In a previous report I had mentioned that I would be searching for remnants of the Hilliard Flume and Beartown.  There might be a few of you who aren’t familiar with what we are dealing with, so let me explain.  
We are dealing with a group of tough guys I have called “unsung American heroes.”  They are called “tie hackers,” or “tie hacks.”    They were mostly Irish immigrant lumbermen who in 1867 were sent into the North Slope of the Uinta Mountains, and other areas, like the Wind Rivers, to make railroad ties for the Transcontinental Railroad.  They incredibly worked 12 months a year in the most adverse conditions imaginable eventually producing millions of ties without which there would have not been a Transcontinental Railroad.
One of the first communities established by them  in 1867 was Gilmer, or Beartown in Southern Wyoming. 
 Our search will take us to that area to pinpoint its location and find some remnant, maybe even some evidence of what caused it to become known as “The liveliest city, if not the wickedest in America,”  where “the bloodiest battle between whites in the history of Wyoming,” took place.  After our search for Beartown we will search for the Howe Feeder Flume, and then the tie hacker related ghost towns of Hilliard and Piedmont.
The route was up to the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway as seen in the Google Earth SPOT view of the trip. 
I show a view of the highway with the DEER CAUTION sign for a purpose. 
Even in the daytime one often sees deer along and crossing the route, and I recommend caution, driving below the speed limit. Especially is this important at night. I know what I’m talking about as a few years ago I was returning from a backpack at night, and I swear I was driving carefully, but nonetheless a deer RAN INTO ME! I had to wait for a Highway Patrolman, and then a wrecker. A black moose is even harder to see and could wipe you out, so be careful and enjoy yourself more.
Cut timber can be seen along the highway, as this is a multi-use Forest used for forest products, hunting, fishing, grazing, and in some areas even oil and natural gas production–as I’ll mention in a moment.
We have now climbed and left behind us Bald Mt. Pass, and  look eastward with Rocky Sea Pass on the left, and Cyclone Pass on the right, both accessed by the wonderful Highline Trail.
Drive carefully and  enjoy the beauties all around you.  We are now heading down to the north.

Here we  pass the road to Christmas Meadows and continue north.
Nearby our sheepherder friends were camped seen the week before driving their herd from Wyoming towards the High Uintas.
Then up the highway I stopped at the Bear River Ranger Station to learn what I could.  It’s more than worth your while to stop–with  clean restrooms, and cold water.
You can get all kinds of information, maps, books, postcards, etc.
And out back there is a real tie hack cabin with pictorial displays that explain all about these unsung American heroes.” 
Then on to the BEAR RIVER RESORT.
ATV rentals (snowmobiles in winter) and cabins for rent with satellite TV.
THE BEAR RIVER is all over this trip report.  Remember this is one unique river beginning in the Uintas, flowing north into Wyoming, then swinging west into Idaho where it turns south flowing back into Utah and into the Great Salt Lake, its 500 mile course making it the largest river in  North America that doesn’t empty into an ocean. 
The Bear River was named in 1818 by Michele Bourdon, a 21 year old French-Canadian trapper for the Hudson Bay Fur Co. He was impressed by many bears  in the area.   In 1819 along the river he named  he was killed by Indians.
Now on to Wyoming to search for the location of “The liveliest city, if not the wickedest in America,”  (1868) BEARTOWN. 

