Monday, July 26, 2010

Great Basin weekend part 1

As has become tradition, we headed out to Garrison, Ut for a mix of R&R and some late stage training activities the weekend before the big ugly that is the Butte 100 coming up this Saturday. Also worked out that we had some extended family in the area so we camped up in Great Basin National Park Thursday night and joined them for a little peak bagging excursion on Friday.
You get a big range of elevation and climate/vegatation zones out there. The photo above is of the road in, where we're just about to dip below the tree line in the desert. Wheeler Peak, Nevada's 2nd highest at just over 13,000 ft looms in the right of the frame.

And here's the view from the top, way, way above any treeline.

Annie just starting the steeper stuff as we were nearing the summit.

Here we are up top - views were pretty spectacular.

Picture from a little lower down the approach - no Hillary Step, but cool terrain nonetheless. Wildlife that thrives the most up here? Bees and Butterflies, high volumes of high terrain flowers up there.

And plentiful lichen to support the high altitude bucks that hang out up in the sliderock. Got my first lesson on these crafty deer on Mt. Peale in the La Sals when dad had sent me up high (pre gun toting age) to get above them - hiked for what seemed like forever to a point where I was sure I was too high to even spook them back down, and started to traverse, only to hear the slide rocks move another couple hundred yards above me, and looked up to see 7 large bucks, any of which would have been the largest we'd had a shot at for years, working their way around the mountain much higher than I'd ever have guessed they'd go. Saw the same dynamic on the way up to Wheeler Peak.

Mtn. streams are one of life's greatest simple pleasures for various reasons in various circumstances - on this day - a little footsoak while sitting on a log with my pals.
Wheeler Peak's a pretty favorable work/reward excursion. It was high enough I could feel the air getting a little thinner, not dramatic, but noticable - and at 13,000 feet, it's plenty high to provide a birds eye view of the local peaks that look big from my house (Lone Peak, Timp) were they next door. Trailhead sits at around 10,000, where we had camped, and you can be up top in about 2.5 hours - faster if you want, the trail is just over 3 miles. Don't know a lot of peaks that high where you can sleep in, bag the peak, and be back down for lunch. We'll have the kids up there within a few years I think.


Nate said...

Nice, I sat in a creek in Colorado last weekend. It felt damn good! Looks like a good time!

eeeevilbanks said...

nice write up man...........looks like you guys had a great time indeed.

Jason said...

Nate - good chance I'll get off and roll in a creek if I see once come Butte Saturday.

Banks aka snake man, wait till you see the rattlesnake that buzzed at us.