A Lessor Known drainage of the High Uintas Wilderness
INTRODUCTION:  As always I will take you with me on this trip, showing you my exact route to enable you to go there too, and give you a taste of the journey to the Trailhead, and then up into the Wilderness.  If you desire seeing more of what I experienced and photographed, you can go to my Picasa Web album, but the text will only be here in this article.  In the album click on the first photo and then one by one, or click on “slide show.”
I will begin my report showing the  Uinta Mountain Range and the route I took to get to the northeastern Beaver Creek Drainage.  The Division of Wildlife Resources describes the area as “remote” with most of its lakes “seldom visited” and a good area for those seeking “solitude.”  As I would be going into such an area alone I began my SPOT Tracker route (#1) in Salt Lake City at the home of Russ Smith and SKYCALL COMMUNICATIONS where Russ provided me with a satellite phone.

To rent a satellite phone, or SPOT Tracker go to SKYCALL COMMUNICATIONS.
This is the new satellite phone Russ provided me with to use to call KSL OUTDOORS RADIO on Saturday morning, and for use in case of any emergency.  

As you can see from the Google map I traveled up I-80 thru Evanston, Wyoming and on to Ft. Bridger and thru Mt. View (116 miles from SLC) where you can gas up at the Maverick and get whatever you might have forgotten at the supermarket.  From there you can head south towards Robertson and hit the turnoff towards the Henry’s Fork Trailhead and from there east on the North Slope Road, but I took the route with the most pavement–towards Lonetree and  Green River.
This panorama was taken between Mt. View and Lonetree looking south across Wyoming badlands towards the  High Uintas.  On the far right you can see (barely) Red Castle Peak and Mt. Wilson, then Mt. Powell, and to the left center Kings Peak (highest in Utah) and South Kings Peak (2nd highest), and on the far left dominant Gilbert Peak, 3rd highest in Utah at 13,442 ft.

Why head for the little known West Beaver Creek Drainage, Gilbert Lake and Peak?

In my now 1,410 miles of Uinta backpacking since 2003 I have had special experiences photographing magnificent mountains and the nearby lake of the same name. First is Kings and South Kings Peaks you see below.
In the southern shadow of the two Kings Peaks is found rarely visited KINGS LAKE which you see below.
The sign was so weathered that only the “IN” WERE legible.  I filled in the blanks with my little Leatherman Squirt tool.
Another impressive mountain, in fact the one many call “the most beautiful mountain in Utah,”  Red Castle Peak, also has its lake you see below in a stunning panorama (if you want to see all the Red Castle Lakes click on this link  and go forward a bunch of times).
Utah’s 3rd highest, GILBERT PEAK (13,442 ft.) also has its lake, GILBERT LAKE, and I just couldn’t rest until I got shots of the duo–so off we go to the remote Beaver Creek Drainage. Gilbert Peak is named for Grove Karl Gilbert a geologist of the Wheeler Survey of 1871-75, and the Powell Survey of 1875-1879. 
As we head south Gilbert Peak begins coming more into view.
At about this point the highway crosses the Henry’s Fork River, and then you come to Lonetree.
The highway curves a bit to the east and soon you come to the turn-off going south.
As you will see this is the right path to take.  On the highway a sign indicates it is 32 miles short of Green River ( and about 21 miles from Mt. View or 137 miles from SLC).
Here we are heading south towards the Uintas crossing Wyoming cattle country, but those lines of trees mark the streams coming out of the Uintas and are in Summit County, Utah–dozens and dozens of miles of streams that are rarely if ever fished.  Soon I’ll be circling the Uintas with my tiny house trailer to check all of them out and get material for a new book.  NOTE:  By the way several of my High Uinta Friends have been pushing me for some kind of book on the High Uintas.  I just need a couple of real experts and people in the field to help guide me putting it together.  It will be like none other with chapters on the heroic tie hackers, the “liveliest if not the most wicked town in America–Beartown,”  lost gold mines, a little known High Uinta gold rush, a life and death Uinta whiskey bootlegging  operation,  etc.   Contact me if you can help in any way.

 We are now getting into Beaver Creek country, with a turn-off to the left.
The left fork takes you to Hoop Lake and along the way you can see Hole in the Rock.  This is not the famous Hole in the Rock of Butch Cassidy fame, nor the one of the Mormon pioneer saga.

