PREPARING for BACKPACK #3-2016 “Henry’s Fork Trailhead to Little Andy Lake”

Previous post
Aug. 18th update
 “Little Andy’s Olympics”
Backpack #3-2016 Aug. 20-30 On the HIGH UINTAS North Slope
HENRY’S FORK TRAILHEAD (9,426 elevation) To Gunsight Pass (11,503 ft.) >U-76 lk (11,482 ft)>U-75 lk (11,402 ft)
>“Little Andy Lake”–The Uintas highest lake at 12,302 ft.>U-74 Beard Lk (11,745 ft)>Trail Rider Pass (11,780 ft)
 >George Beard Basin: Geo.Beard Lk (11,420 ft), U-19 (11,420 ft)U-20  (11,417 ft), U-22 (11,430 ft)>
Back to Henry’s Fk Basin> G-98 lake (11,208 ft)>Cliff  Lk (11,443 ft) ,Blanchard Lk (11,164 ft) , Castle Lk (11,363 ft.), etc.
Note: All 12 lakes are above 11,000 ft. timberline
SPOT  Satellite Tracker link: SPOT
I will have with me two instruments to monitor my condition:
1st my BLOOD PRESSURE gauge                                         2nd my new OXIMETER

 I will begin at the Trailhead  monitoring my blood pressure, pulse, and oxygen level in my blood and continue to do so as I move up above timberline from the 9,400 foot elevation at the Trailhead,  and be prepared  as I proceed  to Gunsight Pass and beyond,  to make pauses–if I begin to notice my oxygen level is low……and give my body time to acclimatize when necessary.  I also will have with me Diamox, a prescription medication that helps your body  acclimatize faster. 
 2-3 hrs. hiking/day around American Fork with pack today, 
Thursday–Aug. 18th at 60 lbs. 
NOTE:  I did just an hour with the 60 lb. backpack, and will do it again tomorrow–Friday, Aug. 19th, prior to leaving for Ft. Bridger & Mt. View, Wyoming, Gateway to the Uinta’s North Slope,  on Saturday around noon, August 20th, and on the trail August 21st, or the latest, 22nd when SPOT tracker can be checked out if you want to follow my progress.

Near American Fork’s cemetery a nice car pulled up to me.  
LINCOLN,  said, “Hi.” His mother, VILMA, asked,  “Could we give you a ride?” 
I thanked her for having a good heart, but explained I wasn’t “homeless,” rather  in training for my High Uintas Wilderness Project’s 
last backpack of the season, and promised to give them a bit of deserving publicity!


 Cordell Andersen Photography, and the STORE
where many of my photographs from the High Uintas are available. If you don’t see in the STORE what interests you, but find it in the Photography,  or in one of my trip reports, 
let me know and I’ll advise the site manager to get it there. 


“Sunset over Milk Lake”
or a similar one a few minutes earlier as seen  below…


Photo/Essay: BACKPACK #2-2016 July 27

Photo/Essay August 1, 2016
Just added 2/3rd thru a link to KSL PODCASTS & important discussion of 
“High Altitude Sickness”
BACKPACK #2-2016 July 28-31
WEST FORK WHITEROCKS TRAILHEAD:  The PLAN:  To Cleveland Lk….Fox-Queant Pass (11,400 ft.)…upper Eastern Uinta River  drainage to Brook & Divide Lakes…on to North Pole Pass (12,250 ft.)  and down to Taylor & Queant Lakes….to Trailhead.
NOTE: This was to be sort of a test in my 81st year to see if my efforts to defeat a tendency towards High Altitude Sickness were working.  All went fine during the Grandaddy backpack (#1-2016), but maximum altitude was only 10,700 ft. Backpack #2 would take me up to Fox Queant Pass at 11,400 ft. and if all went well, I’d go on to the 3rd highest pass in the Uintas–North Pole Pass at 12,250 ft.

LEFT EARLY July 28th Thurs. 
  A “glitch” hit early on in Orem, hearing something was arriving at my cell phone. I pulled off to check, and found a highly important email from archaeologist friend, Garth Norman, inviting me to go on an “expedition” for 10 days to Guatemala and Southern Mexico. I almost made a U-turn right there, but contacted him about the dates which will be from August 9-18, then had to send a series of necessary emails changing future plans.

 I finally  continued towards Roosevelt in the Uintah Basin. From there drove up to the mouth of the Uinta River Canyon, and there turned onto the dirt Elk Horn Loop Road that took me up to the Chepeta Lake Road, and soon was at the Trailhead–167 miles from American Fork, Utah.

It took me a while to put my pack together only to find that I had too much weight, so did it again eliminating 5 lbs. and getting it down to 38 lbs. including my photography gear, sat phone, SPOT Tracker–but no tripod as I’ve learned to just set it on a rock or a log if I want to get into the action.  Of course the satellite phone was provided by Russ Smith at Skycall Satellite & KSL Outdoors Radio.  Since I just had to get backpacking again, it was necessary  to renew my subscription for my  SPOT Personal Satellite Tracker.

Here’s the information at the Trailhead.  As you can see in the first photo, there are restrooms, but no water.  You’ll have to do as I did, get it when you cross the bridge  across the West Fork of the Whiterocks River a couple of hundred yards up the trail.

In the above map, we are on the right side of the dark green line to the left of which is the High Uintas Wilderness Area.  Our first objective will be Fox Queant Pass which,  as you’ll see is on the boundary line.

Didn’t look like too many adventurers were on the trail, but I’ve noticed that many don’t sign in.  We all should for a lot of reasons.

All my water essentials are accessible carried in the large mesh stretch pocket on the back of my pack.

You will notice that I am constantly amazed by what I have variously called, 

which will be shared liberally throughout my report. You  will  be seeing these marvelous beauties of nature, as I was seeing them along the trail.  This area in particular has many geologic wonders, showing the patient hand of the Creator, and His wavy artistic lines that never cease to awe me!

At first water, the West Fork of Whiterocks River,  got my Gravity Works water purification system working for me.  I’ve tried all the systems, tablets, boiling, pumping, & squeezing and none of them can even come close to touching the Gravity system….it does the work while you rest, eat, set up your tent, go fishing, etc.

This is the beautiful Fireweed flower.   In my report I’ve got to hurry along so I won’t attempt to identify each flower,  much less tell the geologic history behind each rock!

I haven’t been able to figure out what the difference is between the “backpacker” and “horse” trails.  If I can find out tomorrow with Shiela at the Forest Service, I’ll insert it here.


I didn’t intend to do a lot the first day, having left the Trailhead at 4:00 PM, so when I  found a good spot to camp with water nearby I set up for a relaxing evening…..and hoped for less sore muscles the next day. 

In the area found the bones of several cows…..and nearby droppings from coyotes.  The coyotes obviously wouldn’t have had anything to do with the death of the cows, but would happily get what nourishment they could from the remains.    I did hear coyotes yapping that night in the area.   

A friend asked, “Aren’t coyotes dangerous to humans?”  I replied, “Not unless you’re already dead–then they likely will happily have a great meal!”  
I continued telling of two experiences when coyotes came close to the tent nosing around in some of my gear.  I yelled at them and they were gone.

In the meadow nearby, I did jump a young buck.

The next morning I continued up the canyon.

As the trail began climbing a little more towards Queants Lake, there was an area with a whole series of what,  in Guatemala,  we would call “mounds” under which there would be ruins.

They are right out in the middle of the canyon and I’m quite sure they are piles of debris left by glaciers that formed these canyons many, many years ago.

“Hey, I know you!  I met you on the Uinta River/Atwood Trail last year when you were having a bit of trouble with High Altitude Sickness.”  
He was J.C. Batty and his companion Graham.

They seemed quite impressed that in my 81st year I was still doing my darndest to NOT GIVE IN…..EASILY!

They were on their way to Fox Queant Pass too, and from there would camp out at Fox Lake in the upper Uinta River Drainage.

J.C. said, as they headed up the trail, 
“Maybe we’ll see you in a couple of days!”

PROPHETIC?…..see what develops at the end.

Soon I came to the junction, and took the left fork to Cleveland Lake.

The first ford…….of course me not having as steady a balance as I used to have, looked for another crossing, and soon found one, part of it what had been a bridge many years ago.

Pretty soon I had to cross another stream and ripped a dead branch off of a tree, and broke off its branches,  to steady myself as I crossed as at my age one has to be real careful.

I was resting a bit when three young fellas came up the trail from Cleveland Lake, and….of course we got talking about my High Uintas Wilderness Project that I’m now beginning to put together.

They are….likely not in order:  Creedon,Treavor and Lance.  

They seemed a little surprised that an old guy in his 81st year would be backpacking still, so I told them what the objective is:
“Be 80+, look like 60, perform….no, I mean, behave like 30, and weigh like when I was 20!”

And….this “texture of nature” will be turned into something unique!

Soon I came to Cleveland Lake, with 12,514 ft. Cleveland Peak in the left background, and in the right center Fox Queant Pass.

Part way around the lake we come to the sign….but see off to the left in the middle of the lake….something?  Let’s change our focus…..

Sure enough it’s a bull moose.  Obviously Cleveland lake is for the most part quite shallow with the moose feeding on water weeds.

I wanted to camp some above the lake to get a good start the next day, but just had to test the waters for fishing as the three young men I had just talked to said the 

It was very windy but I was able to cast my small Colorado Spoon pretty good and on the first cast caught a nice brook trout, and proceeded to catch others on almost every cast, and while doing so another bull moose appeared across the lake.

The brookies weren’t very colorful….at least not like the ones from above timberline Porcupine Lake in the Oweep Drainage….I’ll insert one of them below….

Finally I moved on to look for a good camping spot up above the lake.

Apparently I had intruded on the territory of a couple of does, who kept circling around  my camp……..

They persisted fooling around with a couple of things I left out….like my pot that was in its fabric bag….the bag, pot and lid scattered during the night.

Saturday morning up early and gave my satellite phone report to

There were a couple of minutes of report…then lost the signal, Tim & Russ  continued another few  minutes talking about the High Uintas Project with some ineresting comments.
To listen click on the following:  PODCAST  ….my report begins at about the 10 minute point,  but continues a great segment on….
A case of this problem, interviewing an experienced backpacker between 55-60, talking as though that was “old,”  is discussed in the first hour of the Podcast with the above link.  It is continued, describing the helicopter rescue, and importantly THE LESSONS LEARNED, in the 2nd hour at the following link: 
2nd hour PODCAST
Soon afterwards I began my routine to get ready to head for the pass.

FALSE DANDELION….this is not “the spinach of the weed world.”

That morning, the 3rd day,  soon saw me on my way towards the pass, but met coming down, Rick & Cassidy Frost, and Lynn, Trevor and Daxton Zubeck.

Then, while filling up with water for the assault on the pass, met another couple of new High Uinta Friends:  Bruce Hall and Randy McKnight

They had backpacked to Fox Lake & area…but had no backpacks!  Apparently while resting a bit earlier, Bruce’s son had passed me going down the trail….carrying their camping gear!

There were others seen on the trail, mostly on horseback–including one group with about 10 horses and pack mules, but I only met and talked to those shown in this report.  One thing that I saw among almost all of those I met, and others just seen, is that most were armed with pistols or revolvers, and on asking didn’t’ get a reply concerning bears, rather mountain lions.

In the discussions I did get to tell the story of the bear attack on Josh Christensen in 2001 in the Lake Fork area between 9,500 and 10,000,  and explained that on my  backpacks above 10,000 feet I didn’t worry about bears–none of which I’d ever seen in all my thousands of miles of backpacking in the High Uintas, but that I had once seen a cougar on an elk hunt in the Uintas.  I went on to explain my two warning shots  fired with my Colt .45 Defender were:  Once to scare off a mama moose who came after me, and another time to keep a Charolais bull from charging.

Now I seriously have in view the pass, and soon will be above timberline.

By the way, what you see veering off to the left is THE TRAIL!


Apparently it isn’t easy for the horses either with debri along the trail.


We are now half-way there.  I keep grinding away, carefully as at my age, and especially being alone, I can’t afford to make a mistake!

 Made it to FOX QUEANT PASS, 11,400 ft. with 

The HIGH UINTAS WILDERNESS boundary signs.

Yes, I really did make it…..even though I have to admit that I didn’t feel all that well, with just a hint or two of the altitude affecting me some.

So with that feeling of caution, and also storm clouds  that were gathering and lightning and thunder  heading my way, I decided it wise to not proceed into the Uinta River Drainage and the much higher North Pole Pass, at 12,250 ft.  3rd highest in the Uintas.

If I had of known this would happen, I could have left my camp set-up back at Cleveland Lake and without my backpack just bagged this pass with a “Day hike.”  

And, wouldn’t you know it….I found an old  favorite friend/flower 

Notice the wind blowing pretty strong.

This is the view looking northwest towards the Uinta River Drainage, with Fox Lake in the center.

This is the view looking southeast, where I had come from,   the West Fork of the Whiterocks Drainage.

I bid farewell to my friend, OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN,   which is beginning to wither and finish its life cycle for this year, so I begin my descent, carefully.  The storm clouds were getting more menacing.

Once down into the forest the rain came pretty hard and I kept moving protected some by my poncho, and got down to Cleveland Lake on this the 3rd day, but…… it didn’t look like what you see……rather the sky was black, and drops of rain were beginning to fall again.
I had to quickly find a spot to camp in the protection of the forest, and set up my tent as the rain was falling, not much fun when raining….and crammed inside what I needed, and put my pack in the small vestibule, and crawled in just as the rain really began pouring down along with earth shaking  with thunder & lightning…all of which continued most of the night.  
No hot meal, just some munches…actually for the whole day since a granola/raisens/dried bananas/egg nog breakfast, and not much water….but enough to swallow my supplements and get me through the night.

In the morning the rain stopped for a while and I packed up my wet gear–also not much fun, and got on the trail, moving a couple of miles–only stopping to fill my water bladder.  Then,  when the rain was about to begin again and I stopped to rest  and get out  my rain gear, determined to persist to the Trailhead…….
…..but who should appear?

J.C. and Graham had come from Fox Lake that morning.  J.C. said,

“We’ll get to the Trailhead, and then I’ll come back for you!”  
I thanked him, and told him I’d move in that direction as fast as I could….we estimated maybe 3.5 miles to the Trailhead.

In the next little while I did 2 miles in the rain, when J.C. arrived with my trusty steed, “SHIMMER!”

J.C. helped a sort of inflexible old cowboy up into Shimmer’s saddle.  J.C. took my pack across his saddle, and off we went as the rain started again.

As we jostled down the rocky trail, I told J.C. my “John Wayne” history from 66 years ago  when as a young Boy Scout I’d gone with a friend, Dick Johnson,  to get his Horsemanship Merit Badge.  The counselor asked “Are you both here to get it?”  Dick spoke up and said, “Yes!”  
I was about to panic as I knew next to nothing. She started the questions, and when I could….. I spoke up quickly, like as though I knew something. Dick answered the rest, making us together seem like we were experts!   
Then to the riding ring to test our horsemanship skills.  Dick did great, then it was my turn and I wanted to disappear……but my Dick,  being a lot taller than me, had the stirrups very long–each of my legs about 12 inches too short– so we would have to adjust.  The counselor spoke up, and said,  

“Let’s not waste time doing that.  BOTH OF YOU PASSED!”
Now, 66 years later, came MY ACID TEST IN THE RING OF LIFE!

J.C. laughed at my John Wayne story, and just said, 


Graham was waiting for us at the Trailhead, and inspite of the rain jumped out of the pickup to take a picture of me on Shimmer.  
As soon as I get that picture I’ll insert it here along with my buddy, John Wayne.
NOTE:  Never got the picture….Graham’s smart phone lens likely obstructed with a drop of rain!


…..”In search of verifying another really important dream more than 50 years in the making!” 
NOTE:  As it worked out, my trip to Guatemala/Southern Mexico will now likely be in October, but I was asked by the archaeologist to remain in civilization “on call” in case he needs me in which case he’ll email me a ticket to fly down the next day. 
………and before the summer is over on to…..


NEXT BACKPACK (#2-2016), Photo/essay on Backpack #1-2016 “GRANDADDIES….WARM-UP TRIP …..An Instructive Comedy of errors!”


You should all be aware of special Facebook Page
 Cordell Andersen Photography, and the STORE
where many of my photographs from the High Uintas are available. 
UPDATE July 24, 2016:
BACKPACK #2-2016 July 27-31
WEST FORK WHITEROCKS TRAILHEAD:  To Cleveland Lk….Fox-Queant Pass (11,400 ft.)…upper Eastern Uinta River  drainage to Brook & Divide Lakes…on to North Pole Pass (12,250 ft.)  and down to Taylor & Queant Lakes….to Trailhead.
A GLITCH TODAY Tuesday July 26th….details erased

UPDATE:  July 27, 2016
& hit the SPOT TRACKER OK button at the Trailhead when leaving with pack on my back the same day, only having lost one day on the trail.

on the streets of American Fork FOR AUGUST BACKPACKING

I’m getting itchy again for the High Uintas, so have planned a whole month of August in the high country, and have to keep in shape… out onto the streets every day with my backpack with its 40 lbs. of weight……. 

…..attracting some attention today, as a young man ran up to me and asked if he could give me a ride.  I joked about….“usually people offer me money”  assuming I’m an old homeless guy….

Of course I explained to Spencer that I’m rather an “eccentric millionaire” working out everyday so that in my 81st year, I’ll look like 60, and behave like 30–and be able to get my August backpacking done–as well as straighten out my back that sometimes starts acting up as a result of hovering over my computer doing my writing!

For those interested, the Photo/essay below on the Grandaddy Backpack has been edited and updated….
John Mark Goodman’s report from Lake Atwood backpack:
From: Goodman, John Mark 
Sent: Monday, July 11, 2016 10:09 PM
Subject: The Uintas
We started at the Uinta River Trailhead first thing Friday morning.  We fished and hiked to a fine campsite just above the third chain lake.  On Saturday we fished and hiked up to a campsite next to Lake Atwood.  Along the way we took a detour to Oke Doke lake, crossed Roberts Pass, and also fished up the creek in the Atwood Basin.  On Sunday we hiked 17 long miles back to the car, with brief fishing/recovery stops at Roberts pass, chain lake 1 and Sheepsbridge. On the way out we passed two women going up to Sheepsbridge on horses.  Otherwise we did not see anyone else the entire trip.  Here is a photo of my very tired self enjoying sunrise at Lake Atwood:
Overall we had a great trip and really do appreciate your good help.
Thanks again.
John Mark

THANKS, John Mark,

Cordell M Andersen
For future plans, scroll down to end of photo/essay


 In my 81st year, I rest often–especially in the beginning of the season  and made the mistake of doing it close to the trail, and I must have looked pretty bad, as a hiker saw me and asked “ARE YOU ALIVE?” maybe foreshadowing that this might not be my greatest trip into the Wilderness!  

 I had arrived at the…..”GATEWAY TO THE GRANDADDIES” the night  before, sleeping in the car and, to pump me up, watched on my laptop, “THE BOURNE IDENTITY,” and be at the Trailhead to get an early start on Thursday, June 24th.

The Grandview Trailhead has got to be the most picturesque of the 31 in  the High Uintas, the above shot actually taken in 2015, the one below this year showing the parking lot pretty well filled up.

 I parked as close as I could to where the trail heads into the mountains………which I would especially appreciate on returning to the trailhead……..

 ……..and was raring to go, except that I HAD FORGOTTEN MY PANTS, like the  convertible ones I’m wearing below last year at the same trailhead.  
WOW….WHEN AN OLD GUY FORGETS HIS PANTS…..must be some sort of dementia coming on….or worse!

Luckily I wasn’t too far gone…….as at least I had something on……..the shorts from a previous set of convertible pants, the bottom parts having been lost from my back pockets whose stitching (made in China) had come unraveled along some High Uinta trail!

Sorry about breaking  Rule #1 “Leave no trace”  but I didn’t mean to! For cold nights I threw into my pack a lightweight pair of waterproof pants… the first of a list of “comedy of errors” was taken care of.

But, I was at least  smart enough to know that at my age I had to be concerned with reducing to a minimum my load……and it began with my foot gear.  Above you see me with my lightweight Salomon hiking boots, but  for this year I would use the lightest weight  Salomon Mountain Running Shoes–with 9 ounces less weight lifted with every step compared to the lightweight boots seen above–NOTE:  that added up to, just on my first day, over 5,000 lbs. less weight lifted!  
 I am happy to announce that this feather-lite shoe is not on my list of “comedy of errors,”  as they were so perfect there aren’t  words capable of expressing it!  

They embraced my feet just  like a perfectly fit glove, and I did have with me my shoe horn to slip into them and not ruin them as many do with their shoes.

