Saturday, July 10
The beauty of the Four Corners Loop continues. I spent the last nine days walking from Kamas Utah to Vernal Utah, covering 153 miles of miraculous mountain terrain. The Uinta Mountain range is the longest East West running mountain range I the United States. I hiked at an elevation generally between 10,500 feet to to 12,500 feet. I did climb the highest mountain in Utah, Kings Peak at 13,528 feet.
The views were miraculous you could see up into Wyoming and farther East in range I could see into Colorado. I felt like I could see more than 200 miles to the South. I felt like I was on top of the world, my mind was absorbed in a world class mountain range. Located in one of the highest elevation regions of the United States left me in awe with each step I took. Each day of the nine day crossing, started out sunny and proceeded with cumulus cloud growth contributing to splendid photography opportunities. A few of the days I got showers and a few thunder claps. Generally the weather was just perfect and very comfortable.
The flatter glacier carved areas in between the mountain ridges were full of wildflowers and alpine lakes. Walking in each classic “U” shape of each valley you couldn’t help think about the last glacial Ice Age as one walks. I imagined the valleys filled with ice the area would look like a flat ice cap, with nunataks sticking up here and there. I feel the eastern portion of the Unitas were probably more ice covered because the top of the mountains were very rounded versus the western portion the ridges and tops mountains had more sharp pointy peaks. Temperature had its toll on the glaciers they melted away, leaving what we see today. The mountains were composed of sedimentary strata where the sedimentary layers were generally horizontal indicating not a lot of tilt has occurred with the uplift of the mountains. The rocks at the top of Kings Peak give the appearance of a shallow sea where you could see the ripples of water in the deposited sediments on the rock surfaces.
This is one of the sections where I encountered the most backpackers I’ve seen so far I think it is because the world class Highline Trail is gaining in popularity, and is such a beautiful place for people to go backpacking. I encountered people from Chicago, Boston, Texas, Seattle and many from Salt Lake City playing in their backyard. I generally saw about 10 people per day the highest day I saw about 25 people near Kings Peak. When I climb Kings Peak I was the first one up there and enjoy the summit to myself.
Route finding was pretty easy although there were many areas where it took some good trail sleuthing skills. The trail is very faint in many places, especially in the meadows and having good trail finding skills definitely helps follow the Highline Trail. I hiked down to 5400 feet to the town of Vernal Utah. As a descended I could feel the temperature increase significantly reaching 103° in Vernal.
Physically the nine days was very hard and challenging mentally. I mentioned in a previous post that I would write about what I learned on the Four Corners Loop. I am not ready to answer this question but one thing I learned in the section is that I do have physical limits. I feel sometimes I should be able to go farther than I did but I do realize that covering the distance I did in nine days at 45 years young was amazing, and I shouldn’t be so hard on myself for not being able to hike as far as I think I should. Each day when I stopped I was absolutely tanked, stopped because I need to, not because I wanted to. Maybe only hiking 18 miles a day actually allowed me to slow down and enjoy the beauty of the area more.
Thank you for reading my post, have a lovely day.