Chase and I planned a 5-Day, 4-night backpacking trip around the Cirque of the Towers in Wyoming. After reading some other reports and seeing people’s photos, we knew this would be another epic backpack. We were thinking the views could rival those we had on the Four Pass Loop last year.
Here is a link to our planned route.
Below is a link to the course broken down into our planned days:
Cirque of the Towers Day 1 – 8.55 miles and Camp at Lonesome Lake
Cirque of the Towers Day 2 – 10.4 miles and Camp at Dutch Oven Lake
Cirque of the Towers Day 3 – 7.45 miles and Camp at Grave Lake
Cirque of the Towers Day 4 – 10.6 miles and Camp at Dad’s Lake
Cirque of the Towers Day 5 – 7.04 miles, hike back to the truck, and drive to Laramie
Due to the limited time off we had, and the planned 5 days of hiking, we decided to drive the entire distance to Pinedale in one day. We knew it would be a long day, but they always seem to go fast on the way to a fun vacation. Pinedale, Wyoming is an 11-hour drive from where we live. We had a later start than we wanted, as one of our miniature schnauzers, Winston, was a little under the weather. We wanted to make sure he was okay before we left for a week and were unable to be reached!
The late start made it so we could stop for an awesome vegan-friendly lunch in Fort Collins. I had never really been to Fort Collins, and their downtown area was really cool. Every time we go to a town with a cool downtown area, we always want to move there! We ate at a restaurant called Tasty Harmony, and I HIGHLY recommend it.
We shared a poutine appetizer, which was delicious. I had never had poutine before in my life, and I was definitely missing out! For our main meals, Chase had the tempeh Rueben, and I had the Philly. Both were delicious, but Chase’s was definitely a little better. We both ate too much and were a little sleepy for the next stretch of our drive.
The rest of our drive was VERY uneventful, which is probably a good thing when you are driving! However, when we were pulling into Pinedale, we saw a moose literally laying in someone’s yard! We had never seen a moose before, so we were pumped! Sucker was huge! People were stopping along the highway to take photos, but we opted to not turn around and park on the side of the highway.
Checking into our motel, the Teton Court Motel, we saw that the place was packed full! We even saw other backpackers. Pinedale must be a popular stay for those planning to hike the Cirque of the Towers. The motel room was comfortable and clean, which is all we needed since we were only sleeping there and then leaving very early the next morning.
That evening, we ate at Wind River Brewing Co, and their beer was great! Service was slow, but they were busy, so we chalked it up to that. We both had veggie burgers, which were fine. Their tots were super crunchy and tasted phenomenal! The vibe at this brewery was great, as is common with most brewpubs. That is one of the reasons we always try to stop at one if they have something for us to eat.
We hit the hay very early, as we planned to leave the hotel at 5:15 to start the drive to the trailhead. I slept terribly because I was afraid of oversleeping. Also, our truck charger didn’t do a great job of charging up all our electronics, so I had to wake up throughout the night to swap out what was charging.
Cirque of the Towers Day 1
We packed our breakfast to eat at the hotel since we wanted to leave before anything would be open…and honestly, finding vegan breakfast that isn’t a piece of toast, a bagel, or fruit, is tough. We actually left the motel on time at 5:15 AM, and my phone said it was an hour and 40 minutes drive to the trailhead. We must have sped…because I would say it probably took us an hour and 15 or an hour and 20 to get there. The last 8 ish miles on the dirt road were pretty bumpy and rough (typical of Colorado hiking roads), and we were glad we didn’t bring our car. It would have (possibly) made it there, but we wouldn’t have enjoyed it. It was cold when we started, but I am cool with that rather than it already being hot that early!
The cool morning quickly changed into a fairly warm, sunny morning. When we reached the first lake, we had planned to stop and have a snack and fill up our water. Unlike Chase, I am not good at eating and walking at the same time, so unless I am drinking my calories or we stop for snacks, I typically don’t eat enough on backpacks. While we were having our snack and admiring the gorgeous view (there was a lot of smoke from wildfires in Oregon, Washington, Montana, and California that hindered our views a little bit) we started the process of refilling our water. We use the Sawyer Squeeze system paired with an Evernew water bladder.
