When we first got up there, it was raining and the temperature had dropped significantly, especially compared to the basin. Down in Vernal, it was almost 100 degrees, but up top with the storm going on, it was a chill 55 degrees. We had to wait for a break in the storm to put up camp, plus we had to fight the mosquitos. I don’t know if it was due to the rain or what, but they were everywhere, and they’d swarm you as soon as you stopped moving. I imagine that is what Alaska is like this time of year.
We got the camp set up, collected and processed some wood for the night’s fire (and the wood burning stove), then headed off to go get some scouting in before it got too dark. On the way up it looked like the Forest Service, or some mysterious Good Samaritan had finally cleaned up the trail. A lot of the fallen trees had been cut away and the path had been cleared. So that was nice.
We didn’t see much sign headed up that way, but I followed a game trail and found a big open meadow that I had no idea was there. It would be a good spot perhaps for rifle season.
Up to that point, I hadn’t really seen much sign of elk at all. However, my wife and I decided to push on and see what the lake looked like anyway. I knew if I didn’t go up there, I’d always be wondering what was up that way. We pressed on and found more sign of people than we did of animals. It was okay though because we came across some beautiful scenery. However, there was one casualty from that jaunt—my wife’s boots. The soles of her boots completely disintegrated during that hike. She’d only wore those boots for about six months while she was deployed overseas and they couldn’t last four hours in the Uintah Mountains. That goes to show you what happens when you go with the lowest bidder for government contracts.
I don’t know if the hunt will pan out, but at least I have a better idea of what it’s looking like at the moment, and I can create my game plan. Hopefully, some of the sweat equity pays off and I can harvest an elk this year because let me tell you this, my freezer is looking sparse.