UPDATING…EATING A BIT OF CROW?…..HANG ON TO SEE

The hope for 2018  was to culminate the  backpacking season–doing the entire 106 mile HIGHLINE TRAIL — not the 76 to 80 mile trail all the guide books are wrong about.

I was to warm up and see if I was ready by doing: 

1.  A 3-4 day backpack up Main Fork, finishing explorations of the tie hackers, and getting to HELL’S HOLE BASIN.

Then, if that went well, do:

2. A 4 day backpack to NATURALIST BASIN…..

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But, complete recovery from my 2017 back surgery…was causing trouble especially going downhill with a backpack….the JOLT causing acute pain.

But, then   3 months of chronic bronchitis  fouled up
the plan.  It  was worse than my 10 surgeries, 2 radiation treatments, and fight  defeating  peripheral nueropathy and matatarsilitis, as I couldn’t keep up my exercise program–and lost almost everything.

I went to work trying to get it back but found it was very slow.
 

When the Uintas thawed out I made an experimental trip to see how the elements of bronchitis, that were still hanging on, affected my problem with High Altitude Sickness, and found it was hurting me.

 

But I was at least trying and learning in my 83rd year, and wasn’t ready yet to have another FOREST GUMP MOMENT.

Then, ahead of schedule, I had a chance to go to the GRANDADDIES with Ted Packard and son Mike.

But, I had to let them go up the trail, leaving me to do it my way….as best I could, and told them to “not worry if you don’t every see me again!”  

That sounded a little shocking, so quickly had to qualify it, meaning….

…..”don’t ever see me again until you come back down the trail on the last day of the backpack!”

My pulmonary capacity was awful and  I had to rest too often, but had to push myself at least a few miles to where I could find water.  I experimented with a new bivy bag I think I mentioned I would use to save 1 lb. of weight, and with the rain that night found IT WAS AWFUL, but I survived the night.  NOTE: The first thing I did on returning to civilization was to give it to Deseret Industries!  I then used my poncho as a lean-to–the mosquitoes at night being no problem as the coolness of the night had them going inactive.

It was a struggle for me, and the JOLTS coming down painful for my back, yet came out of it feeling…

I CAN STILL DO THIS–JUST HAVE TO FOCUS ON CAREFULLY  

STRENGTHENING MY BACK, & DAILY HIKING AROUND TOWN WITH BACKPACK thru ANOTHER WINTER & SPRING. 

WITH 2 A DAY WORKOUTS,  POSITIVE SIGNS FOR ANOTHER COMEBACK ARE ENCOURAGING FOR MY 84th YEAR.

In the meantime all the rest of my time is dedicated to creating the unique book — now with 330 pages finished with stunning color,  incredible history,  believable legends,  life-saving survival stories, and…..
….. guidance for safe & enjoyable–auto, backpacking, horse & goat packing — forays into the
HIGH UINTAS MOUNTAINS
as well as also having complete guides for the Wilderness Area, as well as for the Western and the Eastern Uintas with information none of the present guide books have.

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2018 PLANS FOR THIS OLD BACKPACKER!

SORRY ABOUT BEING SLOW TO GET THIS REPORT OUT!

I had big planes for this summer, I’ve been dreaming about and planning all Winter & Spring, all my 16 year HIGH UINTAS WILDERNESS PROJECT crowned hopefully in

August by doing the entire …….

…….–all the way to near Flaming Gorge, plus extras for 126 miles.

But my earlier “EXPERIMENTAL TRIP” showed some problems with my pulmonary capacity & High Altitude Sickness, due to 3 months of bronchitis during the winter….with some aspects that have persisted.

But I’ve also suffered from hay fever that for the first time in my life has been a real killer, plus still struggling to recover from my 2017 back surgeryand, some would say me being in my 83rd yearwhich isn’t as bad as it sounds, as 

I’m actually only 82 years old.

But, it all adds up to backpacking not being as enjoyable as in past years……but, I’m working at it and still might surprise a few people, with hopes of doing a couple of backpacks in August when the mosquitoes are gone….and seeing how it goes:

DOING THIS EVERY DAY, plus…

Today, July 7, 2018 hiking around town with a 40 lb. load, and when

offered money or a ride, I yell at them:

“THANKS, but I’m not an old homeles guy, but an eccentric millionaire out getting his life giving exercise!”

