On this trip I began learning about an entire tough culture that existed on the North Slope of the High Uintas, but also learned, the hard way, that one might be in for a very tough experience if you ignore the weather report. Once again this backpack was to a little visited area that will give you a real “wilderness experience,” in just 3 days.
The distance from Kamas to the West Fork of Smith’s Fork Trailhead is 78 miles–from Springville it is 122 miles.
NEW NOTE: In this show I mention learning about the “tiehacker culture” on the North Slope and since have learned many more details. It was the Union Pacific Railroad with its Commissaries and tiehacker camps and communities beginning in about 1867 and continuing until approximately 1930, the Uintas contributing millions of railroad ties to the opening and development of the West.
This slide show will be Part I. I will not do as outlined at the end of this show, rather Part II will be an actual visit to Bald Lake, camping in the area, and testing the fishing. Reportedly the little visited lake has Eastern Brook Trout that are maintained by natural reproduction. I look forward to reporting what I find.
NEW NOTE: At the end of this show I take you to the log ruins of the Old Black’s Fork Commissary. I mistakenly said that it was “Army.” As mentioned in the NEW NOTE of Show #3, I had learned in my Trip #5 that the log ruins all over the North Slope all had to do with the Union Pacific Railroad and their tiehackers that worked in the area from around 1867 until 1930. The Commissary was a quite complete community with a General Store, Livery Stable and sale of horses, a School, a Church, and even a Brothel. All of this “tiehacker culture” initially contributed to the creation of the Transcontinental Railway, and then its maintenance over many years with many millions of railroad ties.
A TRUE WILDERNESS EXPERIENCE!Incredibly this trip shows that in just 3 days you can have a real “Wilderness Experience!” There were only signs of one person having been in the area this season. Eventually the trail disappears and you’re on your own, so have a good map & compass, and enjoy! If you are a fisherman, you will catch tough, hard fighting Tiger Trout in Bob’s Lake.
NEW NOTE: In this show I mention and have photographs of many ruins of log cabins on the Middle Fork, but wasn’t able to explain what had gone on in the area. In my Slide Show #5 I mention briefly learning about the history. From around 1867 until aproximately 1930 the Union Pacific Railroad maintained camps of tiehackers on the Uinta’s North Slope. Millions of railroad ties were hewn with broad axes on the North Slope, and the Middle Fork of Black’s Fork was one of the more active areas, the tiehackers and their families forming a scattered community that even had a school.
This backpack was to the Grandaddy Basin, but to off-trail remote lakes infrequently visited.
This backpack trip was from July 3-6, 2008, first to test my new titanium knee, mentioned in the Challenge–2007 Slide Show, but also to acquire photos of Packard Lake for my good friends, the Ted Packard Family, then to visit the Naturalist Basin (all new areas for me and important in my quest of exploring all the High Uintas). I will try and produce a short slide show for each trip taken during the summer so that there will be some immediate benefit for all interested in our wonderful Uintas.
This slide show is a special version of my “….BACKPACKING 2007” program, but with more emphasis on overcoming obstacles as inspired by two famous historical giants.
The spontaneous narration of course has a blooper or two, but the significant ones have been corrected. I hope you enjoy the program and feel inspired to overcome any obstacles and get out on the trail where I hope we will meet soon.
Remember, for better quality viewing, contact me for a DVD, and for prints of any photographs in the shows.
This show represents a bit over 1,000 miles of backpacking in 4 summers–from 2003 to 2006. Some of those miles entail trips to certain areas several times in the constant quest of that “perfect photograph,” or catching the “record breaking fish.” The Highline Trail was actually hiked twice in the 1,000 miles, the second time to have the experience of doing it with pack goates on invitation from Clay Zimmerman (http://www.highuintapackgoats.com/). On that trip, my adopted daughter from Guatemala, Mahana, became the first Guatemalan we know of to traverse the Wilderness.
In the spontaneous narration there are a couple of mistakes, like once saying “crossroad,” rather than “crosstrail;” saying “Amethyst Creek,” rather than “Ostler Creek,” “Lost Lake,” rather than “Shadow Lake,” and the big one, stating King’s Peak in one place as being 15,528 ft. high rather than 13,528 ft. There might be a few more, but also the coordination between narration, and photographs is sometimes off a second or two. Soon I will redoe the program and hope for better luck. In the meantime, enjoy the beautiful High Uintas Wilderness like maybe you’ve never seen before.
NOTE: I could provide you with a print of any photograph in the show. Just give me a call and we’ll work something out.
My effort to explore, photograph and share the wonderful High Uintas
Wilderness received a bit of publicity in the January 2010 issue of BACKPACKER MAGAZINE.
Click on the photo to view a large image, and read the comments one photo at a time.
For a complete rundown on GEAR and SUPPLEMENTS, click on: GET THE BEST GEAR & SUPPLEMENTS . There you will get links to my recommendations of the best books, equipment and supplements available. In this photo essay, each image has accompanying text in the caption and comments. You will miss much of the text if you view it as a slide show. So click on the first image and then view one at a time reading caption, and then comments. You will see here a 58 year evolution of technique and equipment–from Army surplus gear that saw action against the Japanese in World War II, down to some of the best now available. Links to the options I present so you can get more information to make practical decisions for your needs and interests are only supplied in the GEAR….section and in the article mentioned below.
As the summer backpack season is approaching I have created an article entitled HOW I DO A 3 DAY BACKPACK with up-to-date information and links to all the best equipment available. I will always try and keep it simple and practical. If backpacking requires studying a thick book, something is wrong in my opinion.