Friday Night at Norway Flats

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Ugly

Life really is better Here
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Thread starter #1
"Few things make one reconsider their life's choices than a long, frosty, winter's night in the wilderness."
Pretty sure that quote is from Frost or Whitman, or someone...

With so few nights available in a schedule filling up with spring soccer, we were shut down. Raining hard in the SLC valley, snowing hard in Utah valley, avalanche danger growing instead of decreasing, and Little Cottonwood canyon closed anyway. Plans for Maybird were blocked by mother nature once again.
The forecast was slightly better for the Uintas. Low avalanche danger, the roads were just wet, and the snow was not going to hit until late afternoon and evening. We spent a few minutes at work, found a couple potential paths, downloaded some maps, and slipped out early.

Norway Flats became the destination. As we pulled over there was a truck with a group just opening their doors. They were bound for the TUNA Yurt. We were bound for wherever we ended up.

Slow, wet snow became heavier and fell faster as we hit the trail, joking that we would break the virgin snow for the family following the same path to the yurt.

15-18" of fresh snow over the past couple of days is what the forecast said, and it was not far off. No one had been on the trail since the fresh snow had piled up. Even with shoes on, we did not so much float on top, but we were not quite postholing.
Because of that, the feet and yards did not so much fly by, as much as plodded away.

Norway Flats 3-20190003-bw.jpg


We passed ponderosas, aspen, pines in an area of the Uintas that honestly I only glance at when the aspen are golden, but even then it is always flying by the window en route to the higher ground that is beyond the end of the winter cleared road. In snow this place was beautiful. I will have to drive up this road this summer.
Funny enough, just a half dozen miles ahead and on the Flats by Eriksen lake had been my second backpack as a twelve year old. I had not loved it and almost sat on a rattlesnake. Glad that attitude changed.

Another shot, showing me breaking trail, just to prove I spent my time in front as we took shifts. Snow both coated us and soaked us. I had planned on being wet, and kept a full bugout change of clothes, and this also proved I do need a new rain jacket.
IMG_6302.JPG


We were not speedy. Essentially making a mile an hour. We enjoyed the views. Not necessarily the breaking trail.
Norway Flats 3-20190023-sm.jpg


At 2 miles we took a longer break, drinking some cider, and dropping our packs. It was here that the family caught up to us, thanked us for breaking the trail, the boys called us crazy for sleeping out in a tent in this weather, and then they broke trail for us.
The longer break, the work day, the drive, the snow, they were all working against my desire to go too much farther.
A third of a mile or so later and we caught up to the family as they took their turn off the road to go to the yurt.

Back to breaking trail and darkness descending.

We went another half mile or so, and the right kind of winter camping spot came into view around a small rise and a corner. "This is it. I am done."

We dropped down, packed down, dug out a bit, and set up camp in the steady snow.

Here is where I say down booties for this kind of thing are bliss. As is my ghost whisperer jacket.
As is normal, it took a little while to relax, body warm up, etc... but quickly layers were shed and I was back to my wool baselayer and lounging relatively comfortably. We sipped cider, ate reese's peanut butter eggs, and some roast beef.

On one night stands I sleep a little less than normal, which means since we fell asleep near 10pm, I was done with my first spurt at about midnight, then again at 2, then 4, then by 5 I am about cabin crazy. When I woke at 12 it was a bit windy. At 2, the stars were out in a partially clear sky and the snow had stopped. All of the other times there was just the gentle patter of snow on the tent and the regular neurotic, lucid dreams of an exhausted body and mind.

Just after 6, I left the tent. Took care of business, and hoped for some parting clouds.
Waited...
Norway Flats 3-20190077-sm.jpg


No sunrise No real sun. No color. Just gradual lightening.
Cheapo thermometer reads 4 or 5d F.

Back to the tent for a few bites to eat, including maple syrup Peeps.
Gross? Maybe just Backcountry good?

Clouds build again.

These snowshoes are holding up great. I probably have more mileage on them then most people ever put on a pair of shoes. Still eventually I will be able to afford one of the Mercedes of shoes, or maybe instead I will get some touring skis at that point. These winter camps are growing on me.
Norway Flats 3-20190072-sm.jpg


I fall asleep again. Pleasantly dreaming.

