Originally Posted by eugeneius
Where did you hike in Olympic National Park? I lived in Port Angeles, WA for 4 years with my family right on the Puget Sound at the base of the Olympic Mountains, northeast of Mt. Olympus and such, we were a stone throw away from the Hoh Rainforest which as you probably know is the only RAINFOREST in North America, that is the most spectacular wilderness, hands down, I hiked there year round as a youth and loved the isolation. I want to go back there soooo bad. I've been reading about Wyoming lately, I really didn't know how diverse the ecosystems within the state are, the Tetons look amazing, the climate looks much like Northern New Mexico, dry and arid, frigid winters, and hot summers, high altitude desert and alpine regions as well, very cool!
Well, we hiked in your Hoh rain forest! We set up camp the first night about 3 miles in- we didn't get started on the trail until almost sun down. I can't remember the name of the camp. My step son and friend son set up on the dry river bed with a tent, and after supper my fellow hanger and I went back into the woods about 1/4 mile until we found some trees small enough to hang from, and set up our HHs. That was the night I set up my SS without a space blanket and had so much condensation by morning- it was real foggy. But still, I was warm, passed right out and had one of the most peaceful sleeps ever. The next day we hiked in to Olympic Guard station and set up a base camp there for a couple of days, day hiking out from there. It was an incredible place. We also got up to the Austin pass area between Baker and Shuksan. I climbed Baker back in 88, and in 89 I did a winter backcountry ski trip, staying in snow caves, on Baker. Simply a mind blowing area, WA is. Ocean, rain forests and BIG glaciers. Being at sea level in warm lush emerald green forests, while gazing up at near by 14,400 ice covered peaks like Rainier. What more can be said? No wonder you miss it!
But, Wyoming's Wind Rivers are a wonder land, also. Really much like NM in many ways, but a bit dif also. Pretty well forested between 8000 and 11000 feet, above timberline from about 11000 to 13,800. Despite global warming and long droughts, still significant glaciers, especially in the north and on the north east slopes. Truly spectacular, rugged, jagged peaks are every where. For example, the Cirque of the Towers is world famous, but one of many incredible areas for those that love WILD mountains and WILD wilderness. But the main thing is the amount of streams and lakes in seemingly endless numbers, most filled with trout. Often, every few miles you hike, you come to yet another lake ( there are many hundreds of large lakes, probably way over a thousand counting the smaller ponds). Often this lake will have one or more jagged peaks rising out of it, not infrequently with it's own little glacier on it. And not infrequently, you will have this lake all to yourself and your group. It is a great place to hike of trail navigating with map and compass, or GPS. I think you would love it. It is different than WA and not as lush, and not as much diversity of terrain, but still definitely has it's own charms.
Of course, the Tetons are even more ( or at least, as) spectacular. I have back packed there once, skied and just visited there many other times. They are incredible, for sure. But the Winds are more wilderness like, and have a far greater variety of lakes and streams. Plus, you don't have all of the NP regulations.