Priord Lake August 2018

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regehr

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A few days ago I posted about getting driven out of the Winds by mosquitoes:
https://backcountrypost.com/threads/wind-river-mountains-conditions-2018.7691/page-3#post-99544
Following that experience my son and I still had plenty of backpacking food and clear space in the calendar, so we decided to head to the Uintas where hopefully the bugs would be fewer. We needed a rest day so drove home to SLC, then headed up to Priord lake Thursday AM, getting there in about 6 hours hiking time (something like 10 miles and 1500' elevation gain). We had the lake totally to ourselves and in fact didn't see any people until the return trip close to the Bear River E Fork trailhead this afternoon. It seems like the bulk of the traffic there heads to Allsop? Priord is quite a slog so I can sort of see why people would give it a miss, but I think that due to the larger, more complex cirque it's a more interesting backpacking destination. The big rock glacier that ends near Priord Lake is spectacular.

Norice Lake doesn't seem that interesting. Is it pronounced "no rice" like someone spilled their rice while cooking out one time? Or is it pronounced similarly to the name "Nora"?

Open street map (which I use via Osmand on my phone) showed a trail exiting the Priord cirque to the south, so we explored that yesterday. It is well cairned but has some very steep, loose sections. I would not be happy exiting Priord basin while carrying a heavy pack. We gained the ridge overlooking Rock Creek and intended to summit Yard Peak, but it turns out that after a fairly easy climb to Peak 12486 (a half mile SW of Yard) the remaining route looked very difficult. Perhaps not technical climbing but extremely sketchy. So we called it a day. It was kind of cold up there, and 12486 feet represented a new maximum elevation for my kid!

The cowed up situation around Priord is bad. Did the forest service screw up and give some rancher a 99 year permit or something? It seems like there must be a better way to balance land usage than putting cows in the heavily-used NW Uintas. But whatever. Anyhow, in the evening we had cows browsing around our camp at 10,500'. I exited the tent and yelled at them until they left. But one of the cows actually seemed interested by my behavior and tried to stick around. I'm guessing some idiot camper fed her one time. But after my antics they departed and we didn't see them again. Of course cow shit was everywhere. My son was kind and did not take pictures of me in my long johns cursing at livestock. Nor did he take pictures of me taking a quick swim in the lake.

Regarding mosquitoes: there were a fair number of them in the evening and a few in the morning, but it was heaven compared to the Winds. I didn't even get a bite but my kid forgot to put on his bug-proof jacket while pumping water and got a few bites through his shirt. But no problem overall. I bet they're gone for good in a couple weeks.

You know what's weird, I think the mosquitoes in the Uintas and a distinct sub-species from those in the Winds. In the Uintas they hum really loudly and are mostly active in the morning/evening, basically just gone a couple hours after sunrise. The ones in the Winds were almost completely silent and were roughly equally active during all daylight hours. Anyone else observed this kind of thing? I sure would hate to start becoming a mosquito connoisseur, wow.
 
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Perry

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Oh my gosh! Did you guys come out Saturday afternoon? If so I was the one who stopped to ask you from where were you were coming. I went part way up as time permitted.


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regehr

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@Perry Yes that was us! Great to meet a fellow BCPer even if we didn't know it! All the other groups we ran into on the way back to the trailhead were heavily loaded down and didn't take time to chat :).
 

Perry

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Yes! Nice to meet you. BTW... I only made it to the second river crossing but it was a good afternoon hike.


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regehr

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Yes! Nice to meet you. BTW... I only made it to the second river crossing but it was a good afternoon hike.
Nice. After we met you I was remarking to my son that I liked your attitude: better to start late and take a short hike than to miss out on a beautiful day in the mountains! But how about that motorized traffic on the dirt roads leading to the Bear River E Fork trailhead? Maximum Utah!!
 

Perry

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Yeah the traffic, and all the trailers and monster motor homes was pretty annoying.


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regehr

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Looking towards Yard (gentle bump at left) and South Yard (pointy bump at right). Who called it South Yard instead of Backyard Peak?
IMG_20180809_202020.jpg


Unnamed tarn just SE of Priord Lake. The trail out of Priord cirque zigzags up the talus slope, reaching the ridge just to the left of the big cliffs under point 12233, which is directly south of the lake.
IMG_20180810_192145.jpg


Priord Lake from the benches above
IMG_20180810_174358.jpg


Looking East from South Yard Peak towards the big Uintas
IMG_20180810_132609.jpg
 
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Perry

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Nice pics!


