5 nights, 50 miles in the Uintas

DAA

Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2012
Messages
715
Earlier this year my Son and I were invited to join the Scout troop on their semi-annual “50 miler” backpacking trip in the Uintas. I have been wanting to do something like this for years and it sounded like fun to my son Logan, so we accepted the invite and started preparing.

As things worked out, we didn’t actually hike with the Scouts, but rather with a separate “neighborhood” group. We intentionally stayed as separate as possible from the Scouts for the entire trip. We avoided hiking together and camped at different lakes. So, even though this all started as an invite from the Scouts, we actually ended up barely even seeing the Scouts during the trip. There were 12 of us total in our group. I was kind of worried how this was going to go over, doing a trip like this with a large group of essentially strangers. But, it all worked out fantastic. Logan and I operated as if it were just the two of us for the most part, and nobody took offense. Everyone was great, I made new friends and enjoyed everyone’s company. I would gladly do this trip again with the same group.

We got started on the morning of Monday, July 30th, by being dropped off at the Highline trail head near Mirror Lake. Getting everyone lined out, packs on, the two groups sufficiently separated etc. all took quite awhile and we were pretty late actually hitting the trail. Which was hard on me. I’d been stoked to get this show on the road for weeks! Standing around the trail head waiting for everyone to get their crap in the right pile was probably the hardest part of the whole trip for me. I wanted to go! Finally, we did get moving. Here is our group after getting started on the trail that first morning.




And Logan at our lunch stop, woofing down some of the salami and cheese I’d picked up at the last minute the night before after getting a BP’ing food thread going here on BCP.




We stopped for camp that afternoon just west of Rocky Sea Pass near Pigeon Milk spring. The water from Pigeon Milk was cloudy, hence the name I’m guessing (and due to glacial powder I’m further guessing), but super cold and good tasting. After getting our tent setup, we decided to walk over into Four Lakes Basin and fish for the evening.
We fished Jean lake, where the fishing was pretty slow, but we did catch a couple small brookies before hiking back to camp and eating dinner.



More...
 

DAA

Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2012
Messages
715
After a full day, we hit the rack early and I slept like a stone the whole night through – as I would all five nights on the trip. It took awhile to get everyone moving the next morning, but eventually we all lined out on the trail and started up Rocky Sea Pass.







Logan with the east side below Rocky Sea in the background




After descending the pass, we turned north up the west side of the Rock Creek drainage. The trail was pretty gentle and very beautiful – I was loving every second of this!







We stopped for lunch and some fishing at Brinkley lake. The fishing for tiny brookies at Brinkley was just “okay”, but some of our group did much better at the small ponds nearby, with one guy catching a very respectable 15” brookie out of the smallest pond.

After lunch at Brinkley we continued up and around the upper Rock Creek drainage, climbing up to Rosalie lake. From Rosalie, we worked our way past Gladys lake and eventually to our camp destination for the night at Helen lake. The scenery along this stretch from Rosalie to Helen was just jaw dropping gorgeous!

Logan at the outlet from Rosalie




Rosalie and outlet




View of Gladys lake




We setup camp on the east side of Helen lake and broke out our fishing poles.




Logan heading down the Helen to do some fishing




Fishing was pretty fast for the small brookies. We were catching these on about every third cast or so.




After we had been fishing maybe 90 minutes or so, a couple of fat rain drops started to fall. We had left our rain gear back at the tent, and left our packs out in the open etc. So, as soon as those first big fat drops hit me on the top of my head, I told Logan we better haul ass for the tent – so we did! We got wet, but managed to make it back before we got too soaked. It was starting to come down really hard just as we hit the tent though, so we just dove in and took shelter. Then waited for a let up to go out and bring our packs in under the vestibule etc. Well, we waited, and waited, but the rain wasn’t letting up at all. Finally, I went out in it, got our packs under the vestibules, grabbed the stove and some water etc.

We ended up not coming out of the tent again that night. We cooked dinner in the vestibule, stayed up listening to our iPods for awhile, then sacked out to the sound or rain hammering the fly on our Copper Spur UL2. I LOVE going to sleep listening to rain on a tent. Nothing else relaxes me and puts me into a good sleep like that sound.

