50 miles of High Uinta Majesty! - A dream come true.

Blake Merrell

Life Elevated - Rising Higher
Joined
Feb 25, 2013
Messages
593


Preparing for 50 miles of Adventure
It was a dream come true for me. I have wanted to go on a week long backpacking trip for a LONG time. Yeah, yeah. I know. I have been on a few week long camps before, some even required backpacking about 20 miles or so; but none have ever required me to pack my own stuff for 5 nights. (the 10 day Kayak trip to Canada doesn't count either ;) haha)

Anyway, after months and months of planning, our 50 mile high Uinta trek has now come and gone. Last year, myself and the Varsity Team Coach began plans for doing a 50 mile trek. It was so exciting and I delighted in planning this kind of adventure. I began searching the internet for good ideas and routes. I found internet forums where avid backpackers swarmed; that is when they were not out backpacking themselves. Backcountrypost.com and Bogley were particularly good in helping me develop our plans.

I wrote a few posts on the various forums and received some great feedback. A fellow scout leader, Jon, sent me a personal message telling me about a 50 mile trip in the Unitas they did a few years ago. He was so helpful and was willing to provide me with all the GPS tracks and everything! After I looked over his trip report, and did some other research, it was clear that the route Jon suggested covered some of the best scenery in all of the Utah mountain ranges, if not some of the best in the US!

I was SO EXCITED for this trip! For months I researched, planned, and prepared. At the end of 2013 I weighed 215 lbs. In preparation for the upcoming trek I even began counting calories and eating well so I could shed some pounds. The day I left for the trek I weighed 191 lbs! Needless to say, preparing for this trip has changed my life in multiple ways! I also took the opportunity to purchase some new, high quality gear! It was so fun for me to research, find, and buy lightweight gear for the trip. Indeed, preparing for the trip was almost as much fun as going one it.

The Varsity Scouts had also been preparing for the trip. Brother Wilkins, the Varsity Coach, did well at planning hikes and campouts to help get the boys use to hiking long distances. All in all, preparation for something like this is key to success. It also proved to be a lot of fun for all who participated.

Executing the Plan
July 14 came a lot quicker than I ever imagined. We had 3 adult leaders, and 4 Varsity Scouts on this trip. Little did we know how amazing this trip would be for us; how it would change us for the better!

Lets talk logistics. I figured this trip would best be done as a through trip (instead of a round trip). By leaving cars at the end of the trail, and then getting dropped off at the Trailhead, it would be easier to convince the boys (when the going got really hard) that we HAD to finish the hike; that there was no other option since the cars we needed to take us home were 50 miles away and the car that dropped us off was long gone. (This logic proved to be very effective on Day 1 after the 12 mile hike!) Huge THANK YOU and shout out to Brother Bailey. He is our Scout Committee Chairman and was so willing to help drive us and drop us off.

Getting dropped off was perfect. for the rest of the time, we used my trusty GPS and pre programed tracks. Made the navigation really easy, which was very welcome for a BSA Scout trip.

Living the Dream
I love good mountain scenery. Not much gets me more excited than peering into lake near glacier carved cirque at the bottom of a large triangle shaped mountain and skree field, located miles and miles away from other people! (Adding some waterfalls and meandering stream make it even better) This trip was filled with so many of these kind of places and I almost killed over with delight! My feelgoods were on fire for the whole trip! After 6 days of this, I only craved more. Already, I am planning another weeklong trek for next year!

Here is our itinerary for the week. It was an amazing way to see the High Uintas!

Day 1 - West Fork Black's Fork to Dead Horse Lake

Day 2 - Upper Rock Creek Trail to Lightning Lake

Day 3 - Rocky Sea Pass to Four Lakes Basin

Day 4 - Grandaddy Basin, Pine Island, and Pinto Lake

Day 5 - Naturalist Basin and Jordan Lake

Day 6 - Trek Home and Cheeseburgers


































 
Last edited:

Mike K

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2012
Messages
823
Awesome. I'm sure the boys had a blast. Way to drop some lbs! This was my favorite part of your write up (pics are awesome, too):

At the end of 2013 I weighed 215 lbs. In preparation for the upcoming trek I even began counting calories and eating well so I could shed some pounds. The day I left for the trek I weighed 191 lbs! Needless to say, preparing for this trip has changed my life in multiple ways! I also took the opportunity to purchase some new, high quality gear! It was so fun for me to research, find, and buy lightweight gear for the trip. Indeed, preparing for the trip was almost as much fun as going one it.
 

TannerT

Hike Hard, Tread Lightly
Joined
May 15, 2013
Messages
589
Congrats on the whole burrito. Especially to heart health. Losing weight isn't always easy or pleasant, but way to go.
I agree I enjoy the planning almost as much as I enjoy the adventure.

salud!
 

Blake Merrell

Life Elevated - Rising Higher
Joined
Feb 25, 2013
Messages
593
Thanks guys! It sure did feel good to get in shape. Indeed, preparing for these trips sometimes really is just as much fun as going on them.
 

andyjaggy

Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2013
Messages
925
Awesome, and kudos to being a good leader who takes these boys on trips they will remember for a long long time. I ran into some scouts hiking 50 miles along a boring dry dirt road, the leaders were taking them along it simply so they could get their 50 miler in. I think they missed the point.
 

Blake Merrell

Life Elevated - Rising Higher
Joined
Feb 25, 2013
Messages
593
Awesome, and kudos to being a good leader who takes these boys on trips they will remember for a long long time. I ran into some scouts hiking 50 miles along a boring dry dirt road, the leaders were taking them along it simply so they could get their 50 miler in. I think they missed the point.

Thanks! Not sure if it is me being a "good" leader, or a selfish one. haha! I take em on trips like this because It give me an easy excuse to get out for a week. And since I love to be out and about anyway taking the scouts is less of a burden and more of a blessing.

In the last two years I have completed 2 major trips (in the name of BSA Scout trips) that I had been dreaming of for years. One being this 50 mile trip in the High Uintas, and the other a multi day Sea Kayaking Trip in Lake powell. Both AMAZING trips
 

Dwm

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2014
Messages
30
Way to go! Trips like this will be remembered by the boys for years to come. The photos are great, looking forward to the rest of them.
 

Parma

@parma26
.
Joined
Feb 12, 2014
Messages
715
When we took our scouts, one of the selling points for some of the boys (and a couple leaders) was that they could stay at the base camp and not summit Kings Peak. Some of the older boys told some stories of how tough it was and scared off a bunch.
And we didn't want to take some scouts to the summit, so it turned out pretty good for everyone.
 
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