Utah July 2003 Itinerary

Dear mom and dad,

        I provide here an itinerary for my upcoming driving trip to Utah (hereafter "UT") with Scott Casterlin of Tucson.

A county map of Utah is attached to this e-mail for your reference. PLEASE PRINT IT and use as a guide to understanding the zigs and zags of my journey.


This trip should bring me at least twelve and as many as sixteen counties - all of them being in Utah with one exception (see below).

Scott has only six counties to go before a UT state completion (UT has 29 counties), all of them in northern UT.

I have only four counties in UT, total, of 29, and require several counties in southern UT to enlarge my home glob radius beyond the current 401 mile value that it has been for the past 1 1/2 years or so (being limited by Beaver County, UT).

Note: After this trip and a subsequent, final trip for the season in early September, my home glob radius should be up to 542 miles - having secured, among other counties, several in UT in the 400+ mile range from San Diego. 542 miles is the air distance to the southwestern tip of Colorado - which, hopefully, is the closest point on a county line whose highpoint I will not have yet visited (so defining one's home glob radius). Colorado is coming for me - but not THIS year.

But I am digressing. Scott Casterlin will be re-doing six southern Utah counties for my sake - counties that I require and that yet he has already climbed.

As I drive north on I-15 to Las Vegas on my birthday, Scott flies into Las Vegas and arrives by late morning. After retrieving him, I will doubtless require Scott's services at-the-wheel as I then enjoy my birthday treat - a half gallon of ice cream with goodies mixed-in such as the chocolate loaf cake you kindly gave me (I have been SAVING it)!

The following day, Sunday the 13th, we will get three of my six southern UT counties. We then drive to northern UT and start to get "his" six northern UT counties - the final climb being done with Edward Earl who will have flown into Salt Lake City on the middle weekend to co-complete UT with Scott in my presence. The final summit for Scott and Edward is necessarily Thurston Peak, two-fer highpoint of both Morgan and Davis Counties.

Scott and I then drive back south and get as many counties for my sake as time and energy will permit - at least three counties and as many as six (the additional three being doable in a single, long day as did Mike Coltrin just last weekend).

If there is sufficient time prior to the co-completion, Scott and I will do Sweetwater County, Wyoming - it is a few hours extra and can be driven right to the summit. Sweetwater County would bring Wyoming into my home glob, and, should I succeed in climbing Gannett Peak in early September, would bring the corresponding two counties into my home glob as well (Gannett Peak, the Wyoming state highpoint, is also the highpoint of both Fremont and Sublette Counties, Wyoming).


Saturday July 12

Drive by 5 a.m. north on I-15 to Las Vegas, Nevada. Pick up Scott Casterlin and proceed, still on I-15, to southwestern Utah. This is strikingly beautiful country with Bryce, Zion National Parks and much more. Camp as close as reasonable to the next day's climb.

Sunday July 13

Delano Peak (12,173 feet) - the Beaver and Piute County Highpoint (cohp)

Our route is from the west, up a branch of Poison Creek. Mike Coltrin say it is "hands-in-pockets" type of hiking with 1,800 feet of elevation gain. Beaver County, recall, currently limits my home glob radius. After Delano Peak, my radius is limited by Garfield County (see below) to 408 miles.

Mine Camp Peak (10,222 feet) - the Millard cohp

Mostly a drive, Scott Surgent's trip report describes a route that involves only 200 feet of elevation loss to a saddle, followed by 400 feet of climbing to the top. Both of these can easily be done by late afternoon. We start driving north on I-15.

Monday July 14 - Sunday July 20

The following four summits with corresponding counties are to be climbed in the order stated. Exact dates cannot be specified owing to uncertainties in weather, driving distances, etc... .

BM Eccentric (12,276 feet) - the Daggett and Uintah cohp

This is a 4-5 hour hike in the Utah high country - alpine lakes, stunted, nipper-sized evergreens and talus fields.

Gilbert Peak (13,442 feet) - the Summit cohp

This is a 1 1/2 day climb that requires an overnight camp at Dollar Lake beneath the mountain. The trailhead is at Henrys Fork Campground. If we get to the trailhead mid-day we can pack-in to Dollar Lake by sundown, camp, and summit the next morning. Alternatively, if we get to the trailhead in the evening, we camp there, backpack up to Dollar Lake, set up tent, summit, and sleep there - walking out the following morning in analogy to how Truchas Peak was climbed over 1 1/2 days.

This is a very popular venue for hikers - and, were we to not be arriving during the work week (Monday-Friday), we might find it too crowded to find a camp space at Dollar Lake.

Edward Earl and I camped at Dollar Lake several years ago to climb Kings Peak, the UT state highpoint, the following day. He has climbed Kings Peak five times - so attesting to both his long stay in UT as a graduate student, and the beautiful, enticing scenery of the Uinta mountain range.