The hoped for  backpacks will be:

1.  A 3-4 day backpack up Main Fork, finishing explorations of the tie hackers, and getting to HELL’S HOLE BASIN.

Then, if that goes well, do:

2. A 4 day backpack to NATURALIST BASIN…..

Depending on how they go….I’ll see what more can be realistically done, but all the rest of my time DEDICATED TO WRITING …..

THE MOST UNIQUE HIGH UINTAS BOOK IN EXISTENCE.

 

Called, “BAD ASS” on BYU RADIO!!!!

NOTE:  There were apparently a couple of negative reactions to the “Bad Ass” label thinking it was a bit “crude” ….. so for your information here is one positive interpretation by the one who should know….as she ran the show:
ONE POSITIVE REACTION –

Cordell, you deserved the praise. Thanks again for coming on the show!”

Julie Rose, Host

https://www.byuradio.org/episode/e7b87e9c-1bb7-4f4d-8d8a-c9908bcd3f0d/top-of-mind-with-julie-rose-the-making-of-a-psychiatrist-hiking-culture-panel

Thanks Julie for making it clear that in the jargon of outdoor people today the label was a positive one of “praise”

TEST TRIP TO BALD MT. PASS — HIGHLINE TRAILHEAD – PASS LAKE TRAILHEAD – SCOUT LAKE – A SHOOTOUT TALE

PROVO RIVER FALLS  June 4, 2018

BALD MOUNTAIN-11,943 ft.  & PASS 10,759 ft.

 on June 4, 2018

No access yet to the parking lot on Monday, June 4th, so I passed on my plan to climb the mountain.

Note:  On my return on June 6th the parking lot was accessible with one car parked, with hikers on the trail.

The HIGHLINE TRAIL HEAD

One car had driven through the snow on the road and was parked at the Trailhead

The REGISTER lists the last visitors of the 2017 Season, and

THE FIRST TO REGISTER FOR 2018 on June 4th

THE WINNER:  KARA BUCKLY

For the night of June 4th I parked for the night at the Highline Trailhead horse section guarded by Hayden Peak–

NOT CAMPING as that was prohibited.

I was rather “GLAMPING”  — Google it!

THE POINT OF THE TRIP

IMPORTANT NOTE:  As explained in my previous post (scroll down to see it), the main purpose of this trip was to check out“the reasonable capability of an old guy in his 83rd year”to still do some heavy duty backpacking, all complicated by  having suffered a serious setback during the winter of 2-3 months of bronchitis, with vestiges of it hanging on including reduced pulmonary capacity, and of crucial importance NOT BEING ABLE TO MAINTAIN MY DAILY PHYSICAL TRAINING WITH BACKPACK.  All of that on top of–as I’ve grown older having increasing problems with High Altitud Sickensss  (HAS)

I was checking myself frequently with my Oximeter--for oxygen in my blood, and with my blood pressure monitor.  BP & pulse was always good.  My normal 96 oxygen in blood at home dropped to 90  and then to 87 at Bald Pass, but normalized to 90 at Highline Trail Head (elevation 10,380 ft.).

Getting out and walking around  made a noticeable difference, feeling out of breath easily.  I never felt completely well during the 3 day trip, while up above 10,000 ft.

THE PROBLEM:  The night went badly with all of a sudden my body reverting back to the problems of bronchitis with  some coughing and a dull ache in my upper back/lung area making sleep impossible.  I struggled, but finally checked my oxygen in blood which had dipped to 82, but BP  still normal. I took one Diamox tablet, and  resorted to what I had learned helped eliminate the dull ache, taking 2 cod liver gel caps every 3 hours (as a noninflammatory).  I got through the night but it was a bad night and a bad sign for heavy duty backpacking at much higher elevations with heavy loads.

On my way back to the Pass Lake Trailhead, I did a little walking getting in a good position to photograph Butterfly Lake, with Bald Mountain & Reids Peak in the distance. 

