Utah 2008-06






 Henry's Fork Backpack

June 2008

High Uintas Wilderness Area, Northeastern Utah









Three of Utah's 21 or so "thirteeners"* comprise one of the most impressive basin headwalls in the state, made even more impressive by the deep snows that still lingered this late in the season.  Among these peaks is Kings Peak (the pointy one on the left that is set back a little), highest in Utah at 13,528 feet.


* a thirteener is a mountain between 13,000 and 13,999 feet high.  "Fourteener" is a more common expression and is used in states like Colorado and California because they have higher mountains.










The Uinta Mountains are unique in the continental United States because it is the only major mountain chain that stretches west to east.  To put this into perspective, Nevada has just over 400 mountains chains and every one of theirs is positioned darn near due north/south.  Considering the entire US, the Brooks Range in northern Alaska is the only other chain that runs west to east.










All pictures in this album were taken in an area of the Uintas called Henry's Fork.  The above picture of 13,159 foot Mt Powell (left), the almost 13,000 foot Red Castle Butte (right) and the basin area in the foreground shows quite nicely what this wilderness looks like for almost 500 square miles.  It is characterized by relatively flat near- and above-treeline basins with marshy areas, many lakes & springs, big mountains, and the highest concentration of contiguous above tree-line land in the US outside of Alaska.










The trail is in great shape from the trailhead all the way up.  Here, after six miles of walking through heavy timber with hardly a panoramic view to be found, it finally opened up.  A few moose and elk were chillin' in the willows to the right.  As for bears, it is posted that black bear are present but I have never seen one nor heard of one.  Utah has no brown bear.










The whole time I was up there I saw only one other backpacker and he/she was a good half mile away heading for Gunsight Pass.  Since I was backpacking solo, seeing another person after days of seeing no one was like seeing a packed school bus drive by.  In fact, of the 10 nights I have spent in these mountains over the last several years, I have only seen seven other people total.  Seven.


It is refreshing to know that wild places still exist in this country.








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