Ruby Crest Trail Day 1


The view heading in from Harrison Pass


The clock on my dash showed me just how late this trip was going to be.  Already over an hour late leaving work, I still had to load all of the gear into my wife’s SUV.  After loading the car, driving around the block to come back for something we forgot, we headed to my wife’s office where she thought she left her sweatshirt.

Somewhere during the middle of the night we arrived at my parents’ house.  We loaded gear into the garage to await the departure the next day.  The next morning came fast.  We spent some time with my folks and getting the boys situated.  They were perfectly content playing with Gamma and Papa.  It was my wife and I that were dreading the thought of being away from them.  This trip would be the first time we were both away from the boys overnight since the birth of our first son.

We loaded up the truck and Dad drove us down to Harrison Pass.  We talked about a whole host of topics including the trip.  A year earlier, my wife had said she really wanted to do an overnight backcountry backpack trip. With a newborn baby it did not seem like a great idea at the time.  However, I took mental note of this desire to backpack in and made that into part of her Christmas present.  I gave my wife a host of gear and a choice of the area and amount of time that we would be out there.  Basically her own vacation, backcountry style, and she chose the Ruby Crest Trail.  Granted this was not the vacation of umbrella drinks in the sand at a resort in Cabo, but this was a majestic area that I knew she loved.


The trailhead sign showing Ruby Crest Trail and Green Mountain Trail.

As we took off, it was evident that I was built to haul and not for speed.  I took this opportunity to train myself for the upcoming hunting season by hiking with a heavy pack weighed down with gear.  My wife on the other hand only had to carry clothes, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, water, her coffee, and our dehydrated meals. By contrast I was carrying the tent, the stove, the fuel, extra water, water filtration gear, my sleeping bag, sleeping pad, my clothes ( although since my sweatshirt was never available to me she decided to carry it the last day), fishing gear, cookware, SPOT satellite messenger, satellite phone, goal zero, and the list goes on. Like I said, my build isn’t that of speed, so I might as well haul a small apartment with me. (Maybe I had to read “Ordeal by Hunger” too much as a youth, but I always pack more than I need.  As a dad, that seems to have shifted some.)  Dad’s truck faded into the distance as we walked the road toward the trailhead.  I reasoned that this, although beautiful country, was far less majestic than the views would be coming into the Lamoille Canyon side of the trail. Starting in the heat of the day is anything but ideal, but we had fresh legs and energy to push us through.

After finally getting to the trailhead we joked that this would have been a better starting point.   The sun was beating down and every time you made it into the aspens it became muggy. As we hiked on we came across the occasional vehicle until the road gave way to nothing more than a well-worn trail.  Since I had never made this trip, I did as much research as I could prior to the outing.  The goal was to get to McCutcheon Creek since we had a late start.  Winding through such green and lush area was a stark contrast to the landscape on either side of I-80 as we traveled here. Hunting this unit with my grandfather and father, this area always seemed toIMG_0193 humble me.  From any vantage point you are looking out across the vast valley toward another set of mountains, with another set behind that, followed by another and another.  As we made it to McCutcheon, we saw another family had a similar idea.  We waved and continued on past their camp and decided it was a great time to have dinner before moving on toward Smith Creek.  I am not sure dehydrated lasagna had ever tasted so good.  After a hearty Mountain House meal we were off again to find the place we would set up camp for the night. We hiked on for a while and the sun started to head down for the day as we finally set up our tent on a saddle overlooking Mound Valley and beyond.  Looking out over the area brought back memories of friendships, 4-H, and hunting.  After watching a gorgeous sunset, we watched the full moon climb into view.  It is amazing the scene change on the very same land that once had sun.  After taking in the views, we climbed into our bags for some much needed sleep.

1 Comment

  1. Ryan J.

    Looking forward to the rest of the trip. Awesome adventure for you two. I’m jealous. I want to get out there and do the Ruby Crest for sure in the next year or two. I have plenty of questions, but I can wait to read the rest to see if they’re answered.

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