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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

I will immediately advise of anything more specific.

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



                                                                        Hi Cordell,

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

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

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

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

Beautiful and empty below Kings Peak.

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

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

Fresh Snow hiking on the north slope

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

Late fall photos from Chepeta Lake

Looking forward to your book.


Hirschi Family 



 Be in touch your “TRAIL BUDDY…LITTLE ANDY”


About “THE BOOK?”

I have finished the PREFACE, INTRODUCTION & working on:


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



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

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

FORWARD entitled:

“Merrily We Roll Along”

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

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

Section 1:


 followed by:

Section 2:  The WESTERN UINTAS

Section 3:  The EASTERN UINTAS



Notes & References




UPDATE:  Activity from August 27-31 ,  2017

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

…. the Leidy Peak Highline Trail seen below

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

Which 26 miles section has been cleared of deadfall as indicated in their sign at the Leidy Peak point, and at the far eastern beginning of the trail–

UPDATE:  Saturday, September 16, 2017


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




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

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



UPDATE:  Thursday, August 17, 2017-
It follows the introduction below… scroll down  slowly & enjoy:
NOTE: All of us Utahns in the last 10-14 days have become very aware of people being lost in the High Uintas.  Usually in all of such cases mistakes were made….which will not be made on this backpack.  So let’s do it right:
1.  WHERE ARE WE GOING?  My friend Ted Packard, and his son Mike are going with me…or me with them, starting at the GRANDVIEW TRAILHEAD, that is found up Hades Canyon from the North Fork of the Ducheesne River.
We will begin hiking in the early afternoon of August 11th, going over Hades Pass, down to Grandaddy Lake, and continue to Betsy Lake.  At the midpoint of Betsy Lake we will take the trail that goes down to Rainbow Lake, our destination being to get to Shadow Lake for the first night.  
Early the next morning I will make my satellite phone report to  the 
The SECOND DAY, we will take a day hike down to Rainbow Lake….
…..cross the bridge and at the nearby junction where one trail goes down to Rock Creek, we will leave the trail, and bushwhack east to Range Lake we see below…..
….. and from there continue bushwhacking  east to find JEFF LAKE.  From there we will return to our base camp on Shadow Lake.
DAY THREE, we pack up and bushwhack our way up to Lodgepole Lake, following a faint, little used and not maintained trail. 
 From Lodgepole we will climb up to Grandaddy Lake and hike around to the southern shore where we will make our camp……right down at the foot of the East Grandaddy saddle where Ted is admiring the amazing view of Grandaddy Lake & Basin.
DAY FOUR, we will pack up, follow the trail from there up to the Hades Pass trail and follow the trail down to the Trailhead on Monday, August 14 and return to the Wasatch Front.
2.  I will not have this time a SPOT TRACKER which on all previous trips over many years I have used, but I will have a satellite phone provided by SKYCALL SATELLITE, and this time will not be alone as I have almost always been during the last 15 years and 2,000 miles of the HIGH UINTAS WILDERNESS PROJECT.  
Now Backpack #2-2017 — Aug. 11-14 —  to 
The INTRODUCTION to this report is above in all the preliminary information and photographs.  I was accompanied by one of my original, and life-long buddies, Ted Packard–now in his 83rd year–making him
and his son Mike you see with me below at the Grandview Trailhead.  

By the way, the parking lot on the day we left the Trailhead was the fullest I have ever seen it in my many years of frequenting this choice Trailhead.

Some photographs will have no captions as they are self explanatory.

Our objective was mainly to explore, find and photograph JEFF LAKE which had escaped me on Backpack #1-2017 when I did find and photograph RANGE LAKE  as shown in the Introductory photographs.  These were two named  off-trail lakes in the Grandaddy Basin that I had never seen  during all my years of backpacking to the Basin–lakes never mentioned, nor pictured before by anyone!   They are seen in the topographical map  below, located in the lower middle a little to the right, due east of Rainbow Lake.

  Originally our plan had been to hike past Grandaddy Lake, on to Betsy Lake and at mid-point take the trail to Rainbow Lake, but stop and camp the first night at Shadow Lake.  However, we got a late start, and soon were passed by a string of horse packers who said they were going to Shadow Lake.  So, for those  two reasons we altered our announced plan and decided to camp above Grandaddy Lake.

 This picture, on August 11, 2017 can be compared to photographs inserted in the report on Backpack #1-2017 to show the stream flow in  different years.

Near the bridge we found these boots with soles pealing off teaching us the obvious lesson that one should have reliable foot gear and equipment.  I learned that lesson the hard way on our 1954 two week backpack across the Primitive Area (me, Ted & Charlie Petersen), which story will be told in the book.

This was our camp  the first night above Grandaddy Lake, about 3.5 miles from the trailhead.  I carefully set up my tent with the opening facing south to be able to pick up the satellite the next morning without having to get out of my bed–for the sat phone report to KSL OUTDOORS RADIO, which was successful the morning of August 12th, much of the discussion about High Altitude Sickeness that had shortly before taken the life of an 18 year old Salem Explorer Scout near the Chain Lakes in the Uinta River Drainage.
That kind of tragedy can be avoided by each group having a SATELLITE PHONE.  
To hear my report to KSL OUTDOORS RADIO:
Click on THE PODCAST (Aug. 12) my participation from 4 min. to 11:20 min.
Note:  On the podcast, as I explain what I do for High Altitude Sickeness, Tim mentioned that Charlie, who was in studio, was “shaking his head,” which was understood that Charlie wasn’t in agreement.  On returning the sat phone to Russ Smith, I asked him about that, and he said “Charlie was in agreement with everything you were saying.”  So Tim should have rather said Charlie was “NODDING HIS HEAD” in agreement. 
 This is my very light, small one-man tent.  Perhaps a comment about how I do things will help someone.  Some of my gear I need in the evening, or early the next morning, goes into  the tent lined up along each side,  The remainder is left in my backpack that I put in the vestibule for rain protection–which was needed each of the 3 nights.  The food is hung safely in a tree at least 6 feet from the trunk, and between 12-15 feet off the ground.

In the morning I do my “beauty treatment,” which includes, among other things,  a bit of sun-protection, and then insect repellant (at least 98% Deet) which I also apply to the back of my T-shirt so mosquitoes won’t bite me there.  I begin Take 1 of my supplements.  Take 2 will be taken with my breakfast.  Take 3 will be put in a small plastic bag in my pocket to be taken on the trail.  See my article ANTI-AGING CHALLENGE for details.  
I stuff my Golite Quilt into its stuff sack (the gray with black straps–weighs 15 oz.–effective to 20 degrees & much more comfortable than a mummy bag), and with other things  already used, pile them outside on top of my pack.  I deflate the air mattress, roll it up and along with the rest of my stuff pile it on top of the pack, leaving the tent empty.  You’ll notice on the far left a purple container which is my one quart urinal so I won’t have to get up and out of my tent during the night–bought at Dollar Tree with liquid soap.  
 I put my mountain running shoes on & stand, step outside, pull the stakes and with the free-standing tent–lift and shake  out any debris.  If wet I hang it in a tree or stand it up–as seen below– to drain and dry.  then have breakfast, pack and ready to get on the trail.

 As was the case in Backpack #1-2017, also to the Grandaddies, several hikers stopped to say hello, a couple of them recognizing me from this website. Here are pictures of some of them, and others.
One who recognized me was BEN PARKER, who since has sent me a couple of pictures he took, which I’ll insert below.  THANKS BEN!

 Many were seen on the trail and not photographed, mainly because I all of a sudden had a defective zoom lens and so used it sparingly, but here are a few photographs of some of the great people we met that I did photograph. 

Mike and Ted admiring the wonderful view along the Rainbow Lake Trail, with East Grandaddy Mountain in the background.

At the same spot a great two family group stopped to also take in the view.

 WOW…. two great families really enjoying the High Uintas Wilderness!

 Soon we were at  Brinton Meadows and the junction where the trail takes off for Palisades Lake, and from there on to Pine Island Lake.  It was here I ran into Mike the last time, a few years ago,  when he was with his Backpacking Class from the University of Utah.

 This  was the first backpack I had taken in several years with hiking companions and it was a fascinating experience.  I have not hidden the fact that in my 82nd year I have had to take it slow and easy to be able to do what I have done.  In fact I have confessed that my pace is embarrassingly slow, so I usually prefer to go alone and be able to do it my way.

