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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

High Uintas Wilderness, Utah

I am so excited to share my Uinta pictures with you. 

 And I figured the best way was to start with a general post about the High Uintas.

When you hear someone talk about Utah, you usually hear the following:
 Park City (skiing), 
 or National Parks. 

Well, if you have been following my blog for the past year, you know there is so much more to Utah than these stereotypes. 
I don't know why the High Uintas haven't made the list. Don't get me wrong, our national parks are amazing here (and there are 5!). But they are over crowded, congested, and over 100 degrees and are busiest in the summer. I don't do crowds so you will not find me in our National Parks on a holiday weekend.

Now the Uintas on the other hand... Rarely top 80 degrees, and this is where you find solitude. >450,000 acres, gorgeous hiking trails with over 1,000 natural lakes. Fishing, hiking, biking, ATVing, camping, skiing, yurting....

Utahns like that the Uintas are a best kept secret, and I shouldnt even mention the name out in cyber space. BUT, I like you all and this is a secret I just have to share. Let's talk about some of the basics. 

The High Uintas is jointly managed by the Wasatch-Cache and Ashley National Forests.

" The High Uintas Wilderness encompasses 456,705 acres and stretches nearly 60 miles east to west. It is a spectacular area with hundreds of glacier-formed lakes reflecting blue skies and Utah's highest peaks in clear, cold water. This area was legally designated as wilderness in 1984, by the Utah Wilderness Act. The intent of wilderness designation is to preserve parts of the earth as places dominated by natural forces, not man. People are visitors who do not remain, but who can watch and learn how nature works without human interference". United States Forest Service

"There are well over 1,000 natural lakes in the Uintas and more than 500 of them support populations of game fish. There are also over 400 miles of streams. Over 2.5 million visitors come to the Ashley National Forest each year for outdoor recreation.

The Uinta Range is the highest in Utah, and is the only major range in the contiguous United States with an east-west orientation. Elevations range from 8,000 feet in the lower canyons to 13,528 feet atop Kings Peak - the highest point in Utah. Ridges divide the area into large, scenic basins; many ridges rise abruptly several thousand feet above the basins.

The mountains' skeleton is pre-Cambrian rock over 600 million years old. These ancient rocks were elevated under tremendous pressure to form nearly vertical faults. Parent rocks are primarily quartzite with sandstones and shale beds.

In contrast to the surrounding desert, the Uintas receive about 40 inches of precipitation annually, mostly as snow. The growing season is short. Temperatures in areas above 10,000 feet are seldom above 80 degrees during summer days. Night temperatures during summer are 30-40 degrees, with freezing possible at any time. Summer afternoon thunderstorms may occur with little warning.

Most of the mountain slopes are forested. Coniferous trees (lodge pole pine, Engelmann spruce, Douglas fir, sub-alpine fir) grow in large continuous stands. Quaking aspen occur in scattered patches throughout most of the lower elevations. Isolated meadows - resembling large parks - and willow fields add variety to the timbered areas. Many peaks extend above tree line".

So basically you have this LARGE area of wilderness.  Yes actual real wilderness.  With bears and moose and critters, oh my!  What really makes this area SO dang beautiful is the lakes.  Over 1,000 high altitude gorgeous lakes.  You can hike out to a lake, enjoy the quiet and watch someone fish or a dog swim. Or just watch the wind and enjoy the gorgeous mountain reflections.

Stay tuned for more pictures, hiking, camping, and my July 4 weekend in the Uintas!


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