The Glory of The Wasatch Mountains

IMG_3299Yesterday, I flew from Chicago to Utah for a conference at the Utah Valley University. As an avid hiker, I never miss an opportunity to hit the trails in Utah, one of my favorite places on Earth. One could spend a lifetime experiencing the natural wonders of Utah and only scratch the surface. On this trip, I went directly from the airport to hike the Wasatch Mountains, which were in full Fall glory. Given my flight, I started rather late to do the Red Pine trail, a challenging hike that takes you to the high ridge of this alpine hike where you can see two gorgeous lakes.

Red Pine Lake is part of the Lone Peak Wilderness Area, which is famous for its wildflowers and striking fall colors. Red Pine Fork has an Upper and Lower Red Pine Lakes that are some of the most breathtaking and tranquil spots that I have encountered over the years.

Unfortunately, I decided to walk around the lake and then took what I thought was the trial. Instead of leading to the trailhead, it took me up another mountain and the upper lake. The result was that I found myself at the top of the mountain as darkness began to fall. I was able to walk out but had to finish in the dark. I felt truly moronic but it was an amazing (albeit exhausting) hike. Of course, my trip to the mountain top is no doubt the reason for the Cubs victory over the Cards in the third game of the playoff.

Give yourself enough time however (including unexpected detours). You will also be stopping for some awesome pictures. I saw a moose, a huge porcupine and other wildlife in addition to incredible scenery. Here are a few pictures.

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18 thoughts on “The Glory of The Wasatch Mountains

  1. lovely parts of the earth, for sure; i grew up in the 4 corners area and spent time in utah’s glorious outdoors. however, i’m clearly biased and would love for you to compare the breathtaking views of colorado during any season of the year! heck, we’d be honoured. : D

  2. JR, Colorado is beautiful. But, Utah has such a range of unique beauty from the Wasatch in the north to the canyons in the south. It is the uniqueness that has me dub Utah the most beautiful of the 47 states I have visited. There are so many Americans who have never been to Utah, a must visit in my book. That said, I was just in the area where you grew up, a few weeks ago, Telluride. Loved it.

  3. Beautiful pictures. I always love to read your posts about these expeditions of yours.

    Watching the sunset from a mountain top is great. I’m not sure why you would call it moronic except that you didn’t plan it. I have planned arriving at peaks to watch the sunset before, and I have known many others to do the same thing. While some will camp at the top of the peak, I often just hike down with a flashlight afterward which is what it sounds like you did. Nothing wrong with that at all.

    Most hiking boots I have worn get uncomfortable after a few hours of hiking. I am curious with all the hiking you do if you have a pair of favorite hiking shoes that you can share the brand and model with us.

    Earlier this year I traveled to Iceland to hike a glacier and bought some new hiking boots. They were Merrell Men’s Energis Mid Trail Shoes from Sports Authority. Most comfortable shoes I have ever worn of any type. In a few weeks I am going on a trip around the world and I plan to bring these as my only pair of shoes. That is how comfortable they are.

  4. Great pictures. I wish you had been able to snap one of the porcupine!

    Davidm – Growing up, we never bought new boots for a scouting trip. If you did get new boots, you wanted to put in a few solid day trips to break them in. I find the older my boots are, the more comfortable they become. The best ones have the toes detached from the soles(use em’ up, wear em’ out, stitch em’ up, do without). Although I don’t wear those on rainy days. I say anything leather is great, but a lot of the new nylon boot styles are really comfortable too.

    I have boots like women have shoes…

  5. You really put shame to the phrase “flyover country” with your “boots on the ground” approach. I’ve tromped over many miles of the back country in my home state, but I’ve never done this hike. Thanks for your beautiful photos. Just out of curiosity, did you navigate your way back down in the dark by the light of your cell phone, as I have had to do a couple of times?

  6. Yeah, wonder what kind of hiking foot gear JT laces up with?

    Italy’s Asolo and Zamberlan boots are some of the finest outdoor foot gear.
    I use tactical police boots for day hikes. These boots are so comfortable. And they are certified to withstand shock in electrified water.
    Don’t leave home without them. They polish up black, waterproof and are breathable. Not cheap.

  7. I used Danner boots. They could put up with a lot of punishment and you could get at least three years out of them. They’re a good work boot but I don’t know how suited they are for long hikes.

  8. I spent a couple of weeks in Utah this summer–heaven. A week in Wyoming before, a week in Colorado after…best summer I’ve had since I got old, and the beer has really improved out there since I was running around the west 25 years ago.

  9. Nick Spinelli

    The avg. salary for law professors is nearly $200,000. Plus, JT works for Congress and other high-status folks, of course he is getting paid. His title includes “public interest” though. The only concern for poor people that has been expressed here is the large class sizes in the nice suburb he live in (his son just wants to learn German!). To the vast majority of human beings, this qualifies as posh. This site posts more about JT’s trip than the most pressing issues of civil liberties.

    • chipkelly… wrote: “This site posts more about JT’s trip than the most pressing issues of civil liberties.”

      I disagree.

      Nevertheless, this is JT’s personal site, not an advocacy site. As such, it reflects a very balanced man concerned with civil liberties.

  10. I love your photos, Mr Turley. Hubby and I don’t have much money and therefore cannot travel. I trip along with you, vicariously, and throughly enjoy every one that you go on. Your photos are so beautiful that I use them for screensavers. I will spend several minutes on each photo, imagining I am standing where you were when it was snapped. Your blog is great and I read it every day but I must say that your trips with photos are the pure “icing on the cake” and the best part is, as luscious as they are, don’t cause me to gain weight!!

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