Guest post by Ian Provo
The Uinta mountains in north eastern Utah encompasses the largest wilderness area in the state, along with all of the highest peaks and some of the most beautiful rivers and trails in all of the land. I’ve come to know these mountains well during my 15 years in Utah by skiing, camping, climbing, and fishing my way around. In the last few years, I’ve become intrigued by the idea of riding mountain bikes up there, tapping into the expansive terrain and vast network of trails.
In September, 2013, along with my brother Neil and Eric Porter, I went to explore the mountain biking potential in the Uintas with an adventure ride, linking up a variety of trails we knew nothing about to create a loop along the north slope of the range, all while carrying enough camping supplies for 4 days on our backs. The loop took us through four different river valleys, where we typically camped and explored the mountain creeks with our fly rods.
It’s a significant challenge to fly fish, backpack, mountain bike, or shoot photos in the Uintas, but combining them into one epic trip proved to be one of the most stimulating and rewarding adventures I’ve experienced.
I found myself soaking wet at 10,000 feet on a very cold 3rd day, potentially lost, and climbing something that resembled a trail in the direction we needed to go. My pack often felt heavy but it didn’t keep me from shooting a few frames of the boys.
Our take on Goal Zero’s gear: Executing this trip was a difficult task, documenting it made the challenge even greater. Our Nomad 13 Solar Panel and Guide 10 Plus battery packs kept our GPS units (iPhones) juiced, which we relied on heavily throughout the route were it was common for the trail to disappear for miles at a time. There were moments of agony, grinding our heavy rigs up an impossible mountain, and moments of peace and calm while standing ankle deep in a crisp mountain river casting dry flies to eager trout. The combination of it all, being lost and found more often than not while exploring long forgotten trails with bikes made it a special trip, and opened our eyes to this kind of solar-powered multi-sporting in our backyard, the Uintas, and beyond.
Check out the feature article in the December adventure issue of Freehub magazine!