Get Lost!


Mr. Taylor Hensen, Guest Writer, Counselor

Has anyone ever told you to get lost? Can you believe that is used as an insult?! Getting lost doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t know where you are. It’s about losing yourself in what you are doing. Losing yourself around here is a lot easier than many other places in our country. There are almost 7000 square miles in Park County, Wyoming. Within Park County, Shoshone National Forest covers 2.5 million acres of which 705,000 acres are within the Washakie Wilderness. Our county has more public land than some entire states. Don’t take it for granted. Use It!

Camping and hiking are two favorite past times of Wyomingites. Why not combine the two? Backpacking as the locals call it, encompasses the best of both the hiking and camping worlds. Most of us can honestly say we’ve enjoyed being outdoors at one point or another in our lives. It’s important to ask ourselves what, specifically, do we enjoy about it? The fresh air? The scenery? The solitude? Hiking provides us all of these things. Add the freedom, comfort, and peacefulness of camping and we begin to experience the outdoors on a level we may never have before. Without the necessity of returning at the end of the day, backpacking arms us with the ability to go further, hike deeper, and live larger. The feeling of carrying everything you need to survive for a determined amount of time on your back provides a level of freedom seldom felt by most people.

My advice to the younger generation- Start now, but start small. You don’t have to complete the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail or the 2,181-mile Appalachian Trail to feel accomplished as a backpacker. The joy and satisfaction of planning your own trip, however small, is part of the appeal. One person’s month in the wilderness is another person’s one-nighter up the North Fork. It’s about your level of comfort, fitness, and enthusiasm. That’s what makes backpacking amazing. When I go backpacking, it’s about me and no one else.