Ted and Mike approach six feet tall, and  then there is me, 5′ 5″ and shrinking!  
We are like Mutt & Jeff, for those of you who might remember the comic strip duo.

Coming to a log across the trail, they would just step over it, while I had to take a detour around it!  To get across a small stream they would just step over, while I had to back off 10 paces and get a run at it and jump–sometimes making it, and sometimes….SPLASH!

On the trail, if I was last I had to totally wear myself out and be miserable attempting to keep up.  If I was breaking trail, they would constantly be stepping on my heels forcing me to violate my comfortable slow pace….and soon I was ready to throw in the towel!

I frankly confessed my problem and set in stone that if we were to continue together….at least in the same vicinity…..I had to do it my way and completely ignore them.  But for them to conform to my pace would likewise have them miserable and frustrated.  So we made a decision:  
Mike, the young gung-ho mountain man, would go first at his pace.  Ted, always….even from 1952 on….was always a better hiker than me, would go second and soon falling behind Mike.  I would go last at my pace and try my best to not pressure myself to keep them in sight.  So, quickly there would be separation as you see in the photo above, and it increased rapidly–Mike way out front, then Ted….soon both of them out of sight, and trailing behind was  Little Andy, the “Jeff”  of the crew!
Each time we would start, we would agree to stop and meet at a certain place.  So Mike would stop and wait for us.  By the time I arrived they had rested and were raring to get going, but had to rest a little more, giving me a chance to also get revived!  From there on all went better, even though I did have a tough time, just as I did a month ago on Backpack #1, and will freely admit that it wasn’t fun like it used to be–all of which has me concluding….again, that I best get working more on writing the booklike many have told me on the trail, “BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE” — like as though I wasn’t going to live forever?  
 Back in civilization I will keep moving in many ways–100 pushups to begin my day, a two mile jog daily, a 1/2 mile with backpack every other day, etc.  & once in a while a “Mickey Mouse”  backpack a mile or so off the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway–
— as to not do so would soon have me GONE!  which I’m not ready for yet.

More will be said about the above dilemma in the book, as there are individual differences for many different reasons.   
In my case maybe the surgeries I have gone through to keep going:  Removing some parts that were hurting me, like my cancerous thyroid; or reconstructing with titanium other parts worn out, like my motorcycle knee, my football ankle, and my hip;  or two back surgeries fusing vertebrae and inserting gadgets to try and keep everything straight–but left with the problem for writing that I’m not conforming very well to Richard Nixon’s formula for writing a book, namely,
Mine begins hurting like crazy after 30 minutes!

Wildflowers were abundant, and the meadows lush and green…..and mushrooms were coming up all along the trail.  With my zoom/close-up lens on the blink I only got a few extra VISIONS OF NATURE.…this time mushrooms that were large enough to not need a fully functioning lens.

Soon we were passing by Lost Lake where I had camped in “mosquito heaven” on my Backpack #1 in early July

At about the the midway point along Lost Lake the trail to Powell Lake takes off at the spot seen below which I have shown in my photo/essays and YouTube videos of THE GRANDADDIES, but on Backpack #1-2017  I never saw it!

The faint trail you see to the right of the large rock is an example of trails not maintained by the Forest Service to help this be a true Wilderness. 
 No sign either pointing to Powell Lake.

Below you see the reason why in July I just walked by the spot without recognizing it.

The trail was disguised, or obliterated by downed timber! 

Now the way you can find it is as follows: 
 About half-way past Lost Lake you come to the bridge seen below.

About 20 yards past the bridge going down the trail you will notice to the right a pile of rocks on top of a large boulder.  That is where the trail takes off and shortly joins the trail on the other side of the downed timber.

By the afternoon of the 2nd day we made the mile or so from Lost Lake to Rainbow Lake we see below.

Below we see Mike relaxing in our Rainbow Lake camp.  This–for me–young man was what my dad would have called, “A PRINCE OF A  MAN!”  Always sharing, always  understanding & helpful–for example on the first day when up the trail doing the switchbacks, Ted realized he had left his trekking poles in the pickup.  Mike immediately volunteered to go back and get them as we continued up the trail.  He of course had no problem catching up to us, so Ted had his beloved poles.

But, interestingly Ted then forgot them again, leaving them at the Rainbow camp!  
Sort of sounds like Ted is becoming “an old guy” like me,  as I also left scattered around some of my stuff–my Golite poncho at Jeff Lake, my High Uinta hat & long sleeved blue shirt at the Defa Cowboy Cafe!

Mike on the last day–when I was  struggling some, offered to carry some of my load (my camera bag) and so became for me “My savior in the Uinta Mountains!” 
Note:  Not to diminish the help Mike gave me, I could have made it fine doing it my way, but would have been slow –maybe an extra 30 minutes getting to the Trailhead.

Note:  Of course, Mike, and his wonderful character, is a reflection of a great upbringing by a great dad, Ted,  & mom, Kay.

 Ted getting his tent ready for the night
Interestingly, without knowledge of what the other  was doing, we both ended up with exactly the same tent, the same Therm-o-rest air mattress, and the same inflatable pillow!

We even had a little time to go fishing, Ted catching a quite nice Eastern brook trout that was enough for all three of us….my portion  you see above, cooked in aluminum foil.

The morning of the 3rd day we did a two mile off-trail exploration, first passing by RANGE LAKE we see below which I photographed in July using a fish-eye lens, distortion corrected in Photoshop–actually making it look a bit larger than it really is.

From there we headed east with Mike, the “master wilderness navigator” guiding us,  and came to JEFF LAKE we see below

Once again I had all kinds of problems with my camera and extra lens, but finally managed to salvage a few pictures I pasted together of JEFF LAKE you see above–but the convuluted distortion this time making it look smaller than it really is!

Perhaps the lake can be appreciated more, without distortion,  as seen in the background of the picture Mike took of Ted and me there and two others that follow by Mike & Ted

Above & below are the other two sent me  by Mike and Ted, for which I’m very grateful.

As is the case with Range Lake, Jeff Lake is not mentioned by the Fish & Game or DWR, as a fishery.  They don’t even have numbers often even given to lakes even with no fish, but….we all swear that we saw a few rises in Jeff Lake–so someone out there with an adventurous spirit has got to get to Jeff Lake and do a little fishing–and then report to me, PLEASE

 Mike found what we concluded was the heart of a weather balloon that had come down there.  I’ll insert a few pictures of it and the self-addressed, postage paid envelope to return it. 

Mike hauled it to civilization and it has been sent in the mail.

That same day, Day 3, after getting to Jeff Lake, we packed up headed up the trail.  From the junction of the trail to Shadow Lake, Mike did as my pre-trip plan had outlined, and bushwhacked up what for me 15 years ago was a faint, un-maintained, but passable  trail from there to Lodgepole Lake–that is seen below on the far right.  Now I suspected it would be very difficult with  a lot of dead-fall, so Ted and me followed the maintained trail up to Betsy, then around Grandaddy where we met Mike and set up our last camp in the pines in the lower middle of the picture .
Mike reported that he found no trace of the “faint trail” I had followed 15 years ago, and his bushwhacking was a real challenge just as I had suspected.  I might add that the Forest Service purposely has stopped maintaining such trails to help the area become a legitimate “Wilderness.”  It is the same reasoning that  has them not placing signs and distances to all the many lakes, such as mentioned previously for lakes like Shadow & Powell.

On Day 4 we packed up and, hiked along the southern shore of Grandaddy and up to Hades Pass and down to the Trailhead.  It rained every night some, and often threatened to rain during the day, but never did.  We were hurrying along the last 15 minutes before the Trailhead to beat a storm…but all of a sudden a student from Utah State University was taking a survey, so we gave him 10 minutes of our time….
.just enough to finally be rained on before getting to the Trailhead!

In the 4 days we had backpacked around 20 miles and accomplished the main purpose of finding Jeff Lake, but photographically didn’t do as well as hoped for.  My Nikon camera body is still fine, but the zoom lens–that cost more than the camera body, has gone the way of the world–and too expensive to replace right now, so I apparently have no choice but to end the exploration/photographic phase of my project & get to writing!

My camera & photographic efforts now reduced to this:

My Nikon body, with a  wide angle lens 12-24mmD which is huge to eliminate distortion.  It’s the lens I should have had on many trips in recent years, but it is big and weighs more than my sleeping quilt/air mattress/inflatable pillow  combined, so as I increasingly have needed to reduce pack weight, I stopped backpacking with it. 


