The view from above is so much better........
To gain that view, a little preparation and effort is required. Its early March now, and my thoughts at this time of year are usually drawn to the beauty of the High Uinta Mountains of northeastern Utah..... 13,000 foot peaks, over 1,000 lakes, trails, open flowered meadows, alpine tundra....... all the things that evoke imagery to the mind of peace and solitude. The only range in the lower 48 with an east-west orientation. However, right now, that region is blanketed in the depths of winter snow and is mostly shut out to cross country travel. But as the months progress, the Earths location in its path around the solar system slowly brings the needed warmth of the sun through longer days of light. Until access is achievable in the summer months, I must make the necessary preparations to be able to meet the challenges and goals I have made for myself.
Years ago my Dad introduced our family to the wonders of backpacking. I believe it was from a friend he worked with that told him of the great fishing possibilities that can be found in remote and seldom accessed backcountry lakes. With that bit of information in hand, he set out to purchase the latest equipment available for getting himself and his family to a place we had never been before. The prospect of this type of new adventure sounded fun at first, that is until we started off on the trailhead in pursuit of a place called Naturalist Basin. "Its only 6 1/2 miles", he said. For a group of four children ranging in age from 7 to 17 and taking into account the hiking ability combined in all 6 family members, the going was slow to say the least. Needless to say our destination was not reached on day 1. Instead, a side trail to Packard lake was taken because of our lack of knowledge about this new found recreational outlet. One of the lessons learned quickly was that the type of packs we were using were of the garden budget variety that had little back or shoulder support. Lesson two was that when you are in a high altitude location, expending great amounts of energy, a cup of noodles doesn't cut it! After a restless nights sleep, we reacquired the main trail and resumed our trek to this mysterious place. Upon arriving at our destination, despite all the turmoil we had been through, I had never before seen such a beautiful lake.......Jordan lake that is. Surrounded by mountains, reflective water.....deep and dark, pines all around. A forest paradise. Although it was the fourth of July, many icebergs still remained on the surface of the lake, reminding us that winter had only recently departed and that the next two nights sleep were going to bring a chill to our weary bones. Despite all the rigors of our families first expedition, much was learned and many incredible memories were made. Using that experience as a reference point, all other trips have since been more enjoyable.
Now that I am entering the second have of life's adventure, I still feel spry enough to continue the legacy of reaching remote backcountry locations. With each passing year a little more physical preparation is needed to meet the demands of high elevation, rocky summits and altitude changes. A great inspiring example of this is from a man who has hiked the Uintas from his 16th year in 1962 to now......and continues to do so. This man is Cordell Anderson. Approaching his 80th year he has the attitude and mentality of a youngster. "Never give up", he states. So true.......... being the one to decide what the outcome of his circumstances is, is his hallmark.
With this information in mind, I too will 'go forth and conquer'. Looking forward to another season of outdoor activity. Join me if you will.