July 2, 2010

Reader Creek and Chipeta Peak

The Reader Creek trail, up the Whiterocks drainage north of the Uintah Basin and southeast of the High Uinta Wilderness area, always makes a fine hike or ride this time of year.  The trailhead is about 10,000 feet, and the ground can be marshy near the stream.
Look closely, and you'll see lots of diminutive wildflowers.  Here's an alpine forget-me-not, much smaller than a fingernail:
Alpine laurel is a beautiful flower, of the heath family:
This American globeflower is showy, too:
Daisy kept smelling the air, scenting elk:
We heard them.  First, there was a bugling sound, (yes, I know that's usually the sound bull elk make in the mating season, but that's what we heard) then short high-pitched calls.  Finally we saw a group of elk cows in the trees.
This calf was a little slow to seek shelter.  (At least I think it's an elk calf... I don't claim to be an expert, and it was a long way away.)
We saw it briefly in the open before it met with its mom and melted into the spruce forest.
Back at the trailhead, we had a view of another snow-covered mountain:
I believe this is Chipeta Peak (12,200 feet), named after the wife of Chief Ouray,  a Native American of the Ute tribe.  Here they are together:
Their Uncompahgre band, along with other Ute groups, was relocated from Colorado to northeastern Utah  in 1880.  At one time, all of the southern Uintas was part of a reservation granted to the Ute Native American tribe, but they lost a large portion of this land in subsequent treaties. After Chief Ouray's death in 1880, Chipeta continued as a leader of her people, living on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation near Fort Duchesne, Utah, until 1924.  Chipeta was born a Kiowa Apache, but was raised by the Utes.  Her name means "White Singing Bird" in the Ute language.


  1. Hi Janie, You all enjoyed another beautiful place.... Love hearing the Indian history.

    The wildflowers are pretty and the snow-capped mountain with that blue sky is gorgeous.

    Daisy looks like she is howling at the moon!!!!! ha ha

    Have a wonderful 4th.

  2. I really like those high open meadows, the flowers so different than seen here. Leave it to Daisy to smell out the elk. Nice to have the local peaks still carry an important native name, and with such beauty.

  3. The alpine flowers are so perfect and pretty. The information about Chief Ouray and his wife Chipeta was so interesting and it's good that they are remembered - and so splendidly, too!

  4. Lovely pictures, excellent post! have a great weekend.

  5. What a beautiful part of the world with amazing flora and fauna.
    My favorite wildflower is still your Daisy, what a character!
    What an amazing view in the second shot!

  6. That stream is an awesome find. The sound of running water is so calming...I could sit there for hours.

  7. Beautiful scenery and a cute shot of your Daisy! The wildflowers are beautiful! Have a wonderful 4th of JULY!

  8. I don't know which is more impressive -- the grandeur of the mountains or those beautiful diminutive wildflowers. All of your pictures are beautiful. Thanks for the interesting Ute history.

  9. Great hike and a very interesting history lesson. Very cool that Daisy sniffed out the Elk and the photo of the elk calf.

  10. All those times we went to Chipeta and I never knew her story. Thanks for sharing it!

  11. Such beautiful flowers and scenery.
    I love reading about the Native Americans and their history...I also find it sad that they lost so much of their land too.

  12. Your photography never fails to take my breath away.

    Great post!

  13. Hi Janie and Steve, Happy 4th. That stream looks exactly like Lehman Creek close to my house! We're seeing the same wildflowers, too. Don't you love living in the West this time of year? I'll be hiking and biking this week - enjoying each minute that I can - exactly like you two and Daisy.

  14. Your great open spaces are breathtaking and your photography wonderful. I wish we had such space here with all those trails but I suppose UK is just not big enough!

  15. interesting ride and interesting history today.

  16. I've never seen such tiny forget-me-nots. Alpine plants are amazing how they can survive in such harsh conditions.

  17. There is a Chipeta Sun Lodge in Ridgway and I'm sure it was named after her, too, I just never realized it! I also didn't realize that alpine forget-me-nots were so small. I've seen them in my wildflower book and wondered why I couldn't find any. I've been looking for something much bigger!

  18. Great trip in the hills. Yes, elk do bugle all year 'round--when the cows are calving, I think the bulls bugle more than they do during the rut. Sympathy labor pains?

  19. This was a perfect get-away for me, Janie. I love viewing those wide open ranges you all roam around.

    I recently saw a documentary about the American Indians and the shameful way the government treated them. After all they were here first and they believed the land was sacred.

  20. Hi,

    That picture you posted about Chipeta peak isn't the peak itself, but it does lead up to it. The mountain itself is another few hundred feet higher than the ridge.

    Ron Sering, Howard, Colorado



Blog Widget by LinkWithin