Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Kermsuh Lake- High Uintas Wilderness- September 3rd-5th, 2011

For the past two years, we have owned Cuberant Basin for Labor Day Weekend. But since we have had a shortened season due to the late snow melt, we decided to hit somewhere new that we had never been. We weighed the options and decided that Kermsuh would be our outing for the holiday weekend. We departed Saturday and arrived just after 9 am. We hit the Christmas Meadows trail and pushed a very fast pace to the junction to Amethyst Basin. A short break, then we pushed on. This part of the trail is very beautiful and we saw lots of Elk on the way in. After a bit, we found ourselves sitting at the junction for Kermsuh. It is crazy, the tree that the sign was on had been totally scorched by lightning. We took a snack break, then moved on. Heading into the basin you have to cross a stream that is too deep to walk through, and no one wanted trench foot, but it had a log you could cross. To say crossing this single log bridge was sketchy is an understatement. I did not want my D90 to go in the drink, so this was a bit precarious. But we all made it and headed up the switchbacks. This section really reminded me of the Wasatch, because it was steep and a hell of a workout.

About 2/3 of the way up, we got a side view of a canyon that the drainage flows out of, and it was holding some of the biggest trees I have ever seen in the Uintas. We pushed on, and finally made it to the part where it sort of levels off. A nice walk in the woods, and you come to a stream crossing and a huge meadow. You kind of loose the trail here for a minute, but it is easy to pick it right back up after you cross the stream. Then it begins to climb again, which once again reminds me of the Wasatch. Finally we hit the final meadow which was beautiful, and up the inlet to Kermsuh Lake. One word- WOW! This basin is pristine to say the least, and it is so picturesque. We decided because of a huge granite feature that was right off of camp to pitch shop on the south side with a full view of A-1 Peak. We pulled out our goods, got shop pitched and we were all fishing right away. And they are active up there! It seemed for a time, we all kind of forgot what time it was, and realized that we needed to get dinner going and a nice fire. It was a brisk night, but we had a half moon rise over Hayden Peak, and it was giving some cool reflected light.

I did some night photography, and then we were all bushed and decided to turn in. Morning brought the sun a bit later then any of us expected, as we all slept in a bit longer than we planned. Coffee, then fishing was on! Chris was nailing brookies in the inlet, and I got a few cuttys right off shore from camp. Afternoon came and we decided to go scout the water marked on the map in the cirque above Kermsuh. It was a nice hike, and very scenic. But alas no hidden fishing gem, but the view was spectacular! We were sitting right at the base of the shoots on the backside of Hayden Peak. It was awesome to be up there, and you could really see how far you had come up here. We spent quite a bit of time up here, enjoying the view, the warm sun, and good friends. Evening time found us back at camp fishing for dinner. Brookies ended up being the main course, and we all had a ton to eat! I did some more night photography, and we had some tunes by the fire off the Ipod Shuffle. The next day woke us with a slight drizzle, nothing major, but the sound of the drops hitting my rain fly were really soothing. Then it broke clear. We made breakfast, broke camp and started to head out. Then the storm tried to come in, and from Kermsuh, to the junction, it was cloudy, few drops and lots of wind. Then at the fork it broke again, sunshine all the way out of Christmas Meadows.

This was the best trip of the summer. We had only two other groups up there that weekend, and they bounced on Sunday, leaving it all for us to enjoy. The fishing was great, the scenery was exactly what I love when traveling in the wilderness. Kermsuh for sure delivered the goods.

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