I did feel I had to do a little hiking at least–but not the overnight backpack I had thought of doing up to Scout Lake and on to Lofty, and even then swing around by Kamas Lake, but with the trouble I was having, felt it best to just do a day-hike to Scout and Lofty Lakes. I had a special reason to get to SCOUT LAKE as I’ll explain once I get there. 

This area, west of the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, is not a Wildernesss Area, and so, as you can see above there aren’t as many restrictions.  In the Wilderness there is a limit of 15 per group–no limit here.  In the Wilderness Area you have to camp 200 feet from water, and in most areas have to be 1/4 mile distant from lakes to have a campfire.

When I got to the steep part….which was the majority of the trail, I entertained myself taking pictures of the main “first flowers of the season” I’ll insert below.

Spring Beauty

White globe flower

 Candy Tuft

Marsh marigold 

Glacier lily

There was some snow on the trail, and other hikers told me that the trail to Lofty Lake, 10,888 ft. elevation, had so much snow covering boulder fields that they decided not to risk going on. 

SCOUT LAKE – 10,397 ft. elevation

On the other side of the Lake you can see a log structure, which you see below–part of the STEINER BOY-GIRL SCOUT CAMP that is accessed from the highway a mile or so  up the road from the Pass Lake Trailhead.  Some of the facility apparently reaches the lake.

I wasn’t feeling too well, and so ignored my usual testing of the water for fish, just had my lunch and rested a bit.

NOW FOR THE SCOUT LAKE “GUNFIGHT” TALE

Back in pioneer times in Utah there arose tales of GOLD in the Uintas–everywhere from “Montezuma’s Treasure” from the Aztecs, to a series of old Spanish mines, to the “Gold of Carre-Shinob,” and of course “The Lost Rhoades mine.”  People involved in the stories are Isaac Morley, Brigham Young,  Ute Chief Walker, Thomas Rhoades and his son, Caleb.

Eventually from 1906 when Caleb died —  until at least 1920 the search was much in the hands of  a European immigrant, F.M.C. Hathenbruck.

He was of royal European ancestry, but an illegitimate son who nonetheless could have become Kaiser of Germany, and at another point in his life could have become the “richest man in the world.”

He rather won degrees as a medical doctor and mineralogist who migrated to the U.S.  and via working for the Army, having a Medical Clinic & Assay Office in Telluride, Colorado, another in Park City, Utah, ended up in Provo, Utah with a medical practice.  He was an expert in Indian cultures and a trusted friend of the Utes who would come all the way from the Uintah Basin to be treated by him.  He was always a  mineral seeker, had a store in Provo–he neglected by seeking for mineral riches, and in 1920 organized a serious, last ditch  effort to find the Lost Rhoades mine, but by 1928 was selling sewing machines and life insurance door to door in Provo to survive.

Backing up a bit, in about 1894 he became involved with Caleb Rhoades who needed someone the Indians trusted to gain access to Indian Reservation lands in search of the mines mentioned. In those adventures they often needed the protection of “gunfighters,” beginning friendships with Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch.

In 1920 Hathenbruck organized a team to come into the Uintas from Wyoming to avoid detection.  His group of  13, included 11 who were the best gunmen available–mostly connected to Butch’s Wild Bunch, plus a cook and an assayer. The leader, Caleb Landreth,  was also a self-proclaimed prophet who claimed divine guidance from a deceased Indian Princess. On horseback they followed the Bear River south, and then up Hayden Fork and over the pass arriving at their destination SCOUT LAKE, and an old cabin from which a well defined trail led up the mountain.   NOTE:  The Cabin was years later burned down by the Forest Service

There Landreth announced a vision revealing that half of what they found would be used to organize a new church, of course with him as prophet.  That created murmuring and protests in the group–not exactly the religious type.

Rock M. Pope, from Vernal began plotting to kill some of the group as soon as they found the mine. Matt Warner, who rode with the Wild Bunch, heard about it and made a plan to save them.  As they returned to camp after the first day’s search, one apparently having found rich ore, but when asked  where he defiantly told Pope to “Go to hell!”  He was promptly shot, which began a shootout, Warner shooting Pope, and by the end five of them were dead, and others wounded some never to be seen again.

