WasatchWill

Spring Break 2017: Day 1

Hiking and camping at Nevada's Valley of Fire State Park

Lake Blanche in Winter

Winter was the season for my first visit to Lake Blanche.

Winter at Utah Lake State Park

A weekend of winter wildlife viewing and scenice views at Utah Lake State Park.

Chimney Rock & Hickman Bridge

Revisiting the Chimney Rock Loop and Hickman Bridge in Captiol Reef National Park.

Ruby Falls Cave

A tour of the Tennessee's beautiful Ruby Falls Cave within Lookout Mountain.

Myakka River State Park

Wildlife viewing and more at Florida's Myakka River State Park.

Shelling at Marco Island

Hunting seashells and sand dollars at Florida's Marco Island.

Stewart Falls

An early winter's visit to a locally popular waterfall.

Buffalo Peak

A fall family hike up to Buffalo Peak.

Highline Trail: Day 5

Documenting Day #5 along the Uinta Highline Trail.

Dec 9, 2016

Winter Hike to Stewart Falls

Stewart Falls offers a short and relatively easy hike near Sundance Ski Resort and the BYU Aspen Grove Camp.  As such, it is a very popular hike throughout the year.  I had not been to these falls since I was a high school senior and ran to it as part of a summer trail run workout with my cross country team.  Well over a decade later, I took an opportunity to make a return visit, only this time, it would be on the cusp of winter.

Oct 18, 2016

Return to Tabernacle Crater

This October, the scout group I'm currently a leader of was in need of a campout and a place to go.  After taking my family out to explore Tabernacle crater the month before, I knew the young men in our group would enjoy it and suggested it to them.  They concurred.  So, back to Tabernacle Crater I went, this time to camp out.

Sep 21, 2016

Buffalo Peak

Buffalo Peak is a small and obscure peak that sits between Provo's more famous Squaw Peak and Cascade Mountain.  I took my family there for an after school hike to enjoy some fall colors.  Afterwards we'd wander through what I refer to as 'Cascade Meadow', a beautiful meadow that rests under Cascade Mountain.  It is extremely popular among photographers.

Sep 12, 2016

Tabernacle Crater & Meadow Hot Springs

Tabernacle Crater is one of many spots I found through scanning satellite maps. I was looking for places to explore not far off I-15.  I did subsequent research on it, learning of its lava craters and tubes in the process.  Later on I found there to be some nearby hot pots that were open to the public as well.  This is an area that has been on my radar for a couple of years now.  I initially wanted to take the family camping in the area but some other things came up and we ended up just making it a day trip instead.

Aug 27, 2016

Uinta Highline Trail - Day 6

Day 6 would mark our final day on the trail.  There were no breathtaking and jaw-dropping views as we had been spoiled with over the last few days.  There were no passes, no storms, no other major drama.  Instead, there was much reflection and celebration.

Aug 26, 2016

Uinta Highline Trail - Day 5

Day 5 marked a new milestone for me, extending the most nights out for me in one trip on the trail to 4.  We made it yet another 2-pass day with both Dead Horse Pass and Rocky Sea Pass.  Other features we'd visit along the way included Dead Horse Lake, Ledge Lake, Helen Lake, Lightning Lake, and Pigeon Milk Spring before settling in for the night at Olga Lake.

Aug 25, 2016

Uinta Highline Trail - Day 4

Day 4 would be the longest and most exhausting day of the trip, yet it also proved to be as fulfilling as any. I was able to make a solo summit up Wilson Peak in the morning before reuniting with the guys to head down Porcupine Pass, cross Oweep Basin, meander through Lambert Meadow, and take shelter from a storm, followed by Red Knob Pass and setting up camp in West Fork Black Fork's basin.  As a group, we put in about 17 miles on the day, plus 2 more for me in the scramble up to Wilson Peak and back.

Aug 24, 2016

Uinta Highline Trail - Day 3

Day 3 on the Highline Trail would take us up the highest pass of the trail and subsequently, the high point of the trip (and the state), Kings Peak. We would then descend Anderson Pass into the Yellowstone drainage on our way to crossing over Tungsten Pass before setting camp near North Star Lake.  We finished the day with about 11 miles, including the side trip up Kings Peak.  This would also be the first of a streak of three two-pass days.

