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This program is designed for adventurers who are outdoor enthusiasts and are interested in backpacking adventures, fly fishing and field studies in the Rocky Mountain wilderness.

Excursion Description

The nature of this excursion is the study of unique western ecosystems by total immersion in those systems. This is done by backpacking deep into wilderness area, taking only what you can carry on your back, and subjugating yourself to the wilderness condition by experiencing it in a zero-impact, recreational fashion. The outdoor component of this course is physically strenuous, very rigorous and at high altitudes. You must be able to withstand the physical and emotional rigors of 8 days "on the trail" in primitive, wilderness conditions.

The Wind River Range is located in north central Wyoming southeast of Grand Teton National Park, west of the towns of Lander and Pinedale and east of Dubois, Wyoming. We will be mostly in the Popo Agie Wilderness Area located within the Shoshone National Forest. It is a high altitude range with the average elevation of 10,000 feet. With respect to wilderness, it is one of the largest in the contiguous United States and is part of the Bridger, Shoshone and Popo Agie National Forests. It is a wilderness lovers’ wilderness with vast roadless areas, large glacial lakes, massive rock formations and flora and fauna unique to central Rocky Mountain west. Continuing in a northwesterly direction, the mountains merge with the north-south trending Tetons on the other side of the Jackson Hole. This entire area is considered by some of wilderness planners as part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and should be protected by even more stringent wilderness regulations.

Wilderness Orientation

No one returns untouched by the sheer power of the wilderness experience; the strength of a wilderness experience, as with all sound outdoor educational pursuits, lies in the blending of recreation, social interaction, and academic and inspirational learning. Curiosity, wonder, and appreciation become major stimulants for learning, while the lessons are played out in the ever-changing form and patterns of the cosmos.

Premiums are placed on working together, getting one another through the journey; personal attributes, such as self-reliance, cooperation, self-motivation and perseverance are encouraged. All are virtues necessary to fulfilling the role as a citizen of the world.

The aim of this program is to encourage broad and thorough exposure to and appreciation for the nature of diverse and complex ecosystems.

The purpose of the outdoor action portion of this course is to develop a capacity for leadership, to build character, to heighten sensitivity to the beauty of nature, to challenge one’s endurance with rigorous exercise and to encourage teamwork and build trust in one’s fellow students through wilderness experience.  After all, we are all students of Nature.

Outdoor Component

Areas to be visited: Popo Agie Wilderness Area, Shoshone National Forest, Wind River Range, Wyoming

backpacking: backpacking is the basic component of this course; being able to carry only what you need for an extended trip (8 days) into the wilderness is essential to maintain the roadless, natural qualities of an area

fly fishing: with its large lakes and clear streams, the Wind River Range offers some of the best mountain fly fishing to be experienced in Wyoming

fly fishing: with its large lakes and clear streams, the Wind River Range offers some of the best mountain fly fishing to be experienced in Wyoming

Natural history of the Wind River Range: including wildlife and plant communities (we might see or hear a wolf here too)

Typical Activities and Schedule

The Trip - this is a tentative, but typical itinerary-changes may be made based on hiking and backpacking experience of participants as well as weather conditions.

August 1 - Meet in Lander, WY.  Transportation from Buffalo to Riverton and return is the responsibility of the participant.  It is best to fly into Riverton, Wyoming from Buffalo, NY.   You will be greeted at the airport and transported to Lander.  We'll stay overnight in a Lander motel, eat out at the famous Lander Bar and Grill

August 2 - Get food, fishing licenses and supplies; get tribal permits; drive to Dickinson Creek Campground  (Dickinson Park Quad)   Directions on this roughest of roads here  

August 3 - Do some local hiking, birding, wildflower identification and acclimation to 10,000+ ft elevation in and around Dickinson Creek Campground

August 4-5 - Begin hiking on the Bears Ears Trail. We will hike into the Popo Agie Wilderness Area approximately 7 miles over Adams Pass where we will camp for 2 nights, exploring and fishing a "lake with no name"  containing large cutthroat trout just north of Sand Creek and Bears Ears Mountain (11,820').  We will have the opportunity to climb Mount Chauvenet (12,250') also. (Lizard Head Peak Quad)

August 6 - We'll hike into the Washakie Lake area via the Moss Lake and Washakie Trails, crossing the South Fork of the Little Wind River and set up base camp at Washakie Lake.  From there we'll do long day hikes radiating out from Washakie Lake. (Lizard Head Peak Quad)

August 7-10 - Daily hikes of 10+ miles to local lakes and scenic areas to do photography, field studies and fly fishing to include the South Fork Lakes, Loch Leven Lake, Grave Lake & Little Washakie Lake; along the way we may get the opportunity to off-trail climb Washakie (12,524') and Payson (11,717') Peaks. (Lizard Head Peak & Mount Bonneville Quads) August 10  Hike out, return to Lander and motel

August 11 - Return to airport or your final destination

Trip Leaders

Joseph Allen
Trip Leader
Jon Roth
Assistant Trip Leader


Travel arrangements to and from Riverton, WY are independent of fees for the program. Arrangements will be made to pick up air travelers once they arrive.  Once on site, we will travel to destination, Lander, WY.

Flying into Riverton, WY (RIW) with United Airlines and Delta Airlines both of which have flights from Buffalo (BUF). This usually requires a connecting flight in either Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Chicago or Salt Lake City but there are other options for getting to Riverton if you have the time to peruse the internet flight vendors and mix and match airlines. 


August 1, 2018: Upon arrival in Riverton, WY, we will travel to Lander, WY (30 minutes) and check into a yet-to-be-determined motel for the night. We'll stay overnight in a Lander motel, eat out at the famous Lander Bar and Grill. 

* Transportation from Buffalo to Riverton and return is the responsibility of the participant. You will be met at the airport and transported to Lander. 


Backpacking and camp food will be purchased in Lander on August 8. Each participant is responsible for purchasing their own food for this trip.

Costs & Registration


  • $1500 per person
  • Registration is limited to 12 participants, providing a 4:1 Guest to Guide ratio.


  • Motel - 2 nights
  • 4 meals are covered while in Lander, Wyoming (2 pre and 2 post trip)
  • Transportation from Riverton, WY airport to Lander, trailhead and return to airport.


  • backpacking equipment, gear, and food for the trip.
  • Travel to and from Riverton, WY.


To reserve your place on this trip:

  • a $500 deposit is due by March 1, 2108
  • Your deposit is refundable until April 1, 2018
  • The remaining balance is due by May 1, 2018

> Download Registration form (.PDF)
> Download Medical form (.PDF)



Send payment and registration to:

Earth Spirit Educational Services
PO Box 261
Orchard Park, NY 14127


(716) 941-6267

Contact Us

Joseph Allen

(716) 228-9510

Jon Roth

(716) 796-1387