Sunday, June 17, 2018

Grandaddy Basin

Scratching my head while sitting at Pinto Lake in the High Unita's I tried to remember if this was one of the places my Scout Troop had camped.  I've been here plenty as a mid point on a hike but, remembering back 30 plus years is a stretch.  l camped along the end this weekend.

I got off early Friday. Drove longer than expected towards Hanna to get to the Grandview Trailhead.  As a side note, don't do the final 6 miles in a 2 wheel drive car.  It's step as, never mind, and has drop offs, yeah may be no.  I made good time to Pinto Lake where I called it a day.

Saturday, I made slow miles and visited another point I haven't been in a while, Rocky Sea Pass.  10 years ago I spent my first night alone in the Uinta's here.  The other side is, um, not pass able for me.  I sat a while staring into the next basin full of lakes.

From here I returned and dropped into 4 Lakes Basin for a bit and then on to Grandaddy Lake.  For a while I thought about going by way of Rock Creek and up.  After setting camp, I wandered a bit.  I went down the trail I would have come up.  It was abandoned or did I take a wrong trail.

The mosquitos are out at this spot, arugh.  I donded the bug net to keep my sanity until one decided to have my tea after supper.  Needles to say, I didn't finish that mug. One does not know the trouble of sleep until they've shared a tent with a few pesky mosquitos.

Sunday will be a hot coffee before heading over the pass to the car.  Hopefully an uneventful drive to the main road and home.

I typically like doing day by day on the hikes however I am using a broken device now in an Otterbox case which I'm not a fan of.  However had I had the device contained last week it wouldn't be broken.
Ah making of memories.

Hum, I hear rain.

Going down the road to Grandview is a lot easier.  I may drive up there again.
Rain, light and sparse, just enough to wet the tent.  Since I get up and go this means drying out later in the day.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Wrap up

Exit days are a mix, sometimes I've got miles to crunch, others are lazzy.  This exit day fell into lazy.  I woke up rested, warm, refreshed.  The lower elevation, trees, and the wind dying out added to solid sleep.  I like to try to be up and gone in 15 minutes as a goal.  This being lazy, how does 25 minutes sound?

After packing, I boiled up some water for coffee, walked Duck Lake's beach before heading out.

I wandered to Weir Lake, down a side trail to Majorie Lake.  At Majorie Lake I fixed a mug of mint tea and played the guitar a while.  I really need to memorize some music.  I checked out a few spots near by before returning along the flooded trail.  Wet feet, suck it up, walk through the water.  The modern materials need no pampering like the boots of old.

I was back at the car by noon.  I had a lazy time.  What did I learn?  Keep the phone in a case.  I dropped it a few times too many.  Also a tent is warmer than sleeping under the stars but, I wouldn't exchange sleeping out under the stars when I can for a little warmth.

Hike on, Hike wise.

OMG Stars

At hiker midnight (after sunset) I slipped into my quilt.  Still not dark, I rolled over.  When I tossed next the stars were casting shadows.  Several hours later the Milkyway Galaxy appeared.  I stared in wonder.  How can anyone choose a tent on a night like this? No wind, no moon.

Around the third watch of the night, 3 to 5 am, I got chilled.  I left the bag liner home, thtat would make a bit of a difference.  The quilt is 30 degree rated, meaning that's the low end comfort range.  I shrugged the chill off.

Day break came.  I didn't aim for 15 minutes to gone but, I did pack quickly.  I stuffed things such that I could dry out my ground sheet and quilt with minimal intrusion and get coffee at the same time.

I hike up to The Notch, stuck my head over the pass, came back, found a place in the sun for a while.   Laid out the gear to air out, fixed a hot coffee, and jamed a few tunes until the wind kicked up.  Did you know I hate wind... wind is good for kite flying, sailing, and cleaning out the Salt Lake Valley air.  Arugh, I'm chilled again.  Time to step away from this cliff band and the great view to a place a bit more sheltered.


No mater how many times I enter a basin in the Uinta's I find magic.  Each time is slightly different though the terrain does not change.

I wandered towards Divide Lakes, no trail just going between the different small lakes until I got there.   I talked with a fellow a spell at a camp site I've used before,  before moving on.

I dropped into Cliff Lake, spun a hard right but before I proceed I spent a few minutes chatting  with climbers headed to Cliff Lake.  One gal knows a someone I met last year in Oregon.  What a small world.

I went up to Long Lake, took a nap.  Went to Island Lake, went off trail to Fire Lake, a small lake one can see from the Big Elk Lake Trail above.  It's easy to find... follow the water.  Got back to Island Lake, passed down to Duck Lake.

At Duck Lake I sat a bit too long and decided the wandering is over for the day.  I'm writing at 7pm, been here since 4.  Yeah, I've got a few miles to pull to get to the trailhead in the morning but, so what.