Additional reports on the ghost towns of Hilliard and Piedmont, Wyoming were originally next in this report, but will now be found after the report on the Howe Feeder Flume.
 Part of that search included in 2009 a visit to the Public Library in Mt. View, Wyoming
 and from there I made contacts with the library in Evanston.  In Mt. View I photographed the following page about Bear Town.
Our search for Bear Town takes us past  Sulphur Reservoir.  Bear Town’s location will be in the distance down below the dam.
We are now back on the highway, at the 2nd tourist stop where historical signs tell us the story. 
Below is apparently the only photograph of this short-lived frontier town that just in a year or so grew to 2,000 people with general stores, boarding houses, livery stable, saloons, gambling halls and a traveling newspaper, The Frontier Index.  My first objective was to find its location.  Next I  had said that I didn’t believe that “Nothing remains,” so I had to find something, even if it was just an old piece of wood.  How could I ever have hoped for even finding the culprit for having “whipped” the crowd into such a lawless “frenzy” that it turned into the “bloodiest battle between whites in the history of Wyoming?”
I searched for the area that would match the hills behind the town’s photo and added below my photo of the spot that seemed to be a quite accurate match.
In my research I learned that an ex-lawman, Tom Smith, came to Bear Town working as a teamster, but soon became the marshal.  He had been a professional boxer and was famous for often being un-armed and subduing  criminals with his fists.    He did his darndest to keep the vigilantes and the criminals from fighting it out, but failed.  From there on he was known as Tom “Bear River” Smith and went on to become the marshal of Abilene, Kansas where he was killed in action by outlaws.  My complete writing will give many interesting details about his life.
Marshal Tom “Bear River” Smith
There are several versions of what happened in Bear Town, and I will include all of them in my final writing, but the stories go from one survivor of the battle saying there were 53 dead–all but one bad guys, to the controversial journalist Legh R Freeman, who had been the catalyst in the fight, saying 40 bad guys were buried around where the criminals had burned down his printing establishment.  Historians feel that the total dead count was more like 17-18.  The vigilantes had hung 3 of the rowdies who they were sure were involved in murders.  The bad guys then got organized and came for the honorable citizens who had holed up in a store.  When the bad guys approached 15 of them were instantly cut down by furious fire from new Henry Rifles in the hands of the good guys.  Freeman is the one who dubbed Bear Town as “the liveliest city, if not the  wickedest in America.”
That turned out to be the bloodiest battle between whites in the history of Wyoming.  With that the Union Pacific Railroad decided not to run a spur to the town from the main line, and the town died.  It disappeared, supposedly with nothing remaining.
I drove and hiked around the area searching for something that might be “remnants” of the town.  I talked to a rancher who pointed to the area below as a spot behind the house where the Cavalry would camp out, and where he has found old mule shoes. 
He joked about the fabled $50,000 in gold buried in the area.  I asked if he had found it, and got a toothless grin and “Even if I had I wouldn’t be telling you!”
In my explorations I went for outlying areas that would have been garbage dumps and found a few items, mainly some “old pieces of wood”  seen below.
Then I stumbled upon the important find.  I have found in my research that usually the “tie hackers” and railroad workers were heavy drinkers.  Of course the criminal element that were attracted to these frontier towns, especially to the saloons, gambling halls, and brothels, were also heavy drinkers.  So is what I found hard evidence of this and the culprit in the whole history?
WOW!  Didn’t know it had been around that long.
So we say goodby to BEAR TOWN for the present, or should we say, THE GHOST OF BEAR TOWN, looking over the spot where it had been with the High Uintas in the far distance to the south.  
 In this extremely brief summary of Beartown, I have only given you a few tidbits of the fascinating and incredibly action filled history, but eventually I’ll get the whole story told, including a number of accounts from journals and dairies of that period.  We might just get it told in a big way deserving of this true and crucial chapter of our Western  history.
Now lets get back to the High Untas and do some exploring.
From 1873 to 1880 the Hilliard Flume and Lumber Co. provided railroad ties, mine props, cord wood, etc. to the railroad, and others users. As we have seen in Hilliard, Wyoming a series of kilns were constructed, as also in Piedmont a bit further to the east, where cord wood was turned into charcoal for the railroad, and iron smelters in Utah and elsewhere. A 36 mile long wood flume was constructed to Hilliard from the Gold Hill area of the Uintas west of the present Mirror Lake Byway.
The flume was V shaped about 36″ x 36″ built with heavy 3″x12″ planks. As it went down the mountain, it at times went through cuts dug through the rocky terrain, and at times was held up by a trestle one report says 16 feet high, and another states it being 30 feet high at Hilliard  where the train passed underneath the flume.

80 tons of square iron nails or spikes, like you see above, were used in the construction that in the beginning was known as “Sloan’s Folly,” but it  was successful for 7 years and perhaps more and became known as “an engineering marvel.” The water would move the wood products along about 15 miles per hour, making it to Hilliard in about 2 hours.  The nails were found on my second exploratory trip when I got the first photographs of remnants of the flume I know of.  The longest nails are 6 inches long.

To add more lumber products, and to keep the water flow up another flume was constructed to the east along Main Fork (of Stillwater Fk of Bear River), a stream that originates in the Hell Hole Basin, and which joins Stillwater fork 2 miles downstream from the Christmas Meadows Trailhead. In 1873 this was a virgin timber area with good water flow so it was perfect for the needs of the Flume Co. It was called the Howe Feeder Flume. This was going to be my focus on this trip assuming access would be easy. How wrong I was!
Once down out of the mountains a bit in flatter country you come to a turn-off to the southeast that leads to Christmas Meadows.
Drive about a mile to the first turn-off to the west and go towards “Road Gated.”
You are now in “tie hacker” country, driving through beautiful lodge pole pine forests–their preferred trees.
I add the winter photo below as that is when they worked the most–under the most difficult conditions. They were tough “hombres” to say the least.
In my research I found it stated, “very scanty historical records in existence.” Especially is this true during the early period, from 1867 to 1880 before the Forest Service even existed. More records are available for the 2nd period from about 1912 to 1935. My guide for this early period was a 1978 study that itself said, “…structures are badly deteriorated.”
What might I find 32 years later?
My first find was a locked gate on the very good road and bridge that crossed Stillwater Fork. Later at the Bear River Ranger Station I learned that the road had been constructed way up the canyon by an oil and natural gas company, but only to find they couldn’t exploit the area. Some maps show the road stopping at the bridge, with the Hell Hole Lake Trail continuing from there. Other maps show a jeep road going part of the way up the canyon. The Google Earth SPOT view I got after the trip follows and should be explained.
The green arrows on the left show the beginning and route of the Hilliard Flume coming down off of Gold Hill, crossing the highway (it isn’t marked where) and then joins the Howe Feeder Flume about 1 mile above where Stillwater Fork joins Hayden Fork to form the Bear River.
At the tail end of my last report (Trip #3) I mentioned the Hilliard Flume and a search I had made in 2009 but the road became very difficult for my small SUV and I turned back, but I did find a cut that had been made for the flume about where the 2nd green arrow is, and nearby the ruins of a tie hack cabin. 
The yellow arrows more or less indicate the Howe Feeder starting along Main Fork and cutting across to finally joint the Hilliard Flume. The bridge and my camp were at #2. From there you see a straight orange line to #1. That is the distance I hiked the first day, about 2 miles in my attempt to find remnants of the feeder flume, but it was anything but a straight line–most of it tough bushwhacking through tangles of downed timber. I started up the road crossing the bridge, but was careful to watch for signs of what is called a “historical road” that would take off and angle towards the stream.
So off I went up the road, of course photographing the beauties along the way, like this Meadow Salsify, that is more a common foothills flowers, here found at about 9,000 ft. elevation.
I was hiking through lodge pole pine forests that were very thick.
All of a sudden I noticed on my left what looked like an old roadway and turned into it.
Often the “historical road” disappeared but usually by just going where it seemed right I would find it again.
The bushwhacking wasn’t that hard as I found plenty of reasons to go slow and stop often.
I was constantly scanning on both sides, up ahead, and even backwards attempting to notice any kind of structure that wasn’t natural and might be a remnant of the flume and/or the tie hackers.
This one certainly wasn’t natural, but who knows what? Then I found the roadway heading down towards the stream.

