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equipment list

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Back in July, I mentioned I took off backpacking into the West Elk Wilderness with a 36 pound pack . Since I had about 10-11 pounds of food and water, that left about 25 pounds of gear, which seemed like a lot. Really, it shouldn't be too hard to be at a 20 pound base weight and much smaller weights are not too outrageous. I didn't have time to analyze it then, but I do have time now. So, here is a gear list which will show where it is and where it could be. Weights in bold were in the pack. So, what's in the pack and why does it weight that much? What could it weight and leave me still happy to be out hiking? Big 3/4 backpack The pack is a Gregory Jade 63 from when Gregory decided they were going to reduce the weight of their packs a lot. I've got a 50L pack from just before they cut the weight which comes in over 4 pounds and carries a lot more weight more comfortably. This one is fairly straight and tends to slip down. However, it does come in at 1650g

Bonneville Salt Flats

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( location ) I meant to have a look at the Great Salt Lake as I drove by, and how could I not? I-80 rides right on top of it for miles. But I came across in the dark in a torrential rain. When the 18 wheelers passed, I couldn't even see the road in the splash. I could smell it. Oh, what a stink. I read about the Salton Sea before I started this trip in February, how it comes and goes and when it goes, it is a ecological disaster as it becomes too salty for the fish that somehow came to it. This seems like at least a little of that stink, which is odd because I thought it was too salty for fish. So having not seen the lake again, I got up with the first of the light and started heading west across the first stretch of desert with the sun rising in my rearview mirror. I stopped for breakfast at the rest area about ¾ of the way between ranges. (Compare and contrast wandering across most of the desert before breakfast with Mark Train's account of coming across a very similar

Yellow Pine Trail

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Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest ( map link ) I wanted one more leaf peeping stop, so pulled into the Yellow Pine Trailhead. I must admit, the canyon had looked a bit grander where the trails tend to be built for ATVs, just a little before getting here. This is another trailhead that requires a Mirror Lake Recreation Area permit to park. There were quite a few vehicles parked there already, but many of them were actually there for a recently completed Slate Creek Trail, a one way loop trail for bicycles. I pondered it and discarded it. (Hikers are allowed, and even may go the wrong way.) With expectations of plenty of rain in the afternoon, my plan was simply to go until the rain started, then turn back. It would be really cool to get to either Yellow Pine Lake or Castle Lake, but it's not quite so nice when the views are grey with rain. A good place to start I decided to set both the GPS and the phone (using the Peakbagger app) to track the hike so I could compare an

Provo River Falls and Slate Gorge

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Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest Provo River Falls ( location ) The sign for the falls seemed to be pointing at an iffy turnout, so I ended up hitting the brakes hard to make the actual turn into a paved lot with a bathroom. The parking requires a recreation pass for the Mirror Lake Area. (The turnout would not, though.) There's a couple signs about the importance of the area as a water source. The falls aren't a far walk, but there is a hill and some rough patches to get there. It's paved, but not accessible. Upper level of the Provo River Falls Patterns of erosion in this rock by the Provo River More of the upper falls, including parts hidden above I was expecting hard rain sometime in the afternoon based on weather I'd managed to download near Ruth Lake and again on Bald Mountain. The clouds seemed to already be getting set up for the deluge. It certainly wasn't ideal for photographs. Still, being there, I might as well keep going. There'

Lofty Lake Loop

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Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest ( map link ) Lofty Lake Loop was just too alliterative to pass up. The trailhead requires a permit for the Mirror Lake Highway Recreation Corridor like much along UT-150. I decided on a counter-clockwise direction because that would get me most quickly to the "ice caves" someone marked on OpenStreetMap. There's a big kiosk of information at the parking lot, but the Lofty Lake Loop trailhead is only marked with a little sign. The exceedingly clear trail climbs steadily toward a pair of lakes and Camp Steiner, which absolutely everyone actually calls "the Boy Scout Camp", some with an acknowledgement that the designation is out of date. Trails and an old road come up from the camp and all of these are marked with little metal signs. The casual hiker should be able to make all the correct turns even without a map. Picturesque Lake and a pond at its south end and "East Lofty Peak" rising behind But first

Bald Mountain

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Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest ( map link ) Parking at the trailhead for Bald Mountain requires a permit for the Mirror Lake Highway Recreation Corridor. There's a pair of trails that leave from it, but I was planning on the one that most the other cars were also there for. Trail on the right with other choices to hike (Notch Mountain) to the left. It's not the end of the flowers! There's still a couple harebells among the wispy dried remnants. Autumn colors on the Provo River's valley. I headed up. There were people ahead, people behind, people passing frequently on their way down. I didn't want to take too long because the weather wasn't all that cooperative at the end of yesterday. So far it didn't seem to be making any threats.

leaf peeping on Main Fork Bear River Trail

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Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest ( map link ) Parking at the trailhead for the Main Fork Bear River Trail at UT-150 does not currently require a Mirror Lake Highway Recreation Corridor permit, but it does require high clearance. I parked in a turnout across the highway on nearby Gold Hill Road. There's no signs on the highway for these. You need to already know where they are to get to them. I wasn't sure what to expect of the trail. The Forest Service topo indicates it crosses from Hayden Fork to Main Fork, where a road almost reaches the trail. The trail then continues upward to Hell Hole Lake. OpenStreetMap has the very different idea that it connects with a road and more trail continues after about 2 miles from the last river crossing. I would see. My plan was to get to the Main Fork, at least, and check out the leaves on the way. Forks of Bear River. The near crease is Hayden Fork and the far crease over the ridge is the Main Fork. I easily rock hopped across

Hayden Fork Bear River

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Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest ( location map ) I meant to have one more short hike for the day along the Main Fork Bear River Trail. This is another that does not require a permit for parking. Not yet anyway. It does require high clearance to get to the trailhead. I was almost lured in by the first 20 feet being paved. Instead, I parked across the highway and a couple hundred feet south on a turnout at the bottom of Gold Hill Road. This is another 4x4 road, but it has a turnout next to the highway and a staging area further up that are accessible to a small car. It started to rain as I drove down and as I tried waiting it out, it just rained harder and threw in flashes and rumbles for good measure. When it was done, it was an hour to sunset and probably less to full shadow. I decided to at least check on what the crossing of the Hayden Fork of the Bear River looked like. The area was stunning with the season and I can be excessive with the photos, so I've decided to incl

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