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Ten Turkeys on Salvation Knoll

It’s been a few weeks now, but I’ve thawed out enough to remember our Thanksgiving weekend camping trip in Cedar Mesa. Located in southeastern Utah, near the Four Corners, Cedar Mesa is known for its concentration of Anasazi ruins. We ventured down for a bit of sightseeing as well as camping, cooking and playing in the desert. The weekend began in earnest only after towing our stuck van out of a pit of soft sand (in the dark – so no photos).

How do you cook a turkey in the desert? We used a ginormous dutch oven, weighing 65 lbs. which we purchased directly at the Maca foundry in Springville, UT. The svelte free-range turkey was nearly lost in the cavernous oven, but it ended up being one of the best turkeys EVER!

Thanksgiving Dinner

One side trip we took was to Moon House, located in McLoyd’s Canyon. It’s a fantastic set of ruins in a fantastic setting.

Moon House - to Front

We also stopped at the Mule Canyon Ruins to see a set of ancient, crumbling towers set up at the head of Mule Canyon. There isn’t much left of these structures.

Mule Canyon Tower Ruins

The highlight of the trip was a visit to House on Fire Ruin located in upper Mule Canyon. It’s no surprise that it’s been well-photographed.

House on Fire Ruin

Now we get to the cheeseburger. We selected Salvation Knoll as our destination because of its advantageous location – right next to the road, and its small elevation gain. And as the roadside sign indicates, it has some historic significance.

Salvation Knoll Sign

Despite its small size, Salvation Knoll was a worthy opponent. Steep and crumbly, it took some climbing to get to the summit. Endless views into Arizona and Colorado greeted us, along with a package of tasty burgers.

Salvation Knoll Burgers

Success at Salvation Knoll, UT


December 18, 2009 at 8:19 am Leave a comment

Two All Beef Patties, Special Sauce….

Aren’t we clever? We decided to pair with our upcoming ascent of KING’s Peak with Burger KING Whoppers. So at 10 pm we found oursleves driving down I-80 looking for on open Burger King. No luck, since the Burger King in Evanston, WY had closed about 5 years earlier. So we had to settle for:

Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun

I was joined by oldbull and flyingelvis for our annual too-long day hike. We chose King’s Peak since it is the high point of Utah (13,528 ft.) and is possible to day hike from the Henry’s Fork trailhead (~26 mi.). After purchasing the Big Macs we found a quiet campsite near the trailhead and got a few hours of shut eye before a cold, early start to the hike. The first 6 miles of the hike wind through conifer forest alongside the Henry’s Fork River. It’s not until we crossed the river and worked our up to a vantage point near Dollar Lake that we got a great view of the ridges around King’s Peak.

Henry's Fork Approach

We chose to approach the peak via Gunsight Pass avoiding the use of a steep ascent of the scree field near Anderson Pass. And instead of hiking down into Painter’s Basin, we cut across a few miles of broken rock to find Anderson Pass. At the pass we were 12 miles into the hike but still had to ascend the final 900 feet of vertical to the summit.

King's Peak - West Face

A bit of huffing and puffing later we were on the summit. While flyingelvis and sirloinofbeef bemoaned their failure to find a Burger King burger for the summit, oldbull pulled out a can of the KING of beers. Here it poses with the Big Mac on the summit.

The King of Peaks

But oldbull wasn’t done pulling tricks from up his sleeve – not yet. Joining us on the summit were three other hikers, and as luck would have it, oldbull had carried along an extra 3 lamburghini Cheeseburgers. After explaining the Summit Cheeseburger mission to Dane, Jellie, and Spencer; the three newly “informed” summit hikers were more than willing to help with the Summitcheese effort. Thanks for helping us celebrate the first official Cheeseburger feast on Utah’s tallest peak!

Newest Cheeseburger Summiters At the Summit

After saying goodbye to Dan and Jellie, and watching Spencer bound effortlessly down the rocks, we rested a bit and enjoyed the views. The enormity of the Uinta Range is readily apparent from this vantage point.

Ginormous Painter's Basin

The return trip felt longer than the ascent but was uneventful. Unlike most of our day hikes, we returned during daylight on this one.

King’s Peak, UT – flyingelvis, oldbull, sirloinofbeef

September 13, 2009 at 8:04 pm 3 comments

The Pemi and Beyond

After a long haitus from hiking (though I was able to climb Rex Dome in Alaska, but alas, only could consume a Snickers), my friend Marieke and I decided to do a little backpacking. After planting a car at the Lincoln Woods Visitors Center, we drove up to the head of the North Twin trail. A couple of miles in, we decided to set up camp for the night, preparing for the potentially grueling day to come.


As Thursday dawned, we awoke, heading up the North Twin trail, summiting North Twin, followed by South Twin, and on to Mount Guyot, where my friend had her first Summit Cheeseburger, an Angry Whopper from BK. I had been enjoying BK Burger Shots (six small burgers, perfect for our six peaks). We fought some tough up-hills, and enjoyed a bit of a ridge walk, before entering the Pemigiwassett Wilderness. Once there, the Bondcliff trail and the West Bond spur took us up, in order, West Bond, Bond, and Bondcliff. The weather was perfect, and the views wonderful.


Our weary knees took us about 4.5 miles down to the end of the trail, where we collapsed for the night. Blissfully, the 4 mile hike out in the morning along the Wilderness and the Lincoln Woods trails was as flat as could be, with the Pemi East Branch running along side of us. It was the perfect way to end the summer.


Flame Broiled


September 10, 2009 at 6:30 am 2 comments

It’s Snowing in August? Let’s Climb Sugarloaf!