At this point you have come 8 miles from Lonetree.
We are traveling west with Beaver Mountain to our north.  Do you see the wildlife?

The Trailhead is a short distance from the main road.  As you can see the  13-14 miles on dirt roads can easily be handled by any car.  In fact below at the Trailhead you see a luxury car.
It’s a very small and simple trailhead with little use.
You can see in the Forest Service Register very few people have visited the area this year.
The “Brown”  party above my entry was from Wisconsin.  I would meet them the next day.

Here you see, after the fact, my route during the next 4 days.  Click on Google Earth to zoom in on this area.   You can’t distinguish it here, but the maps indicated that I was going to have to ford the stream at least 2 times.  So this time I went prepared, with my wadding slippers.
You will note that I don’t use the big, bulky, heavy plastic ones used so commonly nowdays.  I got these very light, effective slippers at REI a few years ago.
If you know me by now, you can expect me focusing a lot on the beautiful wildflowers of our foothills and mountains.  This one was right at the Trailhead–Sub-alpine gumweed.  I will only insert a few in this report out of the more than 40 varieties I counted in bloom on the trip.  For the more complete collection go to:  WEB ALBUM  At the end of the season I will upgrade my two wildflower albums, likely increasing the number to over 245 varieties.  For what I’ve got so far (thru 2009) go to FOOTHILLS  and   ALPINE
Up we go along West Beaver Creek.
An always beautiful  red squirrel eating a mushroom along the trail.  As you will see I began focusing more on the many varieties of mushrooms, most of which are poisonous, so don’t fool with them–unless you are a squirrel and know what you’re doing!

Prior to getting up to the North Slope Highline Trail you cross into the Wilderness Area.
This  is a far cry from the main HIGHLINE TRAIL that follows the spine of the mountain range and is used by many hundreds and even thousands of outdoor lovers each year.  This Highline Trail is quite faint in many areas.
To this spot it is about  6 miles from the Trailhead, and 3.5 miles over to the Middle Beaver Creek Trail.  The trail to Gilbert Lake is just down across the stream and shortly heads south up the West Beaver Canyon.  Someone scratched it in for us on the above sign.
My map indicated that a couple of miles upstream the trail crossed again the stream coming back to my side, so I decided to be cute, avoid fording the stream (in the bad light) and just bushwhack up the west side of the stream.  I did so for a couple of hundred yards and it was easy going–so I was convinced my decision was a good one.  I camped for the night, had a good meal, and tested very successfully the new satellite phone.  What you see below isn’t what I encountered prior to camping for the night.  I’ll get to what you see below, but first “the night.”
At about 10:00 p.m. I was snugly in my tent with headlight on and doing some scripture  reading when all of a sudden all hell broke lose outside my tent with loud voices and bodies stumbling through the forest around me.  “ARE YOU ALRIGHT?” shouted a manly voice.  
“Of course I’m alright, as long as you guys don’t plow into my tent!”  I replied.
They asked me where the trail was and I told them it was on the other side of the stream–but thought I should have asked, “Where the trail is depends on where you’re going.”  They stumbled off up the canyon  but apparently stopped and  camped  a few hundred yards away as I kept hearing them having a rowdy time most of the night.  
The next morning I was on my way and soon found my “cute” decision to  bushwhack up the canyon got turned on its head and, to use the  vernacular (as Paul Dunn used to say), I had one hell of a hike!
WOW!  What great exercise.  The fascination of nature of course helped make it bearable.

