Gear: Ready to Go When You Are

View of hikers couple inside tent camping in rock mountains with their dog - Sporty people relaxing after a trekking day with next fire at sunset Travel,love,nature and healthy concept - Focus on feet

I pulled out my water filter, started pumping, and realized no water was filling my bottle. Somehow, it was just moving air! Turns out, the filter cartridge had cracked. I was now stuck deep in the Wasatch Range with no water.

What we do outside is not about the gear. Admittedly, though, gear can make or break an outing. If you left your bike pump in the garage and are already at the trailhead with under-inflated tires, it might leave you scrambling for a way to salvage the ride. If you hiked six miles down Uinta’s Highline Trail, made camp and went to cook dinner only to find your stove’s gas canister empty… Well, you get the idea.

Gear should be ready to go when you are. One of the greatest benefits of proper gear preparation is being able to enjoy outdoor adventures, even at the last minute. 

Always Be Prepared

Two gear-heavy outdoor activities are backpacking and cycling. Backpacking gear includes multiple apparatuses that function both together and seperately to help create a great outdoor experience. Unlike backpacking gear, a bicycle requires all of its parts to operate in symphony. For a good experience, it’s crucial that everything is working properly.

This spring, as you’re putting away your winter gear and revving up for spring, summer and fall adventures, keep these basic gear tips in mind: They could make or break your next outing.

Readying Your Equipment

Sleeping Pad One of my inflatable mattress pads went flat on a short backpacking trip. I still haven’t fixed it, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Double check that your mattress does not have holes from the previous camping season, otherwise you might end up sleeping on the cold, hard, lumpy ground.

Camp Stove Stoves are primarily available as either liquid gas or compressed gas units and require little to no maintenance. In both cases, make sure there is enough fuel to cook an extra meal or two before you head out. To prepare for the season, fill your liquid gas bottle or buy some extra compressed gas canisters. Also, liquid gas stoves usually have a pump, so be sure it still pumps! Oh, and it’s a good idea to make sure the stove lights before you leave the house.

Water Filters Most water filters are cartridge-based. When I examine my pump, I expose the cartridge and have a look. Is it clean? Is it cracked? Check your filter by filling a container of cold water in the sink and start pumping from it. If it is difficult to pump cold water in the kitchen, imagine the difficulty of pumping in the mountains with particles in the water! If you struggle, it may be time for a new cartridge.

Food + First Aid  Other items to inspect can seem less obvious, like first aid kits and backpacking meals. However, there are items that expire in both. It is worth a look-see to verify that you won’t be eating rotten, freeze dried goodies for breakfast at Heart Lake or using ineffective ibuprofen at 10,000 feet. On that note, be sure to modify and update your first aid kit with any personal prescriptions or medications.

Time for a Tune-Up

After pulling your bike out and wiping off the dust, your bike’s brakes may feel soft. Hydraulic brakes may need to be pumped but they usually feel solid quickly. The main question with brakes is: Do they stop you? Make sure you can feel them working before you hop on for a spin around the block. You may need to replace warn brake pads before hitting the trails.

On your test ride, shift the gears. Is shifting hard? Does the chain jump off? Most of the time the chain will need lube to stop any squeaking. Your tires will need air and that old helmet should probably be replaced – they’re only good for three years.

Some folks are familiar with replacing brake pads or making shifting adjustments. Older bikes or bikes with shocks tend to require a closer look and may need the eyes of an expert mechanic. Thankfully, we have access to a couple bike shops in the Heber Valley that are ready day in and day out to get your bike back in top shape.

Ready for Adventure?

Now that your essential adventure gear has been repaired and replaced, take time to make sure everything is organized, too. Set yourself up so that in 20 minutes your bag could be loaded with everything you need for a last-minute, two-night stay in the backcountry. And enjoy knowing that, with your bike tuned and helmet handy, that group bike ride after work is suddenly much easier to make. 

Get Your Gear Ready at These Local Outfitters

All about adventure, Gravity Coalition brings a collection of gear, service and support that will help you enjoy your time and push your limits in the mountains. www.gravitycoalition.com

Heber Valley’s full service outfitter Midway Adventure Company offers bike tunes, gear rentals, retail items and adventure planning.
www.midwayadventure.com

Committed to bikes of all kinds, the experts here can help you with cruisers, mountain bikes and race bikes. They offer trail advice, sports food and everything else bike-related. www.slimandknobbys.com

WAO has everything you need in rentals from camping, fly fishing and backpacking gear to inflatable SUPS, canoes, kayaks and more!
www.waoutah.com

What stands 11,749’ high, has a heart, a saddle, an emerald, a shack, and some goats?

If you’ve been in Heber for even a short time, you’ll know the valley’s pride lies in the great mountain that sprawls to the west where the sun settles each night. Mount Timpanogos creates a portion of the eastern wall of the Wasatch Front. Often folks claim we, here in Heber, reside on the backside of the great Timpanogos. We’d like to beg their pardon. They happen to be discombobulated, not realizing that we have the front seat to Timp’s right side. Of all the peaks in the Wasatch Mountain Range, the majestic summit is second in height only to Mt. Nebo. Each breathtaking foot is covered in alpine flora, fauna, and crag, while crystal clean water from white peaks, burbles over as falls, and meanders to rivers and streams.

