Middle Basin w/ a Summit of Hayden Peak

Blake Merrell

Life Elevated - Rising Higher
Feb 25, 2013

As I was hiking along in the Wind River Mountain range, I knew that another week long trip this year would not be doable. My wife was already sacrificing way to much, and for me to leave her and my newborn son for a 3rd week-long pleasure trip would be utterly selfish of me. It wasn't to hard of a decisions for me to cancel my 8 day Uinta Highline trip. Once I got home, I emailed my friend, Will, who had committed to do the Highline trip, and explained the situation. I thought I would just cancel the whole thing, but Will convinced me to at least do a 3 day trip. My wife agreed that it would be OK to still do that, so I let Will plan the trip. He decided to head to Middle Basin! I have been wanting to backpack there for a few years now, so I was thrilled with the decision!

Ahhhhhhh. Love the Uinta Mountains. So good to be back.


Early Thursday morning I picked up Will in Provo, and we headed to the Christmas Meadows trail head. Before we knew it we were heading up the trail to Middle Basin.

I don't begin many of my trips in the middle of the week, so it was a nice treat to be able to be in the mountains mid-week. Since we were backpacking the weekend after Labor Day, we pretty much had the whole range to ourselves. We did pass a few people on our way, but they weren't camping in the same area as us. The solitude we experienced was wonderful!

I very much enjoyed the hike into Middle Basin. The valley we were walking in was very nice. I loved the river that flowed by us. Once we got to the bottom of Middle Basin, we enjoyed a nice lunch, and also took some time to go fishing in the little stream. We saw fish in there so we figured we would give it a shot. I was happy to catch a couple of those fish! Both Will and I were successful in that stream! Good omen? I think so!

So...Ryder and McPheters lakes were amazing. It was so neat to be in such a special place. I am finding it difficult to express in words how much I enjoyed having the whole basin to ourselves. Something special happens inside me when I visit beautiful lakes in the high mountains. I especially enjoy the tundra, and blueish-greenish lakes, and mountainous cirques. all of that combined is pretty close to Heaven on Earth!

Our first night we spend at McPheter's Lake. This lake nestles up next to Hayden Peak. Its glacier blue waters complement the mountain slopes perfectly. Will and I enjoyed a nice evening of fishing, eating, and chatting. Will caught a really nice Tiger trout (I think it was a tiger?) and we enjoyed cooking it for dinner. It was a great way to end a day in the Uinta mountains.

Day 2

The next day I did something that I never thought I would do. I summited Hayden Peak. This was never on my radar, but Will had done it a few weeks prior, and loved it, and he was willing to guide me to the top on this trip! Hayden Peak is a stunning place. Getting to the top was tricky, but the views were so worth it! Once we made it to the summit, Will and I enjoyed an hour or so of just soaking in the grandeur. It was soooooo good!

Getting down ended up being a more of adventure than I wanted though. I was leisurely walking down the mountain, and as I skirted a ledge at the top, I slipped on a loose rock. Everything happened so fast. The rock I stepped on crashed down the cliff, and I fell into the mountain, where my armpit landed around a small boulder and immediately anchored me from slipping anywhere. As grateful as I was for that solid anchor for armpit, the force of the impact caused me to dislocate my shoulder. I quickly stood up and thanked my Heavenly Father for preserving my life. and then I began to wonder why my shoulder felts weird and out of place. As I moved it around I didn't feel any pain, just weird pressure. after a few seconds of maneuvering my arm I somehow managed to get my shoulder back into its socket. Man I was grateful for that! for the most part I was able to function as normal for my descent down the mountain!

Other than my fall, the day ended up being another perfect day in the High Uintas. Will and I enjoyed some swimming in the lake when we got down. I Love a good dive into an alpine lake!

Once we were done swimming and such, we packed up camp and moved to Ryder Lake. Again I was amazed that we had this whole thing to ourselves. Once camp was set up, we tried our hand at fishing again. I caught a few, but Will caught a ton! He was having a blast! It was fun to see him catch so many.

That evening, after dinner was done, Will and I stayed up talking late into the night. It was fut to get to know more about each other. Although, after our conversations, I was pretty sure that the world was gonna end in September LOL!


It was time to pack up and head home. After a good morning of sleeping in and some fishing, we were ready to head out. It took a few hours to get back to the car, and once we got there we opted to drive to Bald Mountain and summit it. Will had made a promise to his kids to call them from the top of a mountain. When he called on Hayden, they weren't available to talk to, So he was determined to talk to them on top of Bald Mtn.

It had been many years since I had climbed Bald mountain. It was great to do it again. We made good time to the top. The views from up there are spectacular, as always. Time spend up there was pretty short lived, but we did walk around a bit looking at other nearby places where we had backpacked earlier this season. It was fun to be able to look at the different mountains and lakes and be able to name them off this time, and tell stories about our visits to many of them. I remember my first trip up Bald Mtn. well. I was amazed at the landscape and with all the lakes I saw! I had no idea what any of there were called, so this time it was interesting for me because I knew many of them! So fun! :)

Well, this was a great trip. Can't wait to get back into the Uinta Mountains again!



Ready For More
Jul 23, 2013
Nice report Blake. I've been wondering where @WasatchWill has been and now I know.
Haha. I have been away from BCP for a bit haven't I? Just making up time with family and other interests after all the summer fun. I've been meaning to put together a post and video myself soon. Or maybe I'll just throw up some of my pics here on this thread.

Blake Merrell

Life Elevated - Rising Higher
Feb 25, 2013
Haha. I have been away from BCP for a bit haven't I? Just making up time with family and other interests after all the summer fun. I've been meaning to put together a post and video myself soon. Or maybe I'll just throw up some of my pics here on this thread.
very much looking forward to your video and pictures!
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