After we had filled the Evernew with water from the lake, we went to squeeze it into our water bottles. Normally, it’s a fairly quick process. However, there was barely a trickle. Cue the panic. This was our water filter! It wasn’t working! If we couldn’t filter water, we couldn’t finish our backpacking trip. You should not drink unfiltered water out in the backcountry. We need this filter. I knew it wasn’t clogged because I had backwashed it before I stored it for the season after our last backpacking trip at the end of the year. The most we could get was a very slow trickle.
We were both pretty frustrated at this point, and not sure if we should continue the hike. Chase remembered that we had actually packed a backup filtering option of purifying tablets. Those were to be used in emergencies only, and we didn’t have enough to get us through the whole planned 5 days. We decided to at least push to camp, where we could re-evaluate everything and check for possible alternate routes if we needed to shorten our trip.
We were also a little (okay, a lot) disappointed with how smoky it was from all the wildfires. But, this was something that was completely out of our control. We still had plenty of awesome views, and just made it a point to embrace it and enjoy what we had.
We encountered a ton of people on this day. This was expected, as there are a lot of people that use this area for hiking, backpacking, and rock climbing. This section also is part of the CDT (Continental Divide Trail).
Our biggest climb for the day was Jackass Pass, and it was a great climb. It wasn’t technical, but it was pretty steep at some points. Not long after we got over the pass, we ran into what I would consider a celebrity! I follow several hikers on Youtube, and as we were hiking, I just happened to look up and see none other than Dine N Dash! He was about a month or so (I think) into his thru-hike of the CDT. We didn’t talk much, because I am awkward, but it was pretty cool to see him out there. He was easy to spot due to the fact that he carries a ukelele with him while backpacking.
Our planned camping lake was nearby so we just continued on our way, knowing we needed to get to camp fairly early to have our pick of the best spots. Hint: if you are in a popular area, and you want to get a great camping spot, you need to get there early! Prime spots fill up quickly. That is why we are early risers. Get the miles in early and get to camp to get a good spot early.
It took us a while, but we finally found a really cool spot back in some trees right near a stream. The spot was pretty secluded, which is always preferred for us.
When we set up our tent, we were sad to discover we had a pretty large hole in our rainfly. Luckily it was at the foot end of the tent, and low enough that as long as the wind wasn’t blowing hard a certain way, rain still wouldn’t get in our tent. We were concerned about it ripping bigger, so we knew we had to be careful with it the rest of the trip. And, for the first time ever in our backpacking lives, I left the patch kit at home in an attempt to keep our base weight as low as possible.
After quite a bit of discussion, weighing the pros/cons, and going over our options, we decided to just stick it out with the VERY slow water filtration from our Sawyer Squeeze. We knew it would be annoying and time-consuming, but we weren’t willing to give up this backpacking trip. Additionally, I didn’t want to use the filtering tablets, because those are supposed to be for emergencies only, and this was not an emergency, just an inconvenience. Part of the fun of backpacking is figuring out a way through no matter what the obstacle, so that’s what we did!
We headed to bed not long after eating supper and doing chores (filling water, taking a dip in the cold stream, etc). We had a big hiking day planned for the next day and wanted to get an early start again. The stream we were camped right by was running loudly, which made for great sleeping background noise!
Our planned mileage for this day was 8.55 miles according to GAIA GPS. According to Chase’s Garmin Fenix6 Pro, the actual mileage for this day was 10.14 miles. This included a bit of wandering off-course to find a campsite.
Cirque of the Towers Day 2
As is usual for us, we were up before the sun. We had breakfast and drank coffee while watching the sunrise, which I HIGHLY recommend doing if you get the chance.
