Sunday, December 31, 2017
2017 was a year full of uphills earned, deep turns, days on trail, nights by the fire, and most importantly new beginnings. From the Dixie National Forest, Capitol Reef National Park, Wasatch Cache National Forest, and the Uinta Mountains, you really could not go wrong this year in the high terrain of Utah. The adventures I've had will last a lifetime as great memories. This video is a compilation of the highlights from my year here in Utah. Compiling these highlights this year was interesting to see where I have been. When your in the moment you do not see the whole journey. Its great to look back and see where you went and what you have done. Thank you to all of my family and friends for the love and support this year. Lets all make 2018 another great year! Grab a snack or a beverage and enjoy the video! Happy New Year!
Friday, October 6, 2017
Last week I got out to give my newly resoled backpacking boots a whirl which were done by the Vibram Sole Factor tour. They were in town last weekend at the Salt Lake REI location. I went on Friday to have my boots resoled. They were resoling all kinds of foot wear for free. They were asking for a $20 donation to Big City Mountaineers. This is a group which mentors kids about becoming more active in the outdoors. I figured why not change the tires on the boots and support a good cause? Vibram specifically did this tour for Big City Mountaineers. Plus my boots are like brand new again! The only problem my boots had were worn out tread which was not grabbing anymore on the down hill climbing. The uppers were still in great condition, sole not so much. I put over 400 miles on them backpacking, so it was time to change the tires. Here are the before and after photos of my Vasque St Elias boots. Funniest thing that the guys at Vibram did not tell me, the toes and heel section of the boots now glow in the dark on the new soles! Gino, the world class cobbler traveling with the tour even reconditioned the leather with Lexol at no charge. Thank you Vibram!
I had to give them 24 hours to dry and cure, so I waited till Sunday to head up to give them a test run. Best to know everything is ok before taking them on a long trip. I took a walk up Bells Canyon to see if the fall colors were changing. The walk in was beautiful as the foot hills were just starting to change. The boots actually feel a tad lighter than with the previous soul on them. The grip was far better than the original and they even felt a bit more stable than previous times wearing them. I got up to the lake and decided to hit the overlook to see how the colors were doing. What a sight to see! So bright red in the canyon with hints of yellow and orange here and there. I did a nice loop in the canyon above the lake. Just taking side paths and animal track walking through a mix of green and red colors. I stayed up there and watched the sunset. Nothing spectacular like previous sunsets I have seen, but quiet and beautiful as the trees lit up from the waning light. The hike out was crisp and quiet. Not like my previous visit in May where is was people everywhere. Fall is here. Gonna seek out some more fall colors this weekend. Happy Fall All!
Thursday, October 5, 2017
Sunday, September 17, 2017
The high terrain received its first snow of the season this past week. After months of unbearable heat in the valleys, we finally got a cold front, some moisture, and some mountain snow. I had plans to get out backpacking in the Uintas. From the forecast, it seemed that it would be cool going into the weekend but warm up to end the weekend. I was able to get out with my friend Clay and his awesome dog Sekoia. We decided to hit Cutthroat Lake since Clay had never been there before. We packed it up and headed into the range. Things were pretty warm until we hit Bald Mountain Pass. This showed you the extent of the snow fall on the range, most of the high peaks had snow on them. We stopped at the pass to take a picture of the snow capped peaks. Getting out to shoot really gave you a taste of how cold things had gotten since the storm. It was 32 degrees on the pass will cold winds blowing. When we arrived at the trail head it was 42 degrees. With a biting breeze to chill you all the way on trail, we made the hike in. It was very quiet, and only a couple of cars at the trail head. We made a good pace while passing all the lakes in the area and enjoying the sights and silence. This was some cold air for September. I bet if it had been storming it would have been snowing.