I will be doing High Uinta explorations related to the Tie Hackers-
“the unsung heroes without whom the West might not have been won,”
specifically the Hilliard Flume in the vicinity of Gold Hill…..with the
where reportedly the Hilliard Flume started.  
I have searched for it several times….fruitlessly, as has Bernard Asay, Trail Supervisor for the Forest Service on the North Slope.
I think I now know where it is, and if all goes well will spend Saturday, the 19th, searching & be in that area over the weekend for the eclipse. 

That is how I will celebrate the GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY of my work among the Mayans in Guatemala on August 19, on that day in 1967 having crossed the Guatemalan border  to begin the Andersen Family Private Peace Corp  work that is today that of the GUATEMALAN FOUNDATION.


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Following is a wonderful letter from Gordon Hirschi &
The Uinta Basin Back Country Horsemen
From: Gordon Hirschi <[email protected]>
Sent: Saturday, July 29, 2017 1:57 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Highline Trail

Hello Mr. Andersen,
My name Gordon Hirschi I am president of Uinta Basin Back Country Horsemen.
The first year I was voted in as president I talked our group into adopting Trail  025 Highline Trail. I knew it was in bad shape and had not been completely cleared in 15 years when  I googled this trail it recommended the east start stop point as Leidy Peak Trail Head. Three years later we had  marked and cleared this trail from Hwy 191 to Leidy Peak Trail Head. We have also taken on Don Hatch Memorial Trail, Manila Park Trail, and Trout Creek Trail.
Ashley National Forest notified me that you were going to hike across The Highline Trail this summer. I told them that we had cleared it last summer but with the snow load from last winter and this years spring high winds that we needed to gather some back country horsemen and at least remove any trees that are blocking this trail. We started clearing trails about one month ago starting at forest road 021 and Highline Trail I was told Vernal Ranger District Trail Crew had already cleared from Hwy 191 to forest road 02. We have cleared this trail to Summit Park and will have it cleared to Leidy Peak Trail Head by Tuesday Morning. I spoke with some hikers near Lost Park which told me there were some recent blow downs near East Park and we will catch these on our way out.
Now that we have cleared these trails we are working on better signage one of which is Hwy 191 Trail Head.
I hope you have a great trip and we appreciate the credit you have given our chapter on your website. We also maintain a facebook presence at
Uintah Basin Back Country Horsemen, Vernal, Utah. 501 likes · 39 talking about this. We are a horsemen’s group dedicated to keeping public lands and…


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NOTE:  Gordon Hirschi & the Uintah Basin Back Country Horsemen have contacted me about their incredible efforts  to clear the trail from Leidy Peak to Hwy. 191, including improving the signs, which has been so encouraging that I’m seriously re-considering doing the Highline Trail. As soon as I have their permission I’ll post here their letter to me.
“Not Giving up….easily” 
With a backpack planned for August 10-13 again to the GRANDADDIES, this time with my buddy Ted Packard, and son Mike.  My objective to clean-up my previous failure and ….……FIND & EXPLORE
No SPOT Tracker this time, but will have sat phone from SKYCALL SATELLITE  & report to KSL OUTOORS RADIO on Saturday August 12th.
This will be the final test to determine whether I do the HIGHLINE TRAIL from August 16-31
To put this into perspective, I quote below the last segment of my previous photo/essay reporting…..
….the discovery of RANGE LAKE
we see below:

The backpack was not easy like it once was, and except for all the wonderful people I met and talked to, the experience wasn’t fun like it used to be…
.…..BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE…I DID DO IT ACTUALLY IN 3 DAYS RATHER THAN 4, so, physically I can still do it….
….. but  I have had to make some serious decisions….since…..
My decision is to now focus more on completing the
GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY of the Guatemalan Foundation 
and retire that mission at the end of August, and…
…. from now on begin putting this whole project together in the 
“REPORTING” phase I vowed to do in my youth.
I won’t stop backpacking, as to do so would “have me grow old” which I’m not ready for yet….so there will be an occasional backpack–even this year in August when the mosquitoes are gone, but not the heavy duty schedule I have announced for 2017.
 I will persist working out daily and keep moving….and even work on preparing to run one more time in 
May 2018 the

International Half Marathon in Coban, Guatemala.
I’ll  inform all when the Project is ready for publication.
Thanks for everything….love you all and have you in my prayers!


UPDATE…July 15….
Maybe I am both “stubborn” & “stupid” …as another backpack is already planned for mid-August as I JUST HAVE TO GET TO JEFF LAKE, and gradually get it all done!

If you go to the end of the following photo/essay, you’ll understand what I’m saying here!
So, in addition to the daily jog…as explained at the end of this post, I’m also doing the urban hike with backpack to keep my back strong.

To some must sound “stupid” 
but for me the other option will be avoided as long as I can!

“Yes, I’M STUBBORN (or persistent)…but,  IN MY 82nd YEAR I’M NOT COMPLETELY STUPID!”
Read on and you’ll understand the revealing experience I had during this simple, but great backpack.
Note:  I had several purposes in this backpack.  One was to do my best to get to two small lakes that have escaped me in the Grandaddy Basin:  Range & Jeff Lakes.  They are not listed by the Division of Wildlife Resources as being fisheries, but they do have names and I was curious to explore them. 

 The other purpose was to test myself in my 82nd year–4 months after back surgery, to see if I could accomplish the perhaps overly enthusiastic plans for this summer, mainly, doing in August the entire HIGHLINE TRAIL from near Flaming Gorge to Mirror Lake. 
 Below we see the Google Earth view of the specific area in the Grandaddies I wanted to get to.

From the Salt Lake City/Wasatch Front area you travel east to Kamas, and from there two miles south to Francis where you turn east onto State Highway 35 to drive up and over Wolf Creek Pass. Below we see the beautiful valley as we begin the climb up the South Fork of the Provo River towards the pass–all on a beautiful paved highway.

The flowers that carpet the valley with gold are buttercups we have to admire even more as we get close in the following photographs.

Buttercups, in a number of varieties are found right up to above timberline in the High Uintas.

It’s a great drive, loved by all, up to the 9,485 ft. pass….and the mountainside is green and lush, with many wildflowers in bloom….a few of which I’ll insert below–all such I call VISIONS OF NATURE.

From Wolf Creek Pass the highway takes us down to the North Fork of the Duchesne River.  Downstream  5 miles is Hanna, and then Tabiona.  We turn north and drive up the river road, that eventually turns into a well graded dirt road that takes us past Defa’s Dude Ranch, and a little further we turn off to drive up…..
Hades Canyon–6 miles to the Grandview Trailhead–
“The Gateway to the Grandaddies”

Around half way to the Trailhead we pass the ruins of what was called SPLASH DAM that used to have a lake where we are looking, but a couple of years ago excessive run-off ended that.

Near the Trailhead we pass on the right this wonderful water that catapults down the mountainside, and I stop to fill my water containers with its great, ice cold water.

From there we look down the canyon at Splash Dam. 

We have arrived at the Trailhead, with only one car parked.  Today, June 30th, was the first day the road was open to the public.  It had been closed due to a timber sale in the area.

Down below near Defa’s Dude Ranch, where in my early years (1952) the Trailhead was located, there were quite a few cars parked and I assumed they were from the workers involved in the timber sale–but I was wrong.  They were apparently cars of backpackers who couldn’t wait to get into the Grandaddies and had hiked the entire 10 miles up the canyon–just as we did back in “the good old days!”
The next day I was to meet some of them on their way out.

I slept in my car that night–part of the reason being to acclimatize myself to the higher altitude as in recent years that had become a problem for me.
To pump me up for the backpack, I watched that night ROCKY I on my laptop! 

I was awake by 6:00 tuning into KSL RADIO and the OUTDOORS SHOW, and then made my attempts to report in to the program with the satellite phone Russ Smith and SKYCALL SATELLITE had provided.  The box canyon made reception a bit difficult as the phone needed a clear view of the southern skyline, but I finally got my report in, and then began preparing for a big & decisive day.  By the time I was ready to move up the trail, a number of cars had arrived and other backpackers were on the trail already.

Make sure and check-out all the information and “rules of the game” explained quite well by the Forest Service.

At 9:30 AM I was ready to go with vitals good:  Blood Pressure 121/78, pulse 68, oxygen count in blood at 91 (normally at home it is 96).  At my age coupled with having  been a Medical Specialist in the Army, then doing thousands of medical treatments on Mayan Indians in Guatemala every year–for 35 years, along with my 8 survival experiences in the High Uintas, I have learned the importance of all of these things and so take with my blood pressure cuff, and my Oximeter–along with whatever I might need for almost any emergency.

