Northern light Greg Poirier, Ellicott...

MY BEST SHOT

May 14, 2000

MY BEST SHOT

Northern light

Greg Poirier, Ellicott City

Maine's "Acadia National Park has many scenic areas. This is the lighthouse at Bass Harbor Head. My wife had tired of how long it was taking for me to take this picture -- I was waiting for the sailboat to get in the shot."

A MEMORABLE PLACE

By Keith Krejei

Special to the Sun

Walking in wild Wyoming

In the middle of Wyoming's vast plains is a mountain paradise that only a fortunate few know about. Picture an expansive world above the tree line, towering granite peaks with glaciers, hundreds of alpine lakes, and a sense of solitude that is unparalleled by any other wilderness area in the country.

Home of Gannett Peak, Wyoming's highest point at 13,804 feet, the Wind River Range is a hiker's heaven.

Until recently, the extent of my knowledge of the "Winds" was only that it served as the headquarters for the National Outdoor Leadership School, regarded by many to be the Harvard of outdoor education.

For some, this area is the ultimate destination for back-country travel. For others, like myself, it was a well-kept secret.

Last summer, I landed a job guiding a group of high school students on a seven-day backpacking trip in the Wind River Range. Having never been there and having little knowledge about the area, my only resource was a map purchased at a local shop. Patches of brown contour lines so close they became indistinguishable, and a multitude of blue lakes and creeks produced a colorful mosaic of topographic art.

After two miles of walking, we emerged from the forest into an alpine meadow with a backdrop of peaks that looked like the blade of a saw. Snow from Wyoming's intense winter still speckled the mountains. We were all impressed with the area.

As we climbed higher, we were dwarfed by the "Cirque of Towers," a rugged cluster of mountains on the spine of the Continental Divide. At least once a mile, we saw one of hundreds of frigid lakes that dot the landscape.

As beautiful as it is, the Wind River Range can be harsh. Afternoon thunderstorms often rage through the skies, wreaking havoc on the mountains and the people there. Swarms of mosquitoes buzz incessantly, producing measles-like welts on unprepared hikers.

The Wind River Range may not contain the highest peaks in the country, but to me they are the most picturesque. Having backpacked in nearly all of the mountainous states, the Winds take the prize for being my favorite destination. Relatively easy walking provides some of the most splendid views and access to some of the most challenging and enjoyable climbing in the United States.

Keith Krejei lives in Timonium

READERS RESPOND

Where's a place you won't visit again, and why?

Williamsburg

Doreen Klose

Ellicott City

"My husband and I thought a trip to Colonial Williamsburg would be a great spring break for our children. It's a shame that something that could have been so educational was so expensive. It was close to $100 just for daily admission passes. The crowds were also unbelievable, even in the pouring rain."

Puerto Rico

Lawrence Baker

Baltimore

"We won't visit Puerto Rico again because the once-beautiful island is now completely trashed. Driving around the coastal perimeter or through the mountainous center, we saw that the towns, villages and roadsides are littered with paper, household trash, rotting cars and rusting appliances."

Martinique

Bernard and Arleen Bennett

Columbia

"We will never visit the island of Martinique again. If you don't speak French, you are snubbed at every level of commerce, from the hotels to the shops. No attempt is made to make you comfortable or feel like a visitor. It's strictly business. We ended our trip early and flew home after three days."

OUR NEXT QUESTION:

If you could have a second home, where would it be, and why?

Please answer in 50 words or less. Send via fax to 410-783-2519, or write to: Travel Department, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.

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