Read about my complete Uinta Highline Trail experience, including prep, gear, logistics, and post-hike impressions.
I barely slept the third night of our hike because I was stressed about hitching the next day. Let me point out that I wasn’t worried about the safety of hitchhiking; I was worried about the time and cost necessary to get back to our car. We really just needed someone to get us somewhere a phone would work—preferably southwest of where we were.
In my mind, a best-case scenario would see someone from Salt Lake City (SLC) drive us south to Kamas, UT, before turning east toward the city. We could hang out in a restaurant as long as necessary to recharge our tech and ask passers-by for favors. Anyone heading up Highway 150 would be heading toward our car. The area is full of outdoors enthusiasts who would gladly offer us a ride.
There were two worst-case scenarios I envisioned. The first would see us being dropped off at a lone commercial building like a gas station in the middle of nowhere. Let’s call this the sketchy scenario. I don’t know what we’d do when the sun went down and we didn’t have a ride. The second would see us paying for one or two nights in a hotel room while we waited to pay a shuttle driver to pick us up and take us to our car. Let’s call this the expensive scenario.
What actually happened was even more unexpected.
We allowed ourselves to sleep in that morning and didn’t start packing up until the sun had cleared the mountains. It had dipped into the 30s at night and we weren’t in a rush to get out of our sleeping bags. We eventually started walking into the valley and enjoyed the relatively flat, even ground after days of navigating slippery, rocky slopes. As the elevation got lower, the forest canopies got darker and the rivers got wider and faster. It was a nice change of pace.
We eventually ran into some hikers from SLC/Ogden. Two of them were originally from the southeastern USA and we got to talking. I asked them if they could give us a ride to civilization and they said yes. We talked the whole way to their car and they gave us a lift to Evanston, WY. It turns out that Highway 150 runs south from there, so my best case scenario seemed to be in play, only from a northern hub instead of a southern one.
We grabbed a hot lunch and a few drinks together. They complained about the draconian laws surrounding alcohol sales in Utah, so we drove by a liquor/beer/wine store. This was welcome for us and we picked up some ciders and a little bourbon. Then they offered to drive us directly to our car! Honestly, if I had used a satellite phone to order a limo from the trailhead, we wouldn’t have been as efficient with our time as we were by hitchhiking. Crazy.
We got to our car in the late afternoon and hiked east on the Uinta Highline Trail (UHT) to Scudder Lake. As usual, we had the whole place to ourselves. We considered ourselves very fortunate to have wasted zero time in getting back on track and we each enjoyed a restful night of sleep.
Watch the video
Follow in our virtual footsteps as we hike a section of the Uinta Highline Trail. Watch the entire video or jump ahead to specific days. You can find more information to help you plan your own UHT hike at cchikes.com/UHT18.