23 May 2016

14.48 Mile Overnighter

I've been a walker all my life. I don't have a problem with heavy packs and long distances, never have. There are the extremes of course, like the Alaska Caribou pack out but for the most part I've not had problems. Since I arrived in Utah I've been trying to get out as much as possible. I've not lived at higher elevations before and there was some acclimation necessary. There's a difference between being in shape and being in mountain shape, or Elk Shape as some call it.

My last weekend before closing on the new house and moving I decided to push a little. A 15 mile loop with a 3,000'+ elevation change. Not exactly extreme but still a decent hike.

The plan was 9.5 miles the first day, starting at roughly nine in the morning. This would mean day two and the hike out would be all down hill. Miles 4 through to 7 would be the steepest ascent of the trip.

I arrived on time and set off up the valley. 

At roughly four miles in I took a break and double checked my route. I also filled up on water as this was the last opportunity until after the decent point beyond mile nine.

Finally reaching the trail heading down the mountain I set up camp quickly in the fading light and got dinner on. I had originally intended on building a fire but the wind was atrocious and I wasn't comfortable with the prospect so my old Pocket Rocket would do the job instead.

I didn't take a sleeping bag. Instead I brought my Kifaru Woobie, a Thermarest Neoair Xtherm inside a TiGoat Raven Omni bivy. I don't know what this set up weighs but is isn't much. I also had a First Lite mid weight base layer and my puffy if things went sideways.

Dinner was simple and I turned in not long after.

I was awoken at around 2 by the sound of a cow elk 'talking' and a brightness in the megatarp. The moon was full and incredible, the problem was I was warm and unwilling to get out of my bed to take any pictures. I drifted back to sleep only to be woken again around four, this time it was coyotes singing. I pulled the woobie up tighter and went back to sleep.

Just after dawn I crawled out of the bed, wrapped the woobie around me and got the stove going for breakfast, oatmeal, coffee, and a Clif Builder's bar, vanilla almond. The bar was hard because of the cold, in fact there was a hard frost on. 

I submerged the Clif bar in my coffee as I couldn't bite through it. Softened it up considerable and improved the triple pack of Starbuck's Via in my cup!

I broke camp and headed off down the mountain.

Part way down the mountain I made it to my second water-up location. This one was a spring coming out of the mountain. I didn't need a ton of water so I drank as much as I could and filled the canteen and bottle. I didn't filter and drank plenty of it.

A couple miles before I made it back to the jeep I broke out the Tenkara rig courtesy of Thom Darrah and I got lucky.

All in it was a wonderful trip, my legs are a little sore but I was pleasantly surprised at the speed I made, averaging just under three miles per hour even on the ascent. I didn't burn my lungs up and while it isn't exactly an over the top strenuous trek it was a decent one.

Thanks for taking the time to read the rambles!


  1. Great outing, thanks for taking us along. Beautiful scenery.

  2. Looks like beautiful country. Thanks for sharing.


  3. Love the images!
    And the black flap on your pack gave it away in the 10th picture, otherwise it could've just been a mossy rock or something like that.

  4. Excellent hike and photos... thanks for taking us along....

  5. Woken up by "elk talking"! That is awesome man.