Pine Mountain (9,550 feet) - the Sweetwater, Wyoming cohp (optional)

A drive-up that, as stated earlier, gets Wyoming into my home glob. Road navigation from the west is very complicated (E Earl, personal communication). Thereby Scott and I, should we have the time for this one, will drive up from the Colorado side via route 430.

Willard Peak (9,764 feet) - the Weber cohp

Near Ogden north of Salt Lake City, this one should take 1/2 or 2/3 of a day. The dropoff to the west is steep, with views of I-15 far below (Jobe Wymore).

Thurston Peak (9,706 feet) - the Morgan and Davis cohp (Mogen David cherry wine?)

This is the only summit that both Edward Earl AND Scott Casterlin require for their respective UT state completions. Thereby it necessarily must be the very last of the four summits climbed in this section from July 14 through July 20. July 20 is the tentative date because, as a Sunday, it is the final day of Edward's two day long, weekend trip to UT.

After a successful co-completion we will celebrate at the restaurant of our choice in the Salt Lake City area. Scott has his eye set on some "Red Rock Brewery". Upon learning this was his favorite hideout in the area, I became concerned that it is a beer hall: Edward drinks nothing and I hate beer! Scott has assured me both by e-mail and by telephone that they serve both pizza and normal meals:

Is Red Rock brewery a restaurant or just a place to sip suds?

It's pretty much a restaurant with all kinds of 3.2 beer available...brewery fixin's, too...downtown and very easy and casual

We will almost certainly get a motel that evening.

Monday July 21 - Friday July 25

The following summits with corresponding counties are to be climbed. Exact dates cannot be specified owing to uncertainties in weather, driving distances, etc ... .

Bluebell Knoll (11,328 feet) - the Wayne cohp

Essentially a country drive interrupted by a short walk, one can get to within a few hundred feet of this highpoint with Forest Service roads. Pretty name.

Fish Lake Hightop (11,633 feet) - the Sevier cohp

Near the eponymous lake, this is a one-half day hike with about 2,500 feet of elevation gain. It and Bluebell Knoll, being close-by, are typically done on the same day.

Mount Ellen (11,522 feet) - the Garfield cohp

The approach road is difficult - steep and sometimes rutted. Edward stopped short of reaching Bull Creek Pass at 10,485 feet owing to these poor conditions - and had to hike up the road and make it a full 3,600 feet of elevation gain in 2001.

The bad section referred to me by Edward was not found by Scott Surgent the following season. Evidently the Forest Service repaired the road at the "problem spot", located near Lonesome Beaver Campground.

Hopefully Scott Casterlin and I can drive without too much difficulty to Bull Creek Pass - so making this a 2-3 hour hike instead of an all-day effort. That said, I always play "on the safe side" when it comes to going on really rough roads - preferring to climb an additional few thousand feet on foot, and consume many extra hours, than risk vehicle damage.

With Garfield County my home glob radius increases to 433 miles - being then limited by the western "finger" of San Juan County in southeastern UT - a county saved for my early September trip.

If there is sufficient time we will spend a day to get the following three counties, which, incidentally, serve the additional role of connecting the northern UT counties into my yellow, main home glob:

Monument Peak (10,452 feet) - the Carbon cohp

East Mountain (10,743 feet) - the Emery cohp

South Tent Mountain (11,285 feet) - the Sanpete cohp

Saturday July 26

Drive southwest on I-15 to Las Vegas and drop-off Scott Casterlin for his early afternoon flight home. I continue south and west on I-15 to San Diego - hopefully with at least twelve and as many as sixteen extra counties. Sixteen would be wonderful - scott does not know it, but I will be pushing both of us to achieve. It is my way on these trips, and, since Scott will be driving one-half the time, it should be easy to avoid getting too tired for travel after the most recent summit.

It is also economical to strive for as many counties as reasonable since more counties per trip results in a lower dollar cost per county. Hence the reason why my trips are far longer in duration than in years past. I would go on trips exceeding two weeks - except I think that being away from home for a month at a time, although more economical still, would no longer be fun. The whole point is then lost to the demands of some greenish money idol - one worshiped far too much in this society.

As far as food - well, you know most of what I'll be eating - as you have provided more than I could reasonably eat while at home for the single week prior to my trip. Breakfasts will consist of two cereal boxes with much milk - while Scott enjoys coffee - cautioning me of the additional time he will take every morning to break out his stove and jolt himself with caffeine. I finish the cereal dry as I head uphill.... while summit siestas shall be highlighted by an onion roll with corned beef, adorned with a new mustard or sauce every time!

I will use my cell phone whenever it is in-range.

        Love, Adam