The register–from the afternoon of June 30th– only  had a couple of entries for 2017–most from last Fall.


A few hundred yards up the trail we come to the bridge 
-Above  we  see THE 2017 PORTRAIT ON JULY 1st.

This is how it was on June 24, 2016


I’ll admit that hiking up this trail with a 35 lb. load wasn’t the same as hiking around American Fork  recently with 52 lbs.  I had to take it slow, carefully, and every 10 minutes rest a couple of minutes, and after 30, rest for 10-15 minutes.  My vitals continued very good, but for the first backpack one has to be careful giving a chance for balance, agility, endurance, and stamina to catch up to the expectations and challenge.

There were many coming and going and I couldn’t stop and talk to all,  but sort of randomly picked some–or were picked by them– that were impressive as you will see.

The first great opportunity  came to rest a little and get to know my first
 “2017 High Uinta Friends”  who were…..
…..MARK & MELANIE WATHEN coming down the trail with this magnificent family
While Melanie was jotting down their email address, and all were gathering for a photo, Mark all of a sudden said,
“Don’t I know you?  Yes, it was from the internet where I saw your blog and got all kinds of good information.”   
That got me going on what I have been doing for 15 years, with 2,000 miles of backpacking exploring, photographing and finally reporting on the whole Wilderness.  it went on and on, and we had a great time….and finally they continued down the trail, and I went back to working up towards the pass.

But, it didn’t last long, as once again I got into a conversation with the WINTERS FAMILY, and once again reviewed what a worn-out old guy in his 82nd year was doing in the Uintas. 

Jed & me both recognized quickly that we were using the same backpack, the OSPREY ATMOS  65 “Anti’Gravity”  Backpackand we both agreed that it was the best backpack we had ever used!

As seen above, soon I came to where usually the entire trail for 30-40 yards  has snow you have to wade through, but this year…..being about a week later than usual due to the timber sale, it’s nearly gone–and was gone when I returned a few days later.
At HADES PASS I was resting a bit off the trail when a young lady and her father stopped and asked me if I could take their picture.  They were TERI &  father, DOUG COATS.  
As I was first taking their picture with my camera, all of a sudden Doug said, 
“Hey, you’re Cordell Andersen.  I know your website and have even downloaded your “Anti-Aging Challenge” article.  Thanks for all your help!”  

July 6th, Teri just sent me the picture she took of me, so I’ll insert it here.  Thanks Teri.
After another bit of conversation, we continued on our way, me going over the pass–which you see below in 1954, along with Charlie Peterson, picture taken by Ted Packard–the three of us were on a two week backpack to traverse the entire PRIMITIVE AREA.
You see hanging there the great Forest Service sign that explained what the
 High Uintas Primitive Area
By 1984 it became the 
High Uintas Wilderness Area,
doubling its size to around 459,000 acres.

Over the pass one views the “GRANDADDY OF THEM ALL,” said by pioneer artist/photographer  George Beard around 1906 when asked by a government surveyor which was the largest lake in the Uintas.  Since then it has been Grandaddy Lake & Basin…..which by the way you don’t see like this from Hades Pass.
This is the spectacular view from the saddle of East Grandaddy Mountain, actually to the south of the basin.  I’ve been up there 3 times, once bivouacking on the side of the mountain–to get photos in the evening, night photos, and photos at sunrise.  All trips were made from the south side–the off-trail hike beginning at  the end of the road up the South Fork of Rock Creek. 

At the north end of Grandaddy Lake the trail takes us to a junction you see above. 

Back in 2003, when I started the High Uintas Wilderness Project, the sign you see below was still there…..but on the ground.   I propted it up for the picture.  A year later it was gone,

 At the junction I met another bunch of infectious smiles  coming from:  Kent Hartley, Wes Talbot, Kami & Kevin Lynch…..sorry, one name is missing.  The young lady with the long hair also had an OSPREY AURA “Anti-gravity” Backpack  (the “AURA” is the womens model, men’s the “ATMOS” and agreed with me that it is so comfortable that that with it on your back you don’t even hardly notice it’s there.

From the above junction the trail I took goes north by Betsy Lake you see above, and about at the mid-way point another trail takes off as seen below. 

My trail would be to Rainbow Lake.

Eventually the trail that goes east takes the hiker down, viewing along the way to the south East Grandaddy Mountain……

 ……and looking southeast.  Below to the left out of sight  is off-trail Shadow Lake.

At the junction I had come around 6 miles and I’ll admit that I was quite tired.  It was getting late and I was tempted to find a camping spot…..but after a little rest, I continued on down the trail for another 1-1/2 miles to Lost Lake, my original goal for the day, for a total of 7 miles from the Trailhead. 

At the eastern end of Lost Lake I set up my camp for the night, and for the trip. Being at a much lower elevation, all of a sudden I was in “mosquito heaven,”  but I was ready for them with 100% deet repellent.    
The plan was to do my explorations in the Rainbow Lake area the next day as a “day hike,” and then return to my camp for the 2nd night.

Doing 7 miles the first day of the 1st backpack of the summer seemed necessary as the day developed, but I will admit that it was very hard for me, and the day ended up not being fun anymore, as had usually been the case in the past.    I was really fatigued, and feeling actually sick (which in my 70’s and now 80’s has been common after a very hard day)–unable to eat, but I faithfully went through my “recovery” system of supplements and soon was ready to eat some dinner–which was a powder meal that included bone meal protein & nutrients providing a “complete meal,” plus  dehydrated eggs and MCT oil powder.
NOTE:  But for complete disclosure, what happened was that I was so fatigued that around 9:00 PM I fell asleep without having eaten.  I awoke at 12:40 AM a bit surprised, ate a little something, and went back to deep sleep.
REALLY IMPORTANT  The “recovery system” of supplements is based on two facts I learned over the years from RUNNER’S WORLD magazine that once reported a study done on marathoner’s  running shorts that discovered the element they lost most was CALCIUM–so, it needs to be replaced.   Another article focused on runners frequently getting sick with colds, flu and respiratory problems after a race, but the incidence was greatly reduced by runners taking after the race 5 grams of GLUTAMINE.  The 3rd element was when feeling like one is getting sick, strengthening the immune system by  taking WELLNESS FORMULA capsules.  The normal use is to strengthen the immune system–so they became my multi-vitamin every day, but feeling sick tripling the dose–so it became part of my “recovery system.”  All of this is explained in my
“ANTI-AGING CHALLENGE” article, and in my
2015 GEAR/SUPPLEMENT  photo/essay 

I was beginning to wonder how on earth I would do other backpacks that were harder, and much longer,  especially  the entire Highline Trail in two weeks (106-136 miles, depending on extras), but it would require an  increased load of at least 50 lbs. which would have me going slower resulting in  taking longer than 14 days and  make necessary increasing food weight and slowing me down…..and as I reflected it seemed like it was becoming sort of a vicious circle continually adding more weight and stretching out the length of the hike making it all impossible for me in my 82nd year!

So above you can see my location and where I would be hiking to the next day.

My day hike would be from 3-4 miles, but without backpack.  However I did need to take things important for my work, plus “emergency/survival  items,” like:  1. Photographic equipment, 2.  SPOT Tracker, 3. Satellite phone,  4.  “Bodyguard” pistol,  5. “Meal in a bottle,”  6.  Trail-mix plus Vital Reds,  7.  Storm-proof matches, 8. Gerbers utility tool/knife (very tiny), 9. Sun-tan cream, 10. Mosquito repellent,  11. Rain poncho, 12.  3 oz. Golite windbreaker (& mosquito protector), 13. Topographical map & Google Earth print-outs, 14.  Bum fodder, 15. Oximeter, and 16. Fishing equipment.  

So, I had enough to fill my pockets and a tiny pack–probably 10 lbs. of load.
NOTE:  That list might seem to be long, but I promise you that nearly all of those who have not survived in the Uintas….did not have these necessary survival/emergency items with them.

As was the case from  the Trailhead,  at times downed timer blocked the trail breaking up my rhythm, so….WE NEED THE WILDERNESS RANGERS…QUICK! 

In about 45 minutes I was at Rainbow Lake, with Mt. Agassiz to the north where the Highline Trail squirts its southern base with the Naturalist Basin nestled into its eastern slope.

By the way, Rainbow Lake is great fishing for feisty brook trout.

