We made a major backpacking expedition this summer, a 12 day trip into the High Uinta Wilderness of Utah. This area, about 100 miles east of Salt Lake and just west and south of Flaming Gorge is one of the nicest and most remote areas in the lower 48. We saw other people about every third day, except at the summit which is accessible from the north by a relatively short, though steep day hike. I made a very similar hike in 1979 with the Sierra Club and the area was still remarkably unused and unspoiled.
Participants were Roger (age uncertain), Adam, Adam's friend Robbie (both age 15), and for the last half of the trip Uncle Garry, who joined us en route.
The hike was 61.2 miles on the map, but the GPS recoded 8-9 miles covered on some days when the map said it would be 6 miles (we did a lot more zig-zagging than the map route indicated). By the map we climbed (and descended) 11,585 feet total. We started the trip with three of us carrying a total of about 136 pounds in our packs (52 for me, 42 each for Adam and Robbie), everything we would need for 11 nights out on the trail.
We didn't anticipate the effect of altitude on our appetites and ended up throwing away half of our food for about the first four days until we acclimated. The boys hated the fancy gorp I bought at Trader Joe's, so most of it went to waste. Stick to peanuts and M&Ms next time. We were pleasantly surprised by most of the freeze-dried food we bought, some of it was even palatable. The Bandito Scramble and Peasant Omelet were another story though. YUCK!! How can they get away with selling that stuff as food--even the jays and squirrels rejected it, and we certainly preferred going hungry to eating it. Pancakes (Krusteaze mix) with freeze-dried blueberries or cherries were probably the best over all.
Fishing ranged from excellent to nonexistent. Many of the lakes had had winter kill and were not restocked, so were devoid of fish. We found that where there were breeding Brook trout they would take virtually any fly. The stocked fish were more particular. The would feed heavily at the surface, but not on anything I could see. No luck in getting them to take a dry fly. Nymphs and streamers were another story, they'd hit almost anything fished under the water.
Links to slide shows are given below.
Click here for backpacking pictures
Click here for pictures of High Uinta flowers
Backpacking food plan for trip (requires Acrobat Reader)
Backpacking equipment list for trip (requires Acrobat Reader)