Through The Year

Spring is when the falls of Timp and their gushing runoff are at their prime. Mount Timpanogos Trailhead in Aspen Grove, accessed on State Route 92, is the entry point to three sets of breathtaking waterfall hikes. Timpanogos Falls is made up of an upper and lower set of falls. Visiting both is approximately a 2.5-mile round trip hike. Stewart Falls and Scout Falls are also great options for late spring hikes.

Summer is the best time to beat the heat and get to the heart of the mountain. Timpanogos Cave National Monument leads tours deep into the geologic Timpanogos Cave System. In the depths of the cavern is a large stalactite known as the “Great Heart” of Timpanogos. Legends tell of two hearts joined at death to become one that now lies deep in the mountain.

Summer is also a great time for ambitious hikers and trail runners to reach the peak. But don’t forget your jacket — even in the summer months, the windy summit stays nice and cool. The trek begins at either Aspen Grove or Timpooneke trail. It careens through Mount Timpanogos Wilderness Area, where you may choose to take it slower and camp overnight, remembering there are no fires permitted. Another fun choice is to depart early and squeeze the full excursion into one day. These hikes are where you’ll discover the emerald of Timp — Emerald Lake. Just as a horse’s saddle is sweeping in shape, Mount Timp’s saddle is a sweeping field of boulders where the trail to the peak converges with the ridgeline. Keep your eyes open for the mountain goats, moose, and other wildlife among the profusion of wildflower colors. Marking the summit is an old surveyor shack.

Fall brings a chill to the air, and our trees take center stage. As the bright blooms fade, the deep hues of autumn steal the show. Be sure to take a drive. Throw in a picnic and your camera to make a day of the fully-paved, 20 mile Alpine Scenic Loop. Head out before October passes and our snow closes portions of the loop for the winter.

Winter may offer the best views of Mount Timpanogos from a distance. Adventure junkies sometimes choose to summit Timp in the winter with an ice ax and crampons. If you enjoy snowmobiling or snow biking, Wasatch State Park grooms 72 miles of trail throughout the winter months. They are also home to the 2002 Olympic Site contracted by the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation. This venue allows for Nordic skiing, a tubing hill, and snowshoeing at the base of Timp. Those of you who don’t feel like competing with yetis or Sherpas may choose other ways to enjoy winters with Timpanogos. Relax while you wind leisurely around the base aboard a railcar of the Heber Valley Railroad. Are you an artist? Find a perch in town to paint to your heart’s delight. Or, simply take it easy and get cozy with a warm drink while enjoying the view from your favorite place.

Whatever the season Mount Timpanogos with its high summit, heart, saddle, emerald, shack, and goats, is definitely worth visiting — even if it’s only from your front porch as you watch the sun settle behind Timps peaks.

Hikes:

Timpanogos Falls
1.9 miles |  moderate  |  dogs allowed  |  kid approved

Stewart Falls
3.4 miles |  moderate  |  dogs allowed  |  kid approved

Scout Falls
4.2 miles |  moderate  |  leashed dogs allowed

Aspen Grove Timp Summit
15.7 miles  |  difficult  |  dogs and horses allowed

Timpooneke Timp Summit
12.8 miles  |  difficult  |  dogs allowed  |  $6 fee, pay at yourpassnow.com

For kids:

The Junior Ranger Program
Available at Timpanogos Cave National Monument. Kids explore
the culture and natural history. There is an event every Saturday
at 10:00 am throughout the open season, May-early September.
Go to nps.gov/tica/learn/kidsyouth for more information.

Legend Of Timpanogos:

As with any good story, there are many variations to the Legend of Timpanogos. In fact, at least 12 recorded versions exist today. The legend is centered on the outline of a woman that can be seen in the peaks of the mountain, and the large stalactite called the “Great Heart” found inside the caves.

The legend is “Romeo and Juliet”-esque, featuring the Indian warrior Red Eagle and the beautiful Indian princess Utahna. While their exact roles and circumstances vary from version to version, the story goes that Utahna was chosen as a sacrifice to the gods to end the great drought. When she was about to jump off the cliffs, Red Eagle begged her not to end her life. Thinking Red Eagle was the great God of Timpanogos, Utahna went to the caves with him, and they fell in love.

One day, Red Eagle was injured by a wild animal — which proved he was human after all — so Utahna left to finish her sacrifice to the gods. After she jumped, Red Eagle found her and took her back to the caves, where it is believed their two hearts became one, forming the stalactite that is now called the Great Heart of Timpanogos. People say you can still see the outline of Utahna lying on top of the mountain.

(Courtesy of nationalparks.org)

For more information on Mount Timpanogos and Wasatch State Park visit https://stateparks.utah.gov/parks/wasatch-mountain