With the wind, I've set my tent to help keep me a bit warmer and also using a big downed tree as a wind block.

Ah a weekend of relaxing...


Crystal Lake trailhead was in overflow mode by the time I got there after work.  I chose to find a quiet place above Wall Lake long before sunset.  I'm sure I could have found another spot higher but, eh so what I'm up for fun this weekend.  I don't have much of an agenda just wander, camp, and play a little guitar, pun intended.

I'm hoping with my position I'll get a sky full of stars and a great sunrise. 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

White Pine in the Spring

Looking at Red Baldy as I drive each day to work, when the mountain gets almost clear of snow, it's time to hike across snow fields into White Pine Lake, Little Cottonwood Canyon.

I put my sights into Saturday.  I headed to the trailhead before 8.   The weather, clear until afternoon, awesome.  I started one layer chilly as I know my hiking style will warm me up quickly.  The trail ran wet in places, muddy in others, no snow until the last odd mile,  which is all snow.  From experience, modern shoes need not be pampered, they often are all synthetic, dry quickly.  I don't mind stepping in water unless it'll create erosion issues.  Reguardless what time of year, this trail is always wet in areas as it crosses several wetland type areas, just give up on keeping your feet dry all day on this trail folks.  If you desire dry feet, wear Wellies.

I made quick time up.  Pausing a moment here and there to view the budding spring and to gaze into the basin a head.  Several camper groups passed me heading down.  I regret not asking where they camped as I know the area well enough tp know camping is limited at the lake.

Tracks headed into the basin before the trail jumps out of the trees.  I followed suit.  The snow, softening, yet, no post holing.  I spotted tracks going towards the dam.  That's a wicked steep route.  I chose to stay towards the east and down below the summer trail.  Two wet slides from the day before didn't even come close to the road.  I aimed to be on the road about 100 yard before the rocky pass into the lake well out of slide danger zones.

Tracks crist crossed each other.  High above me two skiers descended a chute.  My poles, with small baskets, punched through the softenng crust.  My microspikes bit effectively on the slope.  Before I head to the Sierra's, I'll come here to train for the passes and practice self arrest, I thought.  That won't be for a few years.

I stopped at the pass for a few photos.  Made my way lake side, wrapped around to the dam, not much of a trail here.  I kept looking for a large campsite.  The only thing I found was a hot campfire ring with glowing coals.  I shoveled snow bare handed and stired.  I know fires are allowed up here however, when they are not out out, cold to touch, they become a major fire hazard.  Coals can be carried on the wind into tinder else where.  This fire ring, on the dam, a view of tinder a short mile below.

I scouted the area.  I'm always looking for another spot to camp.  I returned to the dam, set my BRS stove up for a hot lunch.  Shielding it from the wind took a trick.  Then when I wasn't looking it flash boiled, well that's a Ramen mess.

The dam seemed to be the place to come up, several groups made that way as their choosen route. Personally, nope, too step.

I returned the way I came, enjoying a long butt side off the summer trail.  Note to self: don't forget the trash bag, burr.  As I slushed a long at the bottom, I looked up.  There were two more wet slides since I headed up.  They too, did not pose any danger however, the later one is in this area the danger rises.  The danger is not only from above off of Red Baldy but from the snow itself.  Not being on the trail puts one into a rocky region, post holing into a void is to be avoided.

As I highlight the danger, I can't say enough about the beauty this area is blanked in snow, a lake of ice rimmed in turquoise, barren peaks rising another 800 plus feet.

Salt Lake Tribune put this as one of the 5 must do spring hikes.  I agree, so do the dozens I passed must agree too.  8 miles round trip with 2400 ft elevation gain.  I count is as strenuous for the out of shape for the distance then the snow.  Once the snow clears, the rating dips.  The snow is replaced by a mix of wet trail, rocky tread, and the occasional atream crossing.  Mostly, its good hard pack dirt.  The White Pine trail is an old jeep road.  It's not wilderness so mountain bikes are allowed.  Please be respectful of all users.

If you have not reviewd Leave No Trace Principles, please do so.  I try to promote this as possible.  I believe we are all responsible for keeping the land in pristine condition for the enjoyment of others.  This includes not blasting music on portable speakers; to hiking with one ear bud out so that the other ear can be alert to sounds around or other hikers (I'm light on me feet, I'll surprise an unsuspecting zoner); watcjing where breaks are taken; scaring of the land with the use of campfires; etc.  Leave No Trace is located at

I found myself back at the car, parking lot over flowing to the highway, sky still clear, thinking how lucky Utahains are for the mountains so close to the metropolitan.  Let's protect and preserve this resource from development  for money while helping backcountry users better manage access and mitigate ruin of trails and basins but, how?  Save Our Canyons ( is one organization adressing these qurstions.  For me, it's about treading lightly, picking up trash, and breaking up those pesky fire rings, fires long cold out of course.

