Original quote from Roger Jenkins of Pursuing Balance Through Adventure, and important message regarding the Corona Virus, as part of my regular postings. Please Click Below
Zion National Park
Near Springdale, Utah
Activity: Day Hike, river hiking
Date: July 26, 2019
Zion National Park is a special place. I have hiked and backpacked there multiple times and each time filled with wonder and amazement. It is a different type of beauty from other National Parks and that in itself makes it so special. The tan, orange, and brown Navajo sandstone massive rock cliffs, peaks, formations, and canyon are simply a marvel.
A Summer time treat is to hike the famous Narrows. When the weather is hot, the Virgin River, which cuts through the narrow canyon, is most inviting. I did this hike with my friend Jackie and her daughter Elena. The trick is to arrive early to beat the crowd and although we left the Vegas area well before dawn that was still not early enough for this popular Summer time hike.
There is almost always a chance of flash floods with the Summer Monsoon Season, in fact we had delayed our trip one day because of 40% chance of thunderstorms. This day’s forecast was only a slight chance early on, but when we arrived they were again forecasting 40% chance of thunderstorms and possible flash flooding. The problem is even if the area you are in looks okay, a storm miles away can still affect where you are hiking sending a torrent of water and debris rushing through the canyon. Four years ago it took the lives of seven canyoneers. So the warnings are not to be taken lightly.
To get to the Narrows you need to board the bus at the Vistor’s Center and once aboard enjoy a scenic drive through the canyon and exit the last stop, the Temple of Sinawava. From there you take a delightful short hike, which is extraordinary with views of the canyon walls, greenery, and the river you will not find anywhere else. Then you enter the water. You need to have sturdy shoes or boots with ankle support would be best as you will be walking through still to rushing water any where from your ankles to your waist, or even swimming. The rocks can be slippery so if you have trekking poles or a hiking stick bring them. They will come in handy. You can rent these type items just outside the park.
On this hot Summer day there were plenty of folks starting this adventure with us, in fact it looked like a Disneyland ride. But the good news is the farther you go the more the throng of humanity thins out, add some threatening clouds, rain and some claps of thunder and you will practically have the place to yourself.
The weather started out Blue Bird perfect, but when we were the furtherest into the slot canyon is when it started thundering and the rain started falling. So on the side of caution we started heading back, well… after track star Elena and I ran up one very narrow finger of a canyon to see what we could see, just as some people were heading in the opposite direction as fast as they could saying you probably don’t want to go that way. One funny thing, Jackie was concerned about the chance of flash flooding early on, but when we were actually under that threat she and Elena were the ones still stopping and posing for selfies, lol!
As we headed back it wasn’t too long before the storm passed and we were back to nice weather and now we had the Narrows relatively to ourselves.
Fantastic hike one of the most popular in the country and for good reason.
Fine line between Foolishness and Bravery. Mark Twain felt better to look back on his life and regret the things that he had done rather than those he had not done.
Thanks for joining me and my friends Pursuing Balance Through Adventure at this very special place and this unique venture into Zion and the Narrows. Please won’t you LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE? After all this is my job.
Pursuing Balance Through Adventure
Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest
Mirror Lake Area, near Kamas, Utah
Activity: Backpacking, Hiking
Date: August 6-8, 2019
9 miles, elevation change 1,110’, 6 hours of hiking, rated Moderate
This was my second alpine backpacking adventure back to back in the Salt Lake City region, out past Park City and beyond passed the small town of Kamas, Utah. This hike was different in the terrain, as well as the look and feel compared to the days I spent just before at Red Pine Lake. Both are top rated backpacking/hiking locations and certainly did not disappoint.
The hike moves past little ponds, lakes, and marshy areas rich with wildflowers. The elevation change steepens as you move up to the “Notch” allowing wonderful views in both directions. I was greeted by the most beautiful mountain goats up on the cliffs above. Heading down the other side I found more examples of splendid wildflowers, and I thought to myself, if you had unlimited funds and a team of landscapers you still could not recreate what God has done.
I arrived at Ibantik Lake and set up my camp that would be my home for the next couple nights. It was a great spot with the major feature being the rock ‘Notch Mountain’ Cliff at the base of the lake, towering over a 1000’ above Ibantik Lake which sits at about 10,000 feet.
The next day I explored the other side of the lake where it was much greener, had plenty of primitive backpacking camp sites, forest, meadows, babbling brook, a mountain peak with a little snow, and a wonderful little waterfall that was so perfect it looked like a water feature at a resort. But this of course, is nature’s resort.
