Lonesome Lake sits below the Cirque of the Towers in the Wind River Mountains in this photograph taken from the top of Jackass Pass. (Skyler Woodruff/Nature Conservancy of Wyoming)

Skyler Woodruff climbed to the top of Jackass Pass in the Wind River Mountains for the first time on an August afternoon in 2018.  

Woodruff, who’s father runs a llama-packing company out of Lander, grew up in the Winds, and they never cease to amaze her, she told WyoFile. That day was no different. 

Lonesome Lake sat far below, and a solo backpacker hiked through the frame. “I took a photo to remember it,” she said. 

The resulting panorama earned her first place in the “Land” category  of The Nature Conservancy of Wyoming’s 2020 “I Believe in Conservation” photography contest. 

The Nature Conservancy of Wyoming’s student photo contest is open to photographers between the ages of 14-19 who attend high school in Wyoming. Students are urged to submit striking images that convey their connection to conservation of Wyoming’s land, water and wildlife. 

Woodruff, who is 17, said her photo “displays how secluded one can get in the Winds.” The closest trailhead is 9 miles away, the silence is deafening, the landscape is huge and the weather is ever-changing, she said. 

As part of a special Photo Friday series, WyoFile will highlight first-place winners from all four categories. 

Katie Klingsporn reports on outdoor recreation, public lands, education and general news for WyoFile. She’s been a journalist and editor covering the American West for 20 years. Her freelance work has...

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  1. The first national parks were established due in a large part to early photographer’s images which convinced policy makers in Washington DC to protect nature’s beauty, wonderful to see Skyler following in their footsteps.

  2. I posted this on my Facebook page: One of The most spectacular places on earth, the Cirque of the Towers. First there with my good friend Lee. We were there in June snow and had the whole place to ourselves! This photo, taken by Skyler Woodruff, the daughter of Scott that runs Lander Llama was originally from Sun Prairie Wisconsin. My Dad, at 71, and I rented a pair of his Llamas years ago to show Dad what wilderness looks like. I had my own daughter Bec and husband Rob here a few years ago. And, yes, it really was as beautiful as I’d remembered. It’s wonderful to see the next generation loving this landscape.