For those who have followed my adventures in the Uintas during the last 14 years, you’ll remember that in the beginning (2003) I was disobeying the order of a Rheumatologist who, after my first Intenational Half Marathon in 1994, had no solution to my feet problems & “football ankle,” and just told me 
“No more backpacking or jogging!” 
Of course I’m famous for doing my own thing, so found my own way to persist–running a total of 14 consecutive International Half Marathons in Guatemala, and during my first, and best years on the High Uintas Project used an incredible  combination of inserts with special boots, as seen below……

……..and gradually healed the problems using less and less inserts, then much lighter low top boots, and a couple of years ago started  using mountain running shoes, all reduced now to the lightest weight trail running shoes, with only one extra insert that has a hole cut out to reduce pressure on the ball of my feet.  My feet now give me no excuse to not keep backpacking….thanks to the Lord that had me persist in finding a solution to this glitch…..
… of many solved over the years!

If you’re thinking these feather-light shoes only worked because I wasn’t really in rough country, read on and you’ll see the rocky trail, plus about 1/3rd of my 18 miles in 3 days was bushwhacking off-trail in the roughest of terrain.

Seeing these maps at the Trailhead…….
…..ALL OF A SUDDEN I added  item #2 to my “list of comedy of errors:”

Note:  Quite important for me as I do a lot of off-trail exploring, but for this trip I would just have to navigate by memory….
…..WHAT?  “MEMORY” for an old guy in the beginning stages of dementia!   This could make for an unforgettable trip….even with “dementia!”

Finally up the trail, soon arriving at the 1st (and only) bridge seen below as it was on 
June 24, 2016

Just to remind you every year is different I’ll insert below how it was a few days later in the season………2011

No, we’re not lost in the Wilderness, but going UP THE TRAIL!
I actually did better with my lightweight trail runners than I would have with boots!
We won’t starve either, as “the spinach of the weed world” is in full bloom, offering more vitamins & minerals overall than any vegetables  you’ll find in the supermarkets……oh, by the way they are DANDELIONS, brought early on to the New World because of their  medicinal qualities……and has spread everywhere in the hemisphere–including in the patio of friends in Patzicia as seen below in my recent Supervisory trip to Guatemala.

I continue up the “Grandaddy Trail.”

 One of the varieties of WILD DAISY’S
One of the many “textures of nature”  that never cease to awe me  along the trail.

 When you get to this sign in a sandy area, you have left behind 8 switchbacks that have taken you up to a new level, and from here on it’s a more gradual climb up to Hades Pass.

It would seem ridiculous to all you younger people out there, but about every 30 minutes, I rest for 10-15 minutes, now getting a bit further off the trail, removing my pack–making it obvious that I was at least alive enough to remove my pack….and likely still alive…..
 …..but also usually for rest stops I put on my extremely lightweight wind breaker (3 oz.) that stuffs into a back pocket. The mosquitoes can’t penetrate it, and it keeps my sweaty body from having chills which for older people can be dangerous.

 You’ll notice my OSPREY ATMOS 65 backpack which I introduced last year, and, in spite of weighing 4 lbs.–twice as much as recent packs used, but about the same as my original REI Morning Star pack in 2003.  This one  is the best thing I’ve every had on my back–hugging my back, distributing the weight evenly and is extremely stable.  If it wasn’t for the weight you eventually feel in your legs, you wouldn’t even know it was there!

SPRING BEAUTY soon greets us along the trail……..

 ……..and all along the way we see WILD CANDY TUFT

Meet Tom & DeAnn COSTANZO……new High Uinta Friends, on a day hike to Grandaddy Lake.  On their return they reported catching a few trout. 
They wanted to know more about my 14 quite intensive years exploring & photographing the High Uintas Wilderness…..and so I got into….
…”the plan”…..
 to do a book with lots of the stunning color of the Uintas, yes, it would be a guide  book for hikers and backpackers, but much more intertwining throughout it the incredible history, the fascinating legends and myths of gold & Big Foot, and, much more, with special emphasis on my personal survival experiences, and lessons learned that could save many lives and enhance everyone’s enjoyment of the Uintas.
Their conclusions:  “GET TO IT BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!”

We have now climbed to a new elevation and begin seeing the always elegant 

All of a sudden a family breezed right by me, also on a day hike to Grandaddy Lake.

We come to a small stream of good water that crosses the trail–the first and only water since crossing the bridge,  where I usually replenish my supply of drinking water, and get my first shots of always beautiful MARSH MARIGOLD, above……….

……….and below its partner, WHITE GLOBE FLOWER.

I soon arrive at Hades Pass (around 10,650 ft.) and begin dropping down into the Grandaddy Basin. 
glimpsed through the trees.  Grandaddy Lake, the largest in the High Uintas, was named by pioneer artist/photographer, George Beard. 

 Another rest stop gave me the opportunity of meeting the family that had sped past me earlier………
 …… meet the BRIAN AVERY FAMILY.  Sorry for not taking several shots to get one good one with everyone’s eyes open!
Brian said he had seen my website and they seemed curious about what an old guy like me was doing in the Uintas……so with that opening I once again described my plan:

 To do a book with lots of the stunning color of the Uintas none of which is seen in any of the guide books.  Yes, it would be a guide  book for hikers and backpackers, but much more mixing throughout  the incredible history, the fascinating legends and myths of gold & Big Foot, and, I asked, “Do you know about the tie hackers?”  They shook their heads, and I described these “unsung heroes of the Uinta’s North Slope without whom the West might not  have been won!”   I went on mentioning Tom “Bear River” Smith, President Eisenhower’s hero from Abelene, Kansas, and Beartown, where Tom got his nick-name, which tie hacker/railroad town was described as 
 “The liveliest if not the most wicked town in America!”
 all tied to the Uintas, and much more that will be in the book, with special emphasis on my personal 
survival experiences, and lessons learned that will save many lives 
plus enhance everyone’s enjoyment of the Uintas.  They were wide eyed and seemingly pretty interested and said, 
 “WOW….You’d better get to it before it’s too late!”

   As I headed down towards Grandaddy Lake, many thoughts were bouncing around in my brain,   and I concluded
 that for a guy who even forgot his pants on this trip, maybe I’d better stop fooling around backpacking so much, and get to work on my plan, 

One reason I love to visit Grandadddy Lake in late June & early July, is that there are  three small creeks on the west side of the lake, one we see above, which are invaded by thousands of native cutthroat trout for their annual spawn as you see in the following photographs.

I focus on this spot and get ready to snap off quick shots…..

 I’m now working my way around the south end of Grandaddy Lake, with Hayden Peak, on the left, and Mt. Agassiz in the middle.

It was slow go detouring around many marshy, areas, or I guess I should say “boggy areas,” as along the way I got a series of pictures of BOG LAUREL we see below,  showing how it develops–rarely seen by most hikers. 

 Eventually I climbed up above the lake and found a meadow where I could set up my little camp in full view of East Grandaddy Mountain and the saddle, down from which I  bivouacked one night a few years ago to get some unique photos of Grandaddy Lake.

I zoomed in on the approximate area …………

………….where I set up my bivouac camp. 

But, on setting up my camp my first order of business was RECOVERY from at least 6 miles of hiking that day……..all on top of possibly another “error” but this one not funny as  prior to leaving  all of a sudden I felt a small cough beginning…..but of course, me being “tougher than nails,”  I would be able to handle that with no problem…….
……but I needed to RECOVER from a hard 1st day of a new season, downing a recovery drink of ENDUROX, plus a Power Pak…….but the cough had got worse and so I took other supplements that normally worked well to fend off sickness, like Glutamine & Wellness Formula (which I didn’t have enough of).

…….and nearby beautiful ALPINE BUTTERCUPS

Night came and I got out my book, a Father’s Day gift from a dear friend.

But,  my glasses had one lens  popped out, and no matter what I did I not only couldn’t get it back in, but the other one popped out too…………it was hard to do things right without seeing clearly what I was doing……..
…………another in my “comedy of errors!”   I finally got one in…..sort of, and read  4 pages of the Forward using one eye and sort of learned why my pirate ancestor Henry Morgan, with a patch over one eye, had such a nasty attitude!
Note:  If you didn’t know my entire name is Cordell MORGAN Andersen, Morgan being my mom’s maiden name….and my possible connection to the Pirate and excuse for sometimes having a nasty attitude!

By 2:00 AM my cough & wheezing had got so bad that it started worrying me a lot, and I got out my Emergency Meds/Supplements, with:  Top row, Ibuprofen, Walmart “Excedrin,” Wellness formula, & the emergency Anti-biotic;  Bottom, Sleep items, Magnesium, Digestive enzymes, more Sleep items, & Glutamine.  To maybe be able to meet my objectives…..and at least get back to civilization, I started the anti-biotic–a 5 day treatment, but which builds up in the body with its curative effects lasting another 5 days.

I got through the night, and time for breakfast……….

……….which was Granola, plus raisens, dehyrated bananas, with  eggnog–half on the granola, & half as a  drink. You’ll notice, no expensive shaker bottles–rather from peanut butter, jam, or whatever….with smooth interiors easy to clean, but all wide-mouthed to easily pour in powders, etc. 

When the food was ready I got out my teeth……and added two more items to my list of
“comedy of errors.”  
The Adhesive I had brought was one that has been in my car, and for whatever reasons  had got thick and hard and I had one heck of a time getting any out, so from the beginning I had trouble, but found an old tube that had just a little left that would work and last for maybe a day or so,  but……..
…….”the comedy of errors” was to get even more interesting!

When I took out the upper that was anchored to my one last tooth…. the tooth (a crown) came out,  but  luckily didn’t fall onto the ground and get lost, rather stuck in the denture as you see below–the white one right in the middle.  

 It was actually a crown with its post, as you see below, but I needed it to anchor the upper denture…… the meantime I couldn’t eat anything that required chewing!    So………

……..I  went to work cleaning and drying, not seeing very well with only one eye–no perspective, and got into my Emergency Repair bag for my PLASTIC SURGERY cement and glued the crown back onto its deteriorated base. 

 The repair only lasted for a day, and then had to be cemented in again…..but got me through the trip! This cement always goes with me, having repaired crowns several times, glasses, leaks in water bladders, air mattress, etc.  It is far superior to Super Glue. Link to it on my GEAR/SUPPLEMENTS, page.
Note:  At home, with glasses fixed at Walmarts, but told they would pop out again as they were worn out–so needed new ones–I solved that with two drops of Plastic Surgery on each so they’ll never pop out again, but then,  able to see, did a good job cementing my crown that continues to anchor my upper denture!
The thought occurs to some that to cement the crown onto a rotted  base might not work too well–but,  the Plastic Surgery glue is highly disinfectant and hopefully inhibits continued deterioration of the bas–for a while….sort of.  So far it’s working since returning home & doing a thorough and careful job of cementing it back  on.

Mentioning SUPPLEMENTS & SUCH, you might as well see the way I organize what is taken during the day……to get me through each difficult day &  trip.
 The Morning” sections have what I begin the day with.  Then after breakfast when getting on the trail, take the “Energy” section.  “Noon” is for mid-afternoon, and “Night” prior to going to bed.  The large tablets above are HGH (human grown hormone) Activators taken before going to bed at night.  

For details, and links to all, go to my website and click on:  GEAR/SUPPLEMENTSand scroll way down  
& at the end learn about “free nutrition.”

Some of them have proven in personal tests to make such an obvious difference  I have said 
“I’d stop eating almost everything before eliminating them from my diet!”  

 It was working as by the 2nd day I had to make a new hole in my belt.
Twenty lbs. had been lost since January and I was working on 10 more to get down to my weight when 20 years old.

 We are looking up at East Grandaddy Mountain.  My hike that day would parallel its base as I bushwhacked down to Fern Lake…..all of which had a purpose.  My hike down towards the east was in hopes of finding something very strange seen in the area 12 years ago when Ted Packard and me bushwhacked down to Fern………

………..and all of a sudden, right out in the middle of nowhere….and miles from any trail,  there was an outhouse!  Why I never took a picture of it, who knows, (of course now I take a picture of everything!) but I wanted to find it, try and identify where it had come from and get some pictures.  

From up at a high point before dropping down this is a panorama looking north.  Cyclone Pass would be in the dead center, then to the left Four Lakes Basin, Rocky Sea Pass, Naturalist Basin, and Mt. Agassiz.

I shouldn’t have done it, as bushwhacking for me at my age becomes  very difficult, if not an impossible task, especially as I was still struggling with the cough that if anything was getting worse.   I have finally learned my lesson:  

I come way down, and given up on finding the outhouse, veering off a bit to the north where on a hill I all of a sudden found an old rusty shovel and its handle.

 I scraped off  the rust to see better the markings on the shovel, you see above.  I decided to look around a little and see what else I could find.

Close-by I found a rotted away tent………. 

Then what looked like two tents that had been abandoned set-up, but, over who knows how many years, had deteriorated and come down with the polls sprawled  over them.

I carefully lifted open the tents to see if there were any bones, or bodies, but could see nothing, although I certainly didn’t tear things apart as I didn’t want to disturb the scene in case authorities of whoever might be interested.

This is the same scene as the previous, but from the other end.

 The red bag was empty.

 There were some papers stuck together, but on carefully prying them open could see nothing distinguishable.  

 This is the only readable item I found at the site.

 To pin-point the area, in case anybody is interested, from the shovel we see above, we are looking west at the cliffs that begin near East Grandaddy Mountain and continue on all the way to the  trail down to Brinton Meadows.  Between the picture and the cliffs, there is a stream that comes out of the base of East Grandaddy Mountain, tumbles down to the east, then  turns north going between us and the cliffs.  The same creek swings around the hill in question, and then parallels the Marla Lake Trail as it goes down  east.

 The shovel is in the extreme right of the picture, towards the bottom, the picture looking up at East Grandadddy Mountain.  The site in question should be easy to find from the trail from Lodgepole Lake that rises, then begins to descend, going east paralleling the stream. The hill in question is there to the south of the trail as it turns east and begins its descent.

 Of course for me, it was back to bushwhacking towards the east to find Fern Lake.

Along the way there were good views of the ground cover so frequent in the the Uintas, and for your interest I’ll insert below a few pictures showing when it blossoms with a tiny flower, you might have never seen before.  

ENJOY as we get closer and closer.

As has happened to me several times, I came upon Fern Lake from up high and scrambled down through the boulders to the lake, and had to take a cast or two for the healthy brook trout that inhabit its waters.  

I haven’t mentioned, but there were mosquitoes, a few at the Trailhead, but not in biting mode yet, and some all along the way………

……….Fern being at a lower elevation–about that of the Trailhead, had quite a few,  so I decided to head up the trail and camp on Grandaddy Lake.

More “textures of nature”  
A painting with these beautiful concentric lines & swirls  would be a prize winner & sell for a hefty prize to decorate some wall to AWE all!

Up the trail, fairly close to Lodgepole Lake this cabin is found right along the trail.  I will have to do a little research to learn about its history, but the one round nail I found, seen below, indicates it is from the 20th century.

Then we come to Lodgepole Lake and this beautiful scene with Mt. Agassiz  in the distance.
Louis Agassiz was a Swiss-American biologist & geologist, living from 1807-1873 who spent time in the Uintas, many lakes in the vicinity of Mt. Agassiz & Naturalist Basin given names of some of his students.  Interesting quotes from him are:
“I cannot afford to waste my time making money!”
“The study of Nature is intercourse with the Highest Mind.  You should never trifle with Nature.”

At Lodgepole Lake there is a stream to cross, but as you can see there is a “bridge” made up of a conglomeration of unstable logs.  There was a time when without hesitation I would just go across, but not anymore.  

 Balance is one of the weak points in some of us old guys, and for the first couple of days of backpacking, it’s best to be careful until you sort of get your “mountain legs” warmed up and working.

I did what I have learned is crucial for a crossing or a ford–get a sturdy pole, like the one you see in the picture, and use it to steady yourself as you carefully go across……..

 ……even with that,  the tail end of the crossing got a bit dicey as one log began dipping and turning, but, with my old “football agility” not completely gone, I was able to make a leap to one log and then to the bank safely.  It’s funny how such simple little things become 
REAL BIG FOR SOMEONE IN HIS 81st YEAR…..maybe with dementia coming on!

My desktop image on my computer is now this wonderful scene.

I’ve got to check out this old ruin between the trail and the falls that plunges down from Grandaddy Lake.  

Once again, this ruin is from the 20th century, as before 1910 nails were all square.

Up we go to Grandaddy Lake! 

Outlets to alpine lakes, like Grandaddy Lake, that the native cutthroat trout couldn’t get up from the rivers  below, had many such lakes with no fish until fingerlings were hauled in using milk cans on the backs of mules, and later, from about 1955 on,  by airplane drops.

Thanks to  the FISH & GAME….now the DWR:  Division of Wildlife Resources, we are blessed with some of the best fishing in the world…..

 ……..and of course THANKS TO THE CREATOR for the endless beauty of every kind imaginable in our wonderful Wilderness Areas.

 I’m  back at the “Grandaddy of them all, looking towards Hades Pass, and will camp close-by, but at least 200 feet from the water & trails, and see how I feel tomorrow.  
The plan had been to hike from Lodgepole Lake down to  Shadow Lake, near Brinton Meadows, then down to Lost Lake and take the faint trail to Powell Lake…..but the faint trail followed years ago from Lodgepole down, is one of those trails that are disappearing as the Forest Service is letting such areas become a more true Wilderness with no maintenance of such trails….meaning it would be “bushwhacking,” which I have to pretty much avoid now.

Sorry for being such a wimp….but in my 81st year I have to be careful!

I set up my camp and relax after a very long, hard day that somehow I was able to survive.  It’s good to see INDIAN PAINT BRUSH blooming, and all over the place are the mushrooms…..

I discuss some “mushrooms” I  in my YouTube video:
#6-2013 BIG FOOT in the Uinta’s East Fork of Blacks Fork?
on 2nd thought it might be in the following video:
#8-2013 Open Your Eyes to THE VISIONS OF NATURE

By now HEARTLEAF ARNICA is beginning to add its splash of color to the landscape.

I get through the night, but the anti-biotic hasn’t been able to fend off the cough that has got worse…..mainly due to the previous day being just too much…much of it due to the bushwhacking  from Grandaddy all the way down to Fern–that I’ll never do again!

Viewing Hades Pass over Grandaddy Lake.

My plan had been to get to places requiring  more bushwhacking as explained above, which I didn’t feel up to, so I packed up and headed for the Trailhead, measuring with great caution my pace so that I’d make it to Hades Pass………….

Another view of beautiful Grandaddy Lake, & the Mountain saddle where I’ve made 3 trips to get the most spectacular view of the Grandaddies.
 Making it to Hades Pass I’d THEN BE HOME FREE!

Made it to the junction at the south end of Grandadddy Lake, and soon was carefully starting up to the Pass which gratefully was achieved in great shape, and soon downhill 3 miles to the Trailhead.

On the switchbacks I was passed by a father, daughter and dog-packer.

 By the 6th switchback, counting from the top, or 3rd coming up,  I was in
The Queen being the QUAKING ASPEN, now Utah’s State Tree….
…. in my opinion a great choice.

 The 7th switchback was long and with the happy sound of the creek splashing down the canyon to my left, and Heart Leafed Arnica, along the trail.

 The switchbacks ended at the Wilderness boundary, and soon the welcome sight of my car in the Trailhead parking lot filled me with a great feeling of gratitude. I had done betweeb 16-18 miles, at least 6 of it bushwhacking,  in 3 days while being
sort of sick….and got WARMED UP!

But I also learned the lesson that I’ve got get to the task of putting all of this together…..

 The parking lot was almost empty now……..

…….only with a father and son heading up the trail for high adventure in the HIGH UINTAS WILDERNESS.
for the 
I refer to my chat with Tom & DeAnn Costanzo and Brian Avery & family on the trail….both ending  with them saying:
“WOW….You’d better get to it before it’s too late!”
In summary “it” is:
 A book with lots of the stunning color of the Uintas none of which is seen in any of the guide books, including the most exotic and stunning locations, often not even given mention in the present books.   Yes, it will be a guide  & “how to do it” book for hikers and backpackers (applicable in any “wilderness”), but much more mixing throughout  the incredible history, the fascinating legends and myths of gold–even Butch Cassidy’s connection,  and, of course,  Big Foot–even one personal experience.   Then I asked, 
“Do you know about the tie hackers?” 
They shook their heads, and of course I jumped on it,  describing  them as:
 “Unsung heroes of the Uinta’s North Slope 
without whom the West might not  have been won!”   
I went on mentioning the tie hacker’s  connection to Tom “Bear River” Smith, President Eisenhower’s hero from Abelene, Kansas, 
and the Uinta’s Bear River where Tom got his nick-name at Beartown, which tie hacker/railroad town was described as 
 “The liveliest if not the most wicked town in America!”
 That history and much more  will be in the book, with special emphasis on….. 
….. relating histories of those lost in the Uintas & why,
plus  my personal survival experiences, and lessons learned that will save many lives in any wilderness area, 
This book, 64 yeas in the making, will enhance everyone’s safe enjoyment of this great swath of fascination & beauty we call The HIGH UINTAS.  