Nothing from our tie hacks, but no reason to get bored–rather inspired by the wonders of nature.

Then all of a sudden something that wasn’t natural.
This reminded me of piles of rotting logs I have found along the Middle Fork of Blacks Fork.

I finally made it to Main Fork, but what a tangle of downed timber. I tried my darndest to follow it upstream, and did keep track of the road for a while.
Along Main Fork here and there I would find remnants of the Historical Road.

Eventually the going became a real chore, and it was getting late, so I decided to backtrack to camp hoping to see something along the way I had missed. Back at home comparing my route to the study’s schematic of possible remnants superimposed on a topographical map, I could see I hadn’t gone far enough. I’ll show that topo map in a moment.
Wild Forget-me-nots.

All along the way I found many treasures, but no remnant of the flume. The next morning, not having this Google Earth view and knowing that the graded road went way up the canyon, I decided to walk the road at a quick pace for 1 hour which  I did without finding anything.
Later at home I did what I should have done before this trip.  I made a copy of the topographical map of the same area, then matched the contour lines with the 1978 study map and sketched in exactly where the flume had gone and where there were remnants back 32 years ago. 
The crude purple with the heavy yellow line inside is basically where the Howe Feeder Flume went. My bushwhacking route following the Historical Road was the red dashed route a bit further north. As often happens when exploring one learns a lot, and ends up being better prepared to get the job done on the next adventure–which will be soon. I will begin the search near the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway where a jeep road crosses Hayden Fork and a trail begins heading for Hell Hole Lake. That trail apparently closely follows where the feeder flume came down, with sites along Main Fork paralleling the Hell Hole Trail. So I’m chomping at the bit to get up in the High Uintas again and return with a good report.

About 20 miles into Wyoming you come to this turn-off with important and interesting historical information of the area. I”ll attach here large views of all of them so those interested can read, and learn more about this fascinating area. Last of all I’ll get to our  objective of several “tie hacker period ghosts.”

Here you see the Hilliard Flume coming down from the Uintas, held up by 30 foot high trestles and the 80 tons of square iron spikes.

We will now drive out past Sulphur Creek Reservoir to see what is left of Hilliard. As you see below it is now made up of ranches and homes.
I was able to detect some remains of a couple of the kilns mixed in with ranch buildings and machinery.
I’ll zoom in so you can see what I was seeing–ruins of a couple of kilns.
Below is the Google Earth view of the area. We’ll now travel eastward to the Piedmont Ghost town where the charcoal kilns are well preserved.
Below we are viewing from the left, the area of Beartown, then Hilliard, and Piedmont on the east or to the right. The Piedmont ghost town is to the right of the reservoir. To the far right you can just barely see 3 light dots–the kilns seen next.
Water was abundant in the area and a town grew. The settlers built a store, hotel, saloons, school, church and homes. It became a popular area for the soldiers from Ft. Bridger who would come for a bit of “Rest and Recreation.” When the railroad bypassed Piedmont the town gradually shrank, the last store and post office finally closed in 1940 turning it into a “Ghost town.”
This ghost town is connected to the “tie hackers” because they provided the wood that was turned into charcoal. Eventually coal mines in Wyoming and Utah made charcoal obsolete.
I made an exploratory trip into this area during the summer of 2009. You can see my more complete report on the area and many other tie hack sites I found on that trip. If interested go to: 2009 TIE HACK SEARCH.   Said 2009 trips are in the Galleries section of this website. Soon I will pull all these exploratory trips and reports into one writing.
Except for the kilns and the cemetery, this is all private land with No Trespassing signs. I zoomed in from the road.
This is likely the school ruins.
Across the gully and stream we see the cemetery up on the hill.
I photographed every tombstone and in my 2009 report give some interesting statistics that show how tough pioneer life was. In the final writing I will do on this pioneer period I will include all the photographs for anyone who wants to really understand. I’ll insert only one here from 1900 of a child born but died on that same day.
I decided to add one more, the last person buried in the cemetery — in 1998, indicating that the ties to this pioneer community still run deep among their descendants.
Before my final publication I will do a little investigation and find some of these descendants and add some real personal information.

