Planning for 2015 and the Hydra Beast

The shooting season for 2014 has been an interesting one. My epic plans for 2014 ended up getting squashed, my trips planned for the Tetons, Winds, and Colorado all came crashing to the ground. The plans for my backpacking trips to the Uintas also imploded on me, leaving me with a  measly 3 nights in the Uintas. It’s frustrating living so close to so many amazing places and not being able to get to them. I sacrificed a lot so that I could make the trip to the Northwest happen, and then that trip was hijacked by a traveling companion who didn’t want to do any hiking. I am still holding on to hope, for fall color is in the near future, and the odds are it will be a much better year than last year. I also still have my 4 day trip to Zion in October coming up, I look forward to that one all year.

My list of places I want to visit keeps growing, and it seems that whenever I go somewhere on my list it only causes me to add 3 more places to that list. It’s the hydra beast. I’ve seen people criticize Americans for not traveling abroad much… can you blame us? The American West has enough scenery to keep one busy for their entire life. I could never leave Utah and not run out of places to go for a very long time. It’s amazing and frustrating all at the same time.

Even though 2014 is not over yet I have started writing down my plans for 2015. With the possibility of a new baby in the fall, I feel like I have to pack it all in before October. So I present you with my 2015 plans. It’s probably overly optimistic, but hopefully they pan out better than my plans for this year. At any rate it will be interesting to review in a year and see how reality differs from ideal.

January: Bryce Canyon, Utah

February: Arches and Canyonlands, Utah

March: Needles, Utah

April: Capital Reef, Utah

May: Notch Peak, Utah

May: Escalante, Bucksin Gulch, Utah

June: Green River Lakes, Wyoming

June: Christmas Meadows, Uintas

June: Bear Creek Lake, Idaho

July: Amethyst Lake, Uintas

July: Deadhorse Lake, Uintas

July: Allsop Lake, Uintas

August: Elkhart Park, Windrivers

August: Alice Lake, Idaho

August: Middle Basin, Uintas

September: Surprise Valley, Idaho

October: City Of Rocks, Idaho

November: Zion, Utah


Trip Report: Timpanogos


Purple daisies soak up the last light of the day below the summit of Mount Timpanogos. 

Finally after 15 years I got up on Timpanogos again. Ever since getting back into photography a few years ago Timpanogos has loomed over my house calling my name. This week my backpacking trip to the Uintas fell through, it was the perfect opening for a run up Timp.

This is far and above the most popular hike along the Wasatch Front, and for good reason, It’s a gorgeous hike and contains some of the prettiest alpine scenery in the entire state. If you can look past the hordes of people hiking up the trail it can be a very enjoyable hike. Not too steep, though it doesn’t let up for the almost 8 miles to the summit. I hit the trail at around 4:00 and due to it being a weekday and the cloudy weather I saw surprisingly few people along the trail. I got into the basin at around 6:30. When you come up over that final hill and see this meadow unfold before you it’s really awesome, I got all giddy like a school kid. Unfortunately I had completely exhausted my water supply on the trip up here. I needed some water, and it didn’t look like there was any to be found. I wasn’t worried because I knew there was a lake in the next basin, but I really didn’t want to walk the 1-2 miles over there just to get water. Am I ever going to learn to bring enough water?

Fortune would have it that I found some water while walking over to the lake. That little snowfield at the bottom left of the picture contained a nice little pond that I was able to filter some water from. While I was filtering my water the clouds broke and the entire basin filled with really nice light. I was kicking myself, knowing that I may not get any more light for the rest of the evening. After I was done I headed back to the North side of the basin and found this nice patch of flowers and waited, waited some more, and then waited some more. Finally about 15 minute before sunset the clouds broke just enough to let some light onto the distant peak. Click. It didn’t turn out to be a very epic sunset, though I was very grateful to have the light that I did get knowing I wouldn’t make it up here for another year.  Honestly though, I am kind of over my obsession with incredible light (see previous blog post). I find myself liking this subtle and peaceful light more and more, I really enjoy the honest, realistic, and more peaceful nature of it. Okay maybe I am not completely over seeking that crazy light, but I find myself a lot more content these days when I don’t get it.

After shooting the sunset I went and scouted out a nice place to set up camp. This would be my first time camping solo in the mountains. It turned out to be a rather uneventful night. I made the mistake of pitching my tent on a not perfectly flat stretch of ground and paid for it the entire night by sliding off my sleeping pad. Between that and the animals walking through my camp every 40 minutes I got very little sleep. In the morning I was greeted with no clouds over the peak and decided to head back down the mountain. While I mentioned that the hike up wasn’t too bad, the hike down just about killed me. I don’t know if it was the lack of sleep or the constant steepness of the trail, but the hike down felt like a death march. I thought I was never going to get back to the car.

All in all it was a very enjoyable trip and one I think I will try to make every year.