NOTE:  None of the photographs  can be used  without written permission from Cordell Andersen.  

EMAIL:  [email protected]

You should all be aware of special Facebook Page

 Cordell Andersen Photography, and the STORE
where many of my photographs from the High Uintas are available. 

In June I’ll get back to the High Uintas Wilderness Project
….not to worry–Wed. May 13th…there’s still 40″ of snow on Bald Mt. Pass….but

For May I’m working like a slave on the 
<<<Will be printed for recent contributors & donors for whom we have no email>>>
Then a few days later the Photo/Essay in English & Spanish
In spite of having had Pneumonia, I’m training for the 
International Half Marathon in Coban on May 22nd,
but now beginning my 81st year it’s going slow…..
…..maybe without enough time remaining,
but will be in Guatemala
May 18-30th!

 An Old friend….has doubts about me!  
Check it out at the end of this  post 

Click below for previous post of choice for 2015:

NEW UPDATE: January 29, 2016: 


UPDATE:  October 19, 2015
My effort to get to “Little Andy Lake” going up Henry’s Fork…failed…. as I was ambushed by a silent killer…check the photo/essay for important details that can SAVE LIVES!  Here are explained the outcome & future plans as….. 


I’M GOING TO DO IT IN 2016 WHEN I’M 80 YEARS OLD! Read on to see how.

Normal backpacking must continue–as it has so far held at bay the “peripheral neuropathy” that was trying to cripple me….and of course also “old age,” so…
you’ll have to wait a while longer for me “to grow old!”
  So have to  keep alive, and in shape..
….for at least ONE MORE YEAR,  and so I’ll continue to scare the heck out of the residents of American Fork by walking around for the next 9 months with what some of them think is a 40 lb.  “explosive vest,” like you see below.  I’ll do my darndest to make the third attempt “the charm!”
Click below for important discovery & solution

–Giving hope to this old geezer– 
1.  Work out every day, no matter  the weather conditions- – From Feb. on prepare for the International Half Marathon mentioned next, plus get ready for backpacking…so, the program now is, in addition to “compound weight exercise training,”  & the special “Carb Nite Diet,” designed to lose only fat (20 lbs. of it) while building muscle, and workout  every day with 40 lb. weighted vest, doing a type of “interval training,” by jogging/walking beginning  with 30 yards….then walk 30 yards, gradually increasing repetitions…up to 25, then increase… 
NOTE: The first time my legs were sore.  
>Then lengthen distance to 50, and now (3/12) 100 yards per repetition, 
NOTE:  Now not experiencing any  soreness as I increase distances & repetitions.  
>Continue to gradually increase repetitions, lengthen the distances, and pick up the pace until down to target weight of 150-55 lbs.  (by end of March).
THEORY:  I would always see overweight guys and gals get to the finish line….some ahead of me!  They had to have incredible muscles under all that fat.  So I’m working on building those kinds of muscles with the 40 lbs. of weighted vest.  Soon I will have lost 20-25 lbs. of fat, while building muscle….then with 20 lbs. less body weight, and taking off the vest, I will essentially be 60 lbs. lighter, but with new muscle–and be able to fly, and then turn to more normal training and be ready for the race, and also backpacking.

2.  The DAILY WORKOUT now, as explained in 1. includes getting ready to compete with the Kenyans….after an 8 year layoff, in the  International Half Marathon in Coban, Guatemala on May 22nd….and be the only 80 year old to do it….SEE BELOW FOR DETAILS from the GUATEMALAN FOUNDATION website.
3.  Get rid of the “bread belly,” as explained above–  and be down to my weight at 30 yrs. old

4.  Apply faithfuly all the secrets  in my ANTI-AGING CHALLENGE 
              Be 80, look like 60, and feel like 30!

5.  Backpacking gear will basically be the same as I believe I have the optimum, except I will use light weight trail running shoes.
6.  Reduction of weight strategies will include: 
      a. Photo equipment weight reduction as used in the Henry’s Fk. backpack, reducing 4 lbs. from normal photo waist pack & equipment,  and 2 lbs. reduction with no tripod…total reduction 6 lbs.
       b. No backpack stove/butane, reducing 1 lb.  ;  
       c. Food will  all be high protein/fat/high energy  drinks, plus supplements/vitamin/minerals  only requiring adding water–no cooking, reducing 5 lbs. for 8 days;  Note:  Of course I’ll have fail-proof fire starter, aluminum foil & salt shaker…. to cook fish if needed.
     d. No Colt .45 Defender, reduction:  2 lbs. (no need in a high traffic area)

8 DAY BACKPACK = 14 lbs.
That will have my total load around 35 lbs. for 8 days, which, for me, essentially includes  my Nikon camera with 28mm to 300mm zoom & fish-eye lenses.

7. Sufficient food to make possible ample time for high altitude acclimatization…. enough for at least 8 days to not only  make it to “Little Andy Lake,” but also achieve exploration of George Beard Basin, & fishing one more time in Beard Lake, and U-75 where I have hooked record brook trout, plus maybe one more try at Cliff Lake and “the alligator-like swirl” attempt at my lure–the greatest ever experienced in fresh water–in “the Land Northward”…… from a native cutthroat trout.
NOTE:  The greatest was by a huge largemouth black bass in a lake near where I lived for 35 years in Guatemala.  Later in the same area a 27 lb. black bass was taken with a spear gun, and weighed at a friend’s store.  I imagine it was the one that went after my lure, but missed, which if caught on fishing gear would easily have been a World Record!

8. Prescription “Diamox” to help accelerate acclimatization;  

9.  Extra supplements to strengthen my body’s  ability to handle stress and altitude .
10.  Always have emergency survival items like:
*****Satellite phone*****SPOT Tracker****** 
Emergency Medical items for heart emergencies emergency antibiotic, etc.
11. Last, but not least, my buddy Ted Packard insists on going with me.  I think he’s afraid I’m just getting too old for this kind of youthful stuff, and thinks he will become famous by SAVING ME!  But…..he’s older than me….so who will be saving who?
His son MIKE, is also going….likely having doubts about
both of us old geezers!

FINAL NOTE:  I’m already planning, doing my topo maps, for the backpacks I’ll do this summer, after getting to Little Andy Lake….so tune in to see my 
As you can see this area is all above timberline so I will likely have to wait until  mid-July as otherwise a lake at 12,302 ft. would be frozen over still.
Let me know what you think….in the meantime….
From the Guatemalan Foundation website:

Last of all the ANNOUNCEMENT
The successful flurry of donation activity at the end of 2015 is making possible the foundation doing something that was one for quite a few years, after we returned o the U.S. in 2002, but not possible in recent years.  I’m referring to an “INSPECTION TRIP” to Guatemala each year, which also made possible me participating in the Coban International Half Marathon in May–completing 14 consecutive years of competing against the Kenyans, Ethiopians, & Moroccans.
That’s of course a joke….but I did always make it to the finish line. 
The race has grown incredibly from 2,500 runners to now around 15,000, an incredible sight of color filling the narrow streets of Coban.
I will represent the Guatemala Foundation and be the oldest, at 80, who is a “cancer & heart attack survivor,” with  3 screws holding together his “football ankle,”   titanium jerry-rigging his “motorcyle knee” and a titanium hip…..and will have the Kenyans quaking in their running shoes!   Likely, “Quaking” with laughter!
I will be able to say “hello and goodbye” to all of our thousands of brothers and sisters, who we have served to the best of our ability, and return with video and photographs to produce an interesting YouTube video, or two, as well as a few interesting newsletters to make  complete our…..

I had an incredible 12 days in Guatemala, which reports will begin to appear on  beginning late today, June 5th.  But the race? Results sent to me via email:
.….but, in the interest of “full disclosure” I have to stick to a vow made when young to never say vulgar words or lies to a woman!
So, the truth is that I tried a week before to see if I was ready, and came up 5 miles short (of the 13 miles), so decided I couldn’t risk it….and gave my number to a young friend, David Barrientos,  who did the time mentioned above, who you see above:
But, I was there and took  video and photos………of the 15,000 runners & 100,000 spectators…….

 ……and  the men’s winner from Kenya, who has won here 4 times in a row…….
……and the woman champion also from Kenya……

……and my dear friend Inque Chavarria, we see above,  who did well again as he has done for many years. As well as my son Lito’s (CordeLITO Ammon), father-in-law Edgar Pacay (Diana’s father), we see below when we visited him in his home in Coban, who did it in 2:08 

BUT….watching it I couldn’t help but think…..with my body all reconstructed and now without pain for the first time in 30 years,  “I CAN DO THIS…..SO MY TRAINING HAS BEGUN ALREADY FOR 2017 when I’ll be in my 82nd year!”
So my supposed final “ADIOS,” turned into an 
“HASTA LUEGO” to all my dear Guatemalan friends.


Research in the Uintah Basin & Defa’s Dude Ranch….then: “LIFE SAVING” Photo/Essay: Backpack #3-2015 HENRY’S FORK to “Little Andy Lake” — Ambushed by “THE SILENT KILLER” …STRATEGY for DOING “THE IMPOSSIBLE” for a WORN OUT OLD GUY IN HIS 80th YEAR!

Click below for previous post: 


UPDATE  Monday AUGUST 18, 2015
I’m presently into the 4th day (of 4) doing research in the Uintah Basin starting last Saturday spending a couple of hours at the Saloon at DEFA’S DUDE RANCH on the North Fork of the Duchesne River, and, in addition to a few new High Uinta Friends, came away with a treasure load of great information, history, legends and “tall tales” from my new buddies.  One of them, Micky, the baretender says hello below:
 Then I was on to the Forest Service in Duchesne and the Public Library, and will finish up at the new Duchesne County History Center.

I hope to make it to the Henry’s Fork Trailhead by Tuesday evening, probably late…and……Wednesday morning be on the trail towards Gunsight Pass taking me to the Kings Peak area, and on to set up an above timberline camp in the shadow of 13,387 ft. Mt. Jedediah on tiny U-75 lake which produces monster brookies.
I have programmed my SPOT Tracker, that  being the link if you want to follow me on the trail & see where I am each evening on Google Earth.  I now have a  more reliable sat phone from Russ Smith & SKYCALL SATELLITE (where you can  rent your’s too)  and hope to be able to make my report early Saturday to KSL OUTDOORS RADIO and, if all goes as planned, make a day hike that day from my camp on U-75 lake up to “Little Andy Lake” and be the first to report on this alpine lake that is at 12,203 feet,  a hop, skip and a leap  from South Kings Peak.
Then on to Beard Lake where I once had on briefly what would have been  a Utah State record brookie (and winner that year of the FIELD & STREAM fishing contest),  & Trail Rider Pass, and then test the waters of all of the lakes in the George Beard Basin and be the first to post a report world-wide on that basin….. and we’ll see what else.
I know that lately I’ve been just “so much hot air” but have to practice what I preach…NOT GIVING IN…EASILY, and doing my best in my 80th year to avoid  having a “Forest Gump moment!”

NOTE:  None of the photographs  can be used  without written permission from Cordell Andersen.  
EMAIL:  [email protected]


August 19, 2015 at HENRY’S FORK TRAILHEAD
The Trailhead is 30 miles south of Mt. View, Wyoming, or 68 miles from Evanston.

The Trailhead parking lot was overflowing with cars.  There would be a literal parade of mostly King’s Peak climbers coming and going.  If you’re new, KINGS PEAK is Utah’s highest mountain at 13,528 feet.  With so many people on the trail I wouldn’t be able to stop and talk to everyone like I usually do.

I had come the afternoon and evening before all the way from the Uintah Basin, slept in some and got a late start around noon.
 In my 80th year, I had done my best to get my load weight down for an 8 day backpack to 34 lbs.  For such an important trip  I desperately wanted to take my good Nikon camera, rather than the Pentax point-and-shoot used on the Uinta River trip.  So I focused on losing 5 lbs. of body weight during the preceding  week and made that goal…..  
 So, you’ll notice I don’t  have wrapped around my midsection the “spare tire” least it’s smaller, nor  my new photographic waist pack (that with my Nikon camera and extra lenses weighed around 10 lbs.–12 lbs. with tripod).  Rather I only had a lightweight waist pack with the camera, a fish-eye lens, and a much smaller radio–a Grundig seen below, weighing only a few ounces….all in all saving around 7  lbs. of weight from the normal pro-photo equipment, but that small waist-pack  brought my  load weight to 40 lbs. including water…..but compensated for by 5 lbs. less of body weight.  

NOTE:  The new radio for this year, shown previously,  turned out to be a heavy (l lb.) piece of junk!

As usual I had  from Russ Smith at SKYCALL SATELLITE  a satellite  phone….this time one a bit more reliable although a bit heavier, like you see below:

As well as always having my 
to be used daily.

Elevation at the Trailhead was a bit over 9,000 ft.–a signifcant advantage over the Uinta River Trailhead that is around 7,000 ft.

Map #1 shows basically the territory I’d cover the first day…from the trailhead around 4 miles with 1,000 ft. of elevation gain.  Good 1st day for an old guy in his 80th year.

A very short distance from the Trailhead you cross the Wilderness boundary and right off begin seeing backpackers coming and going.

We are in historic country…..
…..paralleling the Henry’s Fork of the Green River.  This well known land-mark river was named after he who most of his life was known as “Major Andrew Henry,”  but who had actually ascended to  be a brigadier general in the military, and then was elected lieutenant governor of Missouri.  Later he became the partner of General William H. Ashley and  their fur-trading venture on the upper Missouri River and together would go on to revolutionize the Western fur trade with the help of  all the famous mountain-men such as Jim Bridger, Jedediah Smith, and others mentioned below. 

As we can read in this Historic marker just over the line into Wyoming, it was on the Henry’s Fork where the very first ROCKY MOUNTAIN RENDEZVOUS was held in 1825.

On one of my explorations I made it a point to try and pin-point the exact spot where this famous Rendezvous was held….seen below

So, here we go up the famous  Henry’s Fork of the Green River.  Once again, as many of the streams coming out of the High Uintas, very seldom if ever fished….and it would be good….it will be good as the “streams of the Uinta” will be my next focus, once I get the “unique book” put together I’m now working on.

In good style I made it to my first camping spot 1.5 miles below Elkhorn Crossing (about where the red-dotted trail leaves the map above), went for water, and while my Gravity Works system did its magic purifying my water…..

…I set up camp, and soon was snuggled in for the first night….but….at about 10:00  my air mattress went flat!

Comfort and being able to sleep would be a problem, but the main one would be no insulation between me and the cold ground…especially with my quilt that is designed to cover and keep one warm on the top side, but for bottom warmth dependent on the air mattress.  Luckily it had been sort of cold at the trailhead and so, fearing colder weather in the high country, I had thrown in my long-johns…which I quickly put on under my pants and so was a little protected.

However, by 1:30 I just couldn’t sleep and so got up to see if I couldn’t find the leak and fix it….which you’ll notice above was fixed, not with the Therm-a-Rest repair kit as patches were gone, but using tent repair material and my trusty Plastic Surgery glue, that has served to repair water bladderglasses, gluing on a crown that came lose, fixing head lamp, and now the mattress
I won’t go on a trip without said glue, that is much better than normal Super Bonder.

Up the trail the next morning I said hello to a Peruvian sheepherder, but didn’t have my camera at ready until he was up the trail.  Over the years I’ve met herders from Mexico, Chili and now Peru.

Soon I arrived at Elkhorn Crossing where the North Slope Highline Trail crosses the Henry’s Fork trail.

The right hand fork goes towards Bear Lake, then forks with the North Slope Highline Trail continuing west, the other fork goes up  the west side of the Henry’s Fork Basin. There’s actually an un-marked trail that goes up the middle—the right side of the stream, which I have followed to go to Henry’s Fork Lake, and on to Castle, Blanchard, and the most remote, Cliff Lake.   My trail for this trip continues south, crosses the stream and then forks again.

Here we get our first glimpse of the high country enshrouded in smoke from the forest fires all over the West.

On the east side of the bridge the trail forks, mine going up towards the south and Dollar Lake and on to Gunsight Pass, the Uinta River Drainage,  and the Kings Peak area.  This trail follows one of the two ancient trails over the Uintas used for centuries by the Native Americans.  

The other fork going east is the North Slope Highline Trail that first leads to the Beaver Creek Drainage and   its West Fork that takes one to the base of Gilbert Peak, Utah’s 3rd highest at 13,442 ft.  

As I was getting up into the high country I got to speak Spanish with three other Peruvian sheepherders.  

In another mile or so there loomed through the smoke to the west CASTLE PEAK at whose southern base lies one of the remote and mysterious lakes of the drainage, Castle Lake you see below.

It is described in one guide book as not only remote and little visited, but “mysterious.”  That got the best of me a few years ago and I had to get there.  I made the entire 12 miles to it from the Trailhead in just one hard 1st day–wish I could still do that!  But, no mystery, just tons of sassy eastern brook trout!

Soon there comes into view our first glimpses of Kings Peak…the triangle shaped peak on the right half of the panorama….we zoom in on below.

Then passed me Trent and Sally Johnson, on their way to camp at nearby Dollar Lake.  I needed some rest so let them get up ahead of me where they rested below with their objective hanging over their heads–KINGS PEAK.

Then their companions came by:   Conner Sugrue and Sarah Ann Skousen.

I finally caught up with them and we had a BYU reunion….me from way back when BYU was more like a high school!  We were at what on the topographical map below is the 7.45 mile point, actually more accurately 8.5 miles from the Trailhead–I say that, as to the route distances on the topo maps,  you should add 15%.   This is the Dollar Lake area where many camp, and then take a day hike of 8 miles to Kings Peak, for a 16 mile round trip hike.

I felt like I had to go on a bit further towards Gunsight Pass to make my 3rd day shorter.  I would be above the 11,000 timberline and went on to about 11,400 feet that would have been above the line of pines we see below.
This is  an old photo of the area as I was moving up towards the pass and the proposed  camp site…we see on the map below.

Below we get a view towards Gunsight Pass from the stream that gushes out of Blanchard Lake, and  the arrow pointing to approximately the area where I had planned on camping….and actually got to it  at about 11,400 ft. in elevation.

The camp site was to be in a little clump of alpine firs like we see below, with water nearby.  I actually didn’t take pictures as I was beginning to feel so bad that photographs were the last thing on my mind.  

  It was a spot where I had camped twice before on climbs to Kings Peak.  
The first time was in late August 2004, 6 weeks after knee surgery, when I hadn’t exercised for most of that time, and it wore me out to do it all in one day from the Trailhead.  Extra takes of Glutamine and Calcium/Magnesium had me come out of it.  The next day I went on to camp on Kings Peak and it developed into one of the great SURVIVAL EXPERIENCES of my life complicated on my way out with a heart attack….8 miles from the Trailhead in the midst of which my desperate prayer was miraculously answered.  Click on that if interested.

Normally this is the way I feel and look in the mountains, but this time at the proposed camp site at about 11,400 feet all systems were falling apart and I all of a sudden began feeling very sick……
…………what was happening?

I was extremely fatigued and unsteady on my feet.  Wheezy breathing had been developing for the last hour.  I had the feeling I was coming down with the flu feeling body temperature possibly rising,  a splitting headache, and nausea with the very thought of food had me wanting to vomit.
Worst and most worrisome was that my pulse was very fast, and I was able to detect a very erratic and irregular heart beat which I hadn’t had for at least 6 years, except for a couple of weeks ago one night on the Atwood Trail…..which then had me worried and deciding to drop down in elevation returning to the trailhead–rather than trying to climb tough Robert’s Pass.
My body  was  basically being deprived of oxygen and without that all bodily systems begin to break down and can eventually fail if something isn’t done quickly.  
Normally most people’s bodies adjust, adapt and quickly acclimatize, but sometimes, due to being out of shape, or sick with a depressed immune system, or weakened with advanced age, etc. normal bodily functions fail, and the spiral downward of High Altitude Sickness can set in which is what was happening to me, converting me into something I wasn’t….very tired like we see below, but I couldn’t afford to think about sleeping……..but had to act quickly!
It was  something to be concerned about, and the heart irregularities were the clincher. To make that more dangerous I had somehow lost the tiny EMERGENCY KIT I have carried with me ALWAYS since I experienced a heart attack near here in 2004.  It is a little bottle of Nitroglycerin tablets, also with a couple of Aspirin, and blood pressure medication….like you see below crossed out as I HAD LOST IT!

