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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Drummond Island Day 1: Trailhead by Post 27 to Dry Lake

September 18, 2017
5 miles

I arrived at Drummond Island in the late afternoon. The ferry ride was quick and once I reached the other side I wasn't sure where to go.  There wasn't much near the dock so I started driving on the main road. Eventually I reached an intersection with a grocery store and also a visitor's information station. I went into the visitor's center and bought a cheap trail map that had trails and state land boundaries. I drove down Bass Lake Road and parked at the trailhead by Number 27 on the map as someone had mentioned started a hike from there on a Facebook group. From there I quickly plotted a loop route with Gaia GPS on my phone.

Within a few minutes I had established a tentative plan to hike a loop including a section to some of the inland lakes up to the north end of the island and back mainly along the beach. The loop would be about forty miles.  I decided to hike clockwise to save the best beach scenery for last and I wasn't sure how hard the inland hiking would be as much of it would be off-trail.

I started on a trail.

I left the trail and went to find Beaver Pond.

It was a scenic pond.

There was a curving path through the pond.

The bush whacking wasn't too bad, but the forest was still thick in places.

After continuing off-trail, I reached Dickenson Lake, which was larger than Beaver Pond.

Dickenson Lake

I found an animal trail beside the lake, but it was wet. As I walked I noticed that the surface was floating, and bounced up and down as I walked on it.

Dickenson Lake

After leaving the lake, I joined a trail for a short distance.

There were some scenic flowers beside the trail.

The trail went beside some open plains.

I had read that it was supposed to be near peak fall colors, but most of the leaves were still green on Drummond Island.

I went off trail again to find Dry Lake, where I hoped to find a campsite for the night.

I arrived at Dry Lake just as the sun was setting.

Dry Lake

It took some effort to find an adequate campsite as much of the terrain around the lake wasn't level and was overgrown. I found a small level spot back in the forest a little ways from the lake. As I prepared to take a time-lapse movie I noticed the forest mush have stolen my mini tripod and groundsheet out of my backpack's mesh back pocket.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Uinta Highline Trail Day 9: Brooks Lake to Hayden Pass Trailhead

September 2, 2017
Daily Distance: 4.04 miles
Cumulative Distance: 111 miles

It was a peaceful final morning on the trail.  Andrew was packed up in record speed.

Much of the trail was forested, but there were still a few views.

We came to the High Uintas Wilderness boundary. We had been in officially designated wilderness since North Pole Pass.

We came to a final rocky overlook and I stopped to take a picture.

Soon we reached the parking lot and our hike on the Uinta Highline Trail was complete.

After getting changed and packing our stuff up as best as we could, we drove over to a National Forest Campground to meet up with some good friends, Tyler and Melissa, who had joined a church group that was camping for the weekend.  We arrived just in time for food! We had relaxing rest of the day which included getting a shower, eating more food, and spending time with friends. We flew out early the next morning.

Overall, the Uinta Highline Trail is a wonderful trail. We didn't see another hiker for the first 40 miles of trail. The scenery was spectacular. In half the distance, it includes nearly as many passes as the John Muir Trail. Summiting Kings Peak isn't as high, but is more challenging than Mt. Whitney as a little scrambling is necessary. I did anticipate seeing a little more wildlife but we were excited to see elk and deer.

It was great to share the experience with my brother. This was the first time he hiked greater than 100 miles in a continuous hike. We were able to do more miles than our previous adventures as this time we had a trail to follow. We didn't have much difficulty with navigation on the Highline Trail.  Occasionally we would have to check the GPS track on my phone while on the eastern section of the trail, but usually it was easy to relocate.

There is so much to be thankful for! I'm very thankful for the opportunity to complete this wild and scenic hike.  Thankful for the preservation of wilderness. Thankful for those like the Backcountry Horseman of America who dedicate their time maintaining the trail. Thankful for being able to spend time with my brother.  I am thankful for safety. Thankful for health. Thankful for the hospitality of friends. Thankful for the challenge. The challenge of this hike is a personal decision, but it makes me think of the many people around the world who face much greater challenges and don't have a choice.

Walking through the many beautiful basins on the Uinta Highline Trail and looking up to the mountains high above, helped me appreciate just how small I am. It makes me think about Psalm 8 that says, "What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?" after describing how excellent God is because of His creation. I was reminded of how God cares for His creation including humanity. Each of us has a purpose, however great or small. Let us strive to show our love for each other, for the wonders nature, and if you have faith or are searching, to the One who loves and provides for us all!

Uinta Highline Trail Day 8: Triangle Lake to Brooks Lake

September 1, 2017
Daily Distance: 11.88 miles
Cumulative Distance:106.96 miles
Passes: Rocky Sea

It was a beautiful morning without hardly a cloud in sight.

Panorama from Rock Creek Basin

I decided to take pictures of my food that I had used for the week.  Snacks included: Wasabi and Soy Sauce Almonds, Black Bean Tostitos, shelled pistachios, JalapeƱo Fritos, Black Pepper Triscuits, Cracked Pepper chickpeas, natural peanut butter, and Honey Mustard Snyder Pretzels (not pictured)

Other snacks included dried mangoes, dates, apricots, and one Twizzler/day.

Every day I had had four bars: a Meal Pack Bar, Lara Bar, usually a Cliff Bar or Kind protein breakfast bar packet. I also had a Primal Strips vegan jerky.

Triangle Lake

We returned to the Head of Rock Creek Trail.

We met some cows on the way.

If we had stayed on the Highline Trail, we would have been in the trees below.

A deer stared at us from a distance.

We came to Helen Lake.

Lightning Lake

Looking back to Helen Lake

We walked right beside dramatic cliffs.

Gladys Lake

It was such a nice day after the rainy and cloudy days the last couple days. We stopped for a break with a view of Gladys Lake.

Rosalie Lake

We rejoined the Highline Trail.

A nice reflection

We hiked in the trees and then climbed up to a view of Rocky Sea Pass, our last pass on the Highline Trail. (except for Hayden Pass which Andrew kept saying was going to be his favorite)

There was a nice lake below the pass. We remembered the snow from our campsite the day before.

As I climbed up I stopped to look back and appreciate the view.

The trail went below the snow.

It was a wonderful view from the top of the pass.

We took a break for a snack.

Rocky Sea Pass

The top of Rocky Sea Pass

From the pass it was a short distance to the Hayden Pass Trailhead, but we decided to camp a final night on the trail.

We descended into the forest.

We came to our first foot bridge of the hike.

It was a Friday so we passed several hikers heading out for a weekend in the backcountry.

We went off-trail a short distance to Brooks Lake to find a spot to camp. It was a swampy lake but still scenic.

We found a nice campsite and relaxed for the afternoon. Another hiker decided to camp on the opposite side of the lake but we didn't talk to him as he enjoyed the solitude.

Andrew's feet had been quite blistered since nearly the first day of the hike.

We ate and ate.  I almost ate everything I brought with me.
Andrew tried to cook some falafels on his stove and I rehydrated some hummus. For main meals I didn't normally cook. Meals included rehydrated burritos and tacos, and Big Franks.

It was a nice evening for our last campsite on the Highline Trail.

Continue to Day 9

About Me

I've been born and raised in the great state of Michigan. I recently graduated from physical therapy school. I enjoy being active, playing sports, and running. Backpacking has become a great interest as it is a physical challenge that provides many rewarding views and experiences. I strive to make a difference in the lives of those encounter in every day life, on the trail, or even just on this blog. May God bless each of you. Now go find an adventure! It's only a few feet away!