Hike on, Hike wise.

Sunday, May 20, 2018


Tossing and turning happens, with the anticipation of sunrise I make sure the last toss puts me inline for the sun peaking into the basin.  I saw the first pink of new day on Dromedary Peak.  I sat up.  Sitting in a quilt is much like that of a mummy bag except the back can get cold.  I snuck an arm into my puffy down jacket.  After a bit, I flashed to pack with the intention of having coffee and breakfast on the rocks.

The fellow who camped near by was surprised that I was packed so early.  A late night six pack of 20yr olds pitched a huge dome tent on the rocks and one had a 2 burner propane stove out cooking bacon.  Where was their mule?  No mule, they all took a chunk of group gear and time to get up here.  PS they got in just after dark.

I laid out my quilt and ground sheet to dry in a light breeze.  I struck the canister stove to boil water for an overnighter treat, mountain house sausage & eggs, followed by coffee.  Not like what the kids were enjoying but, a treat for me. They missed out on the coffee.

Light blasted the Sundial.  Day hikers made there way in.  The morning, clear, perfect for a hike there and for myself, down.

Before I split, I took a look for trash.  I found a cache of crushed beer cans, empty cigarette packs, and a bottle of ketchup.  I didn't have a very big trash bag with me.  I chose the near full bottle of ketchup since it's a food item and will attract rodents.  I also kicked a part an illegal firepit.  Why, oh why do people do this?  There are multiple signs saying Pack it in, Pack it out.  Also there is a permanent fire ban in this basin.  Hundreds will hike this trail.  Thousands will pass between Mrmorial Day and Labor Day.  We all need to do our part of keeping pristine, pristine.  End Rant.

I sit drinking more wake up juice in the afternoon, the gear is sorted and put away, clouds roll across the SL Valley.  Rain follows.

Call this a micro-adventure (less than 24 hours) or call it a mock-overnighter.  Call it a major event for some like the kids I met.  The important thing is to get out there, get comfortable with the gear.  Find an experienced friend, hook up with an outdoors group, or rent some stuff from an outfitter.  Quit dreaming, go.

Liz Thomas, an established long distance hiker,  writes an article on the how and why short adventures work... you'll need to copy and paste that line.

I also want to encourage all to be mindful of the trash (pick it up), respect others, and be wise with sharing online adventures.  I'll highlight that one another day.

First Ruck

Micro adventures abound near SLC.  I debated abound hiking up last night but, I held off, more on that later.  Today, I debated when to go. I decided to skip Capital Church's afternoon and evening services.  I stashed the pack from the bin, drove to the over flowing trailhead of Mill B or D.  I'm forever getting these two mixed up.

I huffed and puffed a while, yes, I'm in shape but not the best of shape yet.  I passed many a group going up and coming down on their day hike.

The Sun Dial came to view, dozens lounged on the rocks over looking the lake.  I split to a camping area just out of sight.  Lots of wet but, I did find a spot that is dry.  I threaded my tent stakes into the ground with a given view of the peak.

As I set up another fellow asked where he could set up.   My question of him is do you have a free standing tent.  He does and he's in view of the masses and thankfully his tent is of muted colors.  I hate the sight of bright tents up here,  they make the place look crowded when it may only be one or two people.

I wandered a bit thinking of where I'll make my morning brew.  Last night I found my way into the most expensive cup of coffes I'll ever enjoy, all of the cost for a conversation.  I headed to one of my reading spots, finishing up, I took someone else's pate to the counter, struck up a conversation with another regular and the staff.  He offered me a mug of private brew.  The staff brewed it for him.  This stuff is mellow, smooth, and nutty.  A light roast with a unique processing, the coffee berries are fed to a particular kind of cat, then gathered, cleaned, and then roasted.  Yeah, now when somome says coffee tastes like **** I'll respond if you have that kind of processed coffee I'd like a cup.

I'm set upon a rock watching light escape this basin, chilled, and enjoying sounds of waterfalls, birds, and the occasional passing plane. Snow covers most the high basin, Lake Blache's ice is spotty, doubtful it'd hold a fox any more.  I ponder will I see moose in the morning?

Time to bounce to camp, grab the jacket.  Time for a hot tea.

Hike On, Hoke Wise.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Missed thoughts

Where are the thoughts?
Open the image to find out...

Thursday, May 10, 2018

hike training

More thoughts from work about hiking...

A different format

I'm playing with a different format for the blog for a whileso please click on the photo.


Sunday, April 29, 2018

Lack of...

