve been backpacking in the Winds since about 1970. I’ve done several trips of two weeks and longer in these gorgeous mountains.

One change I have noticed over the years about the Wind Rivers is that they used to be full of snow and ice, even at the end of summer. Now-a-days there is much less snow. Snow fields that I remember as being a half mile long are now totally gone. When I look at where those snow fields used to be, there are now only rocky slopes or big scree fields. The glaciers that used the fill the valleys of the high peaks are a tiny remnant of what they once were.

A warmer climate is melting the Wind River’s snow and ice just as it is in high country all over the world.

The other change I have noticed in the Wind Rivers is that many of the lodgepole forests that used to be green and healthy and vigorous are now full of dead and dying trees. Not all the trees are dead of course, but now when you look at large forested slopes they are a quarter or half full of rust colored trees. And sometimes whole forests are dead. There is is lot of this in the Western part of Rocky Mountain National Park.

These dead trees are victims of the pine beetle which is taking over the Rocky Mountains. Winters no longer have the long periods of intense cold which used to kill pine beetles.

The place where I find this most noticeable in the Wind Rivers is on the western shore of the Green River Lakes in the Northern Wind Rivers. There used to be a gorgeous Forest Service campground here where I have spent many beautiful days and afternoons and nights. Now the whole campground is gone except for three or four camp spots way over to one side. National Forest rangers have cut down all of the hundreds of huge pines that used to fill the sky above this campground because most of the trees had died and dead trees tend to fall on campers when the wind blows. And after they cut the trees down, they moved out the entire campground.

The same thing is happening in all of the National Parks of the Western US. Often you see forests full of dying and dead trees. And unfortunately these forest full of dead, dry timber is ready to be touched off by the first spark that comes along. This is usually lightening. And then large chunks of the forests are gone. This has happened over the last fifty years in all of my favorite parks: the Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier, Rocky Mountain and as everyone knows all over California. All of our national parks are now scarred with burns, small, large and huge. I hate to say it, but the beautiful National Parks in the Western US may be a thing of the past in the not too distant future.

In the Bonnyville Lakes area of the Wind Rivers, Wind River mountains of Wyoming
The Warrior Peaks, Cirque of Towers, Wind River mountains of Wyoming
Old Man of the Mountains, Wisconsin Couloir, Wind River mountains of Wyoming
Bonnyville Peak and Paintbrush, Wind River mountains of Wyoming
Sharks Nose and Grasses near Shadow Lake. The famous Cirque of Towers is on the other side of these jagged peaks., Wind River mountains of Wyoming
Donald Lake and Wildflowers, Wind River mountains of Wyoming
Perry Primrose and granite, Wind River mountains of Wyoming
Three water lilies, Twin Lakes, Wind River mountains of Wyoming
Island Lake with Fremont Peak in the Background, our yellow tent is in the middle of the picture, Wind River mountains of Wyoming
Island Lake pink sunset and granite peaks, Wind River mountains of Wyoming
Fremont Peak and sunset, Fremont is not quite the highest peak in Wyoming, but very close, Wind River mountains of Wyoming
East Fork, Valley wall, storm coming in, Wind River mountains of Wyoming
Me, forty years ago in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming. This snow was part of a huge snowfield forty years ago. Now it is bare scree. Ice axes used to be a necessary tool for backpacking in the Winds forty years ago. The last time I was there, several years ago, an ice axe was just extra weight and never used., Wind River mountains of Wyoming
Me and Gannet Peak forty years ago. Gannett is the highest mountain in Wyoming. The glaciers in this picture no longer exists., Wind River mountains of Wyoming
No Name Lake, late afternoon light, Wind River mountains of Wyoming
Ladd Peak and Green River, Wind River mountains of Wyoming
Headwaters of the Green River, June, Wind River mountains of Wyoming
Green River Lakes and Square Top, The is the starting point for many trips into the Winds, Wind River mountains of Wyoming
Pronghorn Peak, Wind River mountains of Wyoming
Pronghorn Peak and backpacker, Wind River mountains of Wyoming
Upper Bonnyville Lake, Wind River mountains of Wyoming

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