Most of us notice the early blooming marsh marigold flowers in the marshy areas, but look down at the almost microscopic plants that are never noticed.  I should have had my close-up lens to zoom in.

At the outlet of Rainbow Lake the trail crosses a bridge over Fish Creek, and a little further along is a junction with the sign seen above.  My exploration would take me off-trail to the east to find Ranger Lake.  It  was found quite easily, and photographed as you see below.

The lake at this moment was full, but  zooming in on the Google Earth view one sees the water level is shown to have dropped a lot.  It is a shallow lake, and with the draw-down apparently  experienced later in the summer, we see why the Fish & Game (DWR) doesn’t list it as a fishery.  Winter-kill would be likely every year.

I then had some trouble getting to Jeff Lake making a mistake in my navigation mostly due to many detours to avoid swampy areas, and dead-fall like you see below–which is so difficult for me that in recent years that I have swore not going off-trail in such areas anymore.

When I finally realized my error, I was dead tired and could only think about getting back to camp and resting in preparation for going back up the trail the next day.

Here is a situation in which a GPS would have  been an immense help….as it would also have been in a few other situations  during my 15 year project.

Back on the trail, I hiked a little bit further to get a picture of the sign at the junction where one trail takes off for the Four Lakes Basin–with Cyclone Pass to the east where are found  remote Thompson & Sea Lion Lakes, and to the northwest the Highline Trail.  I wanted this picture as somehow I had missed it a couple of years ago and needed it to complete my 

photo/essay “The GRANDADDIES.”  and also the 
YouTube video, “THE GRANDADDIES”
The left fork, to Governor Dern Lake, also takes one to Pinto Lake, with another junction–the right fork taking one up to the Highline Trail.  The left fork taking one down to the North Fork of the Duchesne River.  It was from Pinto Lake that a few years ago I bushwhacked up to Margo Lake and from there continued off-trail over a pass and down to Pine Island Lake.  So there are off-trail adventures awaiting you in the Grandaddies.

I then headed back to camp, having at least accomplished 50% of my objectives–remember batting .500 IS INCREDIBLE!
I was beginning to face reality that no matter what there would always  be some “nooks & crannies” in the High Uintas I could keep chipping away at each year, and in the end no way to see all of them.  I had to accept this and get on with my project.

Had more reflections during the night with the admission that this was hard for me, and not much fun like in the past.  Because of not really feeling very well, and sort of being down in a hole facing one climb up to Betsy Lake, then another up to Hades Pass, I thought it might take me two days to get back to the Trailhead, but preferred going all the way in one day if I could.

I went through a good night with all vitals good, as they also were in the morning… began packing up for the hike out.  Among other supplements: Two little bottles were prepared to move me along at critical points:  I had a whole handful of little 1 cup “Surefresh” bags with “Vital Reds”  powder seen on the left, mixed  with water right in the handy little bag, then poured into the bottle each of which has two FRS chews (previously promoted by Lance Armstrong), along with a measure of MCT oil  powder, all to give me almost instant energy on the trail.
NOTE:  You young bucks out there might laugh at all of this…just wait until you are in your 82nd year!

Above is where my tent was, which after pulling the stakes and before removing the pole framework, I hold it up and shake out all the debris you see on the ground above…….

….but remember,
is to 
So below is how I left the spot

I moved up the trail carefully and felt pretty good, making good time to the Palisades junction and then moved into my first real challenge–the climb up to Betsy Lake.  I was determined to focus on getting all the way to the Trailhead–so I wouldn’t stop and talk to hikers….of which there would be many on the extended holiday weekend, but……

…….as I was doing quite well making it to Betsy, and then began the climb up to Hades Pass, a couple came down the trail and even before I could say “Howdy,”  I heard,

 “Hey, Cordell, thanks for your website that made possible us making this backpack!”  
He was Clay Barrett and his wife.  His comment got us into a prolonged conversation and they sort of agreed that I should begin focusing more on putting together the unique e-book (& then a simplified print version) that would have intertwined into a guide book for backpackers the history, the myths, the legends, the tall tales, and the survival stories of those who didn’t make it–and why, and then my 8 survival stories and why I’m still backpacking in my 80’s.
And, as I did with all those I talked to on the trail, I asked,
“Do you know about  the tie hackers?” 
NONE DID….that led to more exciting  details  about those “unsung American heroes,” that would also be part of the book, including the story of Beartown that was described as “the liveliest if not the most wicked town in America,” eventually wiped off the map like Sodom and Gomorrah, and the connected story of President Dwight Eisenhower’s hero, Tom “Bear River” Smith, etc, etc.  WOW–all part of the High Uintas story–

As I was saying goodbye to the Barretts, two backpackers bumped into us and called me by my name, thanking me for my website and the updates I do every year about 
“High Uintas accessibility,” and more.
They were the BENSON BROTHERS–Brent & Jeff, from the Uintah Basin & Cache Valley, and there followed more great and appreciated conversation and encouragement.

With all the great people I was meeting, some who knew me and expressed appreciation, my “tough backpack” all of a sudden was transformed into a memorable experience, and I was beginning to recall the theme song from the famous TV series CHEERS, with this sort of tongue in cheek abbreviated  version:
“Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got…..wouldn’t you like to get away…..where everybody–at least a few— knows your name and they’re glad you came?”
Then up the trail again, and over the pass and I began the 3 mile descent to the Trailhead, but by then I was in the talkative mood, and I kept meeting and talking to more & new 
“High Uinta Friends” ..……………

………like TRUDY & DEX WHITEHEAD, who blessed my life with more conversation.
Hey Trudy & Dex, email me as my thick skull can’t quite translate your email address correctly.  

..…..then down by the little stream, that crosses the trail–the only water on the climb up, I met another happy group of day hikers, got their picture and will send the photo to LIANNA LOPEZ, “from California”  who, ” fell in love with a Utahan!”

Back up by the pond right on the pass, I said howdy to a young fellow who was with a bunch of children, one who was balancing herself on a rock and about to loose her balance, and I yelled at her, “No, don’t fall in until I get my camera out!”  
The tall young fellow said the kids were his cousins.  Others trailed behind them up to the pass.
Down the trail, as they were returning and caught up to me, I met the whole unique group–the “tall young fellow” lived in Utah, and was with his family who were from New York, although the father VESTERFELT was a BYU graduate who said “I then escaped from Utah!”  But he was back with his family on vacation–and obviously love BYU.
Once again great conversation, and in it all I mentioned having been introduced to the High Uintas in my youth, and vowing
“one day I’ll explore, photograph and report on all the Uintas,”
I then mentioned going off on my quixotic 35 year personal mission among the Mayans of Guatemala 
With that the “tall young fellow” asked where I had lived in Guatemala, and he expressed knowing about the Coban area having been in the El Salvador/Belice  LDS  Mission.  That got us into some fascinating history of my more than 50 year involvement with the Mayans.  Thanks!

I’ll insert the other family portrait as each is necessary to show the truth about each family member.
Before actually meeting the family, the two young men on the right and some kids caught up with me and we talked a lot as we hiked down the trail.  
NOW A CONFESSION:  Please forgive me guys as we were hiking and you two asked me questions and showed a lot of interest in what I’m doing–which I appreciated, but I’ll confess that my hearing is deficient and I didn’t really understand a lot unless we were talking face to face, so I just tried to fake it!  Forgive me!
It’s another of those things I try and joke about saying about some of us old guys:
“To see we have to put our glasses on, to eat we have to put our teeth in, and to hear we have to turn up the volume–when we can!”  

I only had one more business card by this time, and so was going to save it for….whatever, but one more group stopped and wanted to talk.  Russell Harris, on the right, said we had met on the trail a couple of years ago and mentioned to his friends my website and effort.  So, after gratefully meeting them and having another pleasant and appreciated conversation, I finally focused on
“Getting to the Trailhead and not talking to anybody!”
…..but just had to make one more stop as all of a sudden I ran into a Forest Service crew of Wilderness Rangers, led by friend Jeff Mitchell.
A young lady was busy with her saw cutting a downed tree crossing the trail with Jeff and two others urging her on!
I wanted to take a picture, but Jeff said their superiors frowned on such, even though my project certainly can’t be considered a commercial enterprise….yet!
But….thanks Jeff and crew for your good work & say hello to Lori & Shiela at the Duchesne office.

But, how I appreciated everybody I met and the encouragement given to get on with my project-
–the research and writing aspect of it–
It was great to arrive at the Trailhead….which now was full of cars.