I did have Aspirin and immediately popped one in my mouth and chewed it up, then the “Miracle Recovery Formula:”   1.  A recovery drink with 5 gms of Glutamine, mixed with Electrolite Replacer, and Calcium/Magnesium.   2. 6 capsules of WELLNESS FORMULA, and 3. one tablet of DEFENSE PLUS.  I  then shouldered my backpack,  said a word or two of prayer….and
….which is the only effective solution 

A week later I finally found my little Emergency tin….in my running shorts!

It’s worth pausing just for a moment or two to understand this better.  First with some basic guidelines:


  • For people who do not know the rate at which their bodies
  •  adjust to high altitude, the following preventive measures are recommended.
  • 1. acetazolamide (Diamox) a prescription medication can help speed acclimitization and thereby prevent AMS.
  • 2. Avoid physical exertion for the first 24 hours.
  • 3, Drink plenty of fluids, and avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • 4. Consume a high-carbohydrate diet.
  • 5. If mountain climbing or hiking, ascend gradually once past 8,000 feet (2,400 meters) above sea level
  • 6. Increase the sleeping altitude by no more than 1,000 feet (300 meters) per 24 hours. The mountaineer’s rule is “climb high, sleep low.” This means that on layover days, a climber can ascend to a higher elevation during the day and return to a lower sleeping elevation at night. This helps to hasten acclimatization.
  • Google it and inform yourself.

For most of my life there has been no problem.  For my first year on the High Uintas Wilderness Project, including my “27 Day Expedition,”  there was never a hint of this.  Then I got older, had cancer and knee surgery and didn’t exercise for a month or so and went right up to camp at over 12,000 ft…..and WHAM!
Another time it hit me after having got sick and needing my emergency anti-biotic and when recovering, but still weak, worked to get back to civilization climbing  a 12,300 foot pass….and WHAM!

Over the next few years I went through other surgeries on ankle, knee, back and eventually on my hip while getting older and apparently more susceptible requiring greater awareness and ability to act quickly.  

The best backpacker I have ever known,  who is my age,  until two years ago never had a hint of this problem.  Then on a backpack up Swift Creek, over Bluebell Pass, then down to Yellowstone Creek, and from there up the canyon and over Tungsten Pass to the Garfield Basin, and there at about 11,000 ft. all of a sudden he had High Altitude Sickness and actually lost consciousness.  His poor brothers didn’t quite know what to do, and…wouldn’t you know it, they were experts and hadn’t felt the need of  following  my advice to have a SPOT tracker, and/or  satellite phone!

They finally revived him, took all of his load, and  carefully headed DOWN into Yellowstone Canyon.  At 9,500 ft. he was a new man, shouldered his pack and was the first down the trail, but he came close to his demise!

I will tell all the details of this and other similar stories in the book I will be putting together during the next 12-18  months.

I had pop into my mind the melodious voice of…..
So, I “folded em” and  “walked away” going DOWN, the only effective solution, heading  carefully for the Dollar Lake area where I  jumped a bull moose and actually hit my SPOT Tracker OK button intending to camp there…..

…..but then thought it best to use the last hour of twilight to get down another 700 feet of elevation and camp at Elkhorn Crossing’s 10,300 feet elevation.

By the time I got there enough light was left to go to the stream for water and get it purifying, then  with my headlamp I set up my tent and  was soon snuggled in for the night grateful for having had the wisdom to recognize what was happening to me and what I had to do quickly.  Yes, and thankful for having had the strength to move down the trail, and gradually feel better and pick up the pace, lengthen my stride,  and make it to  the safety of a lower elevation.  I actually had hiked about 9 miles that day.
….but that didn’t happen…yet, so up and raring to go the next morning, assuming that going downhill I’d be at the Trailhead in short order!

Wow!  Did I sleep good…..not even waking up until 9:00 AM.  That little wrestle I had with life really wore me out and so I was slow to move down the trail….but I did move a little at a time, passing by, but mostly being passed by all kinds of outdoor lovers.  I had 5.5 miles to go to the Trailhead, and the safety and luxury of my tiny travel trailer “CABIN A”


Among the many seen on the trail was a group of youthful Forest Service workers going up the trail…..

…and soon behind them came a Wilderness Ranger on horseback.  She looked at me and shrieked,


She was Teresa Facinelli who I had met 8 years ago, along with her husband Bob,  at the Hewinta Guard Station on the West Fork of Smith’s Fork, 

They had introduced me to the “TIE HACKER WORLD,” beginning for me a wonderful journey opening up the mysteries of all the ruins on the North Slope, incredibly enhancing my High Uintas experience,  and putting me around  #1 on Google searches  with 14 photo/essays and YouTube videos on the important subject.

She told me that a few years ago she had Googled my name and found the following obituary announcing that I had died in 2010.
I had in the past  also seen the obituary and had a good laugh.  This was MUCH MORE THAN AN NDE (“Near Death Experience”).  I APPARENTLY HAD BEEN REINCARNATED INTO A NEW LIFE!

But, still very much alive, we had a great reunion and conversation and then we moved on.  
BLESSING IN DISGUISE….if I hadn’t of had trouble and backed off…I would have never ran into Teresa, nor met all these other great new friends!

A bit further down the trail I came upon another group of backpackers….this time the couple in middle from Utah State in Logan.  Both of my parents were from there and had studied at Utah State. 
 I admitted liking it a lot–except when playing BYU!

Note:  Please excuse the poor photo, but it was the only one I got.  Scott will send me a good one soon to replace this poor one.
Last of all I met SCOTT NELSON and his two handsome boys, Scott Jr. and Adam.  They were returning from having scaled King’s Peak.  In sharing some my experience, Scott admitted that as they climbed from Anderson’s Pass to the summit, he began experiencing also the symptoms of High Altitude Sickness, or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), and was grateful to learn about it.  We both agreed that: 
 It is something all should be aware of and that such understanding could literally save lives.

My weekly report on Saturday morning, August 22nd,  was phoned in this time with my cell phone from my weekend “rest camp” in the Walmart parking lot in Evanston, Wyoming.  If interested you can listen to the podcast for the 1st hour, at about 6:15-20 AM

….well, I finally made it to the comfort and luxury of my earthly mansion, and was back with my faithful buddy, “Wilson.”  I was grateful ….for the success of the trip–running into Teresa, and acquiring wonderful new friends, and  having backpacked about 20 miles in the 3 days, even though not reaching my goal …..

First I made the mistake of thinking that one of you young bucks out there would have to get to “Little Andy Lake,” photograph it and get the report to me….BIG MISTAKE!  UPDATE:  Hold off….I’M GOING TO DO IT IN 2016 WHEN I’M 80 YEARS OLD! Read on to see how.
So, for all of you, my HIGH UINTA FRIENDS, where does this leave me?
Note:  Below are my High Uinta Friends  from 2013 who represent the many hundreds from 2003 to the present……One of these days I’ll add to this montage pictures of all the High Uinta Friends I have been blessed with since 2003–that will be an incredible conglomeration of magnificent friends!
This great group of friends is more and more evolving to be my “CHEERS” sort of “brotherhood,”  “where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came,” or….. glad I came out with a new photo/essay or YouTube video!

Did I have another FOREST GUMP MOMENT?

Not really, it was just another “glitch” on the trail …. many others I have had, and an opportunity for a TEACHING MOMENT...about High Altitude Sickness for the blessing and benefit of all those who stumble across my website and pay attention.  If you do I guarantee that 

For the rest of this season I will focus more on the research and writing aspects of the Project, and for  the future accept that the time is fading for “heavy duty backpacks,”–
….normal backpacking will continue–as it has so far held at bay the “peripheral neuropathy” that was trying to cripple me….and of course also “old age,” so…
 you’ll have to wait a while longer for me “to grow old!”

Backpack #2–UINTA RIVER…ATWOOD TRAIL….NEAR CHAIN LAKES & TOUGH ROBERT’S PASS… High Altitude Sickness & HEART PROBLEMS… Almost another “Forest Gump moment”…. No “GIVING IN YET!”

Previous effort to get to Little Andy Lake
Posted August 2nd
Don’t give up on me….but make sure and go through this all the way to the SURPRISE ENDING!……UPDATED 08/03/15
This backpack (#2-2015) was considered “essential” to the High Uintas Wilderness Project.  At the same time it was to be up what some of us consider the “most difficult trail in the High Uintas,”   illogically left for the tail end of the project when I am in my 80th year!

In a sense the overall objective, and final destination of the backpack, was sort of self-centered as it was to get to, photograph and report on a tiny no-name, no-umber lake  I had given my nickname as a youth to. 
 Little Andy Lake is nestled  humbly in the shadow of Utah’s elite mountains–Kings and South Kings Peaks 
 In 2014 my friends on KSL Outdoor Radio  suggested a lake be given my name.  So, just as a humorous exercise I did so, but using my youthful nickname, and purposefully choosing a lake I figured no one would care about or object to.

  This tiny lake in the east shadow of South Kings Peak is unique as it was slightly above 12,000 ft. in elevation, and on Google earth actually looks  large enough and deep enough for the DWR to consider air-dropping a few Cutthroat or Golden trout into.

But, I had to get to it and give it a little publicity….thus…
 Backpack #2-2015: Uinta River to Little Andy Lake.

The backpack begins at the Uinta River Trailhead, 26 miles north of Roosevelt, Utah on the Uinta’s South Slope.

As at all Trailheads surrounding the High Uintas, we are constantly reminded of the FIRST LAW of our Wilderness Areas and I want to DO MY PART…so….
As you will notice in this photo/essay we will here and there reminisce about the past….as it was at this Trailhead where in 1954 me and buddies, Ted Packard and Charlie Petersen, returned to civilization after a 15 day crossing of the then Primitive Area, having backpacked from the Grandview Trailhead and the Grandaddy Basin far to the west.
Here I am again, 61 years later, this time ready to go up that very difficult trail, having worked hard to get my load weight down by leaving home my professional photographic equipment, Colt .45 Defender, and more.  It would be a long 8 day trip, coming to around 50 miles, including climbing two passes–TWICE, and involving thousands of feet of elevation gain.
I signed in the register indicating it would be a 6-7 day effort, but had actually planned for 8 days.
 Above you see my topographical map showing the first 2-3 days.  I knew it would be difficult, but hoped that by beginning with what was do-able–4 miles the 1st  day getting to the bridge that crosses the river and then stopping–no matter how good I felt, or how early it was.  Then counting on being able to increase the 2nd day a mile and doing 5 miles camping at the Krebbs Creek crossing…..actually 1/2 mile short of Chain Lakes.
The 3rd day would be 6 miles to hike by the Chain Lakes and do Roberts Pass, for me the most difficult pass in the Uintas, and be in the Atwood Basin. 

 The 4th day would have me continuing up the trail and climbing Trail Rider Pass, then down to camp on U-75 lake.  

The 5th day would be a day hike up to Little Andy Lake.

Day 6, would be packed up, back to Trail Rider Pass….fish in Beard Lake where in 2003 on my “Expedition” I had hooked what could have been easily the Utah State record Eastern brook trout. Then down to the George Beard Basin, testing the 3 remote lakes, possibly camping there, or down to the Atwood area.  Day 7 would be to test the waters of the two lakes where Golden trout have been planted–Atwood and Mt. Emmons Lakes, then climb up and check exotic Roberts Lake, and down testing others in the area.  Day 8 would be a tough one, going all the way to the Trailhead.

The hope was that each day I would get a little stronger….being able to…
……. “pick up the pace, lengthen my stride, and stretch out the distances.”

So, let’s do it!
The road from the Trailhead was closed to cars, but for a mile or so was actually our trail.

For many years the road was open to here, called SMOKEY SPRINGS, and the U-Bar Ranch.
Years ago it was the U-BAR DUDE RANCH, then it became the U-BAR WILDERNESS RANCH.

I believe it was in 2006 that what they call “a mud slide” came down from the east and cut through the U-Bar Ranch.
I don’t believe it ruined any buildings, but it did cut through the middle of the ranch, and the Forest Service closed the enterprise.  I understand that the owner wanted to continue but it wasn’t permitted and he eventually was paid for the property….and since it has turned into a sort of  depressing 
“ghost town!”
In 2003 I came down this same trail at the end of my 27 day “expedition” and found the incredible luxury and comfort of the Wilderness Ranch…actually staying for a night in the cabin the back of which we see above from the trail.
This was the Lodge in 2003….where I knocked on the door and met Jann and Ed Baltz, the owner

This is the lodge today, windows broken and everything boarded up–but plywood closing doors ripped open and everything in ruins!  
Here we meet Jann, who ran the lodge and kitchen,  and Ed Baltz, the owner.  They  treated me like a king!

Can you imagine how a tuna fish sandwich, green jello salad and ice cold soda pop tasted after being in the wilderness for weeks?

The incredible re-introduction to civilization continued with a toilet and a hot shower!
I was even able to wash my terribly dirty and stinky clothes and dry them while I was getting my shower.  Oooh…. how good it felt to 
get into clean clothes and then retreat to my 
When 67 years old I had started that “expedition” from the Highline Trailhead near Mirror Lake with 83 lbs. on my back and around my waist.  I had prepared for it over years  walking 3-4 miles 2-3 times a week on the hilly terrain of my farm in Guatemala carrying a 100 pound bag of fertilizer on my back… was able to do it, but it wasn’t easy….but  what a breeze coming down the Atwood/Uinta River Trail with 37 lbs. of food GONE….and the impact of getting to civilization was so wonderful!
I guess I don’t have to say anything astonishing or elocuent to describe how this felt….you can imagine!

Ed and his wrangler, Bill, loading up the pack horses to take gear up into the high country for clients.

Of course this service now doesn’t exist here on the Uinta River.

Bill heading up the river trail.  
Ed, retreats to one of his cabins for a short snooze!

This is the “ghost” of my RAINBOW CABIN!
And, of others…..SAD!  Seems like it would have been best for this to continue…but what do I know?

Now up the trail……

…….hiking through lodgepole pines that…, on the North Slope, would be
NOTE:  If you don’t know what “tie hackers” are, go to the Tie Hacker page on my website and learn about these
“unsung heroes….without whom the West…might not have been won!”

Along the trail we find in abundance this plant which I saw for the first time up Main Fork that comes out of the Hell Hole Basin….on an exploration related to the tie hackers….Search for the Howe Feeder Flume.

Here we see it in further stages of development….with its flower. I’ll go to work identifying it soon, along with the next flower shown.  Total varieties now photographed–from foothills to Kings Peak  coming to 318 varieties.

We are hiking up the canyon along the UINTA RIVER….a hike for the 1st day that will be 4 miles.

Another of the literally thousands of varieties of mushrooms in  the Rocky Mountain area…..that eventually will be identified along with the flowers.
Above we see the first photo of this variety #317 found up the Brown Duck Basin Trail, with a shot showing a little more detail below, found along the Uinta River.

…..and always more mushrooms, some quite colorful and unique.

We have now come 4 miles from the trailhead and in just a moment will cross the river, and look for a camping spot.
We  will take the trail to the Atwood Basin.  
The trail to the Highline Trail will eventually fork one veering to the northeast to find the Highline Trail that will leave the Uinta River Drainage as it goes over Divide Pass to the North Slope, and others climbing Fox-Queant Pass, and another to North Pole Pass, both leading to the Whiterocks Drainage.

The other fork of the Uinta River Trail takes one to North Park and forks again, one going north to the Highline Trail, and another to the west and Painter Basin, forking again to Kings Peak, another to Gunsight Pass and the Henry’s Fork Drainage.  Another fork in Painter Basin takes one to where we are heading….Trail Rider Pass.
We will now cross the Uinta River on the bridge, and then…..the fun begins…15+ switchbacks up the mountain!

From the middle of the bridge we look downstream….miles and miles of a stream that sees few fishermen.

And, we turn around and look upstream where even fewer fishermen have ever cast a line…

Eventually the Uinta River, as well as most of the streams that come out of the mountains, are squeezed into narrow ravines that you would have to rope down into…..but a few years ago–in fact, more than 50 years ago, where the Atwood Creek joins the river,  you see above, I was able to get down to the river and caught the beautiful trout you see below…
Golden trout were planted in several lakes in the Atwood area clear back then, and the record Golden trout for Utah was taken from the upper Atwood Creek (14 oz.,  14-5″ long in 1977)… I have always imagined that this trout was a hybrid, with the slash under its jaw denoting it as a native cutthroat trout, but the coloration seems unique, as though crossed with a golden trout–at least it sure looks “golden” to me.

On this backpack I was hoping to test the waters of the two lakes recently planted with Golden trout (2012-2014).

Now, acrossed the bridge, I would look for a camping spot….noting below–happily… that a wise hiker  abandoned his trekking poles!  As I have explained several times in my writings, I have better things to do with my hands  than be encumbered by poles–but again, that’s just me.

1st camp.…Gravity Works Water purifying system doing the work of providing me with safe water while setting up the tent, and getting all my recovery supplements ready, along with dinner…and then be able to rest, write a little  and read a good book.
NOTE:  Notice that icky looking green liquid?  It’s my “double dose electrolyte replacer,”  the first thing I take to “recover.” 
Now, DAY TWO…..up the trail, and I really mean UP.  I started counting the switchbacks, got to 15 and then got a little confused and lost count!
The red dotted line is the trail going up, the black the trail going down.  But the important thng is that in the distance covered by the portion going 2/3rd of the way across the map only shows like 5 switchbacks, when the reality is that there were more than 15 major switchbacks.  The approximate 5 miles measured on the map for the 2nd day, most likely was from 7-8 miles when considering the switchbacks.  This will be important in just a moment.
In the movie JEREMIAH JOHNSON with Robert Redford,  as a mountain man, he  met another who had been there for years, and asked, “Do you ever get lonely?”  
He replied, “Lonely for what?”

Well, in my case I don’t get lonely for long as I meet wonderful people on the trail, like:
BRETT YOUNG, his family and crew
They were on their 5th day having come from the Henry’s Fork Trailhead on the North Slope.  They came over Gun Sight Pass, then Anderson Pass,  climbing Kings Peak, and then over Trail Rider Pass and were coming down from Lake Atwood, over tough Roberts Pass, and on their way down to the Uinta River Trailhead–50 miles in 5 days!  
WOW!  What a pleasure it was to meet them.
They started wondering what this old guy was doing on that trail heading into rough country, and asked how old I was.  I had them guess and they all agreed on 65!  What a bunch of great, smart people….but I had to tell the truth  that I was in my 80th year.  
Brett jotted down his email, and their names, and I didn’t notice until that night his note, that said:

“It was a pleasure meeting you! Have a great trip.  You inspire all of us!”  Brett Young

Hey, Brett, after reading this, you might want to reconsider, and void publicly your words.  So Let me know and I’ll faithfully post here  whatever you might say of how my trip worked out.

By the way….when meeting them, I was maybe halfway through my day and I was still feeling exceptionally strong and enthusiastic.

Soon I passed the Wilderness boundary, with most of the switchbacks behind me, but a still very tough trail going up the mountain.
Once in a while the trail came together  and even coincides for short distances with an old bulldozer road….when bringing machinery somehow into this steep, rocky country to build up dams that would increase the capacity of the lakes…hopefully to give them more water down in the Uintah Basin later in the season.

Usually it was so extremely rocky that it was impossible to conceive how they did it….at  least it was an ever increasing challenge for me!

I met many on horseback, most with pack animals to stay several nights in the mountains.

I saw at least three horse-shoes on the trail–two recent, likely that same day.   Frequently I saw drops of blood on rocks from injured horses.  
More than once I saw these very temporary efforts to protect horses hooves with duct tape, and I caught up with the previous horses as he had to frequently stop  to re-do his job with tape, and then walk leading the horse.
As the afternoon drug on I began getting very tired and it seemed like the trail would never end!  Logic told me that I had easily hiked more than the 5 miles that should have got me to the crossing of Krebbs Creek and even 500 feet more in elevation gain up to the 1st Chain Lake. 

 I became convinced that taking into consideration all the switchbacks not on the map, I had likely done at least 7-8 miles–at least I had been hiking 8 hours and even at my “stalking pace”  with rest stops  have always averaged 1 mile an hour.   Besides it was getting late and I had to get into my evening recovery routine.  Luckily the weather was perfect.
Between the creek, the trail, and the steep mountain there was just no place I could find a good place to set up camp 200 feet from trail, and  stream.  I finally  came to the trail crossing Brett told me had given them some trouble.  I didn’t tackle it, as I had decided to not do the steep 1/2 mile up to the Chain Lakes.  I moved upstream  at least 300 feet from the trail crossing, but had no choice but to set up camp right along the creek.  By then fatigue very literally had me feeling sick–like the flu was coming on.  It was an emergency stop.

