Windows on the Wild

Brooks Lake Lodge

Over the hills and far away: trail riding on mountain-bred horses    

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307-455-2121 >> www.brookslake.com

The lodge is open from June 21 until September 21, and a three-night minimum stay is required. Accommodations range from $250 to $300 per night and include three meals daily. Custom overnight pack trips are an additional $100 per person per night.

A STAY AT THIS 13,500-square-foot post-and-beam ranch in the northwestern part of the Wind River Range will make it evident why Wyomingites escape to the Winds. Relaxing on the flagstone porch, you're dwarfed by the Pinnacles, a jagged mile-long cliff band towering nearly half a vertical mile above. There's a nearby stable with real horsepower, a stocked lake (just 400 feet away), and a guide waiting to show you a sliver of the 5,000 square miles of surrounding wilderness.
AT THE LODGE Enjoying high tea in their Western-style sitting room, it's not difficult to see why Brooks Lake Lodge is 95 percent full throughout the summer. Wild game, fish, and fruit are trucked in daily from as far away as California to ensure fresh meals. The lodge's six cabins, six rooms, and presidential suite are all themed. Lamps carved to resemble trophy animals flank beds piled high with down comforters. In 2003, the lodge will open a 4,000-square-foot spa with a Jacuzzi, steam room, and exercise room—as if the spectacular terrain weren't enough.

THE SPORTS Unbelievable but true: You can tickle fish. Follow a local to a stream where unthinned throngs of rainbow, brook, and cutthroat trout feast, and grab one...with your bare hands. Or just amble to Lower Brooks Lake, where you can cast from your canoe. For more exercise, pick up a hearty bag lunch and hike or mountain bike the five-mile Kisinger Lakes Trail. Ascend switchbacks to a 10,100-foot-high open ridge before descending to the four Kisinger Lakes, glowing green and blue from sediment and algae.
BACKCOUNTRY FORAY Take a one- or two-night guided horsepacking trip, perhaps to Cub Creek in the Teton Wilderness. Two hundred feet from the water, lodge staff will set up a plush camp, with deluxe cots, washrooms, and down pillows. The lodge discourages overnight backpacking because of the resident grizzlies; about 400 make their homes within a 100-mile radius.

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