I’ve got PIONEER DAY on my schedule for the 24th, then a trip to New Mexico for a grandson’s wedding reception, so in a couple of weeks I’ll be back on the Uinta Project. Most likely it will be with more exploring to find and photograph real remnants of the flumes and whatever explorations in the high country my work will permit. Tune in to KSL OUTDOORS RADIO and call in your questions or comments.

I welcome any questions or comments.



Trip #3 July 9-18  East Fork Blacks Fk. Trailhead –Little East Fk, Alpine Lakes, Squaw Pass, Porcupine Lake/Pass, upper no-name No.Star Lakes, Tungsten Lk/Pass, Y-19, Y-20 Lakes, Oweep/Lambert Lakes back to Trailhead . PURPOSES: Find and photograph Big Foot and family, test at least 14 lakes.  Fri-Fri-Sun.

This was the plan, but if you tracked me on the SPOT website you will have noticed that some modifications became necessary.  I’ll get into that as I describe what happened.  
First up on Friday, July 9th, the route was to Kamas and then up the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, making a stop at the Highline Trailhead to use the facilities and see what the action has been thus far.
I checked the register and found the following:
From there I continued north to the turnoff and the North Slope Road heading east. To that turnoff it is about 100 miles from Springville, Utah.  I didn’t activate my SPOT tracker until actually arriving at the East Fork of Blacks Fork Trailhead, but I’ll insert here the Google Earth image that shows the Wasatch Front on the left, then tracking  (done on the way home) beginning at Francis and Kamas and up the Scenic Byway and down to the North Slope Road and  the 20 miles east, and the backpack.  The tracking north into Wyoming will be explained later.
I had got a late start and so didn’t leave the Trailhead until about 1:30 p.m.

The East Fork of Black’s Fork Trailhead.

I added my name to the short list in the Forest Service Register.
The 1st entry was on July 2nd, a trip to the Red Castle Area, reporting on their return that Red Castle Lake was still frozen over on their trip.
The sky was ominous.  The Evanston weather report I had for 7 days reporting afternoon thunderstorms for the next few days.  So off I went sort of into the teeth of the storm.
I set my camera on the rail of the bridge crossing the East Fork of Blacks Fork and got my portrait.  Of course Big Foot and his (its?) family were supposed to be waiting for me to take their portrait up Little East Fork.  Soon I was hiking with poncho protecting me and gear from the rain.  1.6 miles up the trail I managed fording Little East Fork that was high with the run-off but luckily split there into 3 streams.  Then up the canyon and eventually to the 1st ford.
There I was shocked with the realization that I had forgotten my wadding slippers which for me were essential.  I wasn’t about to wade the stream barefoot with my very tender and delicate reconstructed ankles and feet.  Neither did I want to  get my hiking boots wet and continue with wet, cold feet.
Especially early in the season one should have wadding slippers for most areas.
I had some good ones–much better than the heavy bulky ones now used by most hikers seen later with some new Uinta Friends.  But, mine were in Springville.  I decided I would not ford the stream but rather bushwhack my way up the south side of the canyon to where the trail came back across the stream.  It crossed my mind that this was a stroke of “good luck” as I would have a better chance of finding Big Foot off-trail where few if any backpackers had ever been.
My route was on the steep left side of the stream, providing me with some great exercise!  This was especially so as I was going prepared for a 9 day trip, and of course all my photo equipment which, with 3 lbs. of water totaled out at around 53 lbs. on my back and around my waist.
Lots of downed timber to say the least.  My balance and agility had improved a great deal since my first backpack of the summer.  Of course I was slow as a snail, especially in this kind of country. Due to my late start I wanted to keep going until 7:00 or later, but all of a sudden a storm was on top of me  and I frantically searched for a level spot wide enough between rocks and downed timber to set up my tent.  Then the rain was upon me, and I had to settle for what there was.  I covered my gear with my poncho and stumbled around setting up my tent and dumped everything inside.
  I had to eat a cold dinner of Wheat Thins,  egg nog and an energy bar.  It rained off and on all night.  I awoke early Saturday and tuned in to KSL OUTDOORS Radio, but reception was very bad.  I did pick up that they wanted me to call twice, once at the designated time, 6:37, and later to talk about fishing in the Uintas along with someone from the DWR.  I got the first call in though with a weak signal.  After 7:00 a.m. I tried again many times and failed.  Radio reception was also bad.  
Everything was a bit wet and so I got a late start scratching and clawing my way up the mountain.  No tracks of Big Foot even though I kept thinking I had seen a fleeting and frightening glimpse of his wife–but then realized it had been a nightmare of a woman I had to do with for a while… leave it at that!  Noticing as I could through the thick forest the mountain ridges around and ahead of me I calculated that I was about where the trail had to come back across the stream and began angling down–“down” as usually I had to keep high to avoid often near impassable terrain. 
 For the first time in my experience I began wondering if a GPS device might not be a good idea.  I’ve always resisted saying, “Jedediah Smith wouldn’t have used one!”  But, it occurred to me that he wouldn’t either have had a down sleeping bag, rather a buffalo rob!  
For information go to:  GPS
I had navigated pretty good and all of a sudden I was where the trail crossed the stream.
I had ahead of me a long stretch before another ford and I began enjoying myself back on a trail and photographing the many varieties of wildflowers.  
Zooming in on many tiny varieties that go unnoticed by hikers as they are so tiny, these being about 1/4 inch wide.
Eventually I came to the 3rd ford.  Mostly because of the off-trail bushwhacking up a steep canyon littered with a jig-saw puzzle of downed timber, I was pretty tired and I began getting that feeling that for me to continue I would need to take a day of rest.  