We made our way to camp and got things set up. Then we decided to get a fire going and collect what we needed to stay warm. I think both of us were kind of shocked at how cold it was, not expecting the bite to the air. We sat around drinking tea and warming up for most of the day. It was way too cold to do anything but either move or sit by the fire. Evening came in and it seemed to actually warm up a bit. We made dinner, then I set my camera out for the title image in this post. We had a very nice and warm fire as the stars were out and the temps were cold. Eventually the sleeping bag called my name. I bundled up in it like a mummy and dozed off for some much needed sleep. Morning came and both myself and Clay slept in and got up later than usual. I personally can attest that my planning for the cold paid off, and I was just too comfy in my sleeping bag to want to get out of it. When the sun hit camp I made my way for coffee and breakfast. The sun was warming it up quite a bit as it was at least 10 degrees warmer than the previous day. We packed it up and made the hike out. With the forecasted temps and snow this coming week in the Uintas, this might have been my last trip out there for the year. I have seen stranger things happen, so maybe I'll get lucky one more time to get out before winter reclaims the high terrain. If not its been a short but good year out there. Enjoy the pics! More adventures to come!
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
My original plan for the holiday weekend was to backpack to Hell Hole Lake in the Uintas. I did everything right, packed the night before, uploaded a .gpx file of the route to the GPS on my phone, packed a map, and I also had a plan for hiking times and when I would reach camp. I made it to the trail head, put the pack on and headed on in. I crossed the river without getting my feet wet, so I was feeling good about things. When I got across, there was a horse tied to a tree and what looked like a single track heading into the woods. I followed it for about a mile or so until it dead ended in chest high dead fall. To top it off, my GPS app was not loading the map, it kept crashing every time I would try to use it. Kind of feeling lost and finding no visible route, I had to make a decision at that moment. I was kind of unsure if I could even find my way back out to the trail head. Do I continue on and hope I run into the road in the fork, or do I try to retrace my steps to the Jeep and live to try again another day? I chose the later and made my way back out to the river. I crossed it again with no problem and got back to the Jeep. Frustrated, feeling like a failure, I just about packed it up and headed home. I then decided, since it was now much later in the day, to head in and see if I could snag Shadow Lake for a night and figure it out on Sunday.
I arrived to what I expected, a packed trail head. Holiday Weekend, go figure. But amazingly, someone was just pulling out as I was pulling in. I snagged the spot, threw on the pack and made my way in. I was moving at a quick pace, passing Washington Lake, and Tail Lakes like I was in a race. I arrived at Shadow Lake. To my surprise it was empty! Not a soul was there. I got my spot and set up shop. Once I settled in, a couple of day hikers came in, but they were on the other side of the lake. I did not even notice them minus when they arrived. I think they just had a quick snack and moved on. I put the fly rig together and took a crack at fishing. After catching some pan fryer brookies, I hooked into a very large Tiger Trout! Seriously some very fast fishing at this lake. Much faster than on previous visits here. Sunset came and it was beautiful, as you can see in the title photo. Darkness arrived and I put out my camera for a star trail and settled in for a nice night by the fire. This was one of the best nights all season! Vibe was good, and the fire was warm! After finishing my beverages, and gathering up the camera from its long exposure duties, I hit the sleeping bag for some much needed sleep.
The next day I awoke to clear skies and mild temps. I got some coffee going and watched the mist drift cross the lake. I made breakfast and went fishing again. It was fast action again, just pan fryers this time. I was just lounging around wondering if I was going to stay a second night, when a group of fifteen backpackers came rolling in. That made up my mind for me. I was gonna move on. I was packed in 45 minutes and hit the trail to head to the Jeep. I arrived to a mad house at the trail head, and I threw the pack in the car, shooting to see if I could just walk into Bourbon Lake and set up for the night. I made the drive over there only to find no where to park. I waited about an hour for someone to come out and leave, but alas it was not to be. I decided I would head out. I drove back up to go over the pass when I saw an open parking spot at the Fehr Lake lot. I figured it would be better than just dispersing it out on the road. So I took the spot, threw on the pack after reloading it, and made the short walk in. I found a spot on the east side over a ridge and away from the lake as to avoid the day hikers. There were a few, but not as many as I saw at the Crystal Lake lot. I got things settled for the night and decided to give fishing a shot. Alas, some hits, but nothing landed. Dusk started to settle in and the clouds were building from the south. I was kind of thinking I might get a thunderstorm as the sound of distant thunder was rumbling on the east side of the range.