We headed out on the trail once the sun was up. After refilling our water, we started our steep climb for the day, followed by a very long (what seemed like an eternity) walk on a flat plateau. The trail was hard to see here; you basically had to follow cairns when the trail disappeared. We got off-trail several times, but we always stayed heading in the correct direction, so it wasn’t a huge deal.
We also found a really nice nap rock and took about a 7-minute break (which might be a record for us). We talked to a couple of guys (I am pretty sure they were brothers) for a few minutes and continued on. The rest of our day was either downhill or flat, with very little elevation gain left. I will say that the 2nd half of our day was SO. ROCKY. Obviously, hiking on hard, pointy rocks hurts your feet. You also have to pay close attention to foot placement, as you can easily roll your ankle if you aren’t careful. It is mentally tiring.
Let me preface the next part of this day by telling you that I had read a recent trip report on AllTrails that a woman had camped at Dutch Oven lake and seen a lot of “bear activity”, but no bears. Having never seen a bear in the wild, this made me super nervous. As we were approaching the lake, I kept seeing a lot of bear scat on the trail. typically, we see elk, horse, and other animal scat, but I had never seen bear scat. So, I was already mentally preparing myself in case we actually saw a bear out there.
We were some of the first people to camp (which is not uncommon for us). We like to start early, end early. By doing this, we can get over any high elevation passes or peaks before the typical Rocky Mountain afternoon thunderstorms roll in. Furthermore, our rain fly is separate from our tent, so if it is raining while we set up, the inside of our tent gets wet. Setting up before the storms hit allows us to keep our gear dry. This day, we had a great spot with an awesome view of the lake and surrounding peaks. It was pretty secluded, with just one smaller site fairly far away from us.
As soon as we got to camp, the wind started to blow like crazy, and it started sprinkling. So, we panicked and quickly set up our tent so our stuff wouldn’t get all wet. It turned out the sprinkles of rain were all that we would get, so that worked out well. After we set everything up and got our SLOW water filter working on filtering some water, we decided to go down to the water. Chase likes to hop in the lakes, streams, or whatever water source we camp by. I will usually put my feet in and rinse off my legs, but I am too much of a wimp to get in most of the time. Those snow-melt streams and high-altitude lakes are FRIGID!
We scoped out our own places (me to soak my feet, Chase to jump in), and we both got to work on our “baths”. I was watching Chase sit by the water preparing to get in when I saw several bees pop up out of the ground where he was. I knew instantly that he had done something to make them mad! Sure enough, one of them stung him on the leg before he could get away. If you don’t know me, let me just tell you that there are several (SEVERAL) things in this world that give me anxiety. And one of those just happens to be being stung by a bee and having some sort of anaphylactic reaction. Neither Chase nor I had been stung by a bee before, so we didn’t know if we were allergic to them.
Immediately after Chase was stung, we grabbed my Bug Bite Thing (I take this thing everywhere because I have such a severe reaction to a lot of bug bites). We sucked the venom out of his sting several times, and he also used a bug bite wipe that I had in my first aid kit. He also jumped into the cold water of the lake. Luckily, it turns out Chase is not allergic to bee stings! I also bring Benadryl with me when we go backpacking, both for allergies and to help me sleep better (yeah, yeah probably not the best sleep aid). Fortunately, he didn’t need any.
As we started getting ready to prepare our dinner (rice and vegetables), other people had started trickling in and setting up their campsites as well. There ended up being around 20 people probably that camped at Dutch Oven lake that night. The wind hadn’t died down, so we were hunkered down behind a huge boulder to cook our food. We were drinking our nightly moonshine (luxury item), when we heard from a little ways away someone says “Hey people! There’s a bear right behind you and it’s headed right towards you!” We both stood up fast as heck and turned around expecting there to be a bear right behind us (gulp). Luckily, it wasn’t us that she was yelling at. It was a couple of people a little further back from us on another side of the lake. However, they didn’t hear her at first. We could see the bear maybe 20 yards away from them just casually walking right through their site. The two guys totally just froze in shock when they finally understood what everyone was yelling at them. I honestly probably would have done the same thing!