Eventually I came to a couple of nice streams that crossed broad meadows coming from the west.  I assumed they came from some large marshy areas shown on the map.  With each I finally was able to find some sturdy logs to inch my way across.  I was now viewing the mountains that form the backbone of the Uintas.  This one is Anne Peak,  12,713 ft. high–964 feet higher than Mt. Timpanogos.
Further to the east I found the trail that quickly climbed up the canyon into the high country and there I was in full view of Gilbert Peak, with West Beaver Creek to cross.  Apparently the several streams I had crossed down the canyon were the same stream that for a distance was divided.
As I was getting my wadding sandals on the backpackers from Wisconsin came visiting.  They had been there for several days, deciding to camp out an hour or so down from Gilbert Lake as they said it was so windy up high that their tents would have been blown away.  They had backpacked in the Wind Rivers and other alpine areas of the West but loved the  High Uintas.  In their exploring of the high country around the base of Gilbert Peak they had seen elk, a very large coyote (maybe a wolf?), and every afternoon observed moose feeding in shallow Gilbert Lake.
I said goodbye crossed the stream and headed towards Gilbert lake.  Small wildflowers were everywhere, like the common brilliantly yellow  stonecrop that seemed to be everywhere.
Most of the flowers are very smal– so tiny that many don’t notice hardly any of them.  I have felt it part of my mission to focus on them, zoom in and enlarge them enough so all can appreciate them and be inspired by these incredible creations of the Lord.

Finally I made it to Gilbert Lake in the shadow of Gilbert Peak, and put off setting up my camp as I was fascinated by the beautiful flowers, including one I have only seen once before.  It is Old Man of the Mountain, most of which were in the final stages of their life.
My only other photo of this flower is seen below, on the eastern slopes of Kings Peak on the way  to Trail Rider Pass.

The night before I had done as Russ Smith suggested and tried out the new satellite phone.  It functions with just one satellite fixed due south over the equator.  So it had to be aimed low to the south.  It had worked well in my first camp, except through the side of the tent.  Here at Gilbert I had to position  the tent opening due south aiming for the saddle to the east of the peak. That way I would be able to make my call to KSL OUTDOORS without getting out of my bag in what was cooler than normal weather.  I tried it out calling one of my kids and it worked fine, so I was ready for the Show.
At 6:00 a.m. I was awake listening to the program on my tiny Grundig radio. I finally got a strong signal and talked to Tim and Russ.  
 If interested  you can listen to the podcast at:  KSL OUTDOORS PODCAST at about the 6:43 a.m. time slot.
Tim Hughes runs the show for KSL.
Russ Smith is his partner talking to those who have his satellite phones all over the world–including a few years ago from the top of Mt. Everest.
I was soon up and on my way to make a swing around Gilbert Lake, and then up above timberline checking out the fishing in all the lakes I could get to.  Gilbert Lake is extremely shallow with murky water due to wind action.  With very cast I only caught moss.  Even the Division of Wildlife Resources say it is only 2 feet deep, but nonetheless “offers good fishing for native and brook trout that sustain themselves by natural reproduction.”    Why such a shallow lake doesn’t totally winter-kill is a mystery to me.  Fly fishing would be the way to catch trout there.  I headed for the upper lakes.
On the way I photographed this beautiful flower that I also have photographed on the Bald Mt. Trail, and above McPheeters Lake in Stillwater’s Middle Basin, but haven’t identified yet.  If you know, send me an email.  I will appreciate any help I can get.

Looking back at Gilbert Lake as I climbed up towards timberline.
A beautiful example of Arctic Gentian.
I first did a lot of hiking looking for what was a lake years ago, supposedly formed by a large beaver dam, but apparently it has disappeared with only a few shallow ponds remaining.

My tiny 2 inch long tool gives an idea of the size of these tiny flowers which many hikers wouldn’t even notice.

Gilbert Peak from up where I was looking for GR-153.
I then came back down to the larger upper lake, GR-151.  It  again has sort of turbid water with only a 11 foot maximum depth, but  supports  natural reproducing  brook trout.
I caught many small brook trout here–none in my opinion large enough to keep for my lunch.
The lake is fed by a waterfall coming down from a small upper lake, GR-152.  It is quite small but has a 13 foot maximum  depth.  
It is stocked with brook trout and according to the DWR is  “seldom visited by fishermen.”  Case in point, I didn’t make it up there either.  I was pretty tired at that point, but my main problem was that I had to get back to camp, pack up and move at least part way down the canyon, to get back to the Trailhead the next day in good time to drive home and rest up a bit for my Monday morning job.  
This especially became urgent as I had lost up high my last toilet paper, and also my insect repellent sputtered EMPTY!  I shouldn’t be admitting these blunders, but maybe what I did to survive will help one or two of you.  
My insect repellent this trip was BEN’S that has a screw top.  When the spray aparatus sputters empty, it’s like your car fuel tank gauge on empty but you have another 30 miles or so.  Removing the top I was able to pour enough into the palm of my hands for applications that got me to the Trailhead  the next day.  If I had of had the other repellent I use with no screw top I would have had to drill a little hole in the plastic bottle to get out what I needed, but left with an open bottle for a day or so.
The lost toilet paper was another story.  The pages from my small Moleskine notebook were pretty thick–ineffective and rough on me–if you know what I mean.  I resorted to my dirty socks as a soft finisher.  Sorry, if that sounds gross, but for those of us that date back to before disposable diapers, we had a diaper bucket and had to wash the dirty cloth diapers–so a dirty sock or two was no big deal–and INCREDIBLY SOFT!  I of course also had “ye old red bandana”  good for all kinds of emergencies as I explain in several articles.
On my way back to camp at Gilbert Lake.
Another new wildflower.