Aug 23, 2016

Uinta Highline Trail - Day 2

After using our first day to actually hike to the Highline Trail, we'd now be on it the rest of the way.  What started out as overcast skies developed into a consistent drizzle as we traveled almost 13 miles, mostly under the cover of trees, to reach our 2nd camp in Painter Basin where skies cleared up a bit and left us with a gorgeous sunset.

Aug 22, 2016

Uinta Highline Trail - Day 1

Among the adventures at the top of my bucket list has been the Uinta Highline Trail.  An attempt to do it last year with another friend fell through.  Due to the logistics involved with a long drive to eastern end, it can be difficult to arrange a shuttle, even from loved ones.  When a fellow Internet forum member and campus colleague, Adam, made such a shuttle arrangement with a neighbor and reached out and invited me to join him and his brother, Steve, this last August, I was thrilled.

Aug 13, 2016

Family Backpacking: Ruth Lake

Two years ago, our family ventured out on its first backpacking trip together as a family.  That was to Ruth Lake in the Uinta Mountains.  Wanting to get one last adventure with the family in before school started, we opted for another backpacking trip, and once again, to Ruth Lake.  This time, as with the more recent Clyde Lake trip, we had an additional member of our party.

Aug 2, 2016

Backpacking South Thunder Mountain

Two years ago I joined a group that led me up to what immediately became one of my favorite parts of the Wasatch:  Lake Hardy, South Thunder Mountain and the surrounding terrain.  I had an itch to revisit it again this year and recruited a few people to join along in retracing much of the same route as before.  A couple of them had to bail leaving it to just a neighbor friend and myself.  For the second week in a row, I'd get to spend a night in the beautiful Lone Peak Wilderness area.

Jul 27, 2016

Backpacking Box Elder Peak

Known by some as simply "The Box", Box Elder Peak sits quietly at an elevation of 11,101 feet in the northeast corner of Utah Valley. Nearby neighbors, Mount Timpanogos to the south and Lone Peak along with several other peaks along the Alpine Ridge to the north get a lot more attention.  Perhaps it's due to their more dramatic ridges, cirques, and so on or perhaps its simply their higher elevations.  Either way, I decided to give Box Elder some love.

Jul 26, 2016

Hiking Navajo Knobs

Navajo Knobs has been a hike in Capitol Reef National Park that I've wanted to do for a long time.  I've continually put it off because it's longer than so many other nearby hikes and yet so easy to access.  Given that our family visits the area so often, I've always said to myself: It'll be there next time.  That next time finally happened.

Jul 13, 2016

Family Backpacking: Clyde Lake Loop


Two years ago we set off on our first backpacking trip as a whole family.  Jessica took a year off last year due to the birth of our newborn son at the time.  This year, the mountains called again and we had to answer that call.  That, and we're probably a little crazy.  With the new addition to our party, we doubled our mileage by doing the Clyde Lake Loop.  This was the same route I took Ellory out on last year for some daddy-daughter time.  I was so impressed then that I thought it would be a great one to lead the whole family on this time around.

Jul 1, 2016

Springville's Spring Canyon & Heaven

I thought I was familiar and experienced with all the trails and canyons up and down the west side of mountain I live by. Then I discovered there was one more canyon and trail I had yet to see. Ironically, I had lived right down the road from it 10 years ago and never even knew about it. Since Spring Canyon is accessed through Springville, the next city over and only a few minutes drive, I took the dog for a morning walk up the canyon to check it out. From the top of the little canyon, you can also hike up to a point that's actually called "Heaven".

Jun 30, 2016

Santaquin Peak

Every now and then I'll join a facebook group hike event.  This was one of them.  I hadn't been up on Santaquin Peak and Loafer Mountain since my high school cross country teammates ran up it for a day's workout while on an annual high elevation camp for our team back in 1999.  This group hike turned out to be an absolutely beautiful hike while getting to know some cool people.

Jun 27, 2016

Provo Peak via Slate Canyon


What started out as a walk around the block turned into a walk up to Slate Canyon Trailhead. That then turned into a walk all the way up Slate Canyon which then turned into a walk all the way up to Provo Peak. Given the distance, elevation gain and heat, it may be the most strenuous single day hike I've ever done.