NOTE:  Some of you might recall that last week there was a helicopter rescue east of Salt Lake.  A young fellow overdid and couldn’t go on, saying he felt like he was getting “sick with the flu!”
That happens to many marathoner and triathalon competitors  (etc.) when they are fatigued weakening their immune system.  That is exactly what happens to me after a tough day.
5 gms. of Glutamine is one supplement that will help solve that problem as I have explained in other writings, along with 5 gms. of Calcium/Magnesium (Fizz) that studies have shown is what marathoners (and I believe, backpackers) lose most.
While my water was being purified (by gravity) I set up the tent, sorted through my stuff to get the emergency items I needed for recovery, 
1st, putting my dinner to soak so it wouldn’t require much cooking,  including an instant chocolate pudding+dydrated egg, 
2nd my ENDUROX recovery drink,  with 5 additional gms.of  Glutamine, 
3rd  my  Electrolyte drink, with 5 gms. of Calcium/Magnesium….. 
4th  another dose of Calcium/Magnesium for going to sleep
Last   Eggnog, when not feeling well is always welcome. 
NOTE:  For item 2, I didn’t have my ENDUROX, rather another product that just didn’t do the job.  I will go back to ENDUROX next time.  On my “expedition” I took 5 lbs. of ENDUROX.

With enough purified water for evening and the next morning I added the right amount to each container and drank the 2nd and 3rd, along with Wellness Formula capsules, and Defense Plus tablet–both taken when one feels “out of balance,” to be repeated the next morning.  Both of them have become part of my “recovery program.”  Those are links to acquire said products.

NOTE:  To understand all of this you should check out the “survival” portion  of my Backpack #1-2015 GRANDADDY LOOP photo/essay, as well as reading my paper on THE ANTI-AGING CHALLENGE, links on my Home Page.
I cooked my dinner, but wasn’t hungry enough to eat it yet.  I violated a rule by taking the dinner into my tent, along with those things I would take on trying to sleep.  I hung the rest of food items in a tree and got away from the mosquitoes by getting in my tent and did what I had wanted to do for quite a while–LAY DOWN TO REST.

I got my maps out and began analyzing my situation and coming to certain conclusions:
1.  My hope from the first day of being able to “Pick up my pace, lengthen my stride, and stretch out the distances,” wasn’t working and would get even more difficult on the 3rd and 4th days as I would be increasing altitude another 1,000 ft. on each of those days, plus tackling even harder climbs like Robert’s Pass, and then Trail Rider Pass.

2.  To be realistic at my age I had to be able to every other day have a rest/recovery day and acclimatizing to higher altitudes, adding on at least 3 days to my effort that would stretch it out to 10-11 days, rather than 8.  I didn’t have enough stuff to stretch it out that much.

3.  As I was contemplating how it could be done,  I had to consider that by stretching it out, and climbing several thousand more feet in altitude  to stubbornly persist,  I was  getting farther from civilization, and it could get much more dicey!  Especially considering that in recent years increased altitude has given me growing problems–and maybe was more responsible for much of what I was experiencing than imagined.   Even a couple of years ago the greatest backpacker I have ever known personally, Charlie Petersen, who had never had a hint of problem almost died of high altitude sickness in the Garfield Basin.

4.  While thinking about all these things I laid down on my hard pillow (quilt stuff sack filled with extra clothing), I began sensing through my ear how my heart was functioning.  It was fast, even though I had been resting for some time, but SHOCKINGLY,  for the FIRST TIME IN 5-6 YEARS,  IT’S BEAT WAS ERRATIC AND IRREGULAR!
In an effort to eliminate 1 more pound of weight, I hadn’t brought with this time my blood pressure cuff you see below, but insert the picture to represent what I could hear and sense laying on my ear.  
5.  With that potential problem, that could  become lethal, coupled with all the other negatives, I decided I couldn’t risk going deeper into the Wilderness and possibly creating huge problems for me and my loved ones.  

6.  I decided to rather focus on getting well applying my MARGO LAKE FORMULA  that night and the next morning and then be able to “PICK UP MY BED AND HIKE DOWN THE TRAIL!”

 I was using my SPOT Personal Satellite Tracker every day so my select group of 10, plus anybody else interested could could get the link from my website and see exactly where I was every day.
They were getting everyday my “OK” signal, message, and 
location on Google Earth,  and
I always had it handy in case of a dire emergency so I could  hit the “911”  button to trigger Search and Rescue to come after me.

NOTE:  Eric Robinson, the 65 year old Australian,  who alone was doing the Highline Trail a few years ago, disappeared and has still never been found.  He had a personal satellite tracker too, but NEVER USED IT!  
 I also had a SATELLITE PHONE to use reporting in to KSL Outdoors Radio every Saturday morning, and for use in case of an emergency….be it my emergency, or an emergency I have to be advised of by the family.


In my opinion:
 Both can be rented from Russ Smith at 
So, that is what I did–“Pack up my stuff and get ready to hike down the trail”…..but before finishing the story, let’s …….

I did the Chain lakes you see above the first time in September 1954 with Ted and Charlie–of course coming down.
Can’t remember which one, but walking a crossed what looked like a sandy beach on the inlet side it moved up and down like we were walking on a bowl of jello.  All of a sudden Ted started sinking in and we got pretty worried….until……
…….we noticed he had stopped sinking so we stopped our rescue effort….and rather started taking pictures, including Charlie’s movie in which you can see Ted upset and throwing mud at us.  He finally sort of crawled out…..and so is still with us and is….
“the 2nd gteatest backpacker I have ever known!”

Here we see the chain lakes as I was coming down the trail on my 2003 “expedition.”  
 I came down this trail again in 2005 when early that year I was the first one up the Uinta River Trail continuing north from the bridge and went through an area that had been hit by a micro-burst wind storm that mowed down the lodgepole pines about 6 feet off the ground and made that hike through downed timber to North Park one of the hardest of my life… fact so hard I didn’t want to go back the same way, rather circled around through the Painter Basin, caught a 21 inch long brookie out of U-75 lake, you’ll see in a moment, then up over Trail Rider Pass and down this trail to civilization.

From the Chain Lakes we climb into this map in the lower right corner by sweating our way up and over very tough Robert’s Pass.

Above we see Robert’s Pass on the Chain Lakes side.  It is made up of boulders that has always had me marvel at a horse or mule being able to navigate it.

The pass is only 11,120 ft. high, so it isn’t for me the toughest for it’s elevation, rather because of it’s steep roughness and unforgiving boulders–which, as all of creation,  has a beauty all of its own.
In fact this is one pass where on my four trips I have always seen blood spots on the rocks from horses and mules.
That leads us to the Atwood Basin and Lake Atwood we see below.  This was another of the High Uinta Lakes on the South Slope where a bulldozer was somehow moved into the area many years ago to increase its capacity by building a dam, with head-gate drainage system.  That is what is being rebuilt right now in 2015.

Lake Atwood, along with Mt. Emmons Lake (on some maps called Allen Lake) had Golden trout in the past and in 2012-2014 have had more Golden trout planted in each lake.  

As you can see below, Lake Atwood also has Arctic Grayling, and back in 1962 when Ted and me took a large group of Explorer Scouts  through the area, we lucked into a bunch of huge grayling that we began catching on spinning lures, as you can see in the following photograph of Ted with what would be a record grayling….if a qualified scale had been available.
The film, with which the above, and one below of me with a similar grayling was taken,  was ruined when the camera fell into one of the Chain Lakes.  What you see here is what we salvaged, with the one of Ted enhanced some by  SNELSON Photo Studio in Springville, Utah.
Including this trip with the Explorers, I have come down this trail now 4 times, but never came up until this attempt in 2015.

This was my camp on the 2003 “Expedition,”   near the western, or upper end of  Lake Atwood where I got the picture you see below of the “Moss Garden with Monkey Flowers,” which I have treasured as the most beautiful picture from that epic adventure.

We are now climbing up from Lake Atwood towards the George Beard Basin, and Trail Rider Pass.  You can see the shoreline that shows a fluctuation in the lake’s level as more water is taken from the lake in late summer.  As you see it is one of the larger High Uinta lakes found right at 11,000 feet with the timber soon disappearing as you climb up the mountain.
We are now seeing the Atwood Basin, way down on the left,  and the George Beard Basin stretching across the middle of the photograph, with some labels on the picture below.

The George Beard Lake, and Basin (I have named) honoring  the pioneer artist/photographer from Coalville, Utah who, along with his wife, Sarah Lovenia, I introduced to all in my documentaries on THE GRANDADDDIES, he having named the Uinta’s largest lake, Grandaddy Lake, as well as Mt. Lovenia after his beloved wife who accompanied him many times on horseback trips into the Uintas.  His collection can be seen at the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University.

Above you see me with a sassy wild eastern brook trout caught out of George Beard Lake.  It was at this lake I had the fastest fishing of my expedition, catching and releasing 15 brookies on 20 casts, in about 30 minutes or less. If I stayed for a while, it could have been hundreds caught and released, but on my trips I have to quickly test each lake and then move on.
We have now climbed 11,760 ft. high Trail Rider Pass.  Just a short distance down on the northwestern side of the pass, we find Beard Lake you see below.

Not very attractive you could say, with it’s rocky shoreline totally devoid of plant life as we are way above timber line, but on my expedition the fishing proved to be epic when a huge brook trout grabbed my lure and the fight was on.  Eventually he (or she) tired and I snapped the photograph below to make sure I got something.  I didn’t want to injure him intending to turn him loose after a photo shoot.  
So I let him swim around while I was getting my tripod out to set up my camera for some shots of me quickly hoisting him out of the water……but then he was GONE!
I of course have speculated that he had to be easily more than 24 inches long…perhaps as long as 30″…so let’s say  28 inches long and easily a Utah State record and winner of the FIELD & STREAM fishing contest that year–beating out Ontario, Canada that usually wins for brook trout.  The Utah State record brook trout weighed 7 lbs. 8 oz. caught in 1971 in the Boulder Mts.
Now we are looking north from Trail Rider Pass.  My hike was to take me down to camp on U-75 lake where there a few stunted alpine firs, above which is “Little Andy Lake.”  We are also seeing here in  this windswept region a fairly rare flower, 
we’ll get a closer look at below as it is being punished by a strong wind.

At U-75 we have a fine view of Utah’s 5th highest peak, 13,387 ft.  It was a no-name mountain, so I have named it in honor of he who for me was the greatest of the explorers and mountain men of the West, Jedediah Smith.  He only lived until 28 when killed by Indians but he lived life to its fullest as one of the greatest for a lot of reasons I’ll write about in what I will soon begin putting together, but he was unique:  Always carrying the BIBLE and reading some each day, no swearing, no smoking or drinking, and no “consorting with loose women!”    
The Smith Fork (of the Green River) on the Unta’s North Slope is named after Jedediah, who along with his team trapped beaver in that area and was part of the first mountain man rendezvous held on the Uinta’s Henry’s Fork River in 1825.

From U-75 on my expedition I landed this very heavy bodied  17″ brookie after a furious fight as he rocketed up from his hiding place among big boulders just as I was about to lift my Thomas Cyclone out of the water, and hit it big mouthed black-bass style and about jerked my rod and me into the lake.
Two years later in 2005 after my micro-burst wind storm struggle, I camped here and fished again  catching  another brookie.  
This one 21″ long you see above, but old, masticated, worn out and ready for the grave, so a new cycle of great brook trout could begin in this tiny little lake.  

My plan was to camp on this lake, and the next day make a day hike up to “Little Andy Lake,” get some photos and then begin a little campaign to see if I could twist the DWR arm to air-drop a few Golden trout into the lake…….SOMEHOW IT STILL HAS TO BE DONE!

It looks about as big as U-75 with a most of it fairly deep… maybe there’s a chance!  
It is about 500 feet higher than U-75 and I don’t know of any lakes that high with fish in the Uintas….but we’ll see.

For a few parting grandiose views we’re now on the very top of Utah’s World–on 13,528 ft. high KINGS PEAK, with a great, but cloudy view to the southeast.  Little Andy Lake is not in sight, it being sort of over the edge to my right.

Now we are looking east across the Upper Uinta River Drainage  with a storm already swirling  around us!   I decided I’d better get out of there….QUICK!

So, back to the camp at Krebbs Creek, the tent having dried and is ready to be packed up along with my 
“bed that I have to pick up and throw on my back and with it hike out of there.”  

I’ve asked the Lord for help, and asked Him to help me remember the stuff that will help me overcome the “flu-like symptons,” and fuel me with the energy and strength to get down the trail….hopefully do the whole 10-12 miles to the Trailhead.

So down we go…..of course at a pace that beats easily my usual “stalking” speed, but still slow enough to notice and enjoy the VISIONS OF NATURE along the way.

We get a quick last glance down at Krebbs Creek as it takes off on its own course farther and farther  away from the trail and human eyes….where there is mile after mile of native and brook trout that have never seen a lure, or an artificial fly!

I was feeling great again….as happened at Margo Lake and Pass, and down to Pine Island Lake and well beyond what I had thought possible–then, and now…..but I did stop to rest a time or two as I couldn’t resist another couple of shots of the magnificent Monkey Flower.

Now on to the switchbacks…..

….meeting another grandpa leading a horse with his grandson….

..followed by his son giving his horse a breather.

By 3:00 I crossed the Uinta River and was into the final 4 miles.

And for the final mile or so I met Rodrigo coming down from his day hike up to the Wilderness boundary sign….and we hiked and talked about the mountains, about our families, and even got into me having lived in Guatemala for 35 years working among the Mayans….who we are still helping…..and…… 
……wouldn’t you know it….that conversation even revealed he has a son from Guatemala!  So I added to the HIGH UINTAS WILDERNESS PROJECT business card he already had, my GUATEMALAN FOUNDATION card…giving us plenty to talk about and making it painlessly to the trailhead!  

We’ll….after a warm shower in my tiny trailer, and relaxing….as usual  with “Wilson” ….in the luxury of my 7’x11′ mansion…….

“I’m tired….. I think I’ll go home now!”


So, on August 4th….with all my affairs in order…..I plan on leaving for Mt. View, Wyoming where I’ll swing south to the HENRYS FORK TRAILHEAD…and get ready to head to 
through the “backdoor” and maybe…just maybe…since,
….knock off a couple of three or four items from my “Bucket List!” 

Go back to the mountainscape of Utah’s elite mountains….you see there on the right Gunsight Pass...that’s what I’ll be coming over, after a gradual elevation gain hike up a nice trail…. to get into this area and realize the 
“impossible dream!” 
UPDATE August 3, 2015
I learned today that I won’t be able to have “all my affairs in order” to be able to leave for the Henry’s Fork Trailhead on August 4th…..also that by putting the “impossible dream” effort off until the last week in August I will be blessed by having with me my buddy Ted Packard and maybe his son, Mike. 

During this rest period I will do my darndest to NOT “rest” as that would have me losing all the conditioning I’ve achieved this summer, so if you see an old guy walking around American Fork…like what you see below….DON’T PANIC!

Rest assured that he’s  not a terrorist with an explosive vest on with an orange wire to a detonator,
 rather an old crazy DON QUIJOTE
trying to keep in shape with a 40 lb. weighted vest on, who in between his workouts will be doing  research and writing, as well as being in person on KSL OUTDOORS RADIO….with an invitation to do so in a week or two….I’ll advise all  details on this and when the Backpack to Little Andy Lake will be accomplished…


I was  stymied at the Uintas Trailhead with the trail closed so couldn’t go up the Roberts Pass/Atwood/Trail Rider Pass, somoved on quickly towards the Lake Fork Trailhead to attempt a trip to Tworoose Pass and the Brown Duck Basin, but as I drove in that direction from the Uinta River I was driving into ……
….”the teeth of a storm…a week of storms!”

During the next couple of days I fought “mother nature” and my “80th year aging body”  for what remained of the week…

On Wednesday, July 8th I was ready to move up the trail towards the Brown Duck Basin, with the intention of heading first to Tworoose Lake and Pass, and then backtracking to lakes in the Basin that had escaped me….as you might notice I was leaving behind my photography waist pack.
  ….but as I was taking my picture, heard a booming voice, 
A tough muscular outdoor type was coming my way.  He was Cale Lennberg, soon joined by his police force buddy, Tyler Lowe, both from South Jordan. 
Cale wasn’t on my email list of High Uinta Friends, but he began talking about following my efforts for a while, having recently seen the 
GRANDADDY reports, along with others, and talked about them having made it to CROW BASIN, etc. 
 They were heading up into the Brown Duck/Squaw Basin area to do similar to what I have announced in the past.  Soon they headed up the trail, and I “stalked” along behind them….soon way behind them!
 …..soon I realized that the more than 15 days off, with basically no exercise, from my Grandaddy Trip, had deeply affected my conditioning, and I was getting tired too easily and far too often.  I had reduced my load by at least 10 lbs. by not taking my professional camera equipment, but still needed to cut down more.

In two hours I made 2 miles to the junction where a trail comes up from Moon Lake…..and rested,  reflecting seriously about the situation.

Then my thinking was influenced by drops of rain that began falling from a menacing sky…..

I decided that the wise course of action was to just call this day a “warm-up” to hopefully begin regaining some of my conditioning and strength. So down the trail to the Moon Lake Campground I went hoping to do the 2 miles back to the Trailhead in 1 hour, keeping ahead of the storm and be ready to try it again on Thursday, July 9th.
Descending this narrow trail to the Moon Lake Campground, and then down the road a bit to the Trailhead, was done quite quickly as it was all downhill, rather than the ups and downs of the main trail to that junction…
So, the next day, July 9th, I was ready to give it another try and entertained myself as I went up the trail….to keep me from thinking about being tired.
 I got a good portrait of Utah’s new STATE TREE….“The QUAKING ASPEN,”……
and photographed a new flower never seen before that I think brings my total to 317 varieties of wildflowers from the footbhills to Kings Peak….
….not identified yet.

 … a series of photos of a great mushroom, and…

Then I came to the Wilderness Boundary about 5 miles from the Trailhead.

I continued on about to where, the “short-cut” ….”YOU SHOULDN’T TAKE,” crossed the creek  leading to Atwine Lake.  Cale had mentioned me describing  the miserable hike I had last year taking the short-cut that, apparently is one of the old trails the Forest Service has decided to not maintain anymore–so Cale  has apparently seen all of my stuff.  On trips years ago up that short-cut, it was fine….BUT NO MORE!

Near there I  looked for a piece of ground to quickly set up my tent…as the heavens were grumbling and shaking the ground with thunder and lightning! I quickly did a poor job and stuffed everything inside.  It again looked like “no water” and no “cooked dinner!” 
 Soon the hail was pounding my tent and accumulating outside and it turned very cold.   I prepared for a long, tough night!
However, after 2 hours it stopped and the sun came out briefly before setting, and so I put the Gravity Works system purifying my water, hung on a tree used recently by a bull elk to rub the velvet off of his antlers.

Then just barely got my dinner done when the heavens began dumping on me again, and I scrambled for the tent.

It poured down rain and hail most of the night.  I was very tired again… having done like 5.5 miles, with a load 10 lbs. less than my Grandaddy backpack, but with water it was still too much, at least for a guy in his 80th year who had lost some of his conditioning over the previous almost 20 days of doing nothing. That night I felt a bit strange….that had me wondering about the wisdom of continuing…….

On my 2nd day my body would be sore and stiff…again, and looking at my topo maps that night I could see that the next day I had to do 8 miles  to keep on schedule.  Then on my tiny radio I heard that  after a semi-clear morning the next day, the weather would likely even be worse.  
I hoped at least for the rain to stop before morning, and to have 2-3 hours of good weather….as I had decided this was getting a bit too hard and wasn’t much fun anymore…and I was concerned about an apparent  change in my heart function, and realized it was about time to begin getting serious about putting this whole 13 year effort together with no need of as much backpacking as I had scheduled–the nearly 1,800 miles in 13 years was enough.

So I packed up my wet gear the next morning and headed back down the trail, then home to make my next moves….leaving the Uintas locked into a dark, stormy sky.  That night on the news snow was reported in the Uintas.

Once safely on my way home, and in my incredibly luxurious “mansion,” I finally had to conclude, as mentioned in the introduction to this post, that I just have to at least attempt that Uinta River/Atwood/George Beard Basin/Trail Rider Pass/Little Andy Lake Backpack....if it’s the last thing I do!

