Though not as tall as the Colorado Rockies, the Winds are by far more rugged and daunting. While in Colorado, most 14ers are accessible almost to the top by a car - and not even a high clearance car, at that - the peaks here, less than 14,000 feet, are so remote, it takes two days to even hike to the base camp in order to ascend them. People who spend their lives climbing 14ers in Colorado continuously fail to conquer Gannet or Wind River peaks. Wyoming wilderness is awfully dangerous to Coloradans. It makes me cheerful.
This small clearing came up on us 5 miles in... We were expecting to hit Smith Lake after 5 miles, but apparently it would be another 2 until we could jump into freezing, glacially-supplied lakes!