Winter Camping

So, I have one more backpedaling blog post that I wanted to write.  This is what happens when you are out of touch with technology for a week.  It felt pretty good to do that, but then when you come back and realize that you are behind on things, well, it never really balances out.  At least I can try.

So, upon my return from Ithaca I met my brother in the Salt Lake City airport as he just flew in for the week.  The idea for the week was to do some backpacking in the wilderness around here.  the original plan was to head up to Grand Teton National Park but the weather outlook up there was not so great.  This was a little unfortunate as we had made some pretty good plans for heading up to GTNP, but in the name of safety and such we decided to make a change.

We spent the better part of a day over at REI looking at books and maps and trying to plan a new location and route to hike.  We decided to head up to the High Uintas in the northeast part of Utah.  The weather was supposed to be better there and it is a lot closer to home, so less driving.  We picked up some additional gear and food, and rented some warmer sleeping bags and then went back home to pack for the adventure.

With our packs loaded into the car we headed off into the mountains.  We got off the highway in a small town in Wyoming whose name I don’t remember.  Then we drove out into the middle of nowhere.  We followed a dirt road for quite a while, back across the state line into Utah finally ending up in a snow covered campground.  We passed maybe one car on the way in, probably hunters.  The campground was totally empty, though there were some old tire tracks in the snow.

We set up camp for the first night in the campground.  For both my brother and I, this was our first winter camping experience.  Pitching camp in the snow and cold takes a little more effort than sumer camping.  We packed out an area for the tent with our snowshoes and then pitched the tent.  Cooking in the cold is not much different than other backpacking cooking, it is just cold sitting out in the snow.

Even in long underwear, ski pants, and the zero degree sleeping bag it still got pretty cold cold at night.  We even had two of us in a pretty small tent.  It wasn’t unbearable, but it was cold.  It also snowed for the better part of the night which was a very interesting sound on the tent.  Amazingly, I slept pretty well and the morning brought a fresh blanket of snow and a beautiful sunrise.  It was truly a spectacular morning.

Sunrise over the China Meadows Campground

After making breakfast we broke camp, packed our bags and started our trek off into the wilderness.  Hiking in snowshoes is significantly more difficult and slower than a normal hike.  It certainly was beautiful out.  Right sun, and white snow, and no one else in in sight, not even tracks.  Over the day we hiked  about four miles and towards the end of the day I think that pulled a muscle or something in my leg.  So we found a suitable location to make camp and set up for the night.

The location we found was in a beautiful field broken up by a frozen river.  We decided to play it safe and bear-camp, so we cooked dinner away from the tent and hung all our food out off a tree.  We didn’t really know if it was bear territory or not, but we figured better safe than sorry.  The night was colder than the last, probably due to the fact that there was no cloud cover.

While it might have been cold, I still slept well, the real problem was that I woke up still very achy.  It was very strange, because I do a good bit of hiking and I am pretty active, I suppose it just happens sometimes.  So we decided that the best course of action was to hike back out instead of continuing the trek because we didn’t want to get in any serious trouble.  So we spent the day hiking back to the car.  Overall, aside from my going gimpy, we had a great hike and a lot of fun.

After we got back to the car we decided to call my uncle to see if we could stay at his place in Park City.  With his OK we made our way to the condo.  It was nice to be there, but after taking showers, making dinner and running some laundry, one of the hot water heaters decided to burst.  We were sitting watching a movie and I thought I heard water running and when i went into the utility room I had to wade through an inch or so of water and get under a geyser of water to find the shut off valve.

So, the rest of the night was spent on the phone with my uncle and then trying to get maintenance in to take care of things.  There was a lot of water, it had made it ways down through the floor into the crawl space where the furnace is and even seeped out into the common hallway of the condo complex.  Luckily there was no water in the house, it was pretty confined.  So the late night maintenance people came in and did a lot of vacuuming and cleaning.  The next day they got the plumber in to look at things and figure out what to do.  A real adventure.  All thins considered, according to the plumber, the disaster was inevitable, so it was a good thing we were there.

While the flood was not part of the plan for my brother’s vacation, it didn’t dampen spirits too much.  He went out and hiked on Saturday while I dealt with the plumber and such and then the next day we headed up Little Cottonwood Canyon for one last hike before he had to leave on Sunday.  So, we did get in a bunch of what we had planned, the hiking and camping, interspersed with other adventures.  It was a fun bit of time off.

So that is why I was so out of touch with the nets last week.  It was worth it, an adventure!






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.