More...
 

DAA

Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2012
Messages
715
We came out of the storm in fine shape. The inside of the rain fly had plenty of condensation on it, but nothing had leaked onto our sleeping bags from either above or below. I pulled the fly off as soon as we had our bags out of the way to let things dry out.




This turned out to be the only hard soaking rain of the whole trip. We got a few small sprinkles every day and a few harder sprinkles one night, but, this was the only “real” rain we had to deal with.

While our gear dried out we did some more fishing.




Fishing was slow compared to the day before though, so we didn’t stay at it very long. Went back, had breakfast, packed up and waited for everyone else to get ready. Then it was back on the trail!




Today we would travel east across the head of the drainage, ending up under the west flank of Explorer Peak at Phinney lake. Some pics from along the trail.







We made our lunch stop at Shower springs – a spot where spring water flows from the rock in and falls in small showers.




The water here was so cold and so delicious! Even though I would have to carry it all quite a ways, I filled up all our containers just to have this awesome drinking water in camp that night.

We setup our tent on the northeast side of Phinney, then got out the poles and tried the fishing. The fishing at Phinney was red hot!

For both cutthroat:




And brookies:




The fishing was awesome! We were catching fish like that one after another. At one point, between the two of us, we caught 14 fish in 16 casts – we were doubled up most of the time!















More...
 

DAA

Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2012
Messages
715
The fish kept biting and we kept catching (and releasing) them right up until dark. Then it was dinner time, and then bed. The fish were still biting in the morning, but we didn’t have much time to play with them before loading up and hitting the trail again.




On this, the fourth day of our trip, we would be staying tight against the ramparts of Explorer and Squaw peaks on the east side of the upper Rock Creek drainage, working our way south towards Mule pass, which we would cross into Squaw Basin. As with every other day, the scenery along the trail was fantastic!







When we got to Squaw lake, we found the nicest camping of the trip so far. Lots of level, park like grassy openings among the trees provided easy privacy from others in the group, plenty of deer feeding in the meadows visible from camp, pleasant temperatures, no bugs, you just couldn’t ask for any better!




But, it DID get better…

… Because, the fishing that afternoon was incredible! The best fishing of the trip so far. I’m not really sure what everyone else was doing, as Logan and I hit the lake with our fishing poles nobody else joined us while we absolutely tore the snot out of big fat brookies for the next two hours. We weren’t catching as many as the day before at Phinney, but we were catching a lot and they were by far the biggest fish of the trip. Here are a few pics taken in about a two hour period that afternoon at Squaw lake.
















We caught about 15 like that between us, in two hours. On our light spinning rods and 4lb test they were some get down fighting buggers. It was waaaaay much fun! The fishing did start to slow down though, as we started catching fewer and smaller. At that point, we decided to keep a couple of the nicer ones and go eat them <grin>. I borrowed a frying pan from one of the others in our group and they were delicious!



More...
 

DAA

Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2012
Messages
715
The next morning we found the fish not biting nearly so well, but still managed to catch a couple more nice ones and used the small titanium grills we had packed to cook them for breakfast. They were also delicious!






It appears Logan and I really hit the fish just right the afternoon before, as the rest of our stay at Squaw lake, nobody had luck anything like we had enjoyed. I think we were lucky to be the first to put a lure in front of their face and educated all the easy ones before anyone else had a chance at them. Everyone managed to catch one or two of those nice ones, but nobody got to just pig out on them like we had.
This was the fifth day of the trip and the plan was to stay camped at Squaw lake again for that night. So we were free to do whatever we wanted for the day. We elected to visit some other nearby lakes and sample the fishing. It was a good chance to force Logan to brush up on his map and compass cross country navigation.




The first lakes we visited were lower and upper Rock lakes. We fished the stream in the meadows below the lakes first – the brookies were tiny but you literally couldn’t keep them off. All you had to do was drop a lure in the water and weave your pole in a figure eight and a swarm of the little buggers would be fighting each other to wrap their lips around your hook. After having fun with them for awhile we continued up to lower Rock lake.







