By Jack Huther, Field Director
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.” John Muir
Legacy’s course area is an extensive area combining 11,000 ft mountains and sandstone walled canyons. It is a vast and diverse area of geology, geography, biology and botany. As field director, I am often asked, “Where is your favorite place to go exploring?” I find it difficult to articulate how many “favorite places” in our field area I actually do have, and the unlimited beauty of those places.
Operating with the National Forest Service, BLM offices and the state of Utah, Legacy has over a million acres of public land to hike, bike, backpack, fish, climb, canyoneer and enjoy. The two biggest areas that we operate in during the Summer months are FishLake National Forest and Utah’s largest National Forest- Dixie National Forest.
Our main base of operations and the place where our Licensed treatment center is situated is in the middle of it all in Loa, UT. The area is colloquially referred to as Wayne County, with the Aquarius Plateau and Boulder Mountain for our backyard.
Escaping to higher elevations is necessary to find cooler temperatures during the Summer months. We have access to some beautiful mountains to summit this time of year. The Fish Lake HighTop is the highest spot in our course area at 11634ft. Mount Marvine comes in at 11624ft, Mount Terrill at 11547 ft and Mount Hilegard at 11538 ft. All offer amazing challenges and spectacular views. Just on the other side of the valley it is impossible to miss 1000 Lakes Mountain (11306 ft) and Boulder Mountain (11317 ft), standing like guardians of the valley.
1000 Lakes Mountain Picture taken by Bob Palin on October 23 2004 using Canon S40
In addition to summiting mountains there are many alpine lakes that are stocked with trout that our teams will visit and go fishing. Backpacking and fishing along the mountain rivers allows teams of Legacy clients to be self reliant and enjoy connecting with nature. While fishing, our clients get to practice patience, preparation and perseverance.
The Aquarius Plateau and Fishlake National Forest offers some splendid mountain biking in rolling sage hills spattered with some stunning aspen groves. One of the best places to ride is around Fishlake where the trail hugs the lakeside and ascends to a beautiful overlook. The trail also goes right next to the Pando grove which is the largest living organism by mass on the planet– and one of the oldest! It is all exquisite to behold and truly exceptional in the Fall when all the Aspen trees turn orange, golden and vermillion.
Besides backpacking, biking and fishing throughout our remarkable high country, we also have access to our climbing and canyoneering areas just 30 minutes away. The Ledges above Fremont, Utah is a popular destination for our teams to do climbing trips. There, Legacy has two top rope climbing areas as well as endless bouldering problems to explore. The Ledges are a volcanic tableland of shelves, boulders, and pinon and juniper forest. Another favorite area for rock climbing is Sandcreek, just outside Torrey, UT, where the mountains turn to sandstone cliffs. At Sandcreek we use several top rope areas as well as a few canyons for adventures!