Memorial day weekend. Last week was our maiden voyage of our new R-Pod camp trailer. Today I was looking forward to testing the trailer behind the Toyota Fj. Linda's truck is designed to pull things and comes complete with big engine and tow package. My Fj however is designed to crawl over things, small, light, and not necessarily designed to pull. The Fj can tow and is rated up to 6,000 pounds. The R-Pod is Ultra Light weighing in below 3,000 pounds. Add water, equipment and other necessities such as food, packs and we are probably pushing 4,000 pounds.
I spent yesterday in St. George getting the Fj up to speed with a 7/10 electrical hookup. The R-Pod comes with brakes, the Fj's current system is not designed to engage the brakes only the brake lights. So an upgrade was necessary. Caulk up another $580 to exploration.
Running to Wal mart this morning to pick up some camping food and another 2" inch ball for the trailer hitch (Linda's truck has a drop down ball) more money. Linda and I had visited Walmart the night before to purchase towels, additional foam mattress, shelves, drawer separators etc. The lady at the check out asked us if we just moved to town? Nope worse. All this is for when we leave town.
Water tank filled. New towels and bedding in place and by 10:00 am I was ready to hit the road. My destination is a small valley located between Milford, UT and Great Basin National Park. The small valley is on the way to the Wah Wah summit trailhead. At least the trailhead for the beta I have. My goal is to climb the 3 small peaks in the valley and Wah Wah summit tomorrow. My main goal is to avoid crowds (Zion National Park had 75,000 visitors over Memorial weekend 2017). Since I arrived at noon today I have not seen a single car or dust trail in the surrounding valleys. There's out of the way, and then there's out of the way. It's so ghostly quiet I worry there is something everyone else knows about the area that I don't. It's like sleeping in a house and everyone knows it's haunted but you.
UNPeak 6783 is a non-descript peak of sagebrush and Juniper trees. Setting up camp fairly close to the 3 peaks I intend to summit, I leave for peak 6783 shortly after lunch. There is a prominent hill just to the east of my trailer that I start to hike towards. I'm going in the general direction of 6783 but after consulting my GPS navigation I realize the peak I am climbing towards is not peak 6783. Checking the TOPO once again I start to skirt the hillside toward a high saddle.
At roughly the same elevation I hike around the hillside. Soon I can see the high saddle and Peak 6783. Reaching the high saddle I confirm my location on GPS. My only confirmation however, is that I am at the wrong location again. I skirted left when I should have gone right. For those who have seen me describe my 3 strike rule this is strike one.
I refer to this type of strike as a failure of "intuitive route finding". I don't fail often with route finding but when I do it's usually a big strike for me. Back track to often and I'm done. Intuition is a big thing in the back country and you have to learn to "trust your gut". When that's not working you are in real trouble.
I continue to skirt the sub peak having now encircled half the mountain cutting across lava flows and finally reaching the correct saddle.
The hike to the summit is pretty direct from here and I reach it in short order. The summit cairn is a fence post and you can look directly south and see the old remains of a fence line. There's a connecting road and if I had wanted to explore by jeep I maybe could have hiked up the fence line. I'm okay with my round about route, indirect as it might have been. I settle down on a flat rock and eat a snack. The GPS summit is to the east of the high point. So I wander over until my GPS beeps. I change the waypoint to summit and start down the hillside.
I skirt the correct side of the sub peak having how encircled the entire peak. In doing so I scare up a very large cow elk. She is beautiful as she prances through the Juniper trees. I don't see a calf with her and I'm a little surprised as that she is alone as elk are herd animals. I arrive at the main road several hundred yards from my camp. As I hike along the road it is obvious that no other tire tracks are fresh. Reaching my tracks and where I turned off the road to make camp I truly am alone in this valley.