Day Six July 23: Painters Basin to Tungsten Pass, 10 miles

What a thrilling night. There was thunder and lightning above our heads all night long with torrential downpours. Salamander woke up with a puddle under her tent and everything we had was wet! Not a great start to the day but the sun peaked out and thank goodness, it wasn’t raining in the morning. These are big wins!

What was super exciting was a real live Shepard tending his herd of some 500 sheep. He had some helpful sheep dogs that knew exactly how to move those sheep from one side of the meadow to the other. It looked like a flock of geese or some other migrating birds that fly or in this case, run in formation across the grassy field. The Shepherd came over to greet but neither Salamander nor I could speak much Spanish so the conversation was quick ending. But we’re able to gather that he would be here through August and then the lambs would be ready for harvest.

We climbed over the highest pass, Anderson Pass today which is 12800’ and change. The tallest peak in Utah is Kings Peak 13527’ which Salamander ran up like a gazelle. I watched from the safety of the pass and headed over the other side. The Conservation Corp was doing some trail work on the pass, placing huge rocks that act as barriers for erosion. They will be working this area for the summer. Bless their hearts as that is hard and painstaking work.

As I was making my way down the steepest pass of this trek, I heard rumbling and thought, more thunder storms? As I looked over to the ridge just below Kings Peak, the most enormous rockslide had started. It seems that whenever I witness a rockslide, I’m with Salamander so that shall give you an indication as to the places we travel together. I videotaped it as it let off and continued for over a minute, careening all the way down the steep face. It really reminds me how powerful Mother Earth can be. I believe with the intense saturation we had from the night before, it was enough to start this climatic event. It sure reminds me to respect the backcountry and all the wrath it holds!

The descent was much more intense than the climb and I was grateful that we chose to hike east to west. Well at least today. The meadow below is like nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s so huge. The only comparison would be Yosemite but I believe the glacier that carved this area was twice the size of Yosemite Valley. They call it “Valley of the Kings” as Kings Peak overlooks it like he is seated on a throne. It is spectacular and just boggles my mind how few people ever experience this place. There is no easy way to get here except pure grit and some bit of crazy. I always think I’ve hit my max when I’m out here but this truly has pushed me beyond anything I thought I could do. It is strenuous daily, and never gives you much of a chance to take a breath. God has reminded me time after time to just slow down and walk this with him. I am slowly realizing that I truly need to listen to his sweet and comforting voice so I can freely inhale his majesty and glory.

Today we didn’t get in all the miles we planned. The intention was to climb three passes and finish off with Porcupine Pass. But I’ve learned intentions are fine but God Almighty has it already taken care of. Around 530pm, the weather began to clear. Warm beautiful blue skies and we made our mind up to finish in this basin on the other side of Tungsten Pass. It was lovely. We actually sat and warmed up our body’s and gear under the sun rays, and relaxed for a change. There comes a time when you just need to soak in this beauty and rest. Thank you Jesus for giving me this time to honor you, to seek all that you have blessed me with and know when enough is enough.

I trust in, rely on, and am confident in you. Oh Lord, I say, you are my God. my times are in your hands Psalm 31:14-15

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s