Mount Ellen, Mount Ellen PeakThe summer has flown by so fast. Growing up, I remember my dad telling me that as one gets older, the faster time goes by. I don't want to think that I am getting too much older, but where has the summer gone?
I haven't taken Kory out camping near as much as I have wanted, so I wasn't going to pass this oppurtunity up. A friend from work and I have been bagging Utah's county highpoint for a few years, and researching some of the peaks down south, they were easy enough to take kids on, and besided, one last trip before school starts would be great.
We were on the road headed for the Henry Mountain Range by noon. We made pretty good time, and following directions from the Mount Ellen page on SummitPost.org, we were soon at Bull Creek Pass, looking up at the route to take in the morning.
We then headed back down and found a place to camp, and took it easy. The boys were entertaining themselves, making a barricade with rocks and logs, and when the sun started going down, we walked down to the meadow below our camp to look for deer. There are some pretty nice bucks there. Hardy went down to try and get closer, while the kids and I stacked up rocks and made a 'Flintsone City"
After we ate dinner, we went to bed about 8:00, ready for the hike in the morning.
The trail starts at Bull Creek pass, and it is 1.92 miles to the summit of Mt. Ellen, gaining 1,036'. Kory and I were making pretty good time up to the ridgeline, making it up in about two hours. On one of the sub-peaks, we did find some cool rock shelters.
Not only is Mt. Ellen the highpoint of the Henry Mountain Range and Garfield County, but she is one of the 57 mountains in the lower 48 states that are considered "Ultra Prominent". She sits at 11,522' among the last mountain range mapped in the US.
After we signed the summit register, found the geocache, and took pictures, the kids wanted to hike to Ellen Peak, one mile further along the ridge. I was excited they wanted to go 'the extra mile', and when we started going down to the saddle, we could see a herd of 22 bison.
We started hiking down the 400' to the saddle, and came across two archery hunters. We stopped and visited with them for a while. They were nice enough to let the kids look through their spotting scope at the buffalo, and took some pics for me.
The hike up to Ellen Peak is a climb of about 400' in .35 miles, and is steep and rocky, but isn't all that bad.
I failed taking pictures of us on the summit of Ellen Peak ...who knows what I was thinking... but did get some pictures from the top, looking across to Mt. Ellen.
Now for some beta:
5.8 miles, round trip
elevation gain of 1,036'
(lose about 426' and gain another 377' to Ellen Peak)
Took us about six hours.
Almost 50 bison
12 deer, with some impressive bucks