I found a nice spot for my camp and decided to stop early, take my supplements and consider seriously some things that were weighting down on my mind.  
I got my water bucket and headed  for the stream to get the water I needed to mix all my stuff.
While there two backpackers appeared.  They were equipped with wadding slippers and mentioned how difficult the fords had been downstream. They couldn’t believe how I had avoided both difficult fords.   Up this far the stream was smaller and I got shots of these new Uinta Friends as they crossed the stream.

Take notice of the crucial pole you should always use to steady yourself as you cross.
Made it, but forgot his boots.
His buddy sailed them over the stream.  Then his own.
Then he was on his way too.

They were on a great loop backpack up Little East Fork to Squaw Pass and down to Oweep Creek, then over Porcupine Pass down around through the upper Garfield Basin and the headwaters of Yellowstone Creek to Smith’s Fork Pass and north into the Red Castle Area.  From there they would take the Bald Mountain trail back to the East Fork of Black’s Fork Trailhead and their car. I confess feeling a bit envious of them and their youthful energy, but I had to pay heed to what my body and mind seemed to be telling me.  I got my water and  was soon back at camp  preparing my recovery supplements.
I settled in for a “day of rest” and contemplation with a lot on my mind.
I’ll admit that none of this was as easy for me as I had hoped.  I was strong enough, but so slow that to do it all would require more time than alotted.  Some of my kids smile and say, “Dad, what do you expect, you’re getting sort of old!”   But, my balance and agility were improving with each trip.  High altitude sickness, a great concern in the last few years, didn’t seem to be a problem anymore–even though I had only been as high as 10,800 ft this summer with much higher passes ahead of me. Nights were long as I had difficulty sleeping well. Maybe a bit of loneliness was part of what I was feeling, but it was clear that after 1,350 miles of backpacking in the last 8 years I wasn’t enjoying myself as much as a few years ago.  It was also a bit disconcerting to be a bit fearful of finding a way to ford the streams, but maybe it was wisdom?   I began daydreaming about having a little house trailer parked at Trailheads sleeping in comfort, eating good  and doing day hikes photographing flowers and wildlife, and maybe doing a good study on “Fishing the Streams of the Uintas,” but first finishing  my research and search for the  unsung American heroes, the  Tie hackers. 
But there was something much more weighty on my mind.  In a recent Foundation for Indian Development newsletters (I’m the volunteer Executive Director)  I had talked about how low donations were and how terribly sad I was to have to say “NO”  to life and death requests for help from my Mayan brothers and sisters.  I recognized that the economic situation was (is) difficult, but that those who wanted to donate could easily do so, perhaps by taking one day less vacation,  one day less golfing a month, or one less movie a month, eating out, etc.  But there I was fooling around in the Uintas and not working enough to be able to donate much myself–except for my time keeping the 40 year effort alive.  With the desperate economic situation I felt like one big hypocrite to say the least. For information on what I’m talking about click on FOUNDATION.  On that website you can donate Online to one of the most worthy causes around–to which I have dedicated more than 50 years as a non-salaried volunteer.

The next day, Sunday, I started off sleeping in some, clicking on my radio in time to listen to The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and, in keeping with the “Day of Rest,” I even had my simple little Sacrament service using my own modified version of the prayer from my tiny military version of the scriptures.
The decision came quickly to get down the canyon and on to home to begin acting on my own advice, work more and be able to become a more significant donor helping those in need.  I would do my darndest to finish working on key aspects of my High Uintas Project, but do better putting in order my priorities.  A Google Earth SPOT tracking of the backpack shows me returning as I had come, bushwhacking down to the main canyon and on to the Trailhead.  Looking at this view, and zooming in on what I hadn’t been able to accomplish awakened an excitement in me to still one day make this trip–but the loop route.  I hate failure, so one day . . . . . 

As I moved down I stopped frequently to photograph the inspiring beauties of our Great Creator, and constantly felt grateful for my faith being strengthened and confirmed, and for the incredible exercise I was getting going through this off-trail wilderness.

Within a couple of hours I was bushwhacking down through familiar territory and feeling energized by all the wonders around me.  I didn’t see Big Foot, nor his wife (except through the horrible nightmare), but I will spare you the trauma of inserting a photo here–you will just have to believe me!

Soon I made it down to the main canyon, got safely across the divided river, and in good time was at the last sign (actually the only sign) that was a crosstrail on the other side of the river from the Trailhead.