Later that day a rain shower moved through and for 15 minutes I stayed in my tent. When I emerged there was a whole family of mountain goats right near me on a little rocky ridge. So Cool! Then a couple hours later it rained even harder for 3 hours! Ugh! That was more than my 15 year old tent could manage I suppose, as it was leaking from the ceiling, and water was pooling up from the bottom. Here I was huddled on my inflatable sleeping bad trying to keep my sleeping bag dry while I had dripping coming down from above. I was pondering a cold, wet uncomfortable night if everything is damp, as even in the summer the nights dipped down into the high 30’s. Luckily about an hour or so before sunset the clouds parted and the sun-shined. I took everything apart and laid it out in the sun and the breeze to dry out my gear, so it was all good.
This was a wonderful hike. Ibantik Lake Trail is a special place. I highly recommend it.
Lone Peak Wilderness Area/Wasatch National Forest
Near Draper UT outside of Salt Lake City
Activity: Backpacking for Camping or Day Hike
Date: August 4-6, 2019
Distance: Trailhead to Red Pine Lake round trip 7 miles, (if you add Upper Red Pine Lake and secret falls 10 total miles), elevation change: 2,100’ (if you add the second lake perhaps another 500’), rated: Hard
Red Pine Lake Trail is one of the top 10 backpacking destinations in Utah. It did not disappoint. It seemed like the hiking I have done around Southern California was leading to this. It was really spectacular. The trail was steep, hard and a workout. Most people did it as a day hike and obviously not hauling a heavy back would make a big difference, but staying on the lake at night was so special that I stayed two nights.
When I arrived on a Sunday late afternoon I was able to find a spot to park despite how popular this hike is mostly because people were finishing their hike about the time I was arriving. So I had to push myself harder than I wanted so that I would arrive before dark. Well, being steep with a large elevation gain and at a fairly high altitude it was taking longer than I planned.
I was close to my destination, but now it was dark, and my newest headlamp’s batteries were too low to give me any assistance. I pulled out my backup and it was an old model and didn’t help much either. I have a nice backpacking lantern and that was going to have to do. I arrived at the lake in pitch dark and was unsure of a place to camp. Lucky for me I could see a couple headlamps around part of the lake and I headed in that directions. I met a couple nice young men whom were also there for the first time and the pointed out a good place to pitch my tent. On this Sunday night we had the place to our selves.
I got settled in for the night and about an hour or so later I could see and hear the approaching storm. It wasn’t long before we were feeling the wrath of nature with a intense thunderstorm, strong wind, lightning and thunder, and it rained for about an hour. I could hear my neighbors talking amongst themselves, “What do you want to do pack it in and head home?” The more experienced of the two told him the only concern that he had was the trees overhead and either a bolt hitting them or perhaps the winds bringing down a limb. He decide that the tree was okay and we all road out the storm just fine.
The next morning I hiked up through the woods, as far as I could, and across a boulder field to a ridge above. I have been given a tip by a fit young couple that were day hikers. They knew the area well and said to check out the second lake, Upper Red Pine Lake. There were several little amazing alpine lakes up there at the 10,000’ level and I was so thankful for the advice.
I worked my way down from above taking a little different route down a grassy area as far as I could before tackling the boulder field, and then along a wonderful stream and through the woods back to my camp.
The following morning I packed up and headed down. The views along the way were to die for. The trail was so beautiful with different type of trees, not only the fir trees, but the aspens were fantastic. I loved the sound of the leaves as the wind blew through them. The peak-a-boo views of the near by ridge were so outstanding that you didn’t want to take your eyes off of it. I saw one young women almost trip for that very reason.
Speaking of which, I don’t know what the deal was, but the trail hikers going up were 90% young, fit, attractive women. I even joked one group about that and I didn’t quite catch what she said it was either “that must be a treat”, or perhaps she said “it was a retreat”. But either way it was indeed a treat.
Three fourths of the way down I had heard about an unmarked trail right after a bridge that crossed rushing water. A quarter of a mile in was a superb waterfall. I hiked up both sides of the stream towards the falls, but the best trail and views were from the up hill trail. The waterfall topped off what was a fantastic adventure in the Wasatch National Forest. I highly recommend this hike, and if you get the chance to camp there all the better.
Utah has some great hiking, so I invite you to get your blood pumping, breath some cool mountain air, smell the light scent of wildflowers, take in the beauty of nature, and set your soul free. This is Roger Jenkins and I hope to see you soon Pursuing Balance Through Adventure. Please COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW, and SHARE.