So, if the weather report is fairly good from Thursday, July 23rd on I should be on that trail, where I have mapped out a day by day schedule and strategy to hopefully get the job done.  

YouTube Video: “THE GRANDADDIES” and photo/essay: Backpack #1-2015 GRANDADDY BASIN LOOP and SURVIVAL EXPERIENCE

NOTE:  None of the photographs  can be used  without written permission from Cordell Andersen.  
EMAIL:  [email protected]

Click here for:  A summary of the re-scheduled 
 Backpack #2 to the UINTA RIVER/LAKE ATTWOOD AREA and “Little Andy Lake”   


1.  RADIO INTERVIEW:  On Tuesday, July 21st,  at 3:25 PM  I was interviewed in a live BYU Radio program that some of you might be interested in called,  Top of Mind,  a daily, live news talk and interview show heard nationally on BYU Radio’s satellite channel (SiriusXM 143), online at and via iTunes radio from 5:00-7:00 p.m. EDT.   Link to listen to :  INTERVIEW ….once there click on “High Uintas Mountaineering,” and it will move you to the beginning of the interview at 21:21 that lasts for about 21 minutes. NOTE:  By the weekend a critique of this interview will be posted here, adding needed information and details overlooked during the spontaneous interview.
2.  BACKPACK #2 :  The next day, Wednesday July 22nd I will drive to the UINTA RIVER TRAILHEAD and finish preparations to do the “failed” trip from a few days ago.
3. Thursday, July 23rd, I’ll head up the UInta River Trail, and do the trip described and pictured in the above link.  I’ll repeat it here:  UINTA/ATWOOD/GEORGE BEARD BASIN/”Little Andy Lake” 

NOTE:  This backpack is over….the summary will be converted into a photo/essay reporting this backpack area….give me a day or two to do it….hopefully by July 31st…..I’ll send a notice when done.  If you aren’t on the email list of “High Uinta Friends,” send me an email (to: [email protected]) with subject line: UINTAS and you’ll be added to this exclusive group.

Scroll down for the  Photo/essay: 
which includes an important 
SURVIVAL EXPERIENCE  steps of which could save your life too!

Photo/Essay ….Scroll down for YouTube Video
…with extra photos and information not in the video which now includes prints of some of George Beard’s original photographs with his notations in the margins.
Also,  since the new blockbuster movie nowdays is:
I’ll insert a GIANT ANT!

YouTube video:  “THE GRANDADDIES”

For the photo/essay version of this YouTube video  click on: 

which includes an important 
SURVIVAL EXPERIENCE  steps of which could save your life too!
Photo/essay with stunningly beautiful pictures, and
“MRS. AMERICA 1968-69”

PREPARATION:  June 12-14, 2015 
I drove from the Bald Mountain Trailhead, where I had been for a week or so acclimatizing to the altitude, stopping in Kamas to do a post for my website, and on Friday, June 12th, drove over Wolf Creek Pass to the North Fork of the Duchesne River, and the Hades Canyon Road that takes one to the Grandview Trailhead.
This is where we used to park our cars to begin the 10 mile hike up to Hades Pass, and the Grandaddies–I’m talking about way back in 1952 when at 16 I made my first backpack into the Grandaddies, with Ted Packard, Charlie Petersen and others. I’ll tell that story in my documentary entitled:
Part way up the canyon we stop to look down at what we used to call “Lightning Ridge.”  

 Another couple of miles and you come to Splash Dam and the shallow lake….above as it used to be, but this year something happened draining it leaving it as you see below.

Another couple of miles, just a bit short of the Trailhead,  you pass what we might call “THE HADES FALLS”  where coming and going we always stop for the “best water.” 

A very picturesque trailhead in a beautiful setting.

I was arriving at the Trailhead several days ahead of when I was to actually begin backpacking up the trail.  My purpose was to meet two old friends I hadn’t seen in like 55 years.  They were Kent, younger brother of one of my two original backpacking buddies, Charlie Petersen, and his sister Joan (Petersen Fisher).  
I went for the register to see if they were on the trail doing their day hike to Grandaddy Lake.

 Sure enough, there they were with a note for me.  
While waiting for them I went to work preparing my backpack, and observing others coming and going.. 

Then a family of backpackers came down the trail and began loading their pickup.  I grabbed my camera and headed over to say hello…..when all of a sudden I heard, “HEY, CORDELL!”
I got closer and recognized Mike Slater and his family, who I had met 2 years ago on this same trail.

Below is the picture of them from 2013….with the older son missing this year.  I suspect he is probably on his 2 year LDS Mission. 

Mike works for the DWR (Division of Wildlife Resources) in Springville, Utah.  What a great backpacking family!

A little while later I once again heard my name being called as Kent and Joan came down the trail into the parking lot…..and soon we were all hugging each other.

Now, it’s time to tell …….“The Rest of the Story.”

Way back, like 61 years ago, when I was between 16-17 and getting to know the Petersen Family, I began noticing Joan who impressed me as one great young lady…..but then I thought, 
“No,….. get control of yourself….she’s going to get fat!”
So Joan was forgotten……until 1968-69 when we were living in Guatemala and my mom sent me a newspaper clipping with a picture of Joan being crowned as MRS. AMERICA!

So, meet MRS. AMERICA 1968-69
Joan (Petersen) Fisher
She had just done an 8 mile day hike to Grandaddy Lake, and the next day would have her 76th birthday.   I told them the story of my goofy youthful misjudgment and how she had in that had a “narrow escape!” 
She is happily married to Byron Fisher, they living now in Salt Lake City.

By the way, Kent, at 70 looks also incredibly youthful and handsome!
We had a very pleasant visit which was a great start for yet another adventure in the Grandaddies….they reporting that Grandaddy Lake still had some ice, and there was a lot of snow on the trail down from the pass, confirming my decision to wait 2 days and head up the trail on Monday, June 15th.

Backpack #1-2015 “Grandaddy Loop”June 15-20
My objective in once again going into the Grandaddies was to complete my photographic collection of all the lakes in the Basin….at least all the lakes considered as serious fisheries by the DWR.   

 My first new High Uinta Friends, were  Brad and his son.

 New “friends” on horseback were Spencer Turnbow and wife from Hanna.

As I was shouldering my pack, Rance McGee and his 4 sons were getting ready for a 4 day backpack to Pine Island Lake.

I was ready, but….all of us should keep in mind the crucial regulations…..

The  plan was to hike past  Grandaddy Lake, the High Uintas largest lake,  and on to Betsy, then down to Lost and Powell Lakes.  From there continue on down the trail to Rainbow, then to Governor Dern, and Pinto, and from there bushwhack up the mountain to Margo Lake.  After camping there a night, getting good photographs, and testing the fishing, I wold from there bushwhack up to what I’m calling Margo Pass and down to and around Pine Island and Lily Lakes. Then follow the trail back to Fish Hatchery Lake,  up to Betsy Lake and then retrace my route back to the trailhead, making a loop around the basin.

 A short  distance from the trailhead you come to this foot bridge which you see above on June 15, 2015.  You can compare the amount of snow and runoff with how it was back in 2011 seen below.

Here comes the Air Force McGee…… stationed in Omaha, Nebraska, 
Thanks for your service!

Normally in June the mosquitoes aren’t out yet and so it’s a great time to backpack…….but SURPRISE!  
The mosquitoes are out and in some places with a vengeance, so go prepared with your 100% DEET REPELANT

No well groomed Pacific Crest Trails  for us tough Utahn’s!

Hey, you WILDERNESS RANGERS!  Where are you when we need you?

SPRING BEAUTY!  a tiny little flower 1/2″ in diameter.

 Meet BUDDY & RICKY FOWLER from Pleasant Grove, Utah

 From Hades Pass down….still snow on June 15th, but gone by June 20th

The Uintas are coming alive with all kinds of wonderful life forms….
……..slow down some and ENJOY these beautiful VISIONS OF NATURE!

 Heart Lake still with a little ice, but it disappeared fast.

 No ice on Grandaddy Lake….but overcast with storm clouds moving in… had to move fast to Betsy Lake…“fast” at my “stalking pace” which is pretty well top speed, and I literally prayed as I hiked that the storm would be held back giving me time to find a good camp site and get my tent up!

I quickly did a poor job putting up my tent with a few drops of rain already falling, and stuffed my pack inside and jumped into the chaos.  No time to cook dinner, no time to go for water….except for a small bottle I filled in a nearby swamp!

 It persisted like the 3rd World War all around me most of the  night!

 My new  “Life Straw” saved me as I could drink straight from the bottle of  bad water.
I borrowed  portions of other meals that didn’t require cooking, along with my supplements that filled my growling stomach….sort of!

From this day on I would see no other human being until Day Six.

The morning awoke with a warm sun and totally clear skies.  I piled everything outside to dry and to be organized, got water down at Betsy Lake, and…..


……put my Gravity Works purifier to work and soon had breakfast, packed up and was on my way.  
This Gravity Works Water Purification system is one of the great developments in recent years for us backpackers!
No more pumping or squeezing, just put it doing the work, and go about preparing your camp, fixing dinner, photographing the local flora and fauna, or just relax and recover.

The best new development for 2015 is the OSPREY 65 Atmos Anti-Gravity backpack I’m using for the first time–with like a 40 lb. load just in the pack that I didn’t even feel–no pressure points and total ventilation and comfort!
For details on these two enormous improvements, or others at 
My new LowPro photo waist pack held my photo equipment, my tiny radio, SPOT Tracker, Satellite phone, Colt .45 Defender, etc.  To cut down weight I left in my trailer  my 2 lb. special wide-angle lens, flash unit, teleconverter, and tripod, plus wadding slippers–eliminating like 6 pounds.
For future trips I will likely leave the waist pack, my professional photo equipment and my Colt .45,  and go with just my Pentax waterproof point and shoot camera as I just have to get the weight down at least 15-20 lbs. and have on my back a comfortable and easy to carry 25-30 lbs. rather than 45-50 lbs.  To  also loose my pot belly fat I’ll feel like an angel floating easily around the Uintas!

THE SECOND DAY….the “most difficult” as my body was sore and stiff from the first hard day on the trail, but I couldn’t take time off to rest and recover, but had to keep moving! 

 At the junction, about half-way along the shores of Betsy Lake, we take a right and head down northeast on the trail to Rainbow Lake…..a trail system that crosses the Grandaddy Basin, to the Four Lakes Basin, and connects to the famous Highline Trail that will take one across the whole Wilderness Area.

 Hundreds of varieties of mushrooms are coming alive, along with the lichens, wildflowers and more.

Soon after you begin dropping down, you will notice that on the right you are close to an escarpment where you can get a great view to the southeast–East Grandaddy Mt. on the right.

We notice the Quaking aspens–THE QUEEN OF UTAH’S TREES,  sprouting their delicate leaves.

 And, what will these little sprouting buds become?  
Have you heard of a flower called STONE CROP?

This beautiful leafed bush will eventually produce bear food….wild raspberries. 

After coming way down we soon cross a stream that joins other creeks and becomes the West Fork of Rock Creek.

 Once down we come to another junction, this time the trail that goes to Palisades Lake, and from there continues on up to the Pine Island Lake area.
We continue on towards Rainbow Lake, but will soon come to Lost Lake.

There is a broad meadow area to the left called Brinton Meadows.
In such marshy areas are found many varieties of wildflowers, such as the White Globe Flower seen below……and an occasional moose!

 ……and always the Marsh Marigold, one of the first flowers to blossom.

 We soon come to another bridge crossing the creek that drains out of Brinton Meadows, and becomes the West Fork of Rock Creek.

Throughout the entire backpack, there were always deer and elk tracks–elk tracks you see above. It now seems as though there are more elk than deer, and once in a while moose tracks also.

 Then there’s the underbrush, or ground cover we see in the Uintas.  I hope to have it identified soon, but this early in the season, tiny flowers, that most hikers never notice, develop about 1/8th of an inch in diameter. After a lot of searching I so far pin it down to the HEATH FAMILY, with about 125 genera and 3,500 species, the one that comes closest is Kinnikinnick or Bearberry.

  NOTE:  I’ll be pleased to be corrected on this….so don’t hesitate to email me at: [email protected]

 We are seeing them here better than I have ever seen before.

Enjoy this rare and almost divine  VISION OF NATURE………that you have never seen before like this!
 Soon we come to LOST LAKE and move along its edge carefully to not miss the trail that takes off to POWELL LAKE, the spot seen below..
There is no sign, nor trail marker.  It is a bit over 1/2 mile to the Powell Lake going east.  In the documentary photo/essay, and eventually YouTube video, entitled 
 you’ll see a photograph of Powell Lake, along with all the others in the Basin.

…….and here another VISION OF NATURE I originally called TEXTURES OF NATURE, of a little different type….but it will be turned into something beautiful.

 Above we see the PUFF BALL mushroom, and below another life form that is more likely in the lichen family…..but I’ll be checking it out and will insert what I learn.

At the eastern edge of Lost Lake we get the “fisheye” view, and I set up my camp….dutifully at least 200 feet from the lake, and tried fishing, but came up with nothing.  That doesn’t mean there are none, so try it yourself and let me know how it went.
I was stubborn to use spin fishing and my beloved Colorado Spoon & Thomas Cyclone, when fly fishing would have turned the trick!

I got tired of having to camp 1/4 mile from the lakes or streams to be able to have my cooking fire, so…..
 …….. finally gave in and got a tiny stove so I could be as close as 200 ft.  So here I am cooking my first meal ….at Lost Lake…it was Beef Stroganoff
Soon I was chowing down while listening to the Golden State Warriors win the NBA Championship.  Interestingly I found ESPN Radio 700AM on FM radio 107.1 with perfect reception!

 I  took with for the first time my blood pressure cuff and found under varied conditions that my pressure was always good… in the future this will be left home and subtract 1 lb. from my load.

From Lost Lake the trail takes you down to around 9,820 ft. elevation at the outlet to Rainbow lake, where FISH CREEK is crossed by a nice bridge. 
 This  creek drains a lot of the Grandaddy Basin then joins other streams and becomes the West Fork of Rock Creek, to eventually join Rock Creek just before emptying into  the Upper Stillwater Reservoir.

 Just over the bridge you come to this important junction.  We have come from Grandaddy Lake, and will be following the trail to Governor Dern Lake.  The “Rock Creek” trail goes down Fish Creek to join the Rock Creek Trail above the Stillwater Reservoir.  

A little further along the Governor Dern Lake trail, you come to a junction where a trail takes off to Bedground Lake (which I’ll include as part of the Grandaddy Basin, along with Allen Lake), and continues to the Four Lakes Basin, to Cyclone Pass on the East, and on the northwest joins the Highline Trail.

 A Rainbow Lake brookie.  Ricky Fowler who we met early on said he had fish for  dinner, and breakfast, one, that he released being 15 inches long.

 We come to the creek  ford between Rainbow and Governor Dern Lakes.  There would be another ford between Governor Dern and Pinto as the trail would come back on the east side of the lakes.  I decided to avoid two fords and rather bushwhack up the east side of Governor Dern which was mostly easy hiking as you see below.

Brookie from Governor Dern Lake

 Easy bushwhacking…..the gut wrenching, totally fatiguing kind would soon come!

 Lots of coyote dung in the area..
Many factors play into identifying mushrooms….one of them  being having “gills” on the underside as this one did.

 The fords between Governor Dern and Pinto Lakes.  The one below would be fine, but you should always have a pole to steady yourself….especially for older people whose balance is not like it once was.

 One section of PINTO LAKE

PINTO LAKE  brookie

 Here we see the larger section of PINTO LAKE

 This water came out of the rocks and was considered safe to drink.

These signs are found a couple of hundred yards northwest of Pinto Lake

 These two signs were on the ground.  From here you have two choices:  One trail goes down into the Canyon of the Duchesne River…about 1 mile, then continues down river to the Duchesne Tunnel Road.

 The fork to the northeast we see below goes down, crosses the river and then up to connect to the Highline Trail.

There it goes to connect ot the Highline Trail.

Nearby is a stack of materials to be used by Forest Rangers to maintain the trails.

 This is the west end of Pinto Lake

 A Pinto lake brook trout

 This is the area of my camp near Pinto Lake.  It shows why the Forest Service has had to impose strict regulations against campfires.  All the trees are totally bare of the dry, dead branches that are common with all trees in the forest.  But these have been picked bare, like creating a desert for the wildlife in the area.  Some say such an area will take 50 years to recover to its natural state, but the truth is that it will take longer, even until a whole new generation of forest sprouts and grows.


Now we are preparing to navigate to MARGO LAKE.  The trail is supposed to take off from the western end of Pinto Lake, but as we will see it was hard to find, and quickly disappeared, thus the need of maps and knowing which direction to head.

 Above is my main map…a topographical map I made from the National Geographic CD/Rom collection, with the route marked, as well as mile & elevation markers.  I printed the 11″ x 17″ map on my own printer,  but not having waterproof ink, I laminated it on both sides and carry it rolled into a varnished paper towel tube.
 The DWR pamphlet (almost 30 years old) says Margo Lake lies  “1/2 mile west of Pinto Lake”…WRONG!  I had it as 1.3 miles on my topo maps to which you should add 15%, but that is in a direct route.  In addition it isn’t “west” but rather southwest up a steep mountain covered with forest and downed timber. 
 I started with a trail that had no signs or markers, which was soon blocked by downed timber, not having been maintained in many years–maybe not ever.

 I thought I was seeing a blaze on the tree in the middle, but never saw another one, so concluded it wasn’t a blaze at all.  The trail often just disappeared, and I would continue where I thought a trail should have been, and a couple of times found it, then lost it all together.

 As I struggled along, I entertained myself with photographs of the many wonders of nature I found everywhere.

This is the GLACIER LILY  or some call it FAWN LILY, one of the many beautiful VISIONS OF NATURE

Soon it was just a matter of bushwhacking up the mountain maintaining a southwest direction as best I could, while continually having to backtrack to get around dead-falls, and dead-ends.

Bushwhacking up a steep slope was very tiring for me in my 80th year, and I rested often, just flat out on my back……and looking up got a shot of our MODERN WORLD LEAVING ME WAY BEHIND IN ITS VAPOR TRAIL!

Once in a while I came to boulder fields requiring careful “boulder hopping” and good balance and keen judgement when choosing which rock seems safe….and won’t move on you, but always have a 2nd option to move to fast!

In the chaos of the jumbled geology of the Uintas, you can find even there the divinely graceful and beautiful wavy lines of creation.

Pinto Lake seen below and will soon disappear from view.

As we come up out of the closed forest, the panorama of the High Uintas looms to the north with Hayden Peak on the left, then Mt. Agassiz, and on the far right Spread Eagle Peak.

We zoom in on the middle section which is the Naturalist Basin, and see the waterfall that drains the bench where the Morat Lakes are found.

Soon my navigation works out and I approach MARGO LAKE at 10,430 ft. elevation with Mt. Baldy in view through the trees.  We zoom in below.

We take a series of 4 pictures put together later into this panorama of Margo Lake…..the last remote lake to be reached by me in the Grandaddy Basin, making my collection complete.

I will admit being totally fatigued with the bushwhacking up that mountain, that rather than the “1/2 mile” in the Fish & Game pamphlet, and my like 1.5 miles on the topo map, more than likely had done at least 3 miles, maybe 4, with all the zig-zagging here and there, and backtracking, time after time, to get around downed timber, and rock obstacles.  I had to rest and take my recovery supplements FAST!  I was feeling sickness coming on.

Set up my camp, and went for water…lots of it, and soon felt some relief.

So with the supplements and some rest, I felt a bit better and with my camera headed for the lake where I had seen BOG LAUREL in various stages of development that I hadn’t seen so well before.  So follows photographs of the various stages of this tiny, colorful VISION OF NATURE.  


I was too tired to try fishing, so soon fixed some dinner and with night settled in for a warm night.  The heat of the valleys of the Wasatch was affecting the Uintas, and I had to strip down just to my shorts.  The extra clothing I had brought would also mostly be left in civilization for my next trip, saving another couple of pounds.

Made a satellite phone call to Laura, my special friend from 50 years ago, who after 30 years of silence, “against all odds”  is back in my life. 

I went to sleep, but at about 1:00 AM awoke hearing some animal playing with one of my empty water bottles.  Was it a coyote, as I had seen just outside my tent on the Middle Fork of Blacks Fork, and again near a Grandaddy Lake camp, or maybe another nocturnal mammal, like a Pine Marten, we had seen once come right into our camp.  
Eventually my curiosity got the best of me, and shirtless I opened my tent and got halfway out with my headlamp, and camera…..and for the next hour I slaved away trying to get pictures of a new friend  around 30 feet from my tent…A SNOWSHOE RABBIT… see below.  ENJOY!