This fortunately did not come to pass, but the clouds made one hell of a sunset to witness. I returned to camp and got on the evening gear and lit my fire. As darkness set in, I put my camera out on the south side of the lake, and let it do its thing. I returned to camp and had another great night by the fire. It was quiet and no one was there. I had the place all to myself once again! What are the odds of that on Hwy 150 on a holiday weekend? The moon broke through the clouds and the stars were amazing! I just relaxed and took it all in as the moon sailed west through the sky and the flames flicked in the fire. Eventually I reached my limit, and turned. I awoke to seeing my breath, and it was chilly for the first hour in camp. I did coffee and breakfast and then gave fishing another shot. Nothing once again, but still fun to be out there tossing a line. I packed it up and made the short hop out to the car. Not exactly what I set out to do this past weekend. Its been a long time since an area had me turn around. But all things considered, I think I made the best of it. Enjoy the pics, more adventures to come!
Monday, August 28, 2017
With August going out sizzling in the valley, I found myself with another shot to get out of the heat and into the Uintas. I was fortunate that my friend Clay and his dog Sekoia were able to join me. We made the drive into the range, and got a parking spot at the Crystal Lake trail head. Dark clouds were looming over the ridge as we put on the packs and made our way in. It sprinkled on us as we climbed the pass. Then it seemed to let up as we made our way down into the basin. Turning at the junction, the drizzle started again and finished almost as fast as it started. After a pleasant walk in the woods we found ourselves at Marjorie Lake. We made our way over to our desired spot and got shop built for the evening. I put the fly rod together as Clay went for a dip in the lake. From the noise he made it must have been pretty cold water. I fished for the better part of the day, missing a ton of fish but landing a few pan fry sized Brookies.
Dusk set in and the sunset was pretty sweet! As the sun got lower in the sky, it cast shadows of the peaks to the west across Haystack Mountain. We settled in with a fire for some dinner and some good conversation. Clay and Sekoia are just plain fun to go backpacking with. Darkness fell and I put my camera out for a star trail and settled in for a few beverages and a warm fire. After a couple of hours I decided to head to the north side of the lake to try to capture the Milky Way. There were so many stars I sat out there for quite a while just taking it all in. Eventually I headed back to camp and decided to turn in. I awoke to clear skies and mild temps. I got some coffee and breakfast going and sat out on the shore for a while. It was just so beautiful up here and the weather could not have been better. Time came to head out so I put on the pack and made my way to the car. This was a great trip with a good friend. It was awesome to be out in the mountains once more! Enjoy the pics! More adventures to come!
Monday, August 21, 2017
A fine batch of weather was on tap for the northern part of Utah. I took it upon myself to take advantage of getting out on trail. I decided since I was going solo I would head into Cuberant Basin for the evening. What kind of trouble could I get into? I set out from Pass Lake trail head and moved rather quickly into Reids Meadow. A solid push from there, and I was standing at the junction to Cuberant Basin. I was going to stop and take a break but I was feeling good and decided to push all the way into my spot for the evening. It was a wonderful walk in there, partly cloudy with some nice temps, and shade most of the way hiking in. Doing the last section to the pass is when the sun came out in force. I sat up there and took a standing break just soaking in the view and nice breeze. On I went into the basin, past #2 and down to #3 for my final stop for the night.
After getting shop set up I decided to do a little fishing as I had a couple of hours before sunset. It was red hot for pan fry brookies which were striking at anything you could throw at them. Eventually dusk set in and I got my fire going and had some dinner. Had a spooky moment right at dark, when my headlamp lit up two eyes low to the ground right outside my camp. Turned out to be a deer which was grazing on the abundance of greenery that has grown this year. Not gonna lie, the adrenaline was coursing through my veins! Was really glad to see that deer go bounding shoreline in front of me. Once I had my camera out for a long exposure, I made my way back to camp and settled in with my fire and some beverages. Eventually, it was time to turn in. I slept pretty soundly only stirring once in the night to adjust my sleeping bag. I awoke to clear skies and cold temps. There was frost on the meadow behind camp. A sure bet that summer is wrapping up in the high terrain. I kind of took my time in camp having some coffee and breakfast. After packing it up I made the hike out. You could not have asked for better weather. The view from Marsell Pass on the way out was spectacular! Cuberant Basin is a place that I have visited every year since 2009. it never disappoints. It was a great trip! Enjoy the pics! More adventures to come!