The fishing here was excellent. Where Logan and me were, on the northwest side, the fishing was very good for small to medium sized brookies. The rest of our group was fishing the east side and were doing even better on the brookies and also catching a few grayling, some of them the largest I have ever personally seen. I’m not sure what the state record is, but I was only half joking when I told one of our group that he had just released the state record grayling. It had to be 15” long, at least. I didn’t get any pictures of any of the fish at lower Rock lake, but I wish I’d have at least taken one of that biggest grayling. Oh well…

In a classic case of leaving behind hundreds to get to dozens, Logan and I left the rest of the group busy pulling in fish and made the ugly boulder hop to upper Rock lake. Where we found slow fishing for dinky brook trout. I’d highly recommend NOT leaving lower Rock lake for upper!

By the time we made it back to lower Rock lake, everyone else was heading back to camp. Me, Logan and another father and son we had just met on this trip decided to hike down to Shamrock lake and check it out. Turned out to be a good decision!

Shamrock lake




The fishing here turned out to be perhaps the best of the whole trip. Numbers almost as good as we had experienced at Phinney, fish not as big as Squaw but bigger on average than any other lakes than Squaw we fished on this trip. Between the four of us, we released more than 50 brook trout like these in about an hour and a half.







Logan caught one brookie here at Shamrock though that looked like it has whirling disease.



More...
 

DAA

Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2012
Messages
715
It was a short but steep boulder hop from Shamrock back to camp at Squaw. Once back, we just chilled for the rest of the evening. Cooked some fish and after slobbering it down I retreated to a meadow with a pond behind camp to sip some Irish and smoke a Fuente.
















All good things must come to an end, and so it was that next day, Saturday, was the sixth and final day of the trip. After breakfast, we packed up and headed out. Following the east fork down to the main Rock Creek and then following it to our pickup point at Upper Stillwater campground. Some pics of the final day on the trail…














BTW… That trash bag Logan is carrying is just the non-burnable trash we picked up along the trail (we burned everything we picked up that would burn). Slobs suck…

The End.

- DAA
 

JD

I Love Coffee
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Messages
84
That looks awesome good to get out with your son. I did a ton like this when I was younger with my dad we had good times.
 

Nick

Spiral out.
.
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,887
Man, what a freaking awesome trip! You just got me so stoked to get back into the Uintas again this year. It's been a long time since I've been in the Rock Creek drainage and I so want to get back. Those fish are hogs!!
 

RalphK

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2012
Messages
6
Sweet trip! Love all the photos. I think you just inspred me to do a similar route next summer - can't wait!
 
Joined
Jan 23, 2012
Messages
601
I don't know how I missed this trip report, but excellent report.
 

DAA

Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2012
Messages
715
Thanks :). Wish it was time to go again right now!

- DAA
 

Nick

Spiral out.
.
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,887
I love it when people bump older trip reports like this. Can't wait for spring... or at least to be able to walk without crutches! :)
 

NAYR

Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2013
Messages
38
Wow! I'm amazed at those Brookies! (And quite jealous). Great TR my sir! I'm glad and feel blessed to know that the scouting program isn't all as bad as it has been lately! I also am happy to see a father passing on a "way of life" to his son! Were it not for these influences in my life as a boy, I'd be a lot more boring! Great trip guys! Some of those Brookies looked native.. I'm not a brook expert but I've never seen some with some of those colors... Good times gentlemen!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dan

bscuderi

Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2012
Messages
36
Awesome post! We could get along i live to fish and i also enjoy a good irish whiskey and cigar! Though my favorite is alec bradley cigars! Fuente is good too. Thanks for posting your trip