Eventually I realized that outside it had got a bit cold, and there I was shirtless for all that time….and began chilling!  I knew that was dangerous for an old guy, whose immune system was weakened because of the fatigue from the previous day’s bushwhacking.  I closed down the effort and got back into my tent, put a shirt on, and took some supplements to prevent getting sick, and yes I prayed and kicked myself a time or two for having been careless.

The day dawned and I seemed to be alright and just had to try a bit of fishing in this remote, mysterious lake.

For a while, nothing, but all of a sudden a fairly large trout followed my lure, so I persisted….and eventually saw others, which I couldn’t identify, and then began catching some of them.

They first appeared to be rainbows, but then the one below had the slash under its jaw, like a native cutthroat.    I was a bit puzzled.

Once home, I emailed Roger Wilson from the DWR, and sent him a picture or two.  He replied yesterday saying:

This appears to be a Strawberry cutthroat trout, which is the cutthroat we stocked in the past in the Uintas.  These fish were taken as eggs from wild brood-stock in Strawberry Reservoir that were primarily Yellowstone cutthroat trout with some rainbow hybridization and perhaps a little Colorado River cutthroat influence.  We suspended stocking these fish in the late 1990’s because we wanted to utilized the native cutthroat in stocking programs in the High Uintas which is the Bonneville cutthroat trout in the Provo, Weber and Bear River Drainage; and Colorado River cutthroat trout in the remainder. 

The fishing foray had me returning to camp feeling sick, and very weak!

The truth is that I really felt SICK and WEAK….too weak to be able to get out of there.  It was so bad I hesitated taking my tent down thinking I would have to camp out there for a couple of days…maybe taking my emergency anti-biotic treatment, and giving it time to work.
This was not a good place to be sick and too weak to hike with a load on my back.  I certainly didn’t want to create havoc in the family letting them know I had a serious problem.  I reflected on my friend Brett Prettyman, Outdoor Editor for the Salt Lake Tribune, who always believed I was doing wrong going alone on such backpacks into remote areas.  I replied to those concerns in a post on my website related to the Salt Lake Tribune article he published about me.

I reflected on my recent posted article THE ANTI-AGING CHALLENGE and focused on the first of two points that have saved me many times:

ONE, I prayed with real emotion as though I was totally incapable of saving myself, that led me to the next point I explain in the article….

TWO, I exercised my faith to “take up your bed and get up and hike” recalling in my mind the recommendations I make in the article to overcome serious health problems, as though it was all up to me. So I did the following:

1.  Prepared a 20 oz. drink of two electrolyte replacers.
2.  I added to it 5 gms. of Calcium/Magnesium the importance of which I explain in the article.
3.  Along with that drink I swallowed 5 gms. of Glutamine, the importance of which is also explained.
4.  I also downed one DEFENSE PLUS tablet, and 6 WELLNESS FORMULA capsules, which  was to  be done at the first signs of “imbalance,”  plus my normal vitamin/mineral supplements. 
5.  Then,  knowing I had to add food to the supplements to avoid stomach upset, as well as drink lots of water, I quickly ate my breakfast of a Nutty/granola cereal with a rich egg nog mix as the milk.  
6.  I ended all of that breakfast with a couple of Exedrin (the cheap Walmart equivalent), and then….

…..I exercised my faith, packed up, shouldered my load, and carefully headed up the mountain. “Carefully” so as to not let the sickness know that it had a great chance to knock me down for the count!  I hoped to at least get down to the trail at the outlet of Pine Island Lake.

From Margo Lake, I veered to the left, or east, to avoid the steep cliffs on the west.  This was my “trail,”  out of there to civilization.

Soon, a lot quicker than expected,  I was at MARGO PASS about 10,600+ ft. in elevation–about the same as Hades Pass.  I never felt sick during that climb, nor weak, and then took off my pack and went down to get a few pictures out over the Uintas.

So here we are on MARGO PASS (my name, of course), looking towards Mt. Agassiz, and the Naturalist Basin.

We are zooming in again on the Naturalist Basin, this time showing the waterfall from the upper level and Blue Lake.

 We do an extreme zoom-in on the waterfall and Blue Lake, in the eastern shadow of Mt. Agassiz

Back to the south side of MARGO PASS, we look down on PINTO LAKE.

It worked out to be a mistake, but I headed straight down the mountain towards Pine Island Lake…..“mistake” as bushwhacking down on the lower level became very difficult and tiring…..of course I entertained myself as I moved along “carefully.” 

This mushroom shows the beginning of another important characteristic to identify mushrooms…a seeming  sqirt around the stem, in addition to “gills,” very possibly indicating this one is poisonous.
It took me a while, with frequent rest stops, but I was gradually getting around this quite large and picturesque lake.

Here we see another quite common life form…which I’ve got to work a little to identify.

As I was hiking I was sucking on some German Candies that Laura gave me.  Once on the backpack a High Uinta Friend saw me putting one in my mouth and was shocked…thinking that he saw me putting in my mouth what you see next….

Honestly, there is some resemblance to deer and elk droppings you see below!!!!
Hey, I’m a “weird old guy” but not that strange!

I finally made it to the trail, and then to neighboring Lily Pad lake, with the lily pads just beginning to develop.

Here is a Lily Pad brookie….a bit more colorful than other brookies caught–but the most colorful are still from Porcupine Lake in the Oweep drainage.

From the southeastern shore of PINE ISLAND LAKE we look across the lake to MARGO PASS, which you’ll notice, isn’t much of a pass…yet an important goal for me that day, June 19th.

Here we zoom in a bit on MARGO PASS, and for a relaxing moment soon have on a PINE ISLAND brookie.

But, I was feeling incredibly good, and soon headed down the trail towards Fish Hatchery Lake, where I thought it best to camp for what for me was a historic day.

Soon I could get glimpses of Fish Hatchery Lake, and moved along to the outlet and moved in for a panorama of the lake with my fisheye lens.


……and a FISH HATCHERY LAKE brookie.

I had hoped to get to Pine Island Lake to camp….then felt so good I kept going to Fish Hatchery Lake, and actually took off my pack at the southeast corner where the trail heads up the mountain…. but once again I felt so good, I thought, “What the heck…let’s go on to Betsy Lake!”  

Soon I was nearing Betsy and came to the junction where the sign pointed west to Mohawk Lake.
Some of you might have seen my topo map indicating that from below Pine Island Lake I was to leave the trail and bushwhack my way to Farney Lake, and from there on to Sonny and Marsell Lakes, and from there return to this spot on the trail.

But, as an old guy in his 80th year, I have learned my lesson that “bushwhacking” is really a bad option for me.  It’s just too hard and fatiguing, unless we are talking about above timberline and dealing with arctic tundra….that I can handle!  

But, no more bushwhacking in heavily forested areas…and besides I had already been to Farney, Sonny and Marsell Lakes and had good photographs of the lakes and their fish…so no need.

Soon I was to the sign pointing to Rainbow,  had completed my loop, and then found a good camping spot for my 5th night, having done twice as many miles as originally planned, and 100% more than I felt possible that morning–when I thought it impossible to do any at all.
What I talk about in my ANTI-AGING CHALLENGE article really works, in combination with sincere faith and prayer.

To this point I saw my first human beings since Day One.

On Saturday, June 20th I was up, packed and on my way, first getting a shot of this colorful tree trunk (above) seen on the way in…which you’ll notice I will turn into one beautiful creation for my business card.

At that point I met my first of many new High Uinta Friends for the day….being:
 Jared, Ryan, Daniel & Jason.  They were on a 50 mile hike.

Then I met Phillip Danon and son, Ethan, on a day hike.  Later I saw them coming down and Ethan was happy to have caught 5 or 6 trout.



Next I met a family of day hikers:  Scott, and Becky Nilson, along with kids, Ella & Luke.  What a great family.

Heart lake was of course free of ice….days ago, with waters a bit turbid from the runoff.  Above it is East Grandaddy Mountain, which will be featured in my GRANDADDY documentary opening with pictures taken from up there when I bivouacked  there on my own version of the “Inteligel Bed!”

Up near Hades pass I met Ben Hughes, and his son Jesse.  Jesse, from Hades Pass,  wanted to climb up onto East Grandaddy Mt. for the view.  I told them some of my experience up there confiding that it is the most overwhelmingly beautiful mountain scene in all of the Uintas.  But recommended they do it from the other side, South Rock Creek, as I had done 3 times.

As it worked out, they did it from the Pass, and told me about it on the way down.  When asked what they thought about the view, Jesse’s faced lit up which said all that was necessary.  Later, they emailed me the following:

It was so good to meet you on the trail on Saturday when I hiked to the top of East Grandaddy with my Jesse Benjamin. We were shooting photos with disposable cameras with film (can you believe it?). We will send you a digital copy of our shots from the peak if you are interested in seeing what it looked like that day.

Looking over the Grandaddy Basin from the top of the mountain was a sublime experience. Jesse and I had camped in the Naturalist Basin below Agassiz when he was 14 and since we could see that basin from East Grandaddy it was the perfect way to bring the two trips together now that he is 17.
New friends from the trail,
Benjamin Hughes and Jesse Benjamin Hughes

Then I met Nick & Whitney Chatelain.  Whitney was on her first backpacking adventure.

Up near the pass I took a short-cut, then looked back to get a telephoto shot of PATRICK SVEDIN & his friend HEMP.

They came up where I was to exchange information, and get another photo.

A bit over the pass and down the other side I came upon a literal forest of White Globe Flowers, and couldn’t resist another couple of shots.

Down at the little stream where one can get good water, I rested a bit, and observed the parade of outdoor lovers working their way up the trail.

I’d met the father before, and we had a great conversation and Tennery wants to get me on her BYU Radio show.  We agreed that the JAZZ are going to have a great year in the NBA!

These outdoorsmen on horseback included a fellow from North Dakota who was surprised to find “pine trees” in Utah.  He was having an eye opening experience.

Heart leaf Arnica plants were sprouting all the way in.

Now on the way out, the flowers were in full bloom.

Finally made it to the Trailhead, and nearly filled up parking lot. Had done 6 days, doing somewhere between 26-30 miles.  I learned that for the future I had to get my pack weight down, and since I am sort of a prisoner of the “stalking pace” trail speed, will have to re-evaluate my future plans and focus on just those critical backpacks necessary for eventually putting it all together into a unique package like doesn’t exist on the High Uintas.

I was deeply grateful for the wonderful experiences had, and maybe especially for that “survival experience”  that had me remembering my own advice in my ANTI-AGING CHALLENGE: A Fun, Humorous, Tough but Wonderful Jounrey,  writing, and had me partnering up with the Lord in not only being saved, but ending up doing twice as much that day than planned for a healthy me.

I was soon on my way to Hanna and the Country Store and its potato slabs & friend chicken, but they were out so crossed the street to the CAFE.

….ending up with fries and a hamburger.


NOTE:  None of the photographs  can be used  without written permission from Cordell Andersen.  
EMAIL:  [email protected]

Backpack #2-2015 UINTA RIVER/ATWOOD/TRAIL RIDER PASS/Little Andy Lake Planned originally for Tuesday, July 7th -14th, 
but now re-scheduled for July 23-30.

Due to weather and Forest Service “closure”  this was a failed trip…details are reported in this post.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:  I arrived at the Uinta River Trailhead on Monday evening, July 6th and as I was preparing to go up the trail Tuesday morning  Forest Service employee, Jeff Mitchell,  arrived and posted “CLOSURE” signs for the Uinta River and Atwood Trails (from Robert’s Pass on) until July 16th due to a “fly over” operation with machinery  being helicoptered into the area.  So I quickly packed up and headed for the Lakefork Trailhead, but will leave below the info on the proposed trip as it is important as it is…… 

…..the one trip I have to attempt.…..

High Uinta Friend for several years…JEFF MITCHELL


So I will now leave for the Trailhead on July 22nd, and if all goes well be on the trail by Thursday, July 23rd for:
 Backpack #2-2015  A SUMMARY OF WHICH FOLLOWS: 

NOTE: This backpack is over….the following summary will be converted into a photo/essay reporting this backpack…give me a day or two to do it….hopefully by July  31st….I’ll send a notice when  done.  If you aren’t on the email list of “High Uinta Friends” send me an email with subject line:  UINTAS and you’ll be added.

From the Uinta River Trailhead, up over tough Roberts Pass into the Lake Atwood area, then up  above timberline to the George Beard Basin, and on to Trail Rider Pass (22 miles from the Trailhead), and Beard Lake……
……where I once hooked what would have been the Utah State record Eastern Brook Trout (seen below, I left swimming around while getting out my tripod, but then was GONE!)……..
……and then down a little to lake U-75, and from there climb up South Kings Peak, to “LITTLE ANDY LAKE” ….named due to my buddies at KSL Outdoors Radio who last year suggested a lake be named for me,  with me preferring my “nickname” from my youth.
NOTE:  Obviously my main objective is  to reach the tiny no-name, no-number lake to which  I’ve given my nickname…to see if it’s just a tiny swamp or joke of a lake, or…hopefully…. 
…..that deserves a little recognition….and “fame,” and maybe the DWR air-dropping in a few native cutthroat trout…or maybe Golden trout..HINT, HINT!!!..above is  inserted the Google Earth view.

…..but I’ll do my darndest to get to it…and report…this time with just my tiny point and shoot camera…as the only way I stand a chance is to cut down my load weight by 20 lbs.
Got to add that there are other worthy objectives of this trip…like to explore and test the fishing in what I’ve named “THE GEORGE BEARD BASIN”  (between the Atwood area and Trail Rider Pass)…..we see    below…HALLELUJAH…NO BUSHWHACKING THROUGH DOWNED TIMBER!

As explained in the YouTube video, THE GRANDADDIES, I relate briefly the amazing story of the pioneer artist/photographer, George Beard…

...who named Grandaddy Lake, and also named Mt. LOVENIA (13,219 ft.) giving it his beloved wife’s name….we see below Mt. Lovenia from East Fork Pass between East Fork of the Black River (North Slope), and Lake Fork (South Slope) Drainages. 

The stream from “Little Andy Lake” drains into lake U-75 you see below, above which is 13,387 ft. high MT. JEDEDIAH (Utah’s 5th highest peak) …..that I’ve named in honor of Jedediah Smith, who for me is the greatest of the mountain men and explorers of the West–and one of the first, along with his team, to trap beaver on the Uinta’s North Slope, which mountain I hope will eventually become recognized by more than just me. NOTE:  Actually the first to trap the Uintas was Donald Mackensie and his team clear back in 1816, and then Michel Bourdon in 1819 who actually named the river they had followed from the Snake River country in Idaho that led them to the Uintas.  Due to many bears in that area they named it the Bear River.  Michel was eventually killed by a bear in that area, where years later George Beard said he saw up Hell’s Canyon the “largest Grizly I have ever seen!”

A very large 17″ long brookie from U-75

Then backtrack down the same trail, but detour to lakes like Oke Doke Lake, and hopefully very remote Albert Lake described as
“a must for the rugged outdoorsman.”

So, this proposed trip was a failure due to the “closure”  which in a sense saved me as the weather was horrible for a week, and I also made a mistake again with two weeks off from the Grandaddy trip and lost my conditioning which I soon  learned would have produced a disaster trying to reach Trail Rider Pass and area at least 22 miles from the Trailhead.

NOTE:  Tuesday, July 14th, if it’s the last thing I do I have to make the above trip, so I’m beginning today 3 x day workouts to be able to soon make that trip and report with the first photos of “Little Andy Lake!” 



These are the photographs from the YouTube video plus many extras.
NOTE:  None of these photographs  can be used  without written permission from Cordell Andersen.  
EMAIL: [email protected]

I’ve added a  couple of three more photos here and there.  With additional caption info. not in the video.    This includes 4 original photographs of George Beard, with his notations in the margins.  See the YouTube video, then come back and check this to 

Including, since the new blockbuster movie is,
I’ll insert a GIANT ANT!
We open with the stunning view of Grandaddy Lake and Basin from the saddle of East Grandaddy Mountain.

Meet George Beard and his wife Sarah Lovina Bullock Beard, from Coalville, Utah.  George loved the High Uintas and once was talking to a government surveyor, a Mr. Lloyd, telling him he knew where the largest Uinta lake was found, calling it “the GRANDADDY OF THEM ALL!”  Lloyd thought that was a good name for the Uintas largest lake, and thus we have GRANDADDY LAKE and BASIN, named by this outstanding pioneer artist and photographer whose collection is found at the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University.  George also named the first 13,000+ foot mountain you see hiking to the east on the Highline Trail , calling it Mount LOVINA  after his beloved wife. 
Mt. LOVINA–13,219 ft. from 12,160 ft. high East Fork Pass

George was born in England in 1855.  His family became early Mormon converts who migrated to Utah in 1869, settling in Coalville.  Among many other accomplishments, George was mayor of Coalville in 1891

Two High Uinta lakes have been given his name.  One right on Trail Rider Pass, at the head of the Attwood drainage,  named Beard Lake where I once hooked momentarily what could have been a Utah State record Eastern brook trout.  Just below the same pass, to the east is George Beard Lake with natural reproduction of wild  brook trout where on my 2003 “Expedition” I had the fastest fishing of my 27 day backpack  catching and releasing 15 sassy brookies, in 20 casts.  I have named that basin the GEORGE BEARD BASIN, pictured along with the record brookie in my recent post

NOTE:  A couple of years ago when giving a speech in Evanston, Wyoming I met one of George Beard’s great grandsons, Shawn Moore, and spent some time with him at his property along the Bear River in the Uintas.  He graciously gave me a few of George Beard’s photographs (from the collection at the BYU Library…which I insert below  since we are talking about him and his love of the Uintas.

 You’ll notice he called this “Glacier Lake” which today is ALLSOP Lake at the head of the East Fork of the Bear River.  We notice his wife Sarah Lovina with him as often was the case.

 The above photograph is not inserted because of its quality, rather because of the notation about “a Grizly”  

This is a photograph of what today we call Christmas Meadows with Ostler Peak seen in the background 

If you look carefully you can see George in the shadows of the above photograph painting the scene.

I started this photographic essay with the spectacular view of Grandaddy Lake, you see me enjoying above in a point-and-shoot camera shot taken by my daughter, Mahana, when we camped on the saddle on my third trip up there climbing up from the headwaters of South Rock Creek on the south side.

Below from the north we look over Grandaddy Lake at  East Grandaddy Mountain with the yellow arrow pin-pointing the spot where I set up my bivouac camp. 

No level ground was available so I had to build my own “INTELIGEL BED”…….
NOTE:  When I was doing this I was listening to KSL radio and Doug Wright doing a commercial about so many with sleep problems, his solution of course being “The Inteligel Bed”….. which wasn’t exactly available at my tough spot, so I BUILT MY OWN you see above!

….with my poncho lean-to pitched over it to get a series of photographs from late afternoon until early morning as you see below….first smoky due to forest fires to the north in Wyoming, then it began clearing…..

I was fortunate on that trip to also photograph a series of pictures of a young Rocky Mountain Goat.

This photo/essay, we could call a documentary, deals with Utah’s largest Wilderness area we see above, but specifically the GRANDADDY BASIN located in the southwestern portion of the area. 

We will visit briefly all 24 of the named lakes that the Division of Wildlife Resources considers serious fisheries that have been labeled in the Google Earth view above…except Jeff Lake with no fish, and another not included on the map, La Marla Lake.

To get to the Grandview Trailhead, the “Gateway to the Grandaddies,” go to  Francis from the Wasatch front by going through Heber, or to Kamas and go 2 miles south.  At Francis you go east towards Woodland.

Following Utah Highway 35 up over Wolf Creek Pass.

Wolf Creek Pass.

From the summit of Wolf Creek Pass you drop down to the North Fork of the Duchesne River.  The Hanna Country Store is 5 miles further to the east.

Here you can get what you might have forgotten, or once your hike is over, you can get some good refreshments here.

Then backtrack to the junction where you turn north along the North Fork of the Duchesne River, where also is located this Guard Station….named after  a Mr. Stockmore who, along with a partner,  pulled off  a “FAKE GOLD RUSH” absconding with their ill gotten riches and leaving behind a ghost town….with a bunch of disappointed and infuriated gold seekers.  You’ll get the whole story in the unique book soon to be produced on the High Uintas.

At 6 miles you pass the Defa Dude Ranch, and just a little further turn to the right at the sign to the Trailhead.   
This is where the Trailhead was many years ago, when on my introductory trip to the Uintas in 1952 , we drove the dirt Wolf Creek Pass Road and here parked my old 1939 Plymouth and began the all night hike…..a Friday night,  to get to the Grandaddies for the Fish Opener on the first Saturday in July.

