It had been nearly 17 years since I left only footprints in the Wind River Range in Wyoming. The first time I was just 17 years old, an aspiring young mountaineer eager to soak up everything about the mountains. For so many of us, like me, the mountains feeds our souls. It was in these mountains that that fuel began and has not stopped. These mountains gave me confidence, passion, fear, friendship, hardship, endurance, and determination. The tenacious granite that rises from these peaks symbolize the strength and fortitude that this range has gifted to me.
Almost two decades later I retraced my footsteps I once had made years ago, but this time with a good friend, her children and my own two boys. This time the mountains gifted those same things to all of us: beauty, hardship, endurance, friendship, tenacity and confidence.
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The following is a poem written by Finis Mitchell, a native from Wyoming who retired from the railroad at age 67 and dedicated his lived to climbing and exploring this range until the age of 84. Knowing that I have half my life left to explore in the mountains with my own family and friends gives me a smile. #livewithoutlimits
Your Land and Mine
May you always camp where waters run clean
Within serene valleys of flowers and shade
Where well trod trails of friendship meet
And your kindness and grace never fade.
Where solitude’s found and shared with another,
A friendship is formed with a long last soul;
Where dreams are all sacred, joys are all new,
The world is much brighter, a future to unfold.
Where mountain tops rise and the eagle doth soar,
The glaciers are eternal and the bighorns roam;
Where man is a visitor and his trespassing way,
But the pica has made it his solitary home.
For these depths of mountains we so often yearn,
Yet man seldom wanders where nature controls;
Where man becomes lost in the midst of his dreams
Only God can be guide for so many lost souls.
Nina Silitch is a two time gold medal winner in wold cup ski mountaineering. She is a wife, mom of two boys, teacher, coach and adventurer at heart. She has worked full time for the National Outdoor Leadership School beginning her career as a climbing instructor in the Wind River Mountains. She and her husband of High Alpine Mountain Guides have lived and raised their own children in Chamonix, France. She currently resides in Park City, Utah with her husband and two boys where she teaches 5th grade and coaches the Park City Ski Mountaineering Team. She is an athlete and adventurer for Adidas Outdoor.