Once the bear got a little closer, it finally noticed them and ran away towards the side of the lake that was too steep to camp at. We watched this cute from a distance bear easily run all over the side of that mountain. It was hopping over boulders like it was no problem! It eventually made its way around back towards us from the other side. Luckily, that’s where the woman who initially spotted the bear was camped with a bunch of other people. They started banging pots together and yelling. This eventually scared the bear off again into the woods and we never saw it again. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep well that night.
This picture has the bear in it (a little black spot on the rocks towards the bottom). In the picture, it looks far away, but I promise you it was much closer than it appears! I was more focused on watching where it was going than taking pictures!
The wind really blew hard that night and caused our rainfly to bang against the tent (we obviously didn’t have it tight enough). Every time this happened I woke up. I also couldn’t get comfortable, and when I would finally find a position to sleep in, it would only last for about an hour. On top of those factors, I also knew that bear was probably not too far away searching for an easy snack in hikers’ food bags. We made sure to hang our bear bag really well that night, but it did not stop me from worrying about it all night.
Our planned mileage for this day was 10.4 miles, and we ended up at 11.75 miles total.
Cirque of the Towers Day 3
After sleeping like crap, we got up and around to watch the sunset while drinking coffee and going over the plan for the third day again. We were watching the weather because it looked like it was going to rain that afternoon. If we decided we wanted to go any further for that day, we risked going over Hailey Pass in a storm. If you know anything about hiking at high elevations, you probably already know that hiking over mountain passes above the treeline should be done before afternoon storms roll in. So, we knew we couldn’t get over the pass before the afternoon, so we decided to camp at a lake right below the pass, Grave Lake.
When we left camp, we were the first ones up and around. Our first section of the day was a really cool section. There weren’t many trees, but there were boulders that were bigger than cars all over the place. We took a picture, but it really didn’t do them justice. The elevation gain/loss for this low mileage day was also our lowest, so we got through the miles pretty easily and rather quickly.
During one of the wooded sections, I heard something(s) running and looked up to see a herd of elk running away from us. They were beautiful but were gone before I could snap a picture of them.
We also passed a turn for the Wind River Reservation, which I thought would have been cool to check out, but the trail is not maintained and I am not sure what the regulations are for going there.
I can’t guarantee it, but I am pretty sure I saw a moose running away from us a couple of miles later. I only saw a flash of brown, and it was a pretty wooded area, so I couldn’t get a clear view. It definitely looked MUCH bigger than the elk we saw earlier in the morning. Chase heard it but didn’t see it.
This day was cold and a little drizzly. It had rained during the night (which also kept me up) so everything was wet, and the sun never fully came out enough to dry anything.
On this day, we had our first water crossing where getting wet was unavoidable (I feel like this always happens to us on the coldest days of our trips). I think had we been through before all the rain, we probably would have been able to cross without getting wet, but that was not the case for us on this day.
I should also tell you that I have a fear of falling into the water. This happened to me during our backpack in the Maroon Bells Wilderness, and it was scary and cold. On that trip I didn’t even make it more than three steps before I fell in…not my proudest moment. Ever since then, I get leery of water crossings, especially when we are in higher elevations and it isn’t warm outside. Give me all the water crossings when it is hot, but they terrify me when it’s cold outside. I know that if I fall in, I run the risk of hypothermia, and past experiences have shown me that I don’t warm up very easily when I am cold and wet.