Several efforts were made by survivors to return to the area and find the mine, but with no success.  Matt Warner, was  elected Justice of the Peace, town marshal and deputy sheriff at Price.  He returned several times to the Scout Lake area prior to his death in 1938, but failed to find the mine

(Information above summarized from the book, THE UTAH GOLD RUSH:  The Lost Rhoades Mine and the Hathenbruck Legacy, by Kerry Rose Boren & Lisa Lee Boren).

THIS IS JUST ONE EXAMPLE OF MANY SUCH HISTORICAL TIDBITS THAT WILL BE INTERTWINED THROUGHOUT MY BOOK ON THE HIGH UINTAS.

Now, back to my effort to determine my immediate future.

We are on the edge of the mountain south of Scout Lake, seeing Bald Mountain, and on the left Mirror Lake, which I’ll zoom in on  below.

I made it back to the car safely demonstrating good balance, and  quick agile reactions on the rocky trail.  To be honest what I was looking for simply was, quoting from my previous post: 

If it seems reasonable, smart and enjoyable……”

…I would then continue with my plans.

I also mentioned being considered stubborn, my reply being, “I’m also likely dumb–like most people, but not stupid!”  So the honest truth is that as simple as everything was, for whatever reasons, it was hard, as I continually felt sort of sick in the high country, and so it wasn’t really enjoyable!

I hate to admit that because it means that for the present my backpacking plans have to be put  on hold, and I’ll dedicate more time to writing the book.

  But, I will continue my efforts to work-out and get strong, hoping for being able to soon be able to say again,

“IT IS ENJOYABLE!”

On the way home, MOOSEHORN LAKE with  Hayden Peak in the background

I stopped at the Crystal Lake Trailhead to see about our missing friend, Melvin Heaps.  His picture was still there as he has never been found.

He was just going on a day hike,  but didn’t tell anyone exactly his destination.  He likely didn’t go either with the equipment he might need for bad, cold, rainy  weather, or  what he would need  to survive any  eventualities. 

I pulled off  at the only  place along the Byway I’ve never stopped at and took a few pictures needed for the first section of the BOOK, entitled:

“Merrily We Roll Along”

In Our Cars Doing a 500 Mile Loop Tour of the

UINTA MOUNTAINS

  One day I’ll climb down into the canyon to try a little fishing for trout that have perhaps never seen an artificial lure.

NOTE:  In the coolness of twilight today, June 7th, I did my little hike around town with my backpack full of 40 lbs. of water in soda pop bottles,  and IT WAS ENJOYABLE, so…..…..I’m not GIVING IN ……………………..EASILY!

*********************************

CHECKING THE REASONABLE CAPABILITY OF AN OLD GUY IN HIS 83rd YEAR

I’ve been known to be stubborn…….

and admit being OLD & HALF WORN OUT……

BUT INSIST I’M NOT STUPID–with the half of me that still works pretty good capable of more than you could imagine!

But being in my 83rd year,  and the 16th  of my HIGH UINTAS WILDERNESS PROJECT, is reason to be cautious….but it got complicated this past winter with 3 months lost in my conditioning with a bad case of BRONCHITIS….with remnants still hanging around, and a reduction in my pulmonary capacity.

My heart passed the STRESS-TREADMILL ordeal with flying colors, but with 

 the problems I’ve had in recent years with 

HIGH ALTITUDE SICKNESS……need to be careful.

So this week I will be checking out just how much I can accomplish by spending half of the week of June 4th   in the BALD MOUNTAIN PASS area in my  trailer you see above  in the  parking lot.

I’ll be doing the following hourly:

 Checking frequently my BLOOD PRESSURE & PULSE

And…most importantly checking the oxygen level in my blood with my oximeter that now goes everywhere with me in the High Country.

  The count should  be 90 or above.  If it dips, I rest a bit until my  body normalizes.  If it gets low and won’t normalize that could bring on High altitude Sickness, the only solution is 

GO DOWN TO A LOWER ELEVATION.

SURVIVAL IN THE HIGH COUNTRY…the 1st RULE:

  Let people know specifically where you’re going

Monday, June 4th:  Drive to Bald Mountain Trailhead parking lot, check vitals, then CLIMB MT. BALDY, 11,943 ft. checking at every rest stop my vitals–especially focusing on how my reduced pulmonary capacity responds to high altitude.

