In the Teton Wilderness, where two oceans begin

The camp is located 22 miles from the Turpin Meadow trailhead along the famous plateau where North Two Ocean Creek makes a baffling break into two, sending Pacific and Atlantic creeks toward their namesake oceans. It’s usually reachable terrain by mid-June, once the sunshine in the high country has erased the last signs of winter atop Trail Creek Pass.

Right now, in the early fall, it’s about as bustling as it gets in the Bridger-Teton National Forest’s Teton Wilderness, a treasured Wyoming high country that’s bounded by Yellowstone National Park, the Absaroka Range, Buffalo Valley and the Snake River.

Summer can be packed, too, the result of fishermen drawn to fabled cutthroat trout runs out of Yellowstone Lake and up the Yellowstone River and its tributaries. Continental Divide Trail through-hikers and packrafters populate the 900-plus-square-mile wilderness during the narrow season the trails are dry. Then there are the “progressive campers,” guided adventurers who typically come in on horseback to eat good meals, relax and see the sights of a landscape that’s more remote than any other in the Lower 48.

Count Mike Leonard, a temporary tenant of the Winter camp, in that last category. A ninth-generation North Carolinian, he’d had a stubborn and ultimately successful lifelong ambition to see the Parting of the Waters. It started when he read about Atlantic and Pacific creeks’ mysterious split in a Yellowstone book his mom gave him when he was a grade schooler.

“That just caught my eye when I was 9 years old,” Leonard said. “It just took me 55 years to get here.”

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