Waking up to a little bit of sun.
Norway Flats 3-20190104-sm.jpg


Camp was here under the Limber pine.
Norway Flats 3-20190146-proc.jpg


Norway Flats 3-20190129-bw.jpg


Smiling at the shiny snow.
Norway Flats 3-20190133-proc.jpg


Norway Flats 3-20190142-bw.jpg


A little wandering, and then we decide it is time to head back. We had spoken of Pho, which kinda ended the smooth, silky, snowy bliss we were patiently freezing in. As well as any halfhearted unappealing plans to break some more trail.
This trail is ours only. Wandered over once more in the morning.
Norway Flats 3-20190151-bw.jpg


Norway Flats 3-20190154-bw.jpg


The larger peaks remained all obscured by clouds. Still, these are the classic Uintas at their powdery best.
Mini little christmas trees amongst some giants not yet all taken by the beetle blight.
Norway Flats 3-20190169-recipe.jpg


Norway Flats 3-20190171-bw.jpg


The way out was only sunny for a half hour or less, before the sun was overtaken by the clouds.
Norway Flats 3-20190193-bw.jpg


Norway Flats 3-20190196-sm.jpg


For your viewing pleasure you can watch my friend get farther and farther from me.
Norway Flats 3-20190219-bw.jpg


Norway Flats 3-20190228-bw.jpg


There's this U2 song... shadows and tall trees....
Norway Flats 3-20190232-bw.jpg


Look at the size of that ponderosa.
Norway Flats 3-20190235-proc.jpg


A relatively short and inconsequential drive later and we were sitting in front of wonderful victory Pho.
IMG_6296.jpg


As for that beginning quote. Really the only thing I question is when I will finally get to more than 20 or 25 nights a year... Once I can get past that, then I can actually start to question my life choices. :tongue:
Oh.... and Maybird be warned. Not only will the after work snowshoeing crew be heading your way soon, but if I can find a free night, then I will see you in white. Even if I have to call in Mountain Sick, cough cough, midweek.
 

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Stephanie B

Steph and Blake
.
Joined
Dec 7, 2017
Messages
124
Trip Reports
16
Likes
233
#2
"Few things make one reconsider their life's choices than a long, frosty, winter's night in the wilderness."
Pretty sure that quote is from Frost or Whitman, or someone...

With so few nights available in a schedule filling up with spring soccer, we were shut down. Raining hard in the SLC valley, snowing hard in Utah valley, avalanche danger growing instead of decreasing, and Little Cottonwood canyon closed anyway. Plans for Maybird were blocked by mother nature once again.
The forecast was slightly better for the Uintas. Low avalanche danger, the roads were just wet, and the snow was not going to hit until late afternoon and evening. We spent a few minutes at work, found a couple potential paths, downloaded some maps, and slipped out early.

Norway Flats became the destination. As we pulled over there was a truck with a group just opening their doors. They were bound for the TUNA Yurt. We were bound for wherever we ended up.

Slow, wet snow became heavier and fell faster as we hit the trail, joking that we would break the virgin snow for the family following the same path to the yurt.

15-18" of fresh snow over the past couple of days is what the forecast said, and it was not far off. No one had been on the trail since the fresh snow had piled up. Even with shoes on, we did not so much float on top, but we were not quite postholing.
Because of that, the feet and yards did not so much fly by, as much as plodded away.

View attachment 75758

We passed ponderosas, aspen, pines in an area of the Uintas that honestly I only glance at when the aspen are golden, but even then it is always flying by the window en route to the higher ground that is beyond the end of the winter cleared road. In snow this place was beautiful. I will have to drive up this road this summer.
Funny enough, just a half dozen miles ahead and on the Flats by Eriksen lake had been my second backpack as a twelve year old. I had not loved it and almost sat on a rattlesnake. Glad that attitude changed.

Another shot, showing me breaking trail, just to prove I spent my time in front as we took shifts. Snow both coated us and soaked us. I had planned on being wet, and kept a full bugout change of clothes, and this also proved I do need a new rain jacket.
View attachment 75757

We were not speedy. Essentially making a mile an hour. We enjoyed the views. Not necessarily the breaking trail.
View attachment 75774

At 2 miles we took a longer break, drinking some cider, and dropping our packs. It was here that the family caught up to us, thanked us for breaking the trail, the boys called us crazy for sleeping out in a tent in this weather, and then they broke trail for us.
The longer break, the work day, the drive, the snow, they were all working against my desire to go too much farther.
A third of a mile or so later and we caught up to the family as they took their turn off the road to go to the yurt.

Back to breaking trail and darkness descending.

We went another half mile or so, and the right kind of winter camping spot came into view around a small rise and a corner. "This is it. I am done."

We dropped down, packed down, dug out a bit, and set up camp in the steady snow.

Here is where I say down booties for this kind of thing are bliss. As is my ghost whisperer jacket.
As is normal, it took a little while to relax, body warm up, etc... but quickly layers were shed and I was back to my wool baselayer and lounging relatively comfortably. We sipped cider, ate reese's peanut butter eggs, and some roast beef.