A few minutes later I was gratefully at the car, having made the 7 miles since noon, but with the off-trail portion, it translated to more like 10 miles.  Not bad for an old 74 year old geezer!

Now I noticed at the Trailhead a sign warning me of “TREES ON THE TRAILS,” not to mention the increase X100 for my bushwhacking route.  Also I noticed another sign concerning the domestic grazing permitted in the area–I took notice as I could hear from my off-trail route the sheep being moved up the canyon as I was going down.

Many have asked me about sheep and cattle in the high country.  It continues due to what they call “Grandaddy traditions” carrying on what has been going on for many years, all of them on the North Slope coming from Wyoming–which you will see in a minute or two.
I headed west on the North Slope Road with the plan of taking a bit more advantage of having made the trip by camping out on, and exploring the Bear River, and doing a bit of exploring for the tie hackers.  Along the way of course I had to stop often to record the stunning beauty.

Some of these images of wildflowers will eventually be worked into my Alpine Wildflower Albums in the Galleries section.

At Carter Creek I took a telephoto shot of the remains of a tie hacker splash dam, and a bit further along observed a doe with two new speckled fawns, and in low light clicked off a shot as they took cover.

We have now arrived at the East Fork of the Bear River, seeing in the distance Spread Eagle Peak.

From this spot I turned my camera to the west to capture an image of a humble log cabin.

From my youth I had always dreamed of having a log cabin in the mountains–somewhere, but this isn’t what I had in mind.  If said “cabin”  is to come from my High Uintas Project’s commissions on outdoor items purchased from links on my website, it will be way down the road as so far the Project’s income comes to $11.64!   Maybe we could do better by asking for a donation to the causeif you feel there is value to you in my website and the guidance I give to make possible safely enjoying our wonderful outdoors. You could perhaps look at a donation being like a subscription to your favorite magazine.  Best we get back to enjoying the beauties of nature I found all around me along the Bear River.

The Bear River flowing out of the High Uintas.

Some of you might recall from other articles on my website that the 500 mile long Bear River,  born in  the Uintas,  is the largest river in North America that doesn’t empty into an ocean.  It flows north into Wyoming, then swings west into Idaho, and turns south flowing back into Utah and the Great Salt lake.  As you see it is a beautiful fishing stream.  I fished a little, then got diverted to photographing flowers, when Sherman and Jan appeared, fly fishing rods in hand.

What a great chance encounter.  Are you noticing their humble waders?  Let’s focus on them.

Later, on my way back from the tie hack search in Wyoming, I stopped to say goodbye and was invited to a wonderful picnic lunch, along with some great conversation. THANKS TO BOTH OF YOU!   She had won the fishing contest with one Brown trout caught on a tiny nymph.

I decided to finish off the trip exploring more about the tie hackers.  See my preliminary photo essay on these incredible Americans clicking on TIE HACK HEROES.   I have 3 or 4 more aspects of their history to investigate and then I will publish for the world this great story.  So far what I have is the best I have seen on the Utah tie hacks, and I’m determined to do these heroes justice. What I have found in print, and the DVD shown above deal with Wyoming tie hacks, mainly from the Wind River area.   
One aspect of my investigation deals with the Hilliard Flume, described below.

I drove up into the mountains   west of the Scenic Byway to find evidence of where this flume came down the mountain.  There were places where its construction was built 30 feet off the ground. In other places they dug huge trenches through the terrain.  I found one of them shown below.

Here we see the beginning of the cut through the terrain as the flume came down the mountain.  Below the camera was turned around looking down (north) seeing the cut.

Nearby I noticed across the gully what looked like cabin ruins, and got close.

Low and behold it was MY CABIN!

This coming Friday and Saturday–July 16th and 17th I will be in the area with my maps and old Forest Service writings that show where there might still be some remains of the flume.  But I didn’t have my files with, so decided to not waste time and head north into Wyoming to search for the aspect of the tie hackers I would most like to find.  As I headed north I was being approached by a white wave.

More sheep for the High Uintas alpine basins.

Mexican sheep herders were moving 1,200 sheep into the high country.  Back 60 years ago sheep herders in the High Uintas were Basques from Spain.  Now they are from Mexico, Peru and Chile.

There they go towards Lamotte, Ostler and Spread Eagle Peaks.

We are heading north towards Evanston, Wyoming driving through wonderful ranching country. Our objective is to learn more about what became known to many as Beartown.  About 10 miles from Evanston there is a tourist historical turn-out  that everyone should take a moment to see. The part I was interested in was:

I’ll zoom in for you.

I can’t believe that “Nothing remains today…”   A town of 2,000 people has to have something remaining and I want to find whatever it might be.  I drove around some, like up to the nearby Sulfur Creek Reservoir, but found nothing.  We are looking south towards the High Uintas.

Once again I didn’t have my files with maps and aerial photographs, etc. in hopes of locating the area, and then finding and photographing something.  I will work on that also this coming Friday and Saturday, and report.

I returned south up the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway and soon had to begin stopping again from time to time.

Here we are looking towards Lamotte and Ostler Peaks.  To get to this beautiful area, you turn off at the sign to Christmas Meadows and drive about 4 miles to the Trailhead.  From there you can backpack to 3 basins:  Amethyst, West, and Middle Basins, absolutely gorgeous areas you can see in my Mountainscapes album in the Galleries section.

