Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Peak Bagging Mt Ellen

This wasn't the first time we've tried to bag Mt Ellen, the highest peak of the Henry Mountains. In July 2009 the conditions were stormy, foggy, and viewless. This year we marched right up to the top of Mt Ellen (11,522 ft) and we could not believe we were at the summit, despite a mailbox of "yays, we did it," in a large cairn on top. No, we had to continue to the other peak, Dry Lakes Peak, a conical peak that drops 400 ft and back up to 11,506'. It did look taller and had a bona fide trail leading to this yonder peak. We saw Factory Butte in Cainville and the La Sals and the Book Cliffs around Green River. It's the 360 degree views that were amazing. We saw herds of buffalo and deer on distant fields and a few ATVer's looking for their wanna-be deer trophies. The drive to MacMillian campground was a 4 hour drive from Escalante but less if you ride a mtn bike to Sandy's Ranch from camp (save 2 hrs driving). Now when I see the Northern most nipple in the Henry Mountains I know that there is more than just one peak to be had.