Jun 26, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend - 2016

Memorial Day is always one of those bittersweet times.  It's a day we remember loved ones who've passed before us and others who have nobly served our country.  It's also an opportunity to spend some time with your living family and make some great memories, especially in the outdoors.  This year, we made another trip down to Torrey to do both.


May 5, 2016

Scout Tag-along Trip to Slide Canyon

This past weekend, the local scout troop in my neighborhood had made plans to go on a little backpacking trip up nearby Slide Canyon.  The campsite they had in mind was only a couple miles up trail.  Of course, I looked over my schedule, saw that I had the evening and morning free, and invited myself to tag along with them.  I had loaned out some gear for some others in the group to use and felt like it'd be good to be there in case any issues with the gear arose.  Really though...this was an opportunity to get another bag night in.

Apr 15, 2016

Backpacking Cassidy Arch


Cassidy Arch is among the most popular landmarks to hike to in Capitol Reef National Park. Most people choose to make it a simple day hike considering that it's only about 1.75 miles from the nearest trailhead in Grand Wash.  Jessica and I opted to take a longer way and then spend a night nearby in the Capitol Reef backcountry.

We actually planned to do the loop I did solo last year over two nights while the kids stayed with their grandparents up the road, but the weather forecast gave us cause to make the trip a one night affair instead.  So, we made it an out'n'back trip that featured a visit to Cassidy Arch.

Apr 13, 2016

Spring Break 2016 - Southeast Utah

Once again, we were blessed to take advantage of the kids' spring break from school.  This year's travels would take us to Southeastern Utah where we enjoyed two nights of camping, some hiking, visits to indian ruins, petroglyph panels, a pioneer fort, Four Corners, and more.

Mar 31, 2016

Spring Break Recon

Last week I was scheduled to go backpacking with a friend through Zion National Park, but that fell through.  Since I still had the days off, I began to make plans to do some backpacking in Grand Gulch, but Jessica suggested I wait.  That lead to an opportunity to take my three-year-old son, Lennox, out for a father-son adventure, since he's not yet in school, to do a bit of reconnaissance on some road conditions, campsites, and hiking trails for our upcoming spring break trip I've been planning for the rest of the family.

Mar 30, 2016

Rochester Panel

On the way home from a weekend trip to Torrey last month, we took a different way home for a change.  Along the way was a well known petroglyph panel known as the Rochester Panel.  I think it compares with Newspaper Rock as far as the concentration of glyphs go.

Mar 29, 2016

Seven Kivas

Last month my Jessica and I were able to spend a day down in Cedar Mesa hiking out to a few different sites. Some secret, some not so secret.  This one is not so secret.

Mar 2, 2016

A Quick Overnighter at Cedar Mesa

Blake, the same friend I went up to Middle Basin with last year, recently found some free time on his schedule and reached out to see if I wanted to shoot down south for a quick overnight trip.  At first we were looking at San Rafael Swell, but at the last minute, I suggested Cedar Mesa and it was ultimately agreed upon.

Feb 29, 2016

Bluff Balloon Festival - 2016

This past January I took the the opportunity to meet up with a group of friends down in Bluff, Utah for an annual balloon festival.  While all didn't go entirely to plan, it all turned out to be a fantastic experience.

Feb 26, 2016

Bryce Canyon Anniversary Getaway

This past December, my wife Jessica and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary by spending a night down at Bryce Canyon.  We'd visited a few times in the past, but they were always in the summer.  This would be our first winter visit.

Jan 15, 2016

Fall Break in Escalante

This last October during the kids' fall break from school, I took the opportunity to take my family down to spend a night in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Features of this trip included a first time visit to Upper Calf Creek, Devil's Garden, Batty Pass Caves, a dinosaur track site, Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, and Anasazi State Park.

Jan 13, 2016

Return to Middle Basin

This trip actually ended up being a last second decision after originally planning to meet up with a friend to hike the High Uinta Highline Trail.  However, after some discussions with our respective wives, and considering the logistics of the driving it would require, we opted to put that trip on the back burner and shoot for something smaller and closer to home. Middle Basin was ultimately decided on.

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About Will

Will Will lives at the footsteps of Utah's famed Wasatch Mountains. He enjoys hiking, camping, backpacking, sports, running, vegetable gardening, nature, food, photography, art, and spending time with his wife and kids.

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