GUYS GUYS GUYS! I’ve now made it to the highest point in Utah! Aren’t you proud?
Thursday: 6 mile hike
Saturday: 8.5 mile hike
Sunday: 13 mile hike
Monday: 8.5 mile hike
Weekly total: 27.5 miles
TOTAL total: 191.5 miles
Even though that Monday is technically part of Week 15, I’m including here because it was part of the same trip as Saturday and Sunday. Deal wit it, yo.
Things I learned from the King’s Peak trip:
1. Nav is hard and I’m useless with topo maps
2. Though it can be concerning to take shortcuts, it all works out
3. Not acclimating before trips at elevation is dumb
I’m going to give y’all a chronological rundown of the trip. Here’s a thousand pictures and a couple words.
Day 1 (Saturday)
My friend Jake and I left Logan early and got to the Henry’s Fork trailhead by about 1pm. There were a bunch of Boy Scouts emerging from the wilderness as we dealt with some filter issues and took advantage of the last real bathroom for 3 days.
And then we were off!
We passed a bunch of people on the first bit of the trail, and got to bask in the glory of the forests and streams.
The intent was to head up near Dollar Lake and camp for the night. This stretch of trail was fairly gradual increase in elevation from 9,500 feet to a little less than 11,000. In any other circumstances, I would have been fine. But, because I’m a dumbass, I’ve spent most of the summer under 1,000 feet and was huffing and puffing constantly. Every hill was a mortal enemy.
Our campsite was beautiful and above what we erroneously thought was Dollar Lake. Turned out we’d gone a little further than intended. Not a bad thing when peak bagging the next day.
Pyramidal structure. Yes, that is a real word.
I’m pretty sure if Jake can climb that tree, a bear could, but none did.
Day 2 (Sunday)
We had to get up at the ass crack of beforedawn because we wanted to make the peak by noon. Thunderstorms, and oftentimes cray cray lightning, tend to occur in the afternoons in the Uintas. The last place anyone should be during lightning storms is on the highest point in the state. Therefore, at 4am, good morning moon and fuck you.
Going over Gunsight pass.
On my roomates’ recommendation, we took a shortcut to skip the unnecessary elevation loss of following the actual trail down into Painter’s Basin. Turns out we did the middle route, which you might just barely be able to see in the middle of the below photo. On the way back, Jake took the higher route, which comes out up near that snow patch, and I followed the middle route again.
View from Anderson Pass, at the base of King’s Peak where we stashed our packs and started the intense rock scramble up to the summit.
Parts of the aforementioned scramble up the north ridge of King’s Peak. The struggle was real, people.
Luckily there was almost no snow up there. I have a hard time believing that snow could still be hanging out in July anywhere in the US, but it’s a thing here. This is the east side of King’s Peak as I was heading back.
Some other pretty pictures.
We both made it successfully back to the campsite, same one from the night before, and immediately collapsed into slumber from exhaustion. We celebrated the summit later that night with a fire (that burned a giant hole in my fleece) and our poisons of choice (Jameson and Bacardi).
Day 3 (Monday)
We retraced our footsteps back to the trailhead on the last day. We made really good time on the gradual downhill, and only stopped to take a few last pictures.
Last view of King’s Peak.
Yes, I’m walking backwards. I promise I wasn’t lost and/or losing my mind.
Jake crossing a neat little bridge near the Henry’s Fork Basin Trail fork.
Me crossing the bridge also, and again backwards. Shut up.
Basically, that was that. It was an epic and awesome adventure. We lucked out with perfect weather, not a drop of rain and only saw lightning from afar on the first night. We only saw two other guys on the way to the summit and very few people on the trails at all after the first couple miles from the trailhead. At least, very few people to me. These crazy people out west have no idea what crowded trails are like, and apparently what we saw this weekend was quite a crowd, ha ha.
Oh, and I should stay a hot second to let you know about the hike I did this week before King’s Peak, and have subsequently forgotten about.
On my way back to Utah, I stopped and camped at Vedauwoo in eastern Wyoming. It’s an awesome little place, right off I-80, with free camping and some great rock formations. I hiked Turtle Rock, the most popular trail in the area, and took some lengthy detours onto the Valley Massif Trail. And I saw a moose! The map I used is here. Have a couple pictures of these shenanigans.
And that’s all there is to say.