If you Google a search term such as "best backpack trails in US", the Tetons and the Wind River Range each come up pretty high on the results pages. Earlier this year when I was researching Tetons trips "The Winds" as they are known locally in Wyoming kept being referred to. The gist of it is if you like the Tetons a lot, you may love "The Winds" even more because the hiker density is much lower and there is never a permit required to obtain a spot to pitch your tent. I had seen quite a few great photos online that told me what to expect and my expectations were totally satisfied on my first trip to "The Winds just a few weeks ago. From the Big Sandy Trailhead I hiked three days and two nights over just under 30 miles. My guidebook (Hiking Wyoming’s Wind River Range) says:”The Big Sandy Trailhead is the most remote and isolated trailhead in the Wind River Range.” It is about a 3 hour plus drive from Jackson, Wyoming but I was coming from Oshkosh, Wisconsin so it was about a 20 hour drive for me. Sure it’s remote but it’s also pretty busy at the trailhead parking lot. Get a few miles along on a trail though, and it’s quite pleasant. And on my first night out as far as I could tell there was only one other tent nearby me and that one was out of sight several hundred yards away. The second night was even more isolated. I was there just as the Labor Day weekend was about to start. My route had me going up the Meeks Lake and Fremont Trails. At the Shadow Lake Trail I turned off and spent one night at Shadow Lake on what turns out to be the backside of world-famous Cirque Of The Towers. I’ll be hiking on the other side of The Cirque next year. The next morning I hiked back out to the junction with the Pyramid Lake Trail and headed north. Pyramid Lake was a beautiful spot and I enjoyed poking around the area for a while. But I decided the lack of a perfect campsite reduced my motivation to spend the night there. High winds and driving rain can make an otherwise great campsite less of a pleasure in the middle of the night. So Instead, I headed back south and found a great site overlooking the south shore of Skull lake. Half my motivation in this decision had to do with shortening the final day hiking back to my vehicle. My wife’s birthday was in just a couple days and I was on a tight schedule to get back home in time for this important event… and I made it!