Tuesday, & Wednesday – June 5th & 6th:  If all went well with the climb, do a little backpacking from the Pass Lake Trailhead, hiking .5 miles to  Scout Lake (10,387 ft.), then about another mile to Lofty Lake (10,888 ft.), and spending the night trying out a new system to reduce load–using my new Bivy Sack, that I’ll report on in a week with photos.

From Lofty Lake, I will drop down to Kamas Lake and return to the Trailhead    by Wednesday afternoon having done 4 miles of  backpacking.

 I will  return to civilization Wednesday to see the 3rd NBA Finals game, and evaluate the results of being at medium altitude and then plan accordingly the rest of the backpacking season.

If it seems reasonable, smart and enjoyable, I will do two more   backpacks in June:  To Hell’s Hole & then to much higher Naturalist Basin.……then evaluate what might be wise for July, all with the hope of in August doing the entire HIGHLINE TRAIL from Hayden Pass to near Flaming Gorge.

MIRROR LAKE SCENIC BYWAY OPEN — GRANDVIEW TRAILHEAD ROAD….hopefully by May 26th

MIRROR LAKE SCENIC BYWAY OPEN

*************************************

THE HADES CANYON ROAD TO THE  GRANDVIEW TRAILHEAD 

Hopefully will be open by the Memorial Day weekend

Road open to Splash Dam

Above here there was one avalanche that has snow on the road still.  The Forest Service  will work on getting that cleared and road open by the weekend.  

No one from the Forest Service has hiked up the trail to the Grandaddies….as of today–Monday, May 21st.

**********************************************************************************************

If you happen to be the first up the trail, send me a report and some fotos..PLEASE

ACCESSIBILITY #1 Wolf Creek Pass–No.Fork of Duchesne River–Grandview TH & Mirror Lake Byway

On April 22 (2018) made my first exploratory/accessibility trip into the Western High Uintas.

WOLF CREEK PASS IS OPEN AS YOU CAN SEE  BELOW IN SEVERAL PHOTOGRAPHS

Wolf Creek Pass and the “Gateway to the Grandaddies” at the  Grandview Trailhead are both at approximately the same elevation, which sort of indicates what the snow depth would be at the Trailhead.

We have come down from the pass to the Canyon of the North Fork of the Duchesne River — which canyon we see below, with  basically no snow in sight.

The North Fork of the Duchesne River is as low as I have ever seen it.

Above we are looking up at Hades Canyon.  The road to the GRANDVIEW TRAILHEAD  is still closed.  A Forest Service worker 10 days ago drove the road and got to the Splash Dam, but with 3 large trees across the road, plus some rock slides.   They will work at getting that cleared up, but at Splash Dam there is still too much snow, so it will be a while before  the road will be open to the Trailhead.   As soon as there is further developments, I’ll let all know.

THE MIRROR LAKE SCENIC BYWAY — SR-150

At 14 miles from Kamas there is a barrier with a large sign explaining that there is no maintenance during the winter, and the road is closed…..but half the highway is open for snowmobilers and others.  On April 22nd I was able to drive 6 more miles where cars with trailers, etc. were parked as seen below.

With the warm weather, this stopping point will gradually move up the canyon. According to the Forest Service in Kamas, there is no specific date scheduled to clear and open up the highway, so the official statement is:

“The Scenic Byway will be open sometimes between Memorial Day and July 4th.”

I will immediately advise of anything more specific.

In the meantime, I will continue my workouts in hopes of being ready for  backpacking in my 83rd year, with a couple of warm-up backpacks in June & another couple in July, and hope to be ready for doing in August the entire HIGHLINE TRAIL from the Hayden Pass Trailhead to its actual end (or beginning) on highway 191 from Vernal to Flaming Gorge — 106 miles, plus extras as I follow the spine of the Uinta Mountains, for a total of around 126 miles.

********************************

“The BOOK” & UINTA BACKPACKING PHOTO REPORT FROM 2017 HIRSCHI FAMILY & “MY TRAIL BUDDIES,”

                                                                        Hi Cordell,

We enjoy the newsletter. Thanks for keeping us updated and motivated trying to keep up with you.

Hirschi family here. Met you on Henry Fork Trail last year. Wanted to update you with some photos taken from this season.