I dropped by Hanna for a cold drink, and then back up over Wolf Creek Pass, once again totally enjoying the VISIONS OF NATURE I saw at every turn.

The backpack was not easy like it once was, and except for all the wonderful people I met and talked to, the experience wasn’t fun like it used to be…
 but  I have had to make some serious decisions….since…..
My decision is to now focus on completing the
GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY of the Guatemalan Foundation 
and retire that mission at the end of August, and…
…. from now on begin putting this whole project together in the 
“REPORTING” phase I vowed to do in my youth.
I won’t stop backpacking, as to do so would “have me grow old” which I’m not ready for yet….so there will be an occasional backpack–even this year in August when the mosquitoes are gone, but not the heavy duty schedule I have announced for 2017.
 I will persist working out daily and keep moving….and even work on preparing to run one more time in 
May 2018 the

International Half Marathon in Coban, Guatemala.
I’ll  inform all when the Project is ready for publication.
Thanks for everything….love you all and have you in my prayers!


With information on the thaw, snow depths on Bald Mountain Pass, Opening of key roads, and Passes, etc.

UPDATE July 5th:  COMING….VERY SOON (1 day or less)….
Report could be named something like…
“Yes, I’M STUBBORN (or persistent)…but,  IN MY 82nd YEAR I’M NOT COMPLETELY STUPID!”
“Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got…..wouldn’t you like to get away…..where everybody knows your name and they’re glad you came?”
Obviously I survived it & achieved 50% of my goals–batting .500 is incredible.…and due to meeting time after time, after time WONDERFUL PEOPLE ON THE TRAIL….had a great & reflective time…
I’ll get it done today and show you some BEAUTIFUL FACES  & a few magnificent VISIONS OF NATURE!

UPDATE – Friday, June 30th
1st backpack- The GRANDADDIES 
GRANDVIEW TRAILHEAD – will sleep at the trailhead Friday night and be on the trail Saturday morning, July 1st.  Will go past Grandaddy, Betsy Lakes, and down to Lost, Powell Lakes and on to Rainbow and will explore Range & Jeffs Lakes and then return to the Trailhead…about 4 days.  If interested you’ll have to keep track of me using the following link:
UPDATE – Friday, June 23, 2017
The following report was sent to me a few days ago from the Forest Service:
Hi Cordell: 
The road to the Grandview Trail Head will remain closed through the rest of June and possibly early July due to the ongoing timber sale.
I have a ranger that is checking on the trail that leads from Rock Creek (trail 073 junctions with 078/076) to the Granddaddy Basin as a backup route, I should know more by the end of this week.
And as general information, anyone hiking the trails in the Wilderness can expect trees across the trails, extremely high river crossings (they should not be attempted to cross) and above 10,000 ft. large and deep snow drifts.
If anyone needs further information they can contact the Duchesne Ranger District at 435-738-2482 and we can provide them with the latest information.
Forest Service Shield
Jeff Mitchell
Wilderness Ranger
Forest Service
Ashley National Forest, Duchesne Ranger District
p: 435-738-2482
[email protected]
85 West Main, P.O. Box 981
Duchesne, UT 84021 
USDA LogoForest Service TwitterUSDA Facebook
Caring for the land and serving people
Today, June 23rd, just talked to Jeff who reports:
THE GRANDVIEW TRAILHEAD:  At the earliest it will be open to the public by the end of next week, or let’s say, Saturday, July 1st.
LAKE FORK/MOON LAKE TRAILHEAD:  the trail is open up into the Brown Duck Basin, Tworoose Pass, etc.
UINTA RIVER TRAILHEAD: Apparently it is possible to get up to the Fox Lake area, etc.  I don’t remember him mentioning the Atwood Trail.
ROCK CREEK TRAILHEAD:  Area not recommended yet as river crossings are high and dangerous.  The “La Marla Lake Trail” up into the Grandaddy Basin is being checked out by a Wilderness Ranger.  I will update when getting info.
Due to urgent work I still have to do for the GUATEMALAN FOUNDATION, & with my family, my backpacking will begin–if all goes well–by driving to the Grandview Trailhead on Friday, June 30th, sleep in my car to begin the necessary process (for this old guy in his 82nd year) of acclimatization, and hopefully on Saturday, July 1st–if getting to the Grandview Trailhead is possible, early around 6:15-25,   air my report on KSL OUTDOORS RADIO–using the satelitte phone from SKYCALL SATELLITE, then  head up the Grandaddy Trail.  I will update all of this on Friday morning June 30th, and include the link for my
1.  GRANDADDIES:  down past Lost & Powell Lakes, to pick up two missed, RANGE & JEFF  LAKES & if all goes well,  swing up to Pine Island Lake, and back past Fish Hatchery, Betsy & Grandaddy Lakes:   30+ miles, 4 days. NOTE: Date depending on conditions  in June, in other words, the thaw.

2.  MIDDLE FORK BEAVER CREEK:  Will explore Beaver, Coffin & other lakes, & will climb Thompson Pass, leaving 2 passes to go to achieve all 22 in the Wilderness.  30 miles 5 days.

3.  FROM EAST FORK OF BLACKS FORK TRAILHEAD:  To Little East Fork of Blacks Fork and   UPPER ALPINE/ABOVE TIMBERLINE LAKES.  20 miles, 4 days.

4.  TWOROOSE PASS (with which only North Pole Pass remains) from the Lake Fork Trailhead up to the  Brown Duck Basin, Pass, & lakes.  35 miles, 6 days.

All of this is in preparation for doing the entire HIGHLINE TRAIL, from near Flaming Gorge to Mirror Lake, in August.


Click for





Brown Duck (10,572 ft.), Lake Fork Basin, Five Points Lake (10,911), Chepita (12,120 ft.), Hewinta Guard Station (9,495 ft.), Henrys Fork (10,180 ft.) 

GRANDVIEW TRAILHEAD …“Gateway to the Grandaddies” UPDATE Monday June 19
Just talked to Jeff at the Duchesne Ranger Station who reports that the gate is still locked and closed to backpackers/horsemen due to the timber sale, and won’t be open until approximately the end of the month–he will email me and let me know when open, and I’ll immediately report it here.  
In the meantime, get some exercise to be in shape, as I’m doing now in my 82nd year, with a daily mini-hike with backpack, today with 51 lbs. of load, & also  boots that  are 7 oz. each heavier than the ones I’ll use backpacking–once again helping my body be stronger than otherwise might be the case.
NOTE:  If you don’t think 7 oz. per step less  is important, consider the following:  In 10 miles it adds up to 8,750 lbs. less weight lifted with your legs!

WOLF CREEK PASS Highway 35 to No. Fork of the Duchesne & Hanna opened May 17th



Highway 150 – Kamas to Evanston, Wyoming–OPENED TODAY June 2, 2017


Wednesday June 21 – SNOW GONE! – 65 degrees at 11:00 AM

Tuesday June 20 – 2″ – 65 degrees F.

Monday June 19 – 7″ WOW! – 60 degrees F.

Sunday June 18 – 12.5″ of snow – 56 degrees F.

Saturday June 17 – 16″ of snow – 50 degrees F.

Friday June 16 – 21″ of snow – 56 degrees F.

Thurs. June 15 – 24″ of snow = 56 degrees F.

Wed. June 14 – 26.6″ of snow – 50 degrees F.

Tuesday June 13 – 30″ of snow  – 32 degrees F.

Monday June 12 – 28″ of snow – 38 degrees F.

Sunday June 11 – 29″ of snow – 50 degrees F.
Saturday June 10 – 31″ of snow – 60 degrees F.