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Perry

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So @regehr ... Tell me more about the trail over to Rock Creek Basin. You said it was a bit iffy. Did you see any opportunity for a modified route that might be better?
 

regehr

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So @regehr ... Tell me more about the trail over to Rock Creek Basin. You said it was a bit iffy. Did you see any opportunity for a modified route that might be better?
Here's what Open Street Map shows. That's Priord in the middle, Amethyst at the left, Norice near the top, etc. Some of the trail shown here is imaginary but there really is a cairned route up and over the pass. It is very steep on the Priord side, much less so on the Rock Creek side. The problem is that there are some chutes where rockfall commonly occurs that have wiped out whatever trail once existed, that are hard to cross since they're dusty and lack footing. Elsewhere the footing is ok. On firm snow this would be a cake walk. I did not see opportunities for a better route but also finding good routes isn't a skill I really have. I'll post a few more pics once I have time to grab stuff from my camera (pics above are from phone!).
Screen Shot 2018-08-12 at 10.40.13 PM.png
 
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Nice trip. Glad you had a better trip after the Winds one. =) The cows up there are annoying as heck. :thumbsdown: I'm pretty sure I've heard @Nick rant about them a time or two. =)
 

Perry

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Here's what Open Street Map shows. That's Priord in the middle, Amethyst at the left, Norice near the top, etc. Some of the trail shown here is imaginary but there really is a cairned route up and over the pass. It is very steep on the Priord side, much less so on the Rock Creek side. The problem is that there are some chutes where rockfall commonly occurs that have wiped out whatever trail once existed, that are hard to cross since they're dusty and lack footing. Elsewhere the footing is ok. On firm snow this would be a cake walk. I did not see opportunities for a better route but also finding good routes isn't a skill I really have. I'll post a few more pics once I have time to grab stuff from my camera (pics above are from phone!). View attachment 67352
Looking at your one picture facing south I can see how this could be quite dynamic from year to year. It's really too bad a good route couldn't be established there. It would make for some interesting loops, not to mention an option for a Deadhorse Pass bypass in bad snow years.
 
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Nice report. I have a Prior to Deadhorse Lake loop planned for early September. Sounds like the hike over that pass will be interesting. Sucks about the cows. I'd be pretty unhappy too. Hopefully I'll get lucky and they won't be that high for our trip. The amount of cattle really surprised me my first trip in the uintas after moving out here to Utah.

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You know what's weird, I think the mosquitoes in the Uintas and a distinct sub-species from those in the Winds. In the Uintas they hum really loudly and are mostly active in the morning/evening, basically just gone a couple hours after sunrise. The ones in the Winds were almost completely silent and were roughly equally active during all daylight hours. Anyone else observed this kind of thing? I sure would hate to start becoming a mosquito connoisseur, wow.
I hadn't thought about this, but this has been my experience. Got destroyed by mosquitoes from morning until nightfall last month in the Winds, but then in the Uintas they only bothered me at dusk and dawn.
 
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Nice report and Pics! Priord is on my list to go to in the next year or so. Don't get me started on the cows. I went to Allsop last year and had to herd them away from my camp several times. I did my share of cussing them also. It's a shame they allow livestock to ruin these areas. Thanks again for your report.
 
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You know what's weird, I think the mosquitoes in the Uintas and a distinct sub-species from those in the Winds. In the Uintas they hum really loudly and are mostly active in the morning/evening, basically just gone a couple hours after sunrise. The ones in the Winds were almost completely silent and were roughly equally active during all daylight hours. Anyone else observed this kind of thing? I sure would hate to start becoming a mosquito connoisseur, wow.
I am pretty sure there are many species of mosquitoes. Just look at the size difference you see - some tiny to some huge. And I believe that some mosquito-borne parasites and bugs are confined to only certain mosquito species.

Yes, in fact, mosquito refers to a family of animals that has thousands of species in a couple Genera or Genus:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosquito

Interesting quote: "Much more serious, though, is the role of many species of mosquitoes as vectors of diseases. In passing from host to host, some transmit extremely harmful infections such as malaria, yellow fever, Chikungunya, West Nile virus, dengue fever, filariasis, Zika virus and other arboviruses, rendering the Culicidae the deadliest animal family in the world.[4][5][6]" Emphasis, mine.
 

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