Letters from Home
Matthew, KristyAnn, Ben, Annie & Zach
We had a great backpacking trip. We left the house on Monday at 8 AM and headed to the Mirror Lake trailhead. We finally started hiking at about 11 AM. There are two ways from Mirror Lake to Pinto Lake. One is to take the Highline trail, headed towards Naturalist Basin, the other is to hike down the North Fork of the Duchesne River, cross at the confluence and then hike up the East Fork of the Duchesne.
At the Trail Head
We decided to hike in through the later path. The Uintas were nice and green, but it is clear that bark beetles have had a significant impact on the health of the forest.
Scrambling up the scree slope when we got off trail
After hiking about 6 miles on Monday, and as we were hiking up the East Fork of the Duchesne, I noticed that the trail was getting fainter and fainter. Eventually, we lost the trail all together. I had a pretty good idea of where we were at, so we decided to just continue on a bushwack over the mountain and into Granddaddy Basin.
This required us to scramble up a very steep slope of scree and logs.
Trying to figure out where we are:
The kids liked the idea of being lost but did eventually get a little nervous. I was still pretty confident where we were on the map and used a compass to keep us moving in what I thought was the right direction. After about an hour of this, the kids were getting very tired and whining and the day was wearing on. It was about 6 PM by now.
Zach following dad, always trusting
I felt impressed that I should have Zach offer a prayer and ask Heavenly Father to guide us to the lake. We still had no trail and were in a dense forest. So, Zach offered a simple prayer and told Heavenly Father that we were tired and needed help finding Pinto Lake.
Looking at Maps
I was never nervous, as I knew we could camp anywhere at anytime, but having Zach pray was the right idea.
After the prayer we continued hiking in the direction of where I thought the Lake was at. WITHIN FIVE MINUTES WE CAME OUT OF THE FOREST, RIGHT ON TOP OF PINTO LAKE.
The kids were overjoyed and we immediately made camp, rested, and got dinner ready and eventually fished. I told the kids to always remember that Heavenly Father answers prayers. Especially those of the pure in heart, like an 8 year old kid.
We fished that night and I caught one rainbow trout, about 10 inches long.
That ended up being the only fish we caught the entire trip.
We saw a doe deer in the distance and over the evening she got closer and closer to our camp and was very friendly. We named her Gloria. The next morning she was still around and the next evening as well. Amazingly tame.
Zach, Annie & Ben
Matthew wading in a painfully ice-cold stream
The next day we hiked to Pine Island Lake for lunch, a total of about 6 miles. Pine Island is a beautiful lake!
We got back to camp around 3 PM, so we played games that afternoon, like Pinecone baseball.
Thank you, dad, for teaching me to love backpacking. That's another thing that I can completely thank you for.
On the third day, we hiked out via the Highline trail by Naturalist basin. I think that way was a little longer (about 9 miles), but much flatter. Zach was completely tuckered out the last 3 miles but we eventually made it back to the car.
I really enjoyed the trip. Ben and KristyAnn are, of course, tough as nails hikers and Annie is coming along. For being 8, Zach did amazingly well too. I am already thinking of our next backpacking trip! It was so wonderful to spend so much time with the kids and KristyAnn, free of distractions.
I love you both
We love you and your wonderful family