Friday June 9 – 34″ of snow – 60 degrees F.
Thursday June 8 – 37.5″ of snow – 58 degrees F.
Wednesday   June 7   – 41″  of snow   –  60 degrees F.
Tuesday    June 6 –  44″ of snow  –  59 degrees F.
Monday,     June 5 – 47″  of snow  –  60 degrees F.
Sunday,       June 4 – 50″ of snow  –   60 degrees F.
Saturday,  June 3 – 52″ of  snow –  58 degrees F
Friday,        June 2  – 55″ of snow  – 50 degrees F
For previous snow depths since May 14th go to PREVIOUS POST

In the previous post I explain that  my back was operated on  for the 2nd time–the first in 2012, and I’m working on getting back into shape for backpacking as outlined in the previous post & mentioned at the end of this report.    My hike today,   in my 82nd year–June 4th–was 2 miles up Grove Creek Canyon with 43 lbs. of load, and I’ll confess it wasn’t easy–especially with 97 degree temperatures, but I will keep doing my darndest as my challenge over the 15 year Project has been to……,  June 8th, up to 46 lbs. & experiencing some pain, so will up my intake of cod liver oil from 3 gel caps/daily, to 5 and see.
The other option doesn’t interest me yet
Yesterday, Saturday morning, June 3rd, I gave my first report to KSL OUTDOOR’S RADIO. You can listen  on your computer each Saturday morning from 6:10 to 8:00 AM from anywhere in the world. 
On the program my friend, Russ Smith, from SKYCALL SATELLITE assured me he now has me on the schedule for a satellite phone for the summer–which I recommend each group have one of, and if you’re going alone, you’ve got to have one along with a SPOT Personal Satellite Tracker.  Get one!
My first stop was at the KAMAS FOREST SERVICE RANGER STATION to talk to my old friend Brenda, who told me that last night the road clearing crew “broke through” the last drifts, so the HIGHWAY IS NOW OPEN!

Following is my photo report of the trip I made this morning, Friday, June 2, 2017

If you know me, you’ll expect me to take you with me, with a few views along the highway on the 80 mile round trip from Kamas with little comment.


First real stop was…as always….at the PROVO RIVER FALLS

Below is a view of the Falls on June 4, 2016, shown with the shadows of the afternoon.

Here we are at the Pass with Bald Mountain looming over it, pictures actually taken on the return after having continued on to the entrance to the Highline Trail, 

Below is a view of the Pass and Bald Mountain on June 4, 2016, with visibly less snow than this year. 

Here we are seeing the weather station operated by UDOT (Utah Department of Transportation)  from which I acquire daily information on the snow depth and temperature.
From the pass we continue to the northeast seeing the snow depths.

Shortly there is a turnoff…of course now snowed in, from which we see below Moosehorn Lake, still frozen over, and in the distance Hayden Peak.

A little further along as we descend to towards the Mirror Lake turnoff,  the panorama is enlarged, also with Mt. Agassiz on the right

Above is a photograph of Hayden Peak on June 4, 2016, I show to indicate again there was much less snow last year.

From this point we swing our view to the south looking towards the Grandaddy Basin area, still with a great deal of snow.

We are here approaching Hayden Pass, and find all the snow removal equipment parked at the pull-offs for Butterfly Lake, which was still frozen.

Now we are at the 2nd important objective of my drive, to see the
 entrance to the famous HIGHLINE TRAIL 
zoom in on the sign you see below.

Below we see the sign on June 4, 2016… it will be likely at least until the end of June that there will be access…..of course depending on the thaw.

We have turned around and heading back, seeing the sign to the Highline Trail, on the west side of the highway.

We are now over the pass and heading back to Kamas, seeing on the north side of the highway Lilly Lake showing the beginning of the thaw,  and below on the other side of the highway, Lost lake.

Below is Lost Lake on June 4, 2016.

We have now quickly traveled back-in-time photographically to the
on June 23, 2016

This was my first 2016 Season backpack, and my schedule has me doing my first 2017 backpack from this trailhead too.

What is the access to the Grandview Trailhead…NOW?
I just talked to Sheila at the Forest Service Ranger Station in Duchesne.  She reports one of the rangers snow-shoed in there a couple of weeks ago, and was amazed how much snow  there is.

THE PLAN:  They hope to have the road open in about two weeks, but for a couple of weeks it will be used for a timber sale. 

 For backpackers?  
It will likely be in about 1 month–THAT WILL GIVE ME TIME TO KEEP WORKING ON GETTING IN SHAPE AFTER MY BACK SURGERY–NOW HIKING EVERY DAY WITH MY BACKPACK–THIS WEEK WITH 43 lbs.  NEXT WEEK=46;  THE FOLLOWING=48;  BY BACKPACKING TIME=50 lbs……although I don’t plan on backpacking with that much weight, except for the 136 miles on the Highline Trail in August.  
I will keep in touch with Sheila, and keep all of you informed about access, along with any other access information I can glean from other areas.

UPDATE Tuesday June 13
Just talked to Jeff at the Duchesne Ranger Station who reports that they have heavy equipment clearing the road of snow with about 1-1/2 feet of snow at the Trailhead, but the road will only be accessible for a timber sale, and not  for backpackers for “2-3 weeks,” which would mean between June 27th to July 4th.  He asked me to call back for updates in a week….at which time I will give an UPDATE here.  

In the meantime, get some exercise to be in shape, as I’m doing now in my 82nd year, with a daily mini-hike with backpack, today with 48 lbs. of load.


Click below for:  

Scheduled DREAMS for 2017 (82nd year) Combining with it the ENTIRE HIGHLINE TRAIL…if my  “ANTI-AGING CHALLENGE” formula keeps doing its MIRACLE!


This area’s opening status is a great gauge for the beginning of backpacking in the Uintas – the Highline Trail in the same area & the altitude about the same as the “Gateway to the Grandaddies” at Hades Pass.
SNOW DEPTH – Temp. at 5:00 pm – BALD MOUNTAIN PASS – 10,759 ft.

June 2 
June 1 – 58″ – closed – 41 degrees F.
May 31 – 59″ – closed – 54 degrees F.
May 30 – 61.6″ – closed – 53 degrees F.
May 29 – 64″ – closed – 47 degrees F.
May 28 – 65″ – closed – 48 degrees F. 
May 27 – 68″ – closed – 40 degrees F.
NOTE:  On Friday, May 26th I talked to Brenda at the Forest Service office in Kamas who reports that they are  “working on clearing drifts from 6′ to 12′ deep, but some key equipment broke down and work has been suspended.  It will be about 2 weeks before the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway is open.”   
I suspect that it will likely be sooner, depending on the thaw, and will update every day & keep working on getting in shape for the 1st backpack into the Grandaddies.
May 25 – 70″ – closed – 40 degrees F.
May 24 – 71″ – closed – 50 degrees F.
May 23 – 74″ – closed – 49 degrees F.
May 22 – 77″ – closed – 40 degrees F.
May 21 – 79″ – closed – 34 degrees F.
May 20 – 77″ – closed – 34 degrees F.
May 19 – 79″ – closed – 24 degrees F.
May 18 – 81″ – closed –  23 degrees F.
May 17 – 81″ –  closed – 20 degrees F.
May 16 – 75″ – closed
May 15 – 75″ – closed
May 14 – 78″ – closed
May 17
The previous post has  my enthusiastic plans for 2017– BUT HERE UPDATED  added on at the end of the UPDATED photo/essay on the HIGHLINE TRAIL, 

On Monday, March 13, 2017, Dr. C. William Bacon of the Sports Medicine &  Orthopedic Clinic in Orem, Utah extended the fusion of vertebrates 4 & 5, to include #6. 

In the left frontal view, you can also see my titanium hip

  Recovery today at 2 weeks is surprising the medical community, nonetheless, there will be no International Half Marathon in Guatemala until May 2018.   Today,  March 27th,  my walking routine has stretched to 3 miles, including an occasional careful jog crossing streets to avoid being run over–and joyfully no pain is experienced in the left leg, which previous pain started this new episode in my 81st year.  Distances will continue to increase. By May 13th, a light backpack will be included in the routine,  beginning with 20 lbs. and each day will be added to, May 24 the weight to 36 lbs, and will continue until backpacking begins.  Short jogs, without backpack, will also be done every other day, along with all kinds of exercises 

So for 2017, I’ll concentrate on the High Uintas Project, and of course, keep the Guatemalan Foundation going to the end of complete our GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY YEAR ...hoping some donors will give in 5 months what they normally do in 12!


Utah’s record snowfall will undoubtedly affect backpacking, as was the case in 2011 when backpacking in the High Uintas wasn’t possible until mid-July.  This likely will force modifications in my scheduled backpacks, at least one of them being added to doing the entire HIGHLINE TRAIL in August, beginning at the eastern end near Flaming Gorge and finishing at the Trailhead on the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway!
Other than this  back glitch, my Anti-Aging Challenge formula is 
working so well  the modified list of backpacks at the end of this post is the dream for 2017–at 81+ or in my 82nd year:
NOTE:  By the way, if you don’t know about the Dinovite potential and its amazing qualities for solving all our nutritional, longevity and mental problems, check them out at the end of my ANTI-AGING CHALLENGE article on my website.
Following is the slightly modified post on:
Many have seen the Trailhead sign along the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, under Hayden Peak, as the highway is about to descend towards Wyoming.  It is located at 10,378 ft. and from here heads east.

