Amethyst Lake – Uintas

This last weekend, July 26 and 27 2014, Jake, Michelle, and I (Tyler) went on a short overnight trip to Amethyst Lake in the Uintas. We chose the trip because the trail-head is very close to Salt Lake City and was a good distance for a 1 night trip. It was also Michelle’s first time backpacking, so we wanted to take her somewhere where we kind of knew the area and knew the hike wasn’t going to be too hard (I did this trip about 3 years ago and loved it). She had a great time, and will hopefully continue to backpack!

Amethyst Lake MapTrack and Speed

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King’s Peak (The Other King’s Peak)

So we did 2 Kings Peak trips recently. The 2nd happens to be the highest peak in Utah at 13,528 ft. It’s in the Uintas Range, a personal favorite of mine, and we had a great, quick 2 day weekend trip to the top. We did the trip with Matt, Dani, Cole, and Ava and it was a great group to put some long miles in with.

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The river along the hike

We started the trip on Friday, The 4th of July, and hiked about 8 miles deep into the Uintas to find a camp spot for the night. We left Salt Lake City early that morning and drove a quick few hours to the Henry’s Fork Trailhead. The hiking was easy with little elevation change and a lot of water. The weather was interesting and became quite stormy as we neared King’s Peak. We found a pretty awesome campsite off the trail and next to a stream and set up camp for the night. We spent the better half of the afternoon hiding from the intermittent rainstorms, which we hear are quite common in the area, and had a great relaxing afternoon and dinner.

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The Lost Coast

Now, after the first couple of days, I would have titled this post “Beautiful Scenery, and Things That Will Kill You,” but the trip got significantly more safe and comfortable as the days progressed. On June 18 we started our 5 day trek through the Lost Coast in Northern California that’s in the Kings Range National Conservation Area. We did not do the very popular coastal hike from Mattole to Shelter Cove, which is a 25 mile stretch of purely hiking along the water, mostly because we’re cheap and $200 for a shuttle was a little out there. Instead we did a 21 mile loop (ended up being closer to 30) starting at the Saddle Mountain Trailhead. On the map below, we followed the red trail from the Saddle Mtn Trailhead, to the top of Kings Peak, the highest peak in the range at 4,088ft, then to Miller Camp for the first night. We then went down Rattlesnake Ridge to Miller Flat for the next 2 nights, then hiked along the coast to Buck Creek for the 4th night. On the 5th day we hiked along a gruelingly steep trail up Buck Creek and back to the Saddle Mtn Trailhead. The red stars are were we camped. LC Trail Map Continue reading

DIY Tyvek Tent Footprint

As you may know, we have a Big Agnes, Fly Creek UL2 tent that we use for pretty much every backpacking trip. It’s a great tent and we love it, but because of the lightweight materials used in the tent, I fear for it’s long-term durability. (Side Note: It’s actually held up quite well and has been pitched in quite a few less-than-ideal spots with sharp branches and rocks and has performed flawlessly.) Buuuuut I would like the added reassurance of a footprint for an expensive piece of gear. In addition to protecting the tent floor from getting punctured/torn, footprints prevent water seeping in through the floor, and in the case of the Fly Creek can be used with the rainfly to pitch the tent. Unfortunately the Big Agnes footprint is quite pricy for a simple piece of cloth, and I had heard that there were good Do it Yourself (DIY) options, and so I started looking into it.

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Notch Peak

Looking West at the Notch Peak Trailhead marker.

Katie and I at the Notch Peak Trailhead

Katie and I’s first backpacking Adventure of 2014 was Notch Peak in the West Desert about 4 hours south-west of Salt Lake City. We chose this hike because it was recommended as a good early season hike due to the lack of snow that is covering most hikes around Salt Lake. We did the hike easter weekend, April 19th and 20th, and encountered very little snow and lovely weather (highs in the 70’s lows in the 40’s)! Continue reading