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Wind River Range

Wind River Range
Wind River Range

Wind River Country is located in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.  High desert plains rise up into the Rocky Mountains.  Wind River Country is split by the Continental Divide.  Visitors experience a unique and spectacular mixture of mountains with snow-capped peaks, icy glaciers, permanent snowfields, sheer jagged dolomite cliffs, sparkling alpine lakes, high mountain plains, abundant wildlife, wildflowers and wilderness.

The Wind River Range was formed 55 to 60 million years ago and is one of the oldest mountain ranges on earth.  It extends one hundred fifty miles from Northwest Wyoming to west central Wyoming.  The elevations range from 8,000 to more than 13,000 feet.  Gannet Peak, the highest peak in the northern and middle Rocky Mountains, is 13,804 feet.  The Wind River Range was carved out of granite mountains called "cirques"  by glaciers.   These same glaciers carved thousands of lakes.  Seven of the Rocky Mountains largest glaciers are located in the Wind River Range.

The Wind River Range is the home of the Shoshone Indian tribe and the location of the Shoshone National Forest.  This wilderness is a sub-alpine forest filled with aspen, fur, lodgepole pine, spruce, whitebark pine and a variety of wildflowers.

The Wind River Range contains many mammals which include bighorn sheep, deer, elk, fox, marmots, moose, pika and an occasional black bear.  The fish of the area include a variety of trout including brook, brown, cutthroat, golden, grayling and rainbow

Wind River Canyon
Wind River Canyon

Wind River Canyons are located between Bridger and Owl Creek Mountains.  The Canyon is twelve miles long.  The canyons are sided with steep cliffs that rise to heights greater than 2000 feet.  The railroad located on one side of the canyon was completed in 1913 and  highway 20 was completed in 1924, making the southern access to the Big Horn Basin much easier.

Wind River
Wind River

The Wind River is also the Big Horn River.  The Crow Indians living near the headwaters named it the Wind.  Lewis and Clark named it the Big Horn River in 1803, while traveling in the north east in Montana.  Both names were widely used before it was discovered to be one river.  Therefore, the Wind River officially changes to the Big Horn River approximately a half of a mile from the northern end of the canyon.  This spot is known as "The Wedding of the Waters."

References
http://www.wind-river.org/hiking.htm
http://www.jacksonholetraveler.com/intro/geography.shtml
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/destinations/Grand_Teton_National_Park/

Retha Mosley/Bearden Middle School


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