But, there isn’t an option other than crossing, so it had to be done. Let me tell you. I have never put my feet in colder water in my entire life. It was so cold that it literally took my breath away. The water wasn’t too deep, maybe halfway up my shins. It wasn’t too wide either, maybe 10 yards. But, by the time I was almost across my feet were so cold it felt like there were thousands of needles stabbing them. Chase didn’t seem to be as affected, but this is the same guy that sometimes takes cold showers because it makes him tougher. I, on the other hand, avoid things that make me physically uncomfortable. I am sure that’s why it bothered him much less. It had nothing to do with me not being tough…
Once we crossed, I had to take a second to gather myself and let my feet gain some feeling back. Once we got moving again, they warmed up pretty rapidly. My feet were never dry after that, but they were no longer cold.
I am not sure if it was due to the poor weather, or if it is because that trail was scarcely used, but we were the only ones on the trail for most of the day. The only people we saw were right when we got to Grave Lake. They were a family of four, plus two alpacas! We didn’t chat much with them, but it was neat to see their alpacas.
Chase and I were in awe of Grave Lake. This looked like it belonged anywhere but a mountain. It was huge, deep, and had sand beaches. We took a little side trail and found a great campsite tucked in trees but still pretty close to the water. We wanted a protected spot after the wind kept us up the previous night.
There were some awfully rowdy squirrels here, and they were not afraid of us. I was busy filtering water and turned around to one of them attempting to get in my bag. They were cute but quite naughty.
We were able to get a small fire started, and put our socks and hiking shoes around it to help dry them out. However, everything turned out to be too wet to burn, so the fire did not last very long. We did improvise by placing those items around the propane cooker we use while backpacking and tried to dry things out that way. I am not sure if it actually worked, or if we just told ourselves that it did.
After a day of water crossings, no sun, and low temperatures, I had a hard time warming up this day. Once we had set up camp for the night and eaten our supper, I changed out of my wet shoes and socks, did a wipedown shower, and put on my warm sleeping clothes. However, I just could not get my core temperature up. As Chase and I were laying in the tent snuggled up in our sleeping bag, I continuously had full-body shivers. I had all my layers on, plus extra socks, and I could not warm up enough to stop shivering. It was a little concerning, seeing as the sun hadn’t even set and it was supposed to be a chilly night.
Luckily, Chase was nice enough to loan me some of his body heat and once he really snuggled me in tight (to the point that his legs were pretzeled around my legs) for about 20 minutes, I finally warmed up. I actually slept really well this night, and I never sleep well when we are backpacking.
The plan was to hike 7.45 miles on our third day, and we ended up with 8.27 for the day.
Cirque of the Towers Day 4
Even though I had a solid 8-9 hours of sleep, I was not pleased when our alarm went off. I knew that today was going to be a hard day. It was going to be cold, wet, and long. And, to make it better, I knew we had a steep pass to go over right away.
I had a hard time getting into a flow this morning when we started. Probably due to having to move slowly and by headlamp only. The terrain wasn’t very technical at first, but hiking in the dark is loads more difficult than hiking during the day. It felt like the miles just weren’t coming. I remember at one point Chase and I had both looked at our watches to see how far we’d made it, and neither could believe the short distance we had covered. I think that when you know you have a long, hard, cold, wet day ahead of you, it does something to your mind.
When the sun finally did come up, it didn’t shine. It turned out to be very foggy/misty out. Once we reached the base of the pass we had to cross, I started to get nervous. Sometimes when you go over mountain passes, there are a lot of winding switchbacks. With Hailey Pass, this was NOT the case. This had switchbacks, but they were all VERY steep. I actually think that the wet day worked in our favor for this pass. The gravel was wet enough that you were able to dig into it with your feet a little bit to get some grip. How Chase hikes up those mountains without trekking poles is something I will never understand. Those things have saved my legs so much on many of our trips. This pass is no exception.
We claimed Hailey pass for what felt like an eternity. It was misty enough that you couldn’t ever see too far in front of you, so we had no idea where the summit was. I remember just digging each step in and saying to myself that I was NOT going to fall. There was even one point where Chase checked in with me verbally, and I told him that I was a little scared, which is a pretty big feat for me. I tend to keep my worries to myself when we are backpacking, as I am a worrier, overthinker, etc. and I don’t want to affect his experience negatively. However, I was scared enough to admit that I was afraid of this hike. But, when you know there is no possible way but forward, your option of quitting is eliminated.