Part way up the 6 miles you pass a turnout from which you can see down in the canyon “Lightning Ridge” just one of the memorable portions of our 10 mile climb to the Grandaddies in the black of night in 1952.  It was one tough “first backpack” carrying a watermelon,  quart glass bottles of Hires Rootbeer, and cans of Pork and Beans, but I was hooked, along with Ted Packard and Charlie Petersen….we persisted and began learning about “lightweight backpacking.” 

By 1954 the three of us took two weeks to backpack across the entire High Uintas Primitive Area.  Here we are at Hades Pass where there was a wonderful sign about the Primitive Area….that by 1984 became the High Uintas Wilderness Area–twice the size of the original Primitive Area.

The wonderful sign has disappeared as have many from the old days, with some pictured in this documentary for history’s sake.

A bit over halfway to the Trailhead you pass Splash Dam and the lake it has formed for many years…..but something happened this year, draining the lake leaving as we see below.

Near the Trailhead you pass a wonderful cascade of pure water where, coming and going we always stop to refresh ourselves, and fill our water containers.

The trailhead is in a very picturesque spot–probably the best in the entire Wilderness.  From here it is 4 miles to Grandaddy Lake.

Many now do the hike to Grandaddy Lake and area as a day hike, such as was done on June 12th by old friends I hadn’t seen in more than 50 years.
Meet  Kent Petersen, younger brother of one of my original High Uinta buddies, Charlie, and his sister, Joan Petersen Fisher, 
MRS. AMERICA 1968-69!
There is one interesting aspect to this friendship, which you can learn about from my photo/essay on Backpack #1-2015 The Grandaddy Loop

The Turnbows from Hanna did it that day on horseback as do many.

And, as I was preparing to backpack up the trail to show the world all the Grandaddy lakes, I heard someone yell, “HEY, CORDELL!”  and  met again friends I met on this same trail in 2013….the great backpacking family of Mike Slater, Division of Wildlife Resources employee from Springville.

The map at the Trailhead shows basically the lakes we will now visit on a whirlwind backpack tour.  Some of the distances are shown just as you start up the trail.

A short distance from the trailhead you cross the creek on this footbridge, seeing it above as it was on June 15, 2015.
Below you see it two weeks later in 2013 when a lot of snow fell, and there was heavy runoff.

The trail nearly had a larger stream flow than the creek itself!

Many backpackers visit this pristine Wilderness each year, yet it continues to be a Wilderness that can be enjoyed by all–with accessible lakes right on the trails, but also remote lakes off the beaten path where sometimes you can go for days without seeing another human being.

Just a bit up the trail from the bridge you come to the Wilderness Boundary.

Many portions of the trails in the High Uintas are not for the faint hearted, but they offer great challenges for the adventurer.

I’m in my 80th year, and I brag about my fastest hiking speed being, “my stalking pace”  which permits me to see and appreciate unending VISIONS OF NATURE, such as SPRING BEAUTY you see above–a tiny little 1/4″ jewel, along with my collection of over 317 varieties–and counting,  of other wildflowers from the foothills of the Uintas to Kings Peak, and  literally hundreds of varieties of colorful and fascinating life forms of the mushroom family like,  ORANGE SPONGE POLIPOR,  we see below.

And, once in a while we meet  great backpackers, lovers of the outdoors like Ricky Fowler and his companion, Buddy.

Even a couple of times you would have run into the Annual Andersen Family Backpack that twice has gone into the Grandaddies…..

…..this time with a couple of grandsons from New Mexico on their first backpack who needed a little help from my Marine son, Jesse….and he’s loving it–showing how tough Marines are!

The beautful little yellow flower we see early in the season is GLACIER LILY, or FAWN LILY.  You’re seeing it here like you’d have to see live by getting down on your belly with a magnifying glass!

MARSH MARIGOLD, one of the first flowers in the season, sometimes coming right up out of the melting snow.

I have had the good fortune of meeting literally hundreds and hundreds of great High Uinta Friends on the trail……

….such as the Phillips Family we see above.

We have now come to Hades Pass and begin dropping down seeing first Heart Lake, that on June 15, 2015 still had a little ice left.

Here we see HEART LAKE in better times….even showing, sort of, its heart shape.    It will be our 

As we continue down into the Grandaddy Basin, we get a glimpse above of  GRANDADDY LAKE….with an overcast sky that is darkening with rumblings of a storm to hit soon.

So GRANDADDY LAKE,  being admired by my eternal backpacking buddy, Ted Packard, again  from up high on East Grandaddy Peak will be our

Then the  storm releases its fury on us, but…..

….good backpackers, like Mahana Andersen, are ready for it with proper gear, and apparently REALLY LOVES IT!

So again we glance at the GRANDADDDIES on Google Earth see and the lakes we will get to know.

From the very top of East Grandaddy Mountain, I’m looking at the next two lakes we will visit:  FERN LAKE and DOC’S LAKE.

To get to them we drop back down to Grandaddy Lake and begin circling the west side of the lake, searching for the streams that enter the lake.

There are three of them that offer us another wonderful VISION OF NATURE in the later half of June and early July when hundreds and thousands of native cutthroat trout come up from the lake to spawn.

We continue to work our way around Grandaddy Lake with Mt. Agassiz seen to the north, and a jewel of nature at our feet–BOG LAUREL, we will see it like never before a little later.
Along with the native cutthroat trout we have seen spawning, there are also eastern brook trout in Grandaddy Lake, like this nice one I caught a few years ago.

We all like to camp near the water, be it the lake, or the stream, but for the preservation of our Wilderness areas, it’s the law that we have to camp 200 feet from lakes, streams and trails, and, except in very remote areas we can’t have a campfire there, so if you’re going to be doing any cooking, best bend a little, as I have this year, and get a small lightweight propane stove.  To have a campfire you have to be 1/4th mile–1,320 feet, or 440 yards from the water.  These and other regulations are found at all Trailheads, and in signs on the trails…..and remember the most basic Wilderness Law:  
LEAVE NO TRACE…not an energy bar wrapper, gum wrapper, cigarette but, nothing from civilization.
A couple of miles down and east from Grandaddy Lake  we find FERN LAKE, a favorite of many of us from more than 60 years ago.

For example, about 54 years ago here I am behind the camera taking a picture of my younger brother, Howard, at our camp on Fern Lake.

Soon after that trip with Howard, I moved to Guatemala where I lived and worked for 35 years in a remote area working among the Mayan people (, returning to the U.S. in 2002 and in 2003 beginning the HIGH UINTAS WILDERNESS PROJECT.  Contact was renewed with Ted Packard, and in 2004 we made our first backpack in all those years to….yes, you guessed it, to  Fern lake.

The next day we bushwhacked southeast to remote DOC’S LAKE we see below….our …..

Doc’s Lake is found at the eastern end of Grandaddy Mountain.

We didn’t see much sign of anyone having been there in recent years.

Fishing was good for Eastern brook trout.

One can get to Fern, and Doc’s Lakes, as well as the Grandaddy Basin from the Rock Creek Trailhead at Upper Stillwater Dam.  Up past the reservoir you come to a junction where, years ago in 2003  when I explored this trail, this sign was there on that trail.

It had not been maintained yet that year and perhaps little for a number of years, and it was a tough hike with a lot of downed timber.

Up that trail you first come to LA MARLA LAKE, mostly surrounded by marsh areas.  We will call it:
At the inlet to La Marla Lake, is where a faint trail takes you to Fern Lake.  Following the main trail you soon come to LODGEPOLE LAKE we see below.

This lake has eastern brook trout.

From here the trail climbs up to Grandaddy Lake and circles to the north where you come to a junction with the signs we see below.

On a recent trip I met Ken, a Forest Service employee hauling materials for maintaining the trails in the basin

In 2003 when beginning the Project, I found at this junction a large sign on the ground and stood it up for this picture.  It has since disappeared, as have many signs photographed in the past.  Some of them are found in storage rooms at Forest Service offices surrounding the Uintas, others gone forever.

From the above junction we follow the trail north and immediately come to BETSY LAKE that provides fishing for eastern brook trout.
Halfway around Betsy to the north you come to this junction.  We take a right and head down the trail that points to Rainbow Lake.

As you begin to drop down you will notice to the right that you are near an escarpment from which you can view the High Uintas to the southeast, with Grandaddy Mountain on the right.

The delicate leaves of Utah’s new official tree, THE QUAKING ASPEN, are beginning to sprout.  
I consider this an excellent choice, rather than the previous Colorado Blue Spruce that didn’t make any sense.  I have explained in previous posts, such as my efforts to get to Lake Lorena on the East Fork of Bear River,  why “she” is a very good choice, as she in many respects gives life to the mountains and saves them from ecological disasters–like after forest fires or an avalanche.

After dropping down quite a bit you cross a foot bridge over the creek that joins others to become the West Fork of Rock Creek.

A little further, near the trail junction to Palisades Lake, we meet  a  backpacking class from the University of Utah, led by Ted Packard’s son, Mike, and have a great reunion.

We briefly detour up that trail to visit our next lake.  

Above  you see me showing one of the reasons why I have no interest at all in trekking poles….I need my hands for more useful things, such as my fishing rod, my camera always at ready, or a little bagful of munchies,  any of which help me much more….besides, if I used them I would never be able to live with the reactions of my Marine sons to trekking poles!

Near the lake we meet the other part of the “Backpacking Class” led by Hilary Bean on the left.

We then visit briefly PALISADES LAKE our …..

….and catch a few Eastern brook trout.

Then back to the junction and down the trail that parallels Brinton Meadows where on one trip I was fortunate to photographs some bull moose you see below.

From the trail we take another brief detour to the south to visit

Shadow Lake is mentioned by fabled Hanna resident, Snooks Roberts, now deceased, who mentions his trips into the Grandaddies on horseback, sheep herding, etc.  and specifically tells of him and buddies in 1925 fishing in Shadow Lake using a raft, and hauling back to civilization “300 brook trout!”

Then back to the trail soon crossing another foot bridge over the creek draining Brinton Meadows.

During our hikes in the Uintas we see….but rarely focus on the underbrush on the forest floor.  Early in the season, tiny flowers, that most hikers never notice, develop about 1/8th of an inch in diameter.  After a lot of searching I so far pin it down to the HEATH FAMILY, with about 125 genera and 3,500 species, the one that comes closest is Kinnikinnick or Bearberry.

We are seeing it here, and zooming in to really appreciate it, like never before, so PAY ATTENTION to this beautiful VISION OF NATURE

Then down the trail a mile or so to LOST LAKE, our…..
LAKE #10

As we hike by the lake we do so carefully looking for a faint, unmarked trail that takes off to the right, or the south.

Here it is, so we take another detour for about half a mile and come to…..

LAKE POWELL, named in honor of Major John Wesley Powell, described in Wikipedia as:
John Wesley Powell (March 24, 1834 – September 23, 1902) was a U.S. soldier, geologist, explorer of the American West, professor at Illinois Wesleyan University, and director of major scientific and cultural institutions. He is famous for the 1869Powell Geographic Expedition, a three-month river trip down the Green and Colorado rivers, including the first known passage by Europeans through the Grand Canyon. Etc.
So LAKE POWELL is our LAKE #11

Back to the main trail at Lost Lake, we begin to drop way down to about 9,800 ft. and cross a foot bridge over Fish Creek  that originates in nearby Rainbow Lake.  
Fish Creek is the main creek that drains the Grandaddy Basin.  Downstream it joins other creeks  and becomes the West Fork of Rock Creek, just before joining Rock Creek above Upper Stillwater Reservoir. 

This spot is also a major trail junction, one trail going down Fish Creek to Rock Creek;  another we will take going northwest to Rainbow Lake which continues on to another junction near the inlet to Pinto Lake, one fork dropping down into the Duchesne River canyon, the other continuing north crossing the river and then joining the Highline Trail.

Once crossing the bridge we come to RAINBOW LAKE which will be our….
LAKE #12

Rainbow Lake has Eastern brook trout, like the one you see below.  Ricky Fowler, we met earlier with his dog Buddy, told the tale of having great fishing here, that provided his dinner, and his breakfast, with the largest catch that was released being a 15 inch long brookie.

Soon after leaving the trail junction at the outlet to Rainbow Lake, there is another major junction ……

…….with a very important trail taking off to the northeast that leads to the Four Lakes Basin, with one trail climbing Cyclone Pass on the east, and another fork going northwest to join the Highline Trail near Pigeon Milk Springs.  Somehow I failed to get a picture of the sign, but up that trail a couple of miles we come to our next lake.

It is BEDGROUND LAKE, small, but guide books give it credit for having produced large brook trout….but it has never worked that way for me, and for others I have talked to–much of it depending on when in the the usual 5 year growth cycle you happen to make your visit.     But it is part of the Grandaddy Basin and will be our….
LAKE #13

From Bedground Lake you leave the trail and bushwhack (easily) due east for about a mile and come to ALLEN LAKE, which below we are actually seeing from above it to the north.

ALLEN LAKE will be our ……
LAKE #14

I visited Allen Lake the first time in 2003 on my 27 day “expedition” crossing the Uintas.
I found its sign very dark and not legible in a photo so I went to work scraping it, including with a bolt of lightning, revealing it’s fascinating history you can read yourself below.

The next time I visited, the sign posts had rotted away and the sign was on the ground.  I propped it up off the ground to keep it from rotting.  A year or so later some friends went in there with bolts, and tools to do a worthy job with the sign.
Now, in 2015, my friend and Forest Service employee, Jeff Mitchell, tells me the sign doesn’t exist anymore!  So my photos become important for history’s sake.

Allen Lake is famous for its Arctic Grayling, several publications speculating that the Utah State record grayling will come from here…..but….

….my friend Ted Packard already caught one that will be hard to beat you see in the above damaged photograph from 1962.  “Damaged” as after leaving Lake Atwood my camera was dropped into one of the Chain Lakes, but a few shots were saved…but damaged.   I caught one also near this size….I’ll insert that photo below.
You might have noticed that we were doing something unusual, catching them on spin casting lures, rather than flies.  Grayling have small mouths, but these were big enough to grab on to our lures.

From Allen Lake we backtrack down to the Fish Creek Trail to visit our next lake…. 

Along the way we zoom in on another tiny flower abot 1/4th inch wide, it being WILD BLUE VIOLET

So we return to the trail near Rainbow Lake and come to a creek crossing you see below.  Rather than wade it, we will bushwhack around the east side of the lake to visit relatively virgen territory where the trail returns after Governor Dern Lake. 

We soon  come to larger GOVERNOR DERN LAKE  which will be our….
LAKE #15

Governor Dern lake produced brook trout like you see here.

Near the inlet to Governor Dern Lake we come to the trail again that crosses the stream to come back to our eastern side.

We continue a short distance and soon come to our next lake….

It is PINTO LAKE, even larger, that will be our….
LAKE #16

Might sound like a broken record, but again we catch Eastern brook trout.


The DWR (Department of Wildlife Resources) old pamphlet on this area says that to get to MARGO LAKE, you follow a trail that takes off from the inlet to Pinto Lake and “go west 1/2 mile.” 

All points being wrong.  My topographical route shows it being SOUTHWEST, and at least 1.3 miles (to which I have learned you should add 15%).

The “trail” was faint at best, unmarked, no signs, no blazes on trees. 

Often it disappeared and I would just continue where I thought a trail should be, and sometimes found it again….but eventually lost it and so just headed up the mountain southwest.

I entertained myself  with the difficult bushwhacking up through constant downed timber as best I could be using as excuse to rest focusing on unending VISIONS OF NATURE

The always beautiful GLACIER LILY

And once in a while resting flat on my back…..that in high traffic areas has more than once had hikers stand over me and say, “ARE YOU ALIVE?”
I must look pretty bad!…

…but this time, while resting,  I looked up to see that this old guy was being left behind in the vapor trail of the modern world!

The bushwhack continued…..sometime getting a bit edgy with boulder fields to navigate…..

But even there I found incredibly beautiful and delicately waved VISIONS of the past geologic history of our High Uintas, highlighted by colorul (and drab)  lichens.

Eventually I got up high where I had spectacular views to the North, of Hayden Peak, Mount Agassiz, and Spread Eagle Peak.

Finally my wilderness navigation worked out taking me to the last remote lake I had never got to before…..and MARGO LAKE came into view which will be our…….
LAKE #17

Over Margo Lake we see through the trees Mt. Baldy where in 2015 I had spent a week acclimatizing myself to high altitudes…..and below in the fish-eye view, we see Mt. Agassiz on the right.

I set up my camp…dutifully more than 200 feet from the lake, then went down for water, and had the good fortune of finding BOG LAUREL, in all of its stages of development, which follow…..ENJOY!

…..and here is the GIANT ANT!

Then I went fishing…..with Mt. Agassiz looming over  this remote lake.  For a while there seemed to be no sign of fish life.  But, then when about ready to give up, a quite large trout followed my lure.

Soon I had one on and brought him in.  It looked like a Rainbow trout.

Another one showed a slash under its jaw making it a native cutthroat trout, but seemingly with coloration also of a rainbow.

Once home, I emailed Roger Wilson from the DWR, and sent him a picture or two.  He replied saying:

This appears to be a Strawberry cutthroat trout, which is the cutthroat we stocked in the past in the Uintas.  These fish were taken as eggs from wild brood-stock in Strawberry Reservoir that were primarily Yellowstone cutthroat trout with some rainbow hybridization and perhaps a little Colorado River cutthroat influence.  We suspended stocking these fish in the late 1990’s because we wanted to utilize the native cutthroat in stocking programs in the High Uintas which is the Bonneville cutthroat trout in the Provo, Weber and Bear River Drainage; and Colorado River cutthroat trout in the remainder. 

Then up to MARGO PASS, about 10,600 ft…… about the same as Hades Pass.
IMPORTANT NOTE:  To bushwhack and boulder-hop  up the mountain to Margo Lake I so totally wore myself out that the fatigue had me getting sick, weak and, I thought, unable to get back to civilization….so in the Backpack #1-2015 GRANDADDY LOOP photo/essay I detail a life saving SURVIVAL STORY that got me up to this pass–with a smile on my face,  and back to civilization.  If you haven’t already, you might want to check that out clicking on that link and scrolling down to the Margo Lake portion to memorize that life saving “REST OF THE STORY” that of course could save your life too!
You might have noticed by now that I’m from the time when we were all fans of Paul Harvey.
Here’s the view looking north from the pass with the mountains mentioned, and the Naturalist Basin nestled between Mr. Agassiz and Spread Eage peak.

From there we drop down to the south and work our way around quite large and picturesque PINE ISLAND LAKE. 
PINE ISLAND LAKE will be our …..
LAKE #18
In this panoramic view we look towards Margo Pass, which the extreme wide angle lens sort of flattens out so it doesn’t look like the big deal I felt it was as an old guy!

Pine Island Lake produces nice brookies.  Being as large as it is, you can find 
very good fishing if you sweat out going around to the seldom visited other side.

Within a stone’s throw to the east we visit LILY PAD LAKE, which will be our….

LAKE #19
In this shot the “lily pads” are just beginning to develop.  I’ll insert below the way this beautiful plant develops.

 Lily Pad Lake is full of Eastern brook trout like the one you see below.
They are more colorful than those found in some of the Grandaddy lakes, but still the COLOR CHAMP is from Porcupine Lake in the Oweep Drainage at the base of Squaw pass….I’ll insert one of them below.

From Lily Pad and Pine Island Lakes we follow the trail south, dropping down to our next lake we see below: 

 FISH HATCHERY LAKE, which will be our….
LAKE #20
This nice lake produces brook trout like the one we see below.

From Fish Hatchery Lake we bushwhack up the mountain to the west and come to our next remote lake, which is…..

FARNEY LAKE, that will be our …….
LAKE #21

There is no trail to Farney Lake, so bushwhacking is the only way to get here.  Farney Lake contains Arctic Grayling, from my experience not too large.  You have to catch them with flies, using fly fshing equipment, or a fly and bubble with your spinning gear.

From Farney Lake, we will now go to another remote lake where bushwhacking is the only way to find it.    
We go  southwest a couple of miles and find SONNY LAKE, which will be our…..
LAKE #22

Sonny Lake has produced for me some very nice Eastern brook trout, like the one you see below.

From Sonny Lake we hike around it on the eastern side and very soon come to MARSELL LAKE which will be ……
LAKE #23

On my first trip to Marsell Lake I found the sign lying on the ground and did my best drilling a hole  with my tiny Squirt Leatherman tool, and with a peg hung it….marking it “HUNG BY ANDY”
On other trips to the lake the sign was no where to be found.