The shear number of hikes I've gone on over the last few months is reaching an all time low.  The motivation to get up there, isn't.  Since October I've dove into reading as if reading all of a sudden became life.  My preferred genre balances between biographies, several different styles of self help, and philosophical topics.  The lack of hiking and increase of reading does not negate the desire to section hike the Pacific Crest Trail.

The SnoTel, PCT Water Report, and NOAA Weather sites see almost daily visits from me.  The plan is loose, hike another major section with a 125 mile per week goal.  Yes, you read and calculated that right, 25 miles a day 5 days a week or 20 miles per day for 6 of 7.  Let's not forget that I need a full day or two in places for resupply, hence part of the higher mileage requirements. This goal is do able with training.  I'm in the gym three days a week now.  My focus isn't loosing the gut.  Yes, I have one.  My focus is building leg strength and cardio.

Though my base weight (gear carried less consumables) hovers near 15 pounds, I still refine what I use each hike.  Last summer, in Oregon, a 20 degree quilt proved too hot at night.  This summer, I'll try a 30 degree quilt.  I should be comfortable most nights and push a little discomfort on the coldest.  Stove wise, I'm going to the tiny BRS canister.  At 1 ounce it is the lightest on the market, though  not the most durable.  I plan one or two hot meals a week, the rest will be cold soaked.  Cold soaking is just that, pour water into the meal and wait.  Typically it takes over twice as long to reconstitute a meal over the hot water method.  Clothing, nothing is changing except I'm getting a new red shirt, maybe not red, how am I going to tell the difference between hikes?

The location I'm headed towards tends to have a lot more water and a lot more ridgelines or skirting the tops of the mountains.  Water won't be a major concern this summer, watching the fires will (sorry Mom, I have to mention this).  Fires are popping up as a major concern for Oregon in the hiker forecasts already.

Lack of, hiking but not of preparation.

Hike on, hike wise.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Red Pine, January 1 2018

For sure the trailhead is packed, I thought driving up Little Cottonwood Canyon at 9:30 am.  Moments later, all of 5 vehicles were there.  I noted one guy preparing his skis and another with snow shoes on his pack just leaving.  I took a few minutes myself to ready up.  I hate driving in snow boots, so I put them in.  I too, put the snow shoes on the pack.  Why wear them when I'll be on hard pack?

Rounding out of the trailhead I saw a family group posing for a family portrait.  Beyond them, no one and no fresh snow.  There's just enough packed snow to cover the rocks.  Then I stumble over one, bawha.

I make good time to the trail split of Red Pine and White Pine.  I caught up with the skier.  He takes the  White Pine trail.  I look at the snow bridge.  Hum, do I chance it?  It's all over 10 inches strong over the creek.  I do it.  At this temperature and time of day, it's not a problem, later in the day it may present an issue.  Noted on the way down, others cross the snow bridge, at that time I take the real bridge which hardly has any snow on it.  This time of year of years past there is 2 to 3 feet of snow on the real bridge.  This is a sad snow year.

I take my time but still push a good pace.  I stop for a few minutes about 1 1/2 miles from the trailhead where the trees open up for a good view down Little Cottonwood for a view of the valley.  I don't see any haze.  This is good.  In times past there's been a wall of yuck at this hour.

Turning into Red Pine Canyon the slope is decorated with ski turns through the trees.  From here I have a mile odd to go.

The next trail split is to Maybird Gulch.  The trail crosses another bridge.  This one too has very little snow on it.  

45 minutes later I'm at the lake.  Someone cleared snow for a tent site.  18 inches is all they needed to go down.  Looking at the mountain before me, a field of rock from the ridge to the lake decorated with a bit of snow.  I can see why I hardly note any ski tracks near by.

I share a bit of time with another hiker while I pull out an alcohol stove.  I set my pot/stove on an over turned snow shoe.  Even with a windscreen and peice of aluminium under it, the cold prevents my water from boiling in what I think is a reasonable time.  The other hiker and I share a few tips and tricks about hiking in the Wasatch before he leaves.

I'm alone at the lake enjoying a hot meal, if one calls ramen noodles and tuna a hot meal.  I also take time to steep a mug of tea.  The clearness of the air, inviting.  The lack of snow, disappointing.  I debate heading to the upper lake but, since there is no one else here I chose not to.  I typically would go if I felt crowded out.

I keep an extra layer on as I head down.  A long time ago I learned I sweat on the way up and I freeze on the way down so I layer accordingly. I don't see another hiker until I get well below the bridge to Maybird.

Near the main trail split, I see plenty of folks.  The route down from there is packed with families sledding in the trees and along the trail.

Heading down Little Cottonwood Canyon I enter into the rising haze of the day.

*This post was started on January 1, 2018 but not finished until recently.
Interesting enough, I looked at my blog posts and the last blog was also about Red Pine Lake.