On one night stands I sleep a little less than normal, which means since we fell asleep near 10pm, I was done with my first spurt at about midnight, then again at 2, then 4, then by 5 I am about cabin crazy. When I woke at 12 it was a bit windy. At 2, the stars were out in a partially clear sky and the snow had stopped. All of the other times there was just the gentle patter of snow on the tent and the regular neurotic, lucid dreams of an exhausted body and mind.

Just after 6, I left the tent. Took care of business, and hoped for some parting clouds.
Waited...
View attachment 75779

No sunrise No real sun. No color. Just gradual lightening.
Cheapo thermometer reads 4 or 5d F.

Back to the tent for a few bites to eat, including maple syrup Peeps.
Gross? Maybe just Backcountry good?

Clouds build again.

These snowshoes are holding up great. I probably have more mileage on them then most people ever put on a pair of shoes. Still eventually I will be able to afford one of the Mercedes of shoes, or maybe instead I will get some touring skis at that point. These winter camps are growing on me.
View attachment 75775

I fall asleep again. Pleasantly dreaming.

Waking up to a little bit of sun.
View attachment 75777

Camp was here under the Limber pine.
View attachment 75778

View attachment 75759

Smiling at the shiny snow.
View attachment 75761

View attachment 75762

A little wandering, and then we decide it is time to head back. We had spoken of Pho, which kinda ended the smooth, silky, snowy bliss we were patiently freezing in. As well as any halfhearted unappealing plans to break some more trail.
This trail is ours only. Wandered over once more in the morning.
View attachment 75763

View attachment 75764

The larger peaks remained all obscured by clouds. Still, these are the classic Uintas at their powdery best.
Mini little christmas trees amongst some giants not yet all taken by the beetle blight.
View attachment 75766

View attachment 75767

The way out was only sunny for a half hour or less, before the sun was overtaken by the clouds.
View attachment 75768

View attachment 75769

For your viewing pleasure you can watch my friend get farther and farther from me.
View attachment 75770

View attachment 75771

There's this U2 song... shadows and tall trees....
View attachment 75772

Look at the size of that ponderosa.
View attachment 75773

A relatively short and inconsequential drive later and we were sitting in front of wonderful victory Pho.
View attachment 75756

As for that beginning quote. Really the only thing I question is when I will finally get to more than 20 or 25 nights a year... Once I can get past that, then I can actually start to question my life choices. :tongue:
Oh.... and Maybird be warned. Not only will the after work snowshoeing crew be heading your way soon, but if I can find a free night, then I will see you in white. Even if I have to call in Mountain Sick, cough cough, midweek.
Nice pics.
 

Miya

Because I am able.
.
Joined
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#3
So beautiful! The snow looks so soft and smoooooshy!
How do you pick a place to camp in snow? Like...what if the snow is several feet deep, will you sink and be buried while sleeping...?! I want to camp in snow one day, kinda scared though haha!
Love seeing your pho! Well deserved!
 

Ugly

Life really is better Here
.
Joined
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Messages
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Thread starter #4
So beautiful! The snow looks so soft and smoooooshy!
How do you pick a place to camp in snow? Like...what if the snow is several feet deep, will you sink and be buried while sleeping...?! I want to camp in snow one day, kinda scared though haha!
Love seeing your pho! Well deserved!
Camping in snow when it is cold it is easy to find a place to camp... in the mountains you will always be in several feet of snow or more.
You pick a spot out of the wind, with a view, and you can dig and tromp down a level platform using your snowshoes and rescue shovel. The tramped down snow freezes and consolidates pretty quickly forming a hard layer. If you dig down a bit and throw snow up you can get a break from the wind too.
Sometimes when it is not cold enough or you do not compact the snow enough and you are in a two man tent you start to sink to the middle, but if you are patient and compact the snow this doesn't happen.
Stomping and digging for 15-20 mins keeps you a little warmer as you setup camp.
Also, it is good to stomp out a path to where you will need to pee at night, and stomp it again... few things are worse than either having to put on snowshoes in the middle of the night, or worse, going out and all of a sudden being thigh deep in the snow in your baselayer at 4am... I mean not speaking from experience or anything.

There is always at least a slight misery to snow camping... but it is so tranquil, crisp and can be lovely. I am hoping for at least one more this season. I am just so busy.
 

Miya

Because I am able.
.
Joined
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#5
I think it sounds amazing!
Thanks for all the "how to". I find it really helpful! Hopefully I can find someone who snow camps and tag a long with them.
Good tip about the pee path, I probably wouldn't have thought of that and would end up deep in snow haha.
 

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