This is Isaac on his second ascent of Kings. On the hike in, he remembered exactly where he met you on the trail. He said as we hiked by, “hey, isn’t this where we met our trail buddy”?

Dollar Lake was so crowded we ended up camping high in the basin. We were happy to see a forest ranger at the trailhead teaching Leave No Trace to everyone hiking in for the busy weekend. Way to go Rangers! Thanks for educating and reminding all backcountry users!

Beautiful and empty below Kings Peak.

Spent some time in China Meadows fishing with Grace! Learning how to fly fish.

Different views of Reid’s Peak from Cuberant. We go ice climbing between Baldy and Reid’s.

Fresh Snow hiking on the north slope

It has to be COLD to freeze a river. 6° on the Henry Fork.

Late fall photos from Chepeta Lake

Looking forward to your book.

Regards

Hirschi Family 

************************************************

Hey MY LITTLE TRAIL BUDDIES, & parents

 Be in touch your “TRAIL BUDDY…LITTLE ANDY”

*******************************************

About “THE BOOK?”

I have finished the PREFACE, INTRODUCTION & working on:

The  FORWARD 

First, each Section and Chapter will be prefaced with one page like the following:

HISTORY/LEGENDS & FASCINATING STORIES

THE VERY FIRST LOOP TOUR OF THE UINTAS

Note:  Done in a model T-Ford pulling a wood trailer in 1926

Then, following the 1-page description of that epic journey, comes the 

FORWARD entitled:

“Merrily We Roll Along”

In Our Cars Doing a 500 Mile Loop Tour of the UINTA MOUNTAINS

After that car tour guide showing all the wonderful fascination one can see from a car tour comes the heart of the book in 

Section 1:

 A GUIDE TO THE HIGH UINTAS WILDERNESS,

 followed by:

Section 2:  The WESTERN UINTAS

Section 3:  The EASTERN UINTAS

&

Section 4:  A GUIDE TO LIGHTWEIGHT BACKPACKING & SURVIVAL

Notes & References

Index

 

ACTIVITY ENDING AUGUST & September 16, 2017 UPDATE ON HIGHLINE TRAIL

UPDATE:  Activity from August 27-31 ,  2017

FOR THE BOOK I DID RESEARCH & EXPLORATIONS ALL AROUND THE FRINGES OF THE HIGH UINTA MOUNTAINS & mostly out of cell phone signal contact areas–for example Hacking Lake, you see below…..


…. the Leidy Peak Highline Trail seen below


Then below– looking 26 miles to the east towards the very beginning of the Highline  Trail near U.S. Highway 191

Which 26 miles section has been cleared of deadfall as indicated in their sign at the Leidy Peak point, and at the far eastern beginning of the trail–
THANKS TO THESE GREAT GUYS FOR THEIR WORK!
*****************************

UPDATE:  Saturday, September 16, 2017

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE HIGHLINE TRAIL BACKPACK?

If you have followed my two 2017 backpacks to the GRANDADDY BASIN & discovery of Range & Jeff Lakes, you will have noticed that they were difficult and not as enjoyable as in previous years–that had me conclude that a long, at least two week backpack doing the entire HIGHLINE TRAIL from Mirror Lake to Flaming Gorge would be a difficult challenge in my 82nd year….so–while continuing my recovery from back surgery– for this year I sort of …..…..threw in the towel!   But, as I have admitte
“I’m stubborn,” so the more I think about it, the more I have in the back of my mind that I will likely yet figure out a way to:
 
Do it during the 2018 season, in my 83rd year.
But, as crazy as it might seem to some of you, one critical factor will be 

TO DO IT ALONE & BE ABLE TO DO IT MY WAY, AT MY PACE, 

RATHER THAN BE PRESSURED TO KEEP UP WITH OTHERS, 

WEAR MYSELF OUT & BE SORT OF MISERABLE! 

At my pace I can cover a lot of ground--even slowly-- by getting a good start and keep at it  all day.

*****************
That GOAL will have me persist working out, wandering around town with a pack on my back–all Winter–recovering completely from my recent back surgery, watching  my weight, eating good and carefully take my miracle supplements & actually working  towards being in better shape for 2018 than I was for 2017!

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