A Journey On The Highline Trail: Conclusion

In closing my writing about his journey, I want to reflect on the experience I had in the Uinta Mountains, discuss some of the mistakes I made, and gloat on my accomplishments.

While I didn’t really make any serious mistakes, I did make a few, and they made the vacation a little less enjoyable than it could have been. The main mistake I made, was that I didn’t plan anything. In the introduction to this series I mentioned that my only plan was to have a vehicle waiting for me at one end, and get dropped off at the other. I had no specific plans as to where I was going to be spending nights or how far I’d travel each day. This really took away from the enjoyment of my trip, because it didn’t give me any free time. I was basically going as far as I could each day, and by the end of each day I was too tired to do anything (including make a decent dinner most of the days).

In some ways, however, this was unavoidable. I was going by myself, and I really had no concept of how hard it would be to travel the terrain, or how far the journey would actually be. A map can only tell you so much, just glancing at a map tells you even less. Going in, all I knew was where the trail was.

What’s funny, is that at some points while I was out there, I was thinking to myself, ”Never, never again.” Though, as soon as the day I finished my journey, I laughed at that idea. I’d do it again. Now that I’ve been through the region, I have the knowledge to make specific plans, and I would. I could plan much slower days, with more free time to do other outdoors activities. I think if I did it again, I’d avoid the east end of the range, though. I’d start a little further west, where the terrain proved much more interesting.

The other mistake I made was in regards to personal care. I didn’t apply sunscreen, and the sunburns I acquired held me back from as much enjoyment as I could have had. They made sleeping difficult, which made me tired, which made the days in general difficult. What I would do differently there, is apply sunscreen every day.

Part of the reason I didn’t apply sunscreen, was because I was too concerned with bugs. I was using a lotion for bugs, and I didn’t know how effective the lotion would have been, had it been mixed with sunscreen. On future trips, I will use a spray for bugs, instead of lotion. I’ve had success with bug sprays in the past, and I think they work better with sunscreen lotions. I avoided a spray because aerosol cans take up more room than a lotion, but in retrospect, it would be worth the extra space.

Also, with regards to personal care, I would definitely pack a better first aid kit, and have better tools for treating blisters. My first-aid kit was very incomplete in that regard, and I could have been better equipped. I would bring along more pairs of dry socks as well. One thing I didn’t mention in the previous posts, was that I used the same bag for dirty and clean laundry, so my wet socks from previous days would make my dry socks damp.

Those were really my only mistakes, planning and personal care. Now I want to gloat about my accomplishments. I felt like I had achieved a lot as I walked into the parking lot. Few people will understand the difficultly of such a trek. I know this, because when I tell people about my trip, they don’t think it’s a big deal. They have no comprehension of the physical conditioning, stamina, and endurance required to complete such a journey. Only one person that I have talked to, agreed with me that there is a real sense of accomplishment when you complete such a task, and that person has made similar excursions.

Most people have been hiking at some point in their life. They may have made an easy journey out to see a lake, or maybe a tougher journey up to the top of a peak, but that isn’t comparable to the accomplishment of hiking seventy miles in back-country wilderness with sixty pounds strapped to your back while crossing seven mountain passes.

Despite what you may think, I accomplished a lot. Even the other backpackers I met on the trail weren’t going as far as me. Though, I will admit that plenty of others have made the same, or comparable, journeys. Those that have, will understand what I mean when I say that as far as I’m concerned, I’m the king of that mountain range. Those that haven’t, will think that I’m egotistical.

In conclusion I’m providing a few satellite pictures of the area. I’m overlaying my journey along the trail, to give you at least a little sense of what I’ve accomplished.

This is my journey overlaid on the satellite imagery of the region. The color codes follow as in the previous days. Click on the image to see it bigger.
This highlights the region of the previous satellite image in relation to the state of Utah.
And here it is in relation to the United States.
For comparison with the satellite image.Coded as follows:Green: Day 6Pink: Day 5Orange: Day 4Purple: Day 3Blue: Day 2Red: Day 1