We awoke on Saturday to rain and cold in the Salt Lake Valley. It looked bad for hiking today. But by noon the weather started to clear, so BarBarJinks and sirloinofbeef headed out for an ascent of Sugarloaf Mountain. As we drove up the Little Cottonwood Canyon on our way to the Cecret Lake trailhead we noticed that some of the higher peaks surrounding us had received a dusting of snow. Hmmm – that might mean that……

Well, in fact, we were in for snowy ascent of Sugarloaf.

Cecret Lake and Sugarloaf

The ascent was a slog up snow-covered scree. But we had the mountain to ourselves and the views were tremendous. Devil’s Castle looked inviting, but treacherous, just to the east.

Devil's Castle

Oh yeah, did I mention? We brought Cheeseburgers.

The Money Shot

Sugarloaf Mountain – BarBarJinks, sirloinofbeef

August 16, 2009 at 4:20 pm 1 comment

Lofty Ambitions on Lofty Peak

With SamIAm visiting Utah fresh from the lowlands of Pennsylvania we thought about a hike that could allow him to acclimatize to higher altitudes. A not-too-strenuous hike in the Uintahs, the Lofty Lake Loop, fit the bill. And, of course, we could tag on a Cheeseburger summit to boot.

The Lofty Lake Loop begins and ends at the Pass Lake Trailhead, located right off of the Mirror Lake Highway. We proceeded in a clockwise fashion, passing scenic Kamas Lake first.

Bald Mountain

Soon after leaving Kamas Lake the trail begins to switchback to a small plateau at almost 11,000 ft.

Up to Lofty Lake

The beautiful, but small, Lofty Lake lies here. It is surrounded by a variety of summits. The two easiest to reach are Lofty Peak – to the northeast and Scout Peak – to the south. We chose to ascend the rocks of Lofty Peak to its summit. Here we enjoyed a trio of summit Cheeseburgers.

The Money Shot

The summit provides a great view of Lofty Lake with Scout Peak in the background.

Scout Peak and Lofty Lake

On the descent we found some beautiful columbine.

Lofty Peak Columbine

The loop is completed with a steep descent to Scout Lake and an easy return to the Pass Lake trailhead. The entire hike is a bit over 5 miles and makes for a great family hike in the Uintahs.

Lofty Peak – SamIAm, BarBarJinks, sirloinofbeef

August 15, 2009 at 7:05 am Leave a comment

Man Attacked by Killer Mountain Beaver!

Early yesterday morning a hiker was attacked by a what has been identified as a ‘Killer Mountain Beaver.’ The attack occured in the vicinity of Red Pine Lake located within the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. The hiker, SamIAm, shows the damage below.

Attack of the Killer Mountain Beaver

“He nearly pulled my arm off” explained Mr IAm, “I could only save myself by poking a thumb into his eye.” Often called a marmot, the Killer Mountain Beaver is described as the ‘Great White’ of the Wasatch Range. A nearby hiker was able to capture an image of the beast.

Killer Mountain Beaver

“This is the first photographic proof of the existence of a Killer Mountain Beaver” says Professor Johannes Wryen, Director of the Centre for Loch Ness and Aplodontia Rufa Studies and adjunct professor at the Institute for Cold Fusion. “A positive identification can be made based on the lack of a beaver-like tail or any beaver-like characteristics.” he added.

The wounded hiker is reported to be recovering well from his injuries.

in other news…..

SamIAm and sirloinofbeef made a pleasant ascent of the Pfeifferhorn – Cheeseburgers in tow. The standard route to the Pfeifferhorn begins from the White Pine Trailhead and includes 4.5 miles of hiking with 3700 feet of elevation gain. The route passes by both Lower and Upper Red Pines Lakes…..

Going Past Red Pine Lake

and ascends a steep rib to the divide between the Red Pine and Dry Creek drainages. The views from the top of the Pfieifferhorn were tremendous.

Box Elder Peak

Red Pine Lake From Above

The Cheeseburger was prepared from beef that had been lovingly dry-aged for 4 weeks in the refrigerator. The night before it was fresh-ground and cooked on the outdoor grill. The next day it still tasted like a cold Cheeseburger.

The Mighty Cheeseburger

The Pfeifferhorn – SamIAm

August 5, 2009 at 10:43 am 8 comments

This is the Place: Pioneer Peak on Pioneer Day

Friday, July 24th – were you at work? I wasn’t. Here in Utah we get a day off every July 24th to celebrate Pioneer Day. It commemorates the arrival of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon Pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley way back in 1847. I was joined by wimpy for a commemoration of the commemoration with a hike up – what else? – Pioneer Peak.

Pioneer Peak

Pioneer Peak lies on the ridge just above Brighton Ski Resort. We chose to approach the peak from Albion Basin in the Alta Ski Resort. A pleasant 1.5 mile, 800 ft. vertical hike brought us to Catherine Pass. With a hard right at the pass we began our ascent of Sunset Peak. We traversed Sunset on our way to Pioneer Peak. On the way we got a great view of the lakes around Brighton.

Lake Mary

A short, but steep, hike up a rocky slope brought us to the summit of Pioneer Peak. Did we bring along Cheeseburgers? Absolutely!

The Mighty Cheeseburger

The summit provided some great views of Mount Timpanogos in the distance.

Mount Timapanogos

For our return we tried to drop down into the Catherine Lake Basin, but the slopes were too steep. We just backtracked our route to the car to complete a beautiful morning hike. Have a great Pioneer Day weekend!

Pioneer Peak, UT – sirloinofbeef

July 25, 2009 at 7:37 am 2 comments

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To encourage, enable, and document the consumption of a Cheeseburger on every summit on earth.
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