And more varieties of mushrooms, including the one below that could be
 named “Toasted marshmallow.”

Back at Gilbert Lake a cow moose was feeding on the moss.  I packed up and headed down the canyon.

The blue flower is another new one.
Down at the Highline Trail I approached West Beaver Creek but it was a bit dark and I couldn’t see what the footing would be so set up my camp to do the ford the next morning.
The wadding slippers worked well again.  Just remember when you cross a stream, always find a pole to steady yourself finding a firm spot upstream for the pole and follow with secure footholds, then move the pole,  and progress across the stream.  Just in case, it’s a good idea to put your expensive camera into a Ziploc bag.

Moving down the canyon the trail eventually joins an old jeep road (closed to vehicle use).  When you come around a turn and see Beaver Mountain, you know you have about 700 yards to go.
At the Trailhead I checked the Register again.  Several new entries were written in.  The party under me had to be the guys that stumbled through my camp in the dark.  They and all the others listed Gilbert Lake as their destination, but I never saw any of them in the area.  Who knows where they ended up?  Two of them listed coming out the day before me.
Now let’s do a little analysis.  Below we see again the SPOT Tracker Google view of the 4 day, 27 mile trip. It was a trip I had to make, but the beauty of the lakes and the fishing wasn’t on par with many other trips I have taken.  Maybe for elk hunting it would be great as I saw elk sign from soon after leaving the Trailhead, and especially up high.  
In my opinion a better option is the drainage where we see “Wasatch National Forest.”  This is  Middle Beaver Creek.  There are beaver ponds down low, and then up into the high country there are a number of good options.  Let’s look at a topographical map of the area. 
If the labels are too small to read, click on the picture to see an enlarged version, or go to the Web Album where the image should be  large enough to read everything.  
The Middle Beaver Creek Trailhead is 2 miles in from the main road and is on the Wilderness boundary.  The  distance to the North Slope Highline Trail is about 5 miles.  From there it is about 1.5 miles to Beaver Lake which is more than twice as large as Gilbert and is 30 feet deep. The trail stops at Beaver.   It’s  the most heavily visited lake in the area and so fishing would only be mediocre, but better than Gilbert.  There are other wonderful options you can get to off-trail nearby.  1.5 miles south is Coffin Lake with a 28 foot depth and has native cutthroat trout.  Less than 1/2 mile south is above timberline GR-145 that has been experimentally stocked with Arctic grayling.  Further to the east, accessed from Beaver Lake is above timberline GR-177, but which is only 11 feet deep and characterized by glacial turbidity.  Lower down, near the Highline Trail are other options, like, Dine and Hidden Lakes, both off-trail offering  solitude.  From this area you can also access Thompson Pass, one of the 23 passes in the Wilderness Area.  It is 3.5 miles from the trail that leads to Beaver Lake.
This will very likely be one of my next trips in the High Uintas Wilderness.
Let me conclude by mentioning that this season, in my 75th year, you haven’t noticed me complaining about joint and feet problems, nor high altitude sickness, much less heart problems, or excruciating fatigue or such–all of which have been problems over the years.  I find all this  an incredible blessing from the Lord, and a pretty strong endorsement for what I recommend in my article entitled:  Where Do You Get So Much Energy?   Check it out as some of what I have discovered and proven effective might just help you keep going and avoid the other option–you know, the one we should fight like the plague!   The links I provide will get you the good stuff cheaper than anywhere else without having to leave your living room.