From here I drove up and over Bald Mountain Pass, of course stopping frequently when I just couldn’t resist.

Below is the SPOT Tracker Google Earth view of my travels on Trip #3.

To the east is the North Slope Road leading to the area of the backpack.  The tracking line from the North is from the Wyoming area of Bear River Town following the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway that traverses the western end of the High Uintas and continues down to Kamas, and then to Francis where it ends.   

If all goes well I will be exploring the Hilliard Flume, and searching for remains of Bear River City.
Before I leave I will have before this article the SPOT TRACKER link to where I will be on that short trip. On Saturday morning I will make my satellite phone call to KSL OUTDOORS RADIO, most likely from a camp along the Bear River.

In the meantime, if you want to learn some about the Tie Hackers, go to this article by clicking on:
TIE HACK HEROES.   It is a what I call a photo essay.  To get the story you should go from picture to picture reading the captions and comments.


This is an area outside of the Wilderness Area, but worthy of checking out as reportedly Golden Trout could possibly be found there.  You go east from the Wasatch Front to Kamas and there get on the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway–SR-150.  About 14 miles from Kamas you come to this worthwhile display that for me is new, concerning the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) of the Great Depression era.  Many of its projects were in the High Uintas, such as construction of trails, the Mirror Lake road, etc.  Later, for your enjoyment,  I’ll put on the website a photo essay based on this display
Leaving this rest area one sees a sign indicating distances to key spots along the highway seen below.  It will help you get your bearings as you drive up this marvelous scenic highway.
About 5 miles further, or 70 miles from Springville, you come to the Murdock Basin Road.  It being paved is very deceptive to say the least–I’ll explain  in a moment.  Just a short distance down the road is the first sign:
Soon the pavement ends and the real road begins, but first a Forest Service information sign welcoming you to the area. 
The map shows a short distance ahead a fork in the road, the right fork leading down into the Canyon of the Duchesne River.  We will take the left fork our goal being Echo Lake.  Below is a zoom in of the map with our target area in the dead center.
The road becomes very rocky and rough to say the least.  You would not want to navigate this road in a passenger car.  My small 4×4 SUV had me many times on the verge of parking to go forward on foot with  pack on my back.  Somewhere along the way my side view mirror got ripped off.
Here we see the fork in the road.
The road looks pretty good in this shot, but believe me I had to many times go very slowly easing myself along as I rode the high center hitting my frame more than once, just barely slipping between boulders I didn’t have the clearance to go over, etc.  If you aren’t familiar with the phrase “ridding the high center” you’d better not attempt it unless you have a larger, high clearance 4×4. 
The next sign you come to gives you the choice of going to Pyramid Lake and  Echo Lake, then a fork giving you the choice of one or the other.  I continued to Echo.
Soon I decided to hoof it and started with pack on my back, but then realized that most of the road behind me was worse, and then continued in the car to the end of the road with the lake in sight.  With pack on my back I continued to the lake and then circled around to the northern shore where high cliffs guarded the lake.  Finally I was able to relax a bit and begin noticing the beautiful colors of wildflowers all around me.  I will not make any effort to identify the flowers I insert, but leave that for the Wildflower Albums in the Galleries section.
This is a tiny flower not more than 1/2 inch wide. 
Beautiful Echo Lake about 9,700 ft. elevation.  By the way NOW THE MOSQUITOES WERE OUT IN FORCE–so from now on go prepared with 98-100% Deet insect repellent.   I was assured by the Division of Wildlife Resources that the lake still had Golden trout, last year some being caught as large as 12 inches.  The Utah State record is 14 inches from Atwood Creek of the Uinta River Drainage.  They are native of portions of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, but the world’s record is a bit over 11 lbs. from Wyoming’s Wind River Wilderness.
I set up my camp, fetching and purifying enough water for all my needs.   
Then put  to soak all my supplements, dinner, and breakfast and then went fishing.  I tried lures like my favorites Colorado Spoon and Thomas Cyclone, but with no luck.  As the evening approached the lakes surface turned to glass and surfacing fish were seen so I changed to flies.  
With mosquitoes all over I thought that pattern would be a winner, but nothing.  Finally a larger pattern sort of moth-like began working on almost every cast.  Time after time I was excited hoping to see a Golden trout, but small Eastern brook trout is what I caught, and kept one for my dinner.
In circling the lake and navigating downed timber I scraped my knee and immediately disinfected it  with what I had at hand–insect repellent.  Later I added Neosporin antibiotic ointment.
To get my small campfire going I replenished my supply of pine pitch–enough for the several fires I would need on the trip.