When we finally made it to the top, it was a little anti-climactic. We couldn’t see the undoubtedly beautiful view from the pass. Also, it was still really cold and misty and we had a long way to go back to the truck. Therefore, we didn’t spend any time at the top. We began the descent down the pass, which, let me tell you, was A LOT less scary than the way up. That being said, I don’t know if I would want to go the other direction either, as that descent would be really scary. Maybe more so than the climb.
We had a little rock scrambling, and while we were doing this, it started to actually rain. We both had Frog Togg rainjackets on, and it was wet enough and rained enough that they were both soaked through. My gloves were also soaked through and doing little to keep my hands warm. My hands got cold enough that they were beginning to stiffen up, and I was losing the use of them. I thought Chase was better off than I, but I learned later that he was in the same boat. Chase ended up pulling out a pair of his socks for me to put on my hands to try warming them back up.
This was one of the times that I was truly concerned for our safety. I have never been this cold and had no way to warm myself up. It is a pretty scary thought. If things got much worse for us, I am not sure what we would have done.
Roughly halfway through our day, we did have a brief reprieve from the rain and fog, and I have never been so happy to see the sun in my entire life! We both took a minute to try and hang some things on our packs to dry out, as well as just absorb some of those rays. It was a real spirit booster for us, even if it only lasted 30 minutes.
We had a water crossing that, unfortunately, was a little higher than I would have liked (probably due to the amount of moisture the area had received recently). It was also moving pretty well. There was no way for us to cross without getting wet; we made sure and spent a solid 15 minutes walking up and down the banks to make sure there wasn’t a dry or easier way across.
This water crossing turned out to almost be a bit of a disaster for us. Chase tried carrying my pack across for me, due to my history of falling in. However, my pack did not fit him right and he almost dropped it in the water. He did drop my trekking pole, but we were able to grab it, luckily. After that, I took my pack back and carried it across myself. I didn’t want Chase risking himself any more than he needed to.
A while later, we ended up coming across some of the hikers we had seen on our first day out in the Cirque of the Towers area. They had taken a different route than us, but it was nice to see a somewhat familiar face. We also saw the family of people we briefly hiked around on our second day. They had all just crossed another water crossing that I was not excited about. It was very fortunate that we arrived when they were there, as they pointed out a slower, more shallow spot for us to cross.
The closer we got to our truck, the more people we saw. I was actually surprised at how many people were actually starting a backpack with such cold, possibly snowy conditions forecasted. We even saw people horse-packing! I always love seeing horses out on the trails.
There was one section of trail on this day that had to be re-routed due to a major windstorm that had blown down the trees across the trail in 2020. They were still working on getting all the trees off the trail when we were there almost a year later. There were parts of the trail that we could see had been worked on, and it was unbelievable. I can only imagine how bad the wind had to have been. I am glad we weren’t out backpacking during that kind of weather!
I had heard many people on the web complaining about having to get through the blowdown, and we had planned for that as well. I was dreading it because I knew it would make our long day even more challenging. Surprisingly, they had moved the trail so that it bypassed the area with all the downed trees. I think it might have even taken a little bit off our total mileage.
This day felt like it lasted forever, but we just kept our heads down and continued power hiking. Neither Chase or I felt like taking breaks, and I am not sure that we ever took a single snack break on this day. We were just focused on getting back to the truck where we could blast the heater!
For some reason, I was taking the lead when we were roughly 1-2 miles from the truck (Chase usually leads, and hates not being in the front). I was just hiking with my head down as fast as I could without actually running. I don’t know why, but I happened to look up, and about 10 feet in front of me on the trail was a HUGE moose! Excuse my language, but it scared the shit out of me. How did I almost walk into a moose?! This was Chase and I’s first up-close encounter with a moose, and it was amazing.