Trip #4 – WEST FORK WHITEROCKS TRAILHEAD – Queant, Cleveland Lakes, Fox/Queant Pass, Crescent, Fox, Brook Lakes, North Pole Pass, Taylor Lakes.  7 lakes, 21 miles, 4 days,  Topo Map and elevation profile.

The Whiterocks Drainage is on the southeast side of the  Uinta Mountain Range and is out of the Wilderness area.  This backpack leads to the Fox-Queant Pass which is on the boundary of the Wilderness Area.  From there we swing through the upper reaches of the Uinta River drainage, then up to North Pole Pass which is just outside of the Wilderness, but is so close I have included it in the Wilderness Area’s 22 passes.  These are two of the remaining ones I haven’t scaled. 



A few weeks ago half of my trip failed (see:  Trip #3a).  I did find  the ghost of BEARTOWN which was BIG, but my search for remnants of the Howe Feeder Flume in the Bear River drainage failed.  However, that led to better research  and puting 2 + 2 together in readiness for this trip to find  and photograph an important part of the Tie Hacker Culture.  So I packed up for an overnight trip  to get the first photographs that I know exist of said “remnants.” 

If you haven’t learned about these “unsung American heroes” you can see my first report at: 
You can also learn more from my 2009 report HOT ON THE TRAIL OF THE TIE HACKS and from my report this summer SEARCH FOR BEARTOWN 

Now to the adventure of August 6-7 in the lodgepole pine belt of the High Uinta’s  North Slope where  in 1867 the sound of broad axes echoed off the mountains as
Irish tie hackers went to work to hew millions of railroad ties for the Transcontinental Railroad crossing Wyoming to the north. They also created mine props, and cord wood burned in kilns to produce charcoal.

Much of the tie hacks work was done in the winter when transporting the ties in sleds was easier.
They were accumulated behind wood dams called “splash dams.”  There they waited for the Spring runoff as you see below.  When all was ready the dams were blown with dynamite and the flood was on carrying the ties down into Wyoming where they were picked up by the railroad.  The tie hacks accompanied these drives to undo snags and blockages and keep the ties moving north.  Some of you might be imagining that a lot of damage was done to the stream beds which did happen.  Eventually better solutions were thought of, one of them being the theme of this article.
Remnants of some of their splash dams can be seen in several places.  One of the best is on West Fork of Smith’s Fork as you see below.  This is not a drainage visited very often by outdoorsmen.
Other than using the rivers to transport the timber products, the only other solution attempted was the HILLIARD FLUME as described below.
 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 it was described as an “engineering marvel.” 80 tons of square iron spikes were used in the construction that in the beginning was known as “Sloan’s Folly,” but the engineering feat was successful for 7 years and perhaps more. The water would move the wood products along about 15 miles per hour, making it to Hilliard in about 2 hours.

Part of the system was what became known as THE HOWE FEEDER FLUME, a somewhat smaller flume, for example using only 2 inch thick planks, designed to help keep up the volume of water, and also bring wood products from a nearby virgin area–Main Fork of Stillwater Fork born in the alpine Hell Hole Basin on the north slope of A-1 Peak.
In my efforts to understand the tie hackers I acquired several reports  such as you see below, in which the Howe Feeder Flume is described with diagrams indicating where the known elements in the system were found “badly deteriorated” in 1978.  I wasn’t sure what I would find, if anything.
Since I failed in my first effort to find remnants of the Howe Flume I took a topographical view of the area and matched the contour lines to sketch in the study diagram and found that the “Historical Road” used by the tie hackers coincided with the trail that backpackers use to hike into the Hell Hole Drainage. 
So on Friday, August 6th I headed for the High Uintas getting on the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway to get over Bald Pass and down to the target area.