Very quickly I had the fire going and dinner was soon ready.
The next morning I was awake listening to KSL OUTDOORS and at 6:35 made my Satellite call. When I talked to the guys I didn’t know that in the 2nd hour they were going to talk about “BIG FOOT.”   This was of great interest to me as my next trip will be backpack through the area where reports of his (its) sighting have been reported, and where I have said, “Rumors have it that Big Foot is waiting for me up there to take a family portrait!”  
I tried again to luck out catching a Golden trout, but failed, so packed up and headed up the mountain–and I really mean “UP!”
I circled south around the lake until the cliffs ended and I could see a possible pathway up the mountain.  It was very steep and rocky, with a lot of downed timber.  I found that I was doing a lot better with my balance–that was questionable on my first trip.  My “mountain legs” were beginning to work for me.  The guidebooks state that there is no trail from Echo Lake up to Joan, but when almost to the top I found a trail that angled up from about the area where the road  ends.  It is not a maintained trail with much downed timber blocking it one has to work around. Along the way the view of Echo Lake was breathtaking as you see below.
Soon Joan Lake appeared with an old sign post, and a piece of wood with “Joan Lake” written on it with charcoal.  The lake is at 10,030 ft. elevation.
As I was trying to get a photo of the lake Dan Olsen appeared with a rifle over his shoulder.
He told me he had seen bears in the area down-below.  I had come prepared for such with my Colt .45 Defender just in case I needed to fire a warning shot.  
I worked myself around to the northern edge of the lake  and set up my camp, preparing all my stuff for the evening and the next morning, and then headed out on a day hike to test the waters of Gem Lake upstream from Joan.  My paddle holster worked well with my camera waist-pack.
Less than a mile upstream I came to Gem Lake.
Its waters looked dark, sort of like stagnant water, but there seemed to be many Eastern brook trout.  I caught a few like the one below, but saw somewhat larger brookies following my lure.
Up above the cliffs to the north is found Blizzard Lake, but according to the DWR pamphlet it doesn’t sustain fish life, so I didn’t bother with it, but returned to Joan Lake which actually was a fairly large and pretty lake.
It was time to test its waters.  The wind was picking up quite a bit so I continued to use spinning lures–the Colorado Spoon being the one that always worked at Gem, and so I stuck with it at Joan fishing the northern shore that had cliffs and talus slopes coming down into fairly deep water.  Once again I only caught Eastern brook trout, but seemingly of two different types–both seemed very strong.  One type  thick or heavy as seen below.
The other type was more normal in body configuration, but with brilliant orange on its belly.
There are supposed to be native cutthroat trout also in the lake, but so far this season I haven’t seen one–apparently the “urge to merge” is still pretty strong, but should end soon.
Having failed at catching and photographing a Golden trout, I decided to focus the rest of my time photographing the ABUNDANT COLOR  of wildflowers.
My Leatherman Squirt tool, about 2 inches long was used to give size perspective, so these tiny purple flowers are about 1/4th inch wide.

Here we are seeing a flower perhaps 1/8th inch wide.  Many of these flowers are never noticed by hikers.

On Sunday morning I was hoping to get an impressive photograph during that magical sunrise moment, but during the night there was thunder and lightening all around me, and when the day dawned I was under a dark and menacing sky.  I decided it best to pack up and get out of there before the rain–there isn’t hardly anything worse than to have to break camp and pack up under a good rain.  I got out of there in record time and made it back to the car.  
We are now back along the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway.

Two different types of Stonecrop.

So I found tons of color–but in flowers, rather than the colorful Golden trout.  I’ll have to put back on my future schedule The Search for the Golden Trout in the Lake Atwood area of the Uinta River Drainage.

NEXT UP:  Trip #3 From the East Fork of Blacks Fork Trailhead, SEARCH FOR “BIG FOOT” up Little East Fork of Blacks Fork–Testing the drainage’s alpine lakes, then on to Squaw Pass and down to Porcupine Lake.  From there, over Porcupine Pass (12,236 ft) and testing the 3 no-name lakes above North Star Lake, on to Tungsten Lake and Pass to test the waters of Y-19 and Y-20 lakes.  From there, back over Porcupine Pass and if I have time explore and test off-trail Oweep and Lambert Lakes, and back over Squaw Pass and down to the Trailhead.  This will be my only long backpack of the season.  See my  revised schedule for details.

Trip #2 Search for the GOLDEN TROUT

Trip #2 July 2-4 Murdock Basin Road—Search for the Golden Trout—Echo, Joan, Blizzard and Gem Lakes. PURPOSES: Friends Dean Mitchell and Roger Wilson at the DWR informed me there are Golden trout in the area. Need to catch , photograph and display on my website this most colorful of trout. It is out of the Wilderness area, but very important. Fri- Sun =..3 days……………………………………..6 miles

Remember, if you are interested you can track me on the SPOT Messenger website at: SPOT TRACKING  10 of you will receive Check-in messages via email once or twice a day and can click on the link to go to Google Earth seeing exactly where I am.  Each of you can forward this to others who might be interested.

You can also listen to KSL OUTDOORS RADIO Saturday morning from 6:05 to 8:00 a.m.  My time slot is about 6:35 a.m. if I get a good signal on the satellite phone.  Of course you can listen online at:  KSL ONLINE

The bulletin board at REAMS SUPERMARKET has a related sign up you see below:

NOTE:  Due to the economic situation and my work I have had to make some shifts in my summer backpacking schedule.  I will post the updated schedule next week once I return from my “SEARCH FOR THE GOLDEN TROUT.”  But if all goes well, I will always be at some exotic location each Saturday for KSL OUTDOORS until the end of August

See you on the trail!.