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 > Exploring the Henry Mountains - Part II

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seldomseensmith

Flagstaff, AZ

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Joined: 09/18/2006

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Posted: 08/26/11 11:57am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks again folks. As I said earlier, I miss doing the whole TR thing, but the positive feedback surely makes it worthwhile.

bka0721 wrote:

As you might expect, I love the pictures of the flowers


Thanks Bryan, but what are the first two? They grow above 10,500 feet and I have never seen them before. Any ideas?

DonCurley wrote:



Did you by any chance see what my wife & I called the "industrial crickets" of Mount Ellen? On the lower sections on the way to the summits, we encountered quite a few of them. They were jet black and extremely large and we have never seen the same type anywhere else. We also took a longer route from the Dandelion/Lonesome Beaver area and hiked up a couple of steep drainages and slopes by route finding until we intercepted the ridge trail you show in your photos. That made for a very long day and we finished our hike in the dark with flashlights (and then got hit and drenched with a tremendous thunder storm ... luckily we were down off the mountain by then)


Don,

I guess I was fortunate in not encountering the "industrial" crickets (they sound like Mormon crickets). Grasshoppers were in abundance, but no crickets. It sounds like you and the wife really earned your Mt. Ellen merit badge - I did it the easy way, mostly 'cause I didn't know of a different route.

Speaking of which, since you live at the base of the La Sals, I have yet to find any mention of a trail that leads to the summit - is there one, or is it a "top secret" hush-hush locals only route? C'mon Don, you can tell me..... [emoticon]

O.K., so here's a cropped image of the "burned" area - I only use the term burned because it appears darker than the surrounding material. There's no doubt in my mind that the lack of vegetation indicates an avalanche chute, but what is causing the discoloration of the slope?

Moisture is one possibility, but this is a west facing slope in late August, and it's been a hot summer. The phenomenon is so localized it's hard to believe the snow or rain in that one spot was greater than any other. Someone out there knows the answer, so hopefully they'll chime in and solve this mystery.

[image]

* This post was edited 08/26/11 01:05pm by seldomseensmith *


The Road Goes Ever On



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cewillis

Tucson, az, usa

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Posted: 08/26/11 12:42pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

jefe 4x4 wrote:

Seldom,
Fablus. Simply fablus. I like your style.

Yeah -- he's kind of addictive, in a good way.


Cal


Nemo667

Louisiana

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Posted: 08/26/11 02:42pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Fantastic report. Looking forward to part III


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rwj146

Texas

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Posted: 08/26/11 02:48pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I am looking forward to part three, great pictures, as usual.

When you are out in the isolated regions do you carry any sort of communication device, like a satphone? Looking at all the paths you covered (I still haven't detected the trail you wrote about) I am just curious what you have planned in case of an emergency.
Thanks for sharing.


Courage is endurance for one moment moreā€¦
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unlblkrubi

Huntsville, Alabama

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Posted: 08/26/11 03:02pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you. Has been many years since I was there.

DonCurley

La Sal, Utah

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Posted: 08/26/11 03:45pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

seldomseensmith wrote:

DonCurley wrote:

Did you by any chance see what my wife & I called the "industrial crickets" of Mount Ellen? On the lower sections on the way to the summits, we encountered quite a few of them. They were jet black and extremely large and we have never seen the same type anywhere else. We also took a longer route from the Dandelion/Lonesome Beaver area and hiked up a couple of steep drainages and slopes by route finding until we intercepted the ridge trail you show in your photos. That made for a very long day and we finished our hike in the dark with flashlights (and then got hit and drenched with a tremendous thunder storm ... luckily we were down off the mountain by then)

I guess I was fortunate in not encountering the "industrial" crickets (they sound like Mormon crickets).

I have seen smaller tanish-brown Mormon crickets before, so I didn't think that's what they were. But after doing some Google searches, I think you're right on the money. As it turns out, there are several varieties of Mormon crickets and the jet black ones can be one of them. They can get up to 3" in length (which is about what the ones we saw were), but the dead giveaway was the long "stinger" like appendage coming off their hind ends that got our attention. Here are three pics off the Internet that are pretty close to what I am talking about:

[image]

[image]

[image]

As it turns out, a Mormon cricket (Anabrus simplex) really isn't a cricket at all. It is a shield-backed katydid, found in western North America. In addition to long antennae and a stripped abdomen, the females have a long ovipositor (sometimes mistaken for a stinger).