As I traveled I saw lumbermen working on the southern portion of the Byway, and had go by me several trucks loaded with timber from our multiple-use Forest.  The first stop is at the sign to Gold Hill.
Just for your information I’ll turn left onto the Gold Hill Road.
Gold Hill is the area where the HILLIARD FLUME begins.  The  1978 literature says that nothing remains of the Flume, but there are ruins of buildings when there was a community of up to 500 people.  I’ve found cuts up high as I showed in my last report, but still have to get to the ghost town.  Let me warn you that this is a pretty tough road.  To get up high it is best to go down the Byway a bit and go up the Whitney Reservoir road.  I”ll turn around now and go back to the Byway.  The sign will give you an idea where you’re at from Kamas, or Evanston.
My target area is just across the highway to the east where a short road ends at a parking spot for those heading for Hell Hole Lake.  Some maps indicate that the trail is also a jeep road, and one of the popular High Uinta guide books says you can  cross the stream, Hayden Fork,   in your 4×4 and drive for about 1 mile, but believe me that isn’t possible anymore.
I parked a bit back in the aspens at a very convenient camping spot and then began my explorations.  It looked like the weather might close in on me so I decided to do my darnedest to find remnants of the Hilliard Flume that came down from Gold Hill crossing the highway most likely a bit up from the turn-off and coming down the west side of Hayden’s Fork and a mile or so downstream to the north connect to the Howe Feeder.
Wouldn’t you know it, I was parked right in a cut where the Hilliard Flume continued north.  Do you see the depression–that is man-made?  I followed it north.  In these photos we are looking back, south or what would have been upstream.

We continue north, looking back as we go.
As the cut came out into the flat it is disguised by a bunch of willows. Below we are looking back on this spot.
We now turn around and look north across sagebrush  and willow flats.  On these flats the flume was supported by wood trestles.  The idea of course was to maintain the proper declination so the water would remain at a steady 15 miles per hour.  The Howe Feeder Flume joined the Hilliard Flume about a mile north, coming in from the east or the right.
Below from this spot we look east towards the canyon of Stillwater Fork,  but in the right center you see a dark ridge in shadow, then closer a lighted ridge.  This line marks the Main Fork Canyon where the Howe flume originated coming down a unique gently slopping canyon  about in the middle of this photo.  That’s where we head next.

It is now the next day, Saturday.  We have crossed Hayden Fork following the trail and old jeep road  heading  east.   The first evidence I was looking for was a “cut” described as shallow and hard to recognize.  This  is possibly  it.

