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 The Trek: The Journals

•
Team: North
Robert Ashley
Thursday, September 26
Thursday, September 26, 2002. Pine Valley Campground near Kamas, UT

Bullet holes riddle the cow silhouettes on Wyoming’s signs which advise motorists “Open Range. Watch for Cattle,” but similar signs in Utah are clear, at least in the Uinta Mountain region we passed through today. And what a beautiful region it is! We’ve crossed and re-crossed the Wyoming-Utah border during the moves of the past several days, and we were all impressed with the contrast between the arid sagebrush of southwest Wyoming and the cooler forested Uintas. Tuesday’s move was memorable because of the almost incredulous challenge of the narrow, rocky roadway and the wondrous beauty of the mountains, trees, and streams. Cheryl and I drove the trucks with trailers; we were separated from the rest of the team but communicated with each other on the portable phones. We repeatedly conveyed our awe and delight of the landscape; at one point we stopped to snap photos of the creek we forded to guarantee credibility for the stories we would tell.

Today’s move was equally spectacular. We convinced Charlie to abandon the interstate route he had planned and to travel by secondary road south from Evanston (WY) to Pine Valley. Even the short stretch of I-80 between Mountain View and Evanston felt uncomfortable, so alien to the backcountry “feel” to which we had grown accustomed. I immediately felt relieved when we escaped the traffic of multiple lanes—where speed and lane maneuvering are primary concerns—to the sparsely traveled secondary road, where the landscape assumed prominence. The most frequently encountered vehicles on these roads tend to be the distinctive pale green Forest Service pickups. The color is not an appropriate “forest green” color, but it is unmistakable, and I was mildly disappointed when I learned that new F.S. trucks will be white.

The night at Bridger Lake had been our coldest yet—ice on tents and frozen water tank valve!—but the bright sunshine warmed the day into the 80s. The sunlight also highlighted the spectacular fall color displays of the aspen groves, the colors of the quaking leaves ranging from mostly brilliant yellow to red-orange and contracting sharply with their white trunks and the dark green of pines and spruces. I’m reminded of the explanation that the multiple trees in aspen groves are really all the same organism as they are connected by their root systems. The Uintas were in view the whole way, at first in the distance as purple and blue and gray shapes topped with snow. Utah’s highest peak, Mt. King at about 13,500 feet, was visible, but it was snow-capped Mt. Gilbert –the second highest—that was the more spectacular sight.

Joe Hickey showed up in our Hoops Lake Campground on Tuesday evening, located at about 9,300’ elevation. He had been tracing our progress on the internet, he said, and he wanted to meet us. He shared the history of his family’s 150 years of ranching at Lonetree, WY, and described the geography of the area. We listened intently to him while gathered around the campfire, made possible by his work with his chainsaw. In a brief afternoon session, he had cut enough firewood to last us until the end of the week.

The immediacy of the trek’s impending conclusion gathered momentum Wednesday evening. At Charlotte’s suggestion, we selected persons by drawing names of other team members from a hat. Without revealing identities until the last moment, each person prepared a short description of his/her “secret person” and that person’ contribution to the trek. Most presentations were accompanied with gifts, some gag and some serious. More sobering was the session which followed. We each lit candles and described what the trek meant to us. It was an emotional ceremony, and there were not many dry eyes.
for Thursday, September 26
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: North
Robert Ashley
Bob Ashley poses with school children at the Wyoming Hunting and Fishing Heritage Exposition 2002
. Robert Ashley is a teacher from Illinois.
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List of All Journal Entries
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Thursday, September 26
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, September 24
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, September 21
Robert Ashley
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Friday, September 20
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, September 19
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, September 18
Robert Ashley
Kemmerer
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Tuesday, September 17
Robert Ashley
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Monday, September 16
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, September 15
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, September 14
Robert Ashley
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Friday, September 13
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, September 11
Robert Ashley
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Monday, September 9
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, September 7
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, September 4
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, September 3
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, September 1
Robert Ashley
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Friday, August 30
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, August 29
Robert Ashley
Stoddard Creek (F.S.) campground
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Wednesday, August 28
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, August 25
Robert Ashley
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Friday, August 23
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, August 22
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 21
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, August 20
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, August 17
Robert Ashley
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Friday, August 16
Robert Ashley
Meyer Hill
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Thursday, August 15
Robert Ashley
Aspen Grove
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Wednesday, August 14
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, August 13
Robert Ashley
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Monday, August 12
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, August 11
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 7
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 7
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 7
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, August 4
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, August 3
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, August 1
Robert Ashley
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