Monday, August 21, 2017

Cuberant Basin, Uinta Mountains- 8.18/19.2017

A fine batch of weather was on tap for the northern part of Utah. I took it upon myself to take advantage of getting out on trail. I decided since I was going solo I would head into Cuberant Basin for the evening. What kind of trouble could I get into? I set out from Pass Lake trail head and moved rather quickly into Reids Meadow. A solid push from there, and I was standing at the junction to Cuberant Basin. I was going to stop and take a break but I was feeling good and decided to push all the way into my spot for the evening. It was a wonderful walk in there, partly cloudy with some nice temps, and shade most of the way hiking in. Doing the last section to the pass is when the sun came out in force. I sat up there and took a standing break just soaking in the view and nice breeze. On I went into the basin, past #2 and down to #3 for my final stop for the night.

After getting shop set up I decided to do a little fishing as I had a couple of hours before sunset. It was red hot for pan fry brookies which were striking at anything you could throw at them. Eventually dusk set in and I got my fire going and had some dinner. Had a spooky moment right at dark, when my headlamp lit up two eyes low to the ground right outside my camp. Turned out to be a deer which was grazing on the abundance of greenery that has grown this year. Not gonna lie, the adrenaline was coursing through my veins! Was really glad to see that deer go bounding shoreline in front of me. Once I had my camera out for a long exposure, I made my way back to camp and settled in with my fire and some beverages. Eventually, it was time to turn in. I slept pretty soundly only stirring once in the night to adjust my sleeping bag. I awoke to clear skies and cold temps. There was frost on the meadow behind camp. A sure bet that summer is wrapping up in the high terrain. I kind of took my time in camp having some coffee and breakfast. After packing it up I made the hike out. You could not have asked for better weather. The view from Marsell Pass on the way out was spectacular! Cuberant Basin is a place that I have visited every year since 2009. it never disappoints. It was a great trip! Enjoy the pics! More adventures to come!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Dean Lake, Uinta Mountains- 8.5/6.2017

I was fortunate enough to get out backpacking for a very short trip into Dean Lake in the Uintas. I got a very late start so I did not get to the trail head till about 4 PM. I was trying out my new UL backpacking boots sent to me from Keen. The APhlex boot is only 17.6 OZ per boot, and they are waterproof. These boots are made to fit like a running shoe, but give the full support of a hiking boot. They are amazing! I'll give a full report on them later. I made a quick hike in passing Clegg Lake and enjoying the variety of wildflowers which were in full bloom. After a bit of meadow walking from the main trail, I was standing lake side. Not a bad place to be on your birthday. I found my way into the camp I like and got things settled in for the evening. The moon came up over the lake and I had to get a shot of that because the lake was glass. This was going to be a completely clear night and I was excited about the photography opportunities!

I retreated to camp and got my camera ready for a star trail and got my fire going. I put out the camera for a time lapse and made some dinner. It got a bit chilly at 10,360 ft. I was glad to have my insulated jacket. The moon stayed in the southern sky making reflection shots a lot of fun to play with. After some camera fun it was time to turn in for some quiet sleep. I was awoken about 4 AM to the sound of a very large rockfall over by Notch Lake. It echoed through the whole basin. I imagine it must have been pretty large due to the sheer volume of the collapse. I rolled back over and slept in. I awoke to sunny skies with whispy clouds rolling in from the south and west. I took my time getting breakfast and some coffee. I then packed it up because I had birthday dinner plans with my family. The hike out was nice and a unusually empty trail for this area. I got to the lot in an hour and some change and posted up for a bit watching all the people there to climb Mt Baldy. It was a great way to spend a birthday with weather that you just cannot appreciate enough. Enjoy the pics! More adventures to come!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Teal Lake, Uinta Mountains- 7.29/30.2017

I had the chance to break away from the busy week in Salt Lake with Outdoor Retailer in town, to squeeze in an over night trip to the Uintas. I woke early on Saturday and departed for the trail head. The walk in was pretty quick, passing the many lakes in this area. The wildflowers are at peak right now so the color was amazing to see. After some brisk paced hiking I found myself descending to Teal Lake. I found my friends fishing as I arrived and I set up shop for the evening to come. We then just got into full fly fishing mode landing multiple Cutthroat and Tiger Trout. I happened to get a very nice sized Tiger on a Caddis Fly that has never landed anything previously. We fished most of the day, hanging out, and just enjoying where we were. The weather could not have been better. Evening came in with about 10 rain drops. We got a fire going and settled in.

Darkness fell and I decided since all the clouds had cleared out that I would put the camera out for a star trail. We sat around the fire eating delicious fish and having some well earned beverages. After my time lapse finished, I walked out to the lake and set up for a Milky Way shot. It is heading west now, so I got it as good as you can see it this time of year. After a nice fire, fun with the camera, and catching up with my good friends, it was time to turn in.