As you hike you have to scan ahead, to both sides, and often should turn around and look where you came from, always trying to pinpoint any feature or structure that is not natural, but man-made.  The first of such, for sure is seen below.
I got photographs from all sides and angles, but include this shot that gives the general idea.  The experts state that this was likely a loading platform.  They also state that the flume went directly over this log structure.
A bit further along I was surprised to find a warning sign.
I was on the lookout for another “cut.”  Soon on my left up above the dry creek bed I detected the cut. Do you see it to the left of the boulders?
Here we are up above it, looking down on the trail and creek bed to the far left, the cut cutting across the center of the photo.
It might be a bit hard to recognize, but believe me we are seeing  here a man-made cut with a gentle turn taking it down the canyon.  Then I came gradually  up out of the little side-canyon and crossed the road shown in my last report.  It comes up from a gated bridge on Stillwater Fork.  It is interesting to note that the small side-canyon we just came up starts right here and was a perfect place for the flume to go on down to the main flume.  Turning around to look to the east we look down  into the canyon of Main Fork.
Main Fork is not too far down from this point where the flume crossed  and went west to Hayden Fork and the main flume.  The construction of this road would have obliterated for some distance anything that might have been left of the flume.  For some reason there is a chain link fence here stopping one from going down to the stream, but up the road 50 yards it ended and I was able to slide down a very short distance and was on the “Historic Road.”
What the study calls “The historic road” is very visible and easy to follow.  I was now scanning both sides for signs of the flume, and camps the tie hackers had all along the stream.
Soon I noticed a side road heading down towards the stream and there found a log structure you see below.  It was probably a structure that held up the flume, as we will see in a moment.  Continuing up the canyon along the river was a very marshy area and so I backtracked to the historical road to continue up the canyon.
I was now looking for a camp area and further along there was a clear view from the road down towards the stream showing a dry rocky shelf paralleling the stream and I detected what might be the outline of a cabin ruin.
Down on the rocky shelf I immediately found the ruins of a cabin and  took an overall view as seen below and then from  all sides.  There was mound in the middle with several relics in view that I’ll show in a moment. It seemed to likely be a pile of silted over garbage.  Such garbage dumps are treasures for archeologist’s.  I resisted the temptation of digging into it, and would only do so if prepared to do so carefully, mapping the finds,  labeling them properly, etc. 
Usually tie hack cabins from this early period (1867 to 1880) were very simple without windows, but had a fireplace the remnants of which are seen below.
Below is a photograph of a reconstructed tie hack cabin at the Mt. View Wyoming Forest Service Ranger Station.  It was dismantled at the tie hack  Steele Creek Commissary ruins near the Hewinta Guard Station on the West Fork of Smiths Fork.  It is from the 1912-1935 tie hacker period with windows, and an iron stove inside, typical of the modern period.  What we are seeing along Main Fork is very old and of course deteriorated.
From the surface of the garbage dump we see our first square nail common during that period, and a piece of glass with “Co” distinguishable, probably abbreviated for Company.
I continued down the shelf, this view looking back, finding other even more deteriorated ruins of cabins, and then got to the stream, Main Fork.
I began finding other rotted log structures, that in hindsight I conclude were part of the support structure for the flume.
Then I began finding brackets that would have been used to support the flume with large square iron nails holding them together.  I had dreamed  finding some of these nails, 80 tons of which were used to put the flumes together (the Hilliard and Howe).  Eureka!  My dream was fulfilled.
In the area I began finding plants and flowers I hadn’t seen before.  This one was unique–I hope to find it blossoming one day soon.
I continued up the Historical Road and on cue it angled down to the stream where there had been a bridge–but with nothing remaining.  As it rotted the pieces that would have been recognizable were probably washed downstream with  spring runoffs.  I was now looking for the “flume” as marked on the study map being on my side (west) of the stream.
Downed timber was everywhere making progress very difficult.  In addition there was a wide area along the stream that was very swampy making moving up the stream almost impossible.
The abundant wildflowers were the only consolation for my tiring body.
Another new variety was part of the marsh.  At the end of the summer season I will go through all the wildflower photographs from this summer adding all the new ones, and better photos of others.  The total varieties in my two wildflower albums will more than likely surpass 245.
I zoomed in.
I had a ways to go before coming to the area marked “flume” so decided to get up out of the bog.  I moved up into the lodgepole pines, but there the problem was downed timber.  I was getting tired,  my legs trembling a bit with fatigue as I stepped over branches and logs.  Take note, that is a danger sign.
I should keep this event secret, but relate it here in the hope that a few will learn from my experiences, and maybe even save their lives–so, take note.
All of a sudden as I was stepping over a log I didn’t step high enough, caught my toe and went down like a rock face first. My camera was in my right hand–and I saved it, but not my face.
It reminded me of a time  on my farm in Guatemala when I was approaching the cement stairs up to the laundry room door. I had a glass bottle of Orange Crush in one hand. My German Shepard guard dog, Goku, was happy to see me and jumped at me causing me to lose my balance and fall on the cement stairs. I adeptly saved my Orange Crush, but came down hard on my forehead creating a gash about 4 inches long that squirted blood everywhere–so off to the hospital to get sewed up.