At the WESTERN HIGHLINE TRAILHEAD there is a nice area for horse packers with restrooms, and a parking lot for backpackers with Restrooms and water, where this nice sign and register are found.  

Down the trail, a bit, and here and there along the trail are found signs to guide hikers venturing into the Wilderness Area.

The HIGHLINE TRAIL is easily the most famous trail in the Uintas, most of it from its well-known Trailhead pictured here at Hayden Pass on the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway and from here it heads east following the spine of the High Uinta Mountains over 8 above timberline passes.   It is usually thought that it ends about 80 miles to the east on the slopes of Leidy Peak, where there is a trailhead above Hacking Lake. 

But, that’s not where it ends or starts.  It rather has its beginning around 26 miles more to the east along U.S. Highway 191 that starts at Vernal and heads north to Flaming Gorge Dam and continues north into Wyoming. Below I’ll insert a labeled Google Earth view of the High Uinta Mountain Range showing the Western & Eastern HIGHLINE TRAILHEADS, plus most of the rivers and creeks that flow from the Uintas where 90% of Utah’s water is produced.
click on image to enlarge
The light colored areas are the above timberline areas & peaks
As we are seeing, the Uintas begin at Kamas, Utah on the west, and end about 150 miles to the east at the Green River.  It is the only major mountain range in the lower 48 states to be oriented east to west.
will be the focus of this photo/essay, but first, let’s understand a little better the subject of “TRAILHEADS” & “SIGNS”  in the  Uinta Mountains.

These kinds of signs are common all around the Wilderness area, here on the Uinta River.

Even nicer ones are found in some areas like what many of us call
seeing here the entrance to the parking lot………
…….and nice signs giving adventurers all the information they need for a great outdoor experience.
Just past the register,  as the trail begins, we find appreciated information on how far we have to hike to get to whatever our destination might be in the Basin.
Even years ago up the trail from the Grandview Trailhead, at Hades Pass,  when it was just the 
 this great sign seen above told us about the wonders we were about to see (1954).
But, it disappeared many years ago and is sorely missed!
In 2003, when I began my HIGH UINTAS WILDERNESS PROJECT, this great sign was still in the Grandaddies, between Grandaddy & Betsy Lakes, but on the ground and I had to prop it up for this picture….but it is of course now gone.

From Vernal, Utah the highway climbs into the eastern end of the High Uinta Mountains, and at 28 miles from Vernal, one reaches the pass, seen below, approximately 2,300 feet lower than Bald Mountain Pass on the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, near the Western Highline Trailhead.

At this point, we have traveled 186 miles from American Fork, Utah and the Wasatch Front.  Most of the traffic zeros in on The Flaming Gorge Recreation Area, just a few miles further north.
But, what we are looking for is the Eastern end of  or the beginning of,
At a low point 3 miles down from the Pass, and just beyond the Interpretive  Display, we find a simple generic sign indicating that off to the west on a dirt road there is a trail, but, WHAT TRAIL?

Shortly we come to a small sign with little detail. We have found…..

No really pertinent information.  
No register.  No mileage signs.  No hint of where it goes.   Only a faded, worn out map!

It seems like a humiliating beginning for what is a GREAT TRAIL.

I hiked down the trail, well worn by the blessed ATV’s, to see if there was a sign, any kind of sign, but there were just the expected Forest Service markers you see here

And a very old blaze on a couple of trees, plus some newer ones.

 There were signs of road/trail work, and a bridge over what I believe is Carter Creek.

Along with efforts to keep the ATVs from ruining everything.

My topographical maps indicate that the trail heads up this draw, eventually going through the thick forest and over that low saddle to the west.

NOTE:  After first being advised that the eastern end of the trail was nearly impassable with deadfall, good news came from new High Uinta Friend, John Parker who emailed me, saying:
Cordell, I hope to see you on the Uinta Highline between Aug 15 and Sept 15. Those are the target for my hike of the Highline this year.

Good news for you! The trail between Hwy 191 and Leidy Peak was adopted a couple years back by the Uintah Basin Back Country Horsemen. They have cleared and maintained that first 20+ miles as a service project. My understanding is that it’s not impassable but now nicely maintained. Still, need good navigation skills but not a mess.

John Parker

Later I was contacted by Rhett Burkman, from the Forest Service Vernal office, and advised that the trail had been cleared by the Backcountry Horsementhat trail signs have a habit of disappearing on this section of trail” and he would make sure they check the trail as soon as they have access. 


Let’s insert again our Google Earth view to help visualize the wonderful Uinta Mountains we are talking about.
The light colored areas are the above timberline areas & peaks

click to enlarge image 
From the Eastern Trailhead, seen above on the right, the trail gradually–over 26 miles, climbs from 8,000 ft. to  Leidy Peak where it is above the 11,000 ft. timberline. From there it follows the spine of the Uinta Range for 80 miles traversing rugged alpine terrain as seen below, climbing 8 passes all over 11,00o ft., 3 of which are over 12,000.   12,600 ft. Anderson Pass being the highest near Kings Peak, Utah’s highest at 13,528 ft. 

…more than half of the 8 passes are higher than the summit of Mt. Timpanogos that is dwarfed by the High Uinta peaks!
 The elevation profile high points are said passes, the profile showing the ups and downs of the 106-mile distance between trailheads, the western one near Mirror Lake at 10,378 ft.  

The trail only dips a few times below timberline.

In 2016 as I was on my way to finally get to Little Andy Lake, Utah’s highest at 12,302 ft.,  I met  John Sowell, from Colorado,  and had a great conversation as he was doing the entire HIGHLINE TRAIL coming from the east.

I told him about my plan years ago to do it too, even having printed a series of 14 topographical maps for the adventure, but then a glitch ambushed me and it looked like I would have to get used to being a cripple.   Then I told him of the miracle that had me without pain for the first time in 30 years, with at that moment being on the verge of what I was thinking would be my last adventure–getting to my lake.

But since meeting him, and being so pumped up for having finally got to Little Andy Lake, I’m now training for the best summer of backpacking of my life–in my 82nd year, the crowning trip being in August  backpacking the entire
Thanks, John, for inspiring me!

Scheduled backpacks for Summer 2017
Note:  Depending on the thaw
1.  GRANDADDIES:  down past Lost & Powell Lakes, to pick up two missed, RANGE & JEFF  LAKES & if all goes well,  swing up to Pine Island Lake, and back past Fish Hatchery, Betsy & Grandaddy Lakes:   30+ miles, 4 days. NOTE: Date depending on conditions  in June, in other words, the thaw.
2.  MIDDLE FORK BEAVER CREEK:  Will explore Beaver, Coffin & other lakes, & will climb Thompson Pass, leaving 2 passes to go to achieve all 22 in the Wilderness.  30 miles 5 days.
3.  From E. Fk Blacks Fk Trailhead:  To Little East Fork of Blacks Fork and   UPPER ALPINE/ABOVE TIMBERLINE LAKES.  20 miles, 4 days.
4.  TWOROOSE PASS (with which only North Pole Pass remains) from the Lake Fork Trailhead up to the  Brown Duck Basin, Pass, & lakes.  35 miles, 6 days.
Keep an eye on this website as summer approaches for more details, and get my link to the SPOT Personal Satellite Tracker , which I go nowhere without, and follow my progress, & make sure and listen every Saturday morning to hear my satellite phone reports on  Tim Hughes’ KSL OUTDOORS RADIO, program. 
Satellite phone acquired from Russ Smith & SKYCALL SATELLITEwhere you can get yours for your outdoor adventures.

THEN…….Originally Scheduled for Summer 2018 in my 83rd year–now changed to August 2017



On this approximately 14 day backpack, I will take some detours to explore other areas critical to my project, such as:

   Another visit to Little Andy Lake–taking the time to get better pictures,  and continuing the detour to Trail Rider Pass, Beard Lake, & George Beard Basin,
Next, the unexplored lakes in the Upper Garfield Basin, others in the Oweep Drainage, plus very importantly, Crater Lake you see below and others.

I will attempt one more time to realize a goal of getting the perfect photograph of this incredibly beautiful scene–CRATER LAKE, the deepest in the Uintas at 147 ft. The plan is to get up on the saddle to the north so I can look down on the lake and with a fish-eye lens photograph it with Explorer Peak in the background.


Approximately 136 miles.