Quote:

It sounds like you and the wife really earned your Mt. Ellen merit badge - I did it the easy way, mostly 'cause I didn't know of a different route.

Truth is, back in '81, there wasn't a lot of readily available info on the Henry's (and no Internet), so we just came up with our own route to climb Mount Ellen from down below. Keep in mind that I was 31 then, and now that 30 years have been added to that, you wouldn't catch me doing a cross-country, bush-whacking route like that again (unless I was tired of living). [emoticon] And going back to the Mormon crickets, I recall that they were down lower in the drainages we first started hiking up from Lonesome Beaver, so you wouldn't have seen any of those up on the ridge trail anyway.

Quote:

Speaking of which, since you live at the base of the La Sals, I have yet to find any mention of a trail that leads to the summit - is there one, or is it a "top secret" hush-hush locals only route? C'mon Don, you can tell me..... [emoticon]

We live at 7000 feet on the southern slope of South Mountain, which is the southern-most peak in the La Sals. There is a fair amount of information about the La Sals in terms of hiking, mountain biking, and 4x4 routes. We use the "La Sal Mountains Hiking and Nature Handbook" by Jose Knighton, "Hiker's & Cross-Country Skier's Map of the La Sal Mountains" by F.A. Barnes, Latitude 40 Moab East map, Trails Illustrated #501 Manti-La Sal National Forest topo map, "Canyon Country Off-Road Vehicle Trail Map - #7 La Sals Area" by F.A. Barnes, Manti-La Sal National Forest (La Sal Division) topo map, USGS La Sal Utah-Colorado topo map, and Manti-La Sal National Forest Travel Map. Then there is quite a bit of info on the Internet. Whatever the source of info, most if not all of the major & minor peaks in the La Sals either have primitive trails or routes to their summits.

Southern group of major La Sal peaks (from about the mid-point of the range):
[image]

[image]

[image]


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seldomseensmith

Flagstaff, AZ

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Posted: 08/26/11 04:33pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

rwj146 wrote:

I am looking forward to part three, great pictures, as usual.

When you are out in the isolated regions do you carry any sort of communication device, like a satphone? Looking at all the paths you covered (I still haven't detected the trail you wrote about) I am just curious what you have planned in case of an emergency.
Thanks for sharing.


Someone always knows where I am going and I set a time frame with my contact for when they should expect to hear from me next. I also carry a McMurdo PLB in the event of a life threatening emergency.

My TC is well equipped to survive an extended period in the event I break down or get stuck, and I always have a large daypack when hiking with extra food, clothing, first aid, etc. I have been a Wilderness First Responder for over 10 years, and I feel pretty confident about my ability to handle most issues that may arise.

That said, there's no such thing as 100% safety and security, so you gotta know your limits and what kind of exposure you are comfortable with. I'm not 20 any more (or even 30 or 40 [emoticon]) so I don't take unnecessary risks - or at least not as many as I used to.

DonCurley

La Sal, Utah

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Posted: 08/26/11 04:35pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

seldomseensmith wrote:

O.K., so here's a cropped image of the "burned" area - I only use the term burned because it appears darker than the surrounding material. There's no doubt in my mind that the lack of vegetation indicates an avalanche chute, but what is causing the discoloration of the slope?

Moisture is one possibility, but this is a west facing slope in late August, and it's been a hot summer. The phenomenon is so localized it's hard to believe the snow or rain in that one spot was greater than any other. Someone out there knows the answer, so hopefully they'll chime in and solve this mystery.

[image]

There can only be one explanation for this Eric ... aliens! [emoticon]

[image]

On the other hand, it could be a increased localized concentration of iron oxide in the soil on that slope (but the alien flying saucer ray blast zone sounds like a much better theory). [emoticon]

Bubtoofat

SE Michigan

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Posted: 08/26/11 05:38pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your pictures just kept getting better and better as I scrolled down. Excellent post.
Mike


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GoinThisAway

middle TN

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Posted: 08/26/11 07:54pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Talk about being in the right place at the right time. Those photos of the sunset, rainbow, and deer are superb!


seldomseensmith wrote:

[image]

I'll hazard a guess at this second one. Studying it I was reminded of the blooming of an onion plant. Could it be a nodding wild onion (Allium cernuum) or something similar?


seldomseensmith wrote:

[image]

Hey, that looks like a good place for me to put to use my OTJ training in clambering over riprap slopes [emoticon]


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