This moose was not afraid of us in the least! It looked at us for a second (while we were paralyzed in shock) and mozied into the trees where there was a female moose waiting for him. It was such a cool moment, and an adrenaline rush to help get us back to the truck. I was just really surprised to see one so close to “civilization”, especially since there was so much traffic on the trails that day.
Once we slowly and very politely made our way around the two moose, we picked up speed and high-tailed it the rest of the way back to the truck. I am not sure if I have ever been happier to see our vehicle before! It had been a long day, and I think we were both ready for it to be done.
We had planned to do these 17.65 miles in two days, but obviously, our plans were changed by Mother Nature. These last two days crammed into one ended up being 16.4 miles (I think our camping spots over the course of the trip took us a lot closer than we had thought), taking us back to the truck.
Back in Civilization
We ended up driving back to Pinedale because it was the closest town that had a place open for us to stay in. We found another cozy motel, checked in, and turned the heater on high. We were cold, wet, and starving for fried food and beer.
After we showered and checked in with family, we decided it was time to go out and celebrate! As vegan options are limited in such a small town, we decided to go back to the brewery. We had their veggie tacos, and they were actually pretty good. The service was still not great, so that was a little disappointing. After one beer and a big warm meal that we didn’t have to carry and make ourselves, we were both pretty tired.
We didn’t spend much time celebrating, and instead opted to call it an early night to recover from the last few days. We also had a 5-6 hour drive to Laramie the next day, and we wanted to get there early enough to explore the town a bit and have some fun.
Our Trip Home
We got to Laramie right before lunch and knew as we were driving into town that we would love to explore this town as well. Our first stop was a cute little restaurant called Jeffrey’s Bistro. The lunch rush was in full swing on a Saturday in downtown Laramie, so we had to wait about 30 minutes for a table, but everywhere else looked just as busy, so we stuck it out. We shared their vegan nachos (very yummy), and both had an Asian-style salad. We were both craving some fresh, healthy food at that point, and the salads were HUGE!
After stuffing ourselves with vegetables for the first time in a week, we decided to check out the Wyoming Territorial Prison Historic Site. Chase and I both LOVED this attraction. You get to walk through the actual restored prison while reading about inmates (how they ended up in the prison). It was awesome to take a step back in history and the wild, untamed lands that Wyoming was.
You can do either a self-guided tour or wait for a tour guide. We prefer to go at our own pace, so we opted for the self-guided tour. We really spent a lot of time reading and taking everything in. If you get the chance, I highly recommend you check it out!
After we checked into our hotel, we freshened up and headed out for a fun date night out on the town. We started with a couple of beers at Coal Creek TAP, which did not disappoint. They had a bunch of beers on tap, and even better, served them out of the appropriate glass.
We then decided to head to the bar that was attached to Sweet Melissa’s, where we planned to eat for the evening. We did this in preparation for the fact that downtown was already crazy busy, and we didn’t want to have to wait for a really long time for a table. Even though it was still early for supper, the restaurant and bar were already packed. This told us that we had picked a great spot for dinner. We both had a few drinks and then moved to the restaurant for dinner.
This is a vegetarian/vegan restaurant, so we were really excited to check out the food. We had probably the best cauliflower wings we have ever had. I am not kidding. Then I had the vegan gyro, and Chase had another Reuben. They were both AMAZING!
This is one of my favorite backpacking trips we have taken. Obviously, we had some crazy challenges, but I honestly had a blast. The Cirque of the Towers is a very popular area with well-maintained trails. While mother nature tried to make the trip less enjoyable with the rain, cold temperatures, and smoky conditions, we had a really great time. If you ever get the chance to do any hiking out here, I highly recommend it. There are so many trails that can connect into a loop backpack that you could go out there more than one time and not hike the same route. I am sure Chase and I will be back there someday to hike again, hopefully with more cooperative weather.
Stay tuned for a gear list for both Chase and myself, coming soon!