Morning came with clear skies and no winds. I made coffee and ate breakfast and went and sat by the lake. The sun on the peaks was just amazing. After a great start to the day I did a quick pack and decided to head out. The hike out was just amazing with the light and the wildflowers did not disappoint! I even ran into a Marmot climbing my way out to the trail head. It was so much fun to be out in the mountains once more. Enjoy the pics, more adventures to come!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Jewel Lake, Uinta Mountains, Utah- 7.8/7.9.2017

Finally got out into the Uintas this year! I returned to my home away from home for a solo overnight recon to Jewel Lake. I arrived to a packed trail head, and I was lucky to get a parking spot on the main row. I put it together and headed on in. I leapfrogged several groups as the sky was darkening, and its only a matter of time before the Uintas give you a thunder shower. I passed Ruth, then up and over the divide to Hayden Lake. Still some big piles of snow on Lofty Peak, but the main areas and trails are dry. I then made the final descent into Jewel Lake. Its as full as I have ever seen it. I have seen no other backpackers to this point. Rare to have this alone on a July weekend. The skeeters greeted me at my camp spot so on went the bug spray. As soon as I got my tent up and camp set, the thunder roared. A pretty good 30-40 minute sprinkle, and then it was over. I got out the fly rod to give it a shot fishing. I fished pretty much until dusk, but only a few hits and nothing landed. You win some, you loose some. Name of the game with fly fishing.

Sunset came and I got some nice reflection shots from the shore. I got a fire going and made dinner. The moon came up, and as beautiful of a sight that is, it meant no star trails or milky way shots on this trip. I still had a great night out there, just lounging by the fire and sitting out with the moon in full view. I turned in for a quiet night sleeping under the stars. I awoke to clear skies and cooler temps. Coffee was in order so I made some then sat down to decide what I was gonna do. The skeeters made up my mind for me, so I packed it up and headed out. The hike out was nice, perfect temps, and the bug issue seemed to vanish leaving Jewel. I took my time on the way out, just plain happy to be back in the Uintas once more. On the way out on the highway, I saw an entire family of mountain goats. Yes I had to stop for a photo. Enjoy the pics! More adventures to come!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah 7.1/7.2.2017

After three days and two nights backpacking Boulder Mountain, I made my way over to Capitol Reef National Park. Its the one National Park in Utah I had not been to. The funny thing is that I come to Torrey for Boulder Mountain all the time. Not quite sure why I have never been in here. Not that I frequent National Parks that often, but this was a special treat to cap off an incredible holiday weekend. I made the drive into the park, stopping at the Goosenecks. I then popped in the visitors center to get the scoop on where I could disperse camp. I made my way out to Cedar Mesa Campground, which my new Renegade handled like a champ, only to find it not having the view I was looking for. So I reversed course and started hunting the ATV trails for a good spot in the BLM side to set up shop. I found a good area and set up my tent. I had passed the Hickman Bridge trail on the way out to camp, so I figured I had some hours to kill before sunset, so why not go for a hike?

The trail was very easy to follow and had some aspects which reminded me of Escalante. Some sandy sections, but overall not a bad hike. The views were spectacular. The Hickman Bridge is huge, and very much like the arches in Arches National Park. I made the loop out of the arch and decided to head for the rim for some views. That paid off as the sun was setting and the colors got amazing! It was getting late and I had a hop to get back to camp before dark. I arrived right at sunset and pulled up my camp chair and had a cold one. Night came and since there was a fire restriction, I just pulled out the Luci's, and played with my camera with some Pink Floyd as the soundtrack. It was really warm, so never even put on socks, nor a jacket of any kind. Eventually I turned in for some really good sleep.

Dawn broke and I got up and made coffee. I decided to pack it up and head out for some photos and to see a couple of more things in the park before making the drive home. It was a great first experience visiting this place. The Jeep was so awesome off road! I had a great time and its been a bit since I have had a full adventure. Enjoy the pics, more adventures to come!

Deer Creek Lake, Dixie National Forest, Utah- 6.29/7.1.2017

I finally got out for a backpacking trip this year! We headed to Boulder Mountain on Thursday. We decided on the dates we did to avoid the holiday traffic. The drive was pretty much a clear shot all the way into Torrey. We made good time into the trail head and packed it in. I have not been to this area this time of year. It was so lush and green! Wildflowers were everywhere! The hike in was warm, but good after the three hour drive to get there. We made a good push up to the Great Western Trail then took a short break. We continued on into the aspens where the mosquitoes made their presence known. I honestly was in a full sprint in this section because they were that horrible. Once we got to the Deer Creek junction, they mellowed out quite a bit. We made camp and settled in for the evening. We had a nice night in camp and turned in for some good shut eye.

We awoke Friday to a barrage of mosquitoes in camp, which motivated everyone to put it together and head out to find Mooseman Lake. We took a off trail route, which ended up being marked with pink ties which walked us all the way up to Mooseman. When we walked up to the shore, they were jumping like crazy. I tossed a line in and it was on! Seems every cast I had a fish on the line. We stayed a better part of the day up here because the wind was keeping the skeeters at bay. We eventually took the trail out to the Great Western section to get back to camp. We then fished Greens Lake. Some nice Cuttys in there, but even bigger brookies which wanted nothing to do with anything I threw at them. Evening came in and we fished Deer Creek again. Darkness fell and I set out my camera for a star trail. We all had some great beverages and then turned in.

I awoke on Saturday to even more Mosquitoes. After three days of these micro vampires, I think I had reached my limit. I had this urge to head into Capitol Reef National Park to take my new Jeep off road and do some hiking and dispersed camping. I informed my group of my plans then packed it up and said my goodbyes. The hike out was pleasant and crystal clear. A bit warmer than on the way in. I made it to the Jeep in an hour and some change. This is one of my favorite areas to visit and it had been a couple of years since I had been there. My next post will be my trip into Capitol Reef National Park. Enjoy the photos. More adventures to come!