Sent from my ASUS Transformer Pad TF300T using Tapatalk 2
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
Rockskipper Solar flare = aurora in many places next couple of nights General Discussion 5
wsp_scott 5 nights in the Smokies Backpacking 7
U Just picked up a permit for Shelf Lake 2 nights in Mid/Late July. Any ideas for a day hike/summit from there? Trip Planning 0
Nick Who wants to have 2 nights at White Crack in March? General Discussion 0
M Ideas for 4 nights in Escalante Trip Planning 30
wabenho 2 Nights in the Sawtooths Backpacking 23
C 3 Nights at Havasu Falls: Part 3 Backpacking 1
C 3 Nights at Havasu Falls Part 2 Backpacking 3
C 3 Nights at Havasu Falls Backpacking 2
Mikjik86 Backpacking Coyote Gulch, 3 Days, 2 Nights- October 2018 Backpacking 2
Ugly Two Kids and Two Nights at Silver Lake Backpacking 3
George_Washington_Hayduke 2 nights on the Green River Daily @13000cfs On The Water 1
kimbur96 2 nights in Little Brooklyn Hut, Snowy Mountain Range, Wyoming Winter Sports 4
muir_mountain Death Hollow (2 nights), Escalante National Monument, UT Backpacking 5
Mike Jones Yosemite snow shoeing 1-2 nights Trip Planning 6
S Backpacking and Camping- 3 nights in the Unitas Trip Planning 3
Nanda Invite Amethyst basin(or similar areas) couple nights in uintas Meet Up (Members Only) 3
Born to Hike 85 miles on the Uinta Highline Trail including Crater Lake and a Dinosaur: July 26 - Aug 1, 2020 Backpacking 33
Yvonne Hiking Yellowstone - 100 miles the Second Trip Planning 21
RyanP 3-day trip ideas (15-20 miles or so) for late May/early June with good water Trip Planning 9
Born to Hike Backpacking Northern Windriver Range, solo 60+ miles, 5 days, mid September 2018 Backpacking 17
tomcat32 Weminuche Wandering- 95 miles Backpacking the Weminuche Wilderness Backpacking 7
Jackson Backcountry Vehicle Miles Per Year General Discussion 8
isleroyaleguy 170 Miles in the Sierra Nevada Backpacking 22
balzaccom Cycling miles....5,000 for the year Everything Else 9
steve Wind Rivers Traverse - Backpacking 90 miles in the Wind Rivers Backpacking 102
Parma Most Miles Hiked in a Day General Discussion 31
hikerboy maine-100 miles wilderness- a week in the woods Backpacking 6
WasatchWill 100 Miles From Nowhere General Discussion 5
Parma Think I can get 50 miles out of West, Middle, and Amethyst? General Discussion 5
steve Urban Paddling: 3 miles on the Jordan River in Taylorsville, UT On The Water 3
natylka 100 miles of Highline trail in Uintas Trip Planning 39
natylka 23 miles of GrandDaddy Basin and Four Lakes Backpacking in July Backpacking 2
natylka Backpacking: Hurricane Wash into Coyote Gulch of 26 miles back in May Backpacking 3
natylka 24 Miles Weekend Backpacking at Red Castle in August Backpacking 9
natylka Hiking 25 miles at Capitol reef for the weekend. Hiking & Camping 19
Blake Merrell 50 miles of High Uinta Majesty! - A dream come true. Backpacking 24
WasatchWill Park City to Provo - 65 miles in 4 days Backpacking 22
Christian 1,764 Miles Across Utah and Arizona Hiking & Camping 6
Go-deep North Ogden divide over Mount Ogden to 29th T/H 26 miles Backpacking 3
abstractreality Exercise and preparing for mountain miles? General Discussion 6
C High Uintas Wilderness - Last minute plans Trip Planning 4
Mountain Wanderer High Uintas Wilderness - Granddaddy Basin Backpacking 4
scatman Bourbon Lake, Uintas - July 11, 2020 Hiking & Camping 4
ridings82 Uintas Backpacking Loop Trip Reports 4
Eric O Uintas Conditions 2020 Trip Planning 69
B Uintas question Hiking & Camping 3
Tarp Boy Uintas in late June? Trip Planning 10
Born to Hike Mountain Solitude: Reconnaissance Lake, High Uintas, early Sept 2019 Backpacking 9
Ehouston24 Uintas Loop (Red Castle/Kings Peak) Trip Planning 14

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top