Back to the High Uintas, I laid amidst sharp branches of the downed timber stunned. Blood was coming from wounds on my left arm, and both legs, but mainly from my left cheek just below my eye. Blood blurred my vision and I instantly wondered if my eye was gone. “Will this be my first need of hitting the 911 button of my SPOT TRACKER?”  But, there would be a problem of them finding me. A helicopter would never see me in the thick timber.  They would have to come in on foot with a GPS device to find my coordinates.  This was my first trip since 2003 not having a satellite phone with me.
NOTE:  I made a terrible blunder as a photographer.  Before trying to stop the bleeding I should have grabbed my camera and taken the pictures.  What you see here is after I got cleaned up and not very impressive.
I said a quick prayer for divine help, rolled over and pulled my red bandanna out of my pocket and put pressure on the wound under my eye. I realized my eye was alright, and thanked the Lord for my good fortune.   Once the bleeding there seemed stopped I worked on the arm, mainly using the bandanna as a bandage.  In my backpacking article I talk about the critical importance of a bandanna for emergencies such as this.  My supply of tissue paper was used to continue with pressure on the eye wound.
“I’d better get out of here,” I thought.  “But,  I’m so close to finding the flume.”  On the other hand, “No one would blame me for heading for civilization.”  It was obvious that I was tired and emotionally spent.  In fact I felt rotten.  The “BEAST of discouragement,  of quitting, of giving up” was trying to control my life and keep me from achieving my goal.  Like my friend Josh did with the bear that was killing him, I reached back with all my strength and “gave him my best Rocky Balboa punch right in the kisser.”  For details of this story go to JOSH 
 The BEAST of QUITTING was stunned and let me go. I got to my feet and continued up the canyon,  finally working my way back down to the stream about where I calculated the flume was, and all of a sudden I saw something unnatural.  
It wasn’t much.  I persisted and then it became obvious–I HAD FOUND THE FLUME!
The triangular brackets seen downstream where in view along with the planks.
The planks finally ran out and there continued up the canyon a series of the log structures that had supported the flume–similar to those I had seen downstream.
Some would say that I had just found “old pieces of wood,” but for me I was seeing real evidence of an unknown aspect of our history realized by what I have called “unsung American heroes,” rather than just see artist’s sketches and paintings. & historical descriptions.   I also was lucky enough to get photos of  a few of the more than 1,280,000 square nails used to create the flumes.  The longest seen below is 6 inches long, weighing nearly 2 oz.   I seemed to be able to feel during this experience the spirit of these toughest of the tough. 
Now I could relax for a moment, clean and disinfect my wounds and head for civilization.  With water from Main Fork I wet my bandana and cleaned off most of the blood, and then disinfected my wounds with insect repellant–and took a few pictures.  Now a bit rested I clicked off another few photographs of  gorgeous new flowers seen along the way.
A couple of hours later back at the car I did a more thorough job using Hand Sanitizer to clean all areas, and then applied Neosporin antibiotic/pain relieving  ointment.  All of these items are always part of my backpacking equipment.  As I do this report 60 hours after the event I can safely say that infection in the wounds has been avoided. 
Below is the SPOT Tracker Google Earth view of my explorations on this trip.  From 15 to 18 is the route along Main Fork, from about #15.5 up to  #16 being the camp, and the flume in #18.  From #11 to #15 is the canyon the Howe Flume went down, which actually is a seeming aberration in the topography that made it possible for the flume to get down to Hayden Fork and the Hilliard Flume.  From #10 to #7 is the cut for the Hilliard Flume shown in the beginning of this article.
Next is the topographical map showing the various flumes and the path of exploration.  Hope you can make heads or tails from it.
Remember that the flume came down out of the Uintas crossing into Wyoming and ending at Hilliard Flat where there were a whole bunch of kilns for making charcoal.  Cord wood was also transported east to Piedmont where more kilns produced charcoal.  The railroad track had gone through Piedmont and then to Hilliard, but the Aspen and Altamont Tunnels changed the course of the railroad from these two frontier towns, eventually turning them into Ghost towns.
Here you see the Hilliard Flume, 30 feet high arriving at Hilliard and the kilns.
Hilliard today is made up of ranches you see below.
The ruins of a kiln at Hilliard.
The town of Piedmont also used cord wood transported by water down the Hilliard Flume.
Three kilns in excellent condition are found at the Piedmont Ghost town.
Piedmont was a thriving town in the 1800’s where soldiers from Ft. Bridger would come for a weekend of fun.  In large part it was dependant on the cord wood supplied by the tie hackers and transported down the Hilliard Flume.
The cemetery on the hill to the east of the road, along with the kilns, is the only portion of the ghost town accessible to the public.
From around 1860 on the ABC’s were taught in the Piedmont School.  Hopefully one day our children and grandchildren in their schools will even be able to learn about our “unsung American tie hacker heroes.”
First, when you are hiking, especially doing dangerous actions like high stepping through downed timber, or boulder hopping, when you feel tired enough to have legs tremble, STOP & REST.  When fatigued you are in much greater danger of making a misstep, such as happened to me. 
 Second, especially when alone always have at least a SPOT TRACKER as seen below.
And, if possible,  a satellite phone–which I didn’t have on this Howe Feeder Flume trip, but will for my next into the West Beaver Creek Drainage in the northeastern High Uintas Wilderness.
For more on 7 distinct Survival experiences that just could save your life, go to SURVIVAL