Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Retrospective Christian Paul Photography

2012 was a crazy year for sure. I had some great adventures this year. From my time in the snow, to getting out on the trail, graduating with my photography degree, and getting images published, this year has been full of surprises. The stats: 66 days snowboarding, 56 days hiking and backpacking, 29 days camping, and 177 miles by foot in the mountains. A ton of images, and a lot of growth with my camera. I also learned a bit about time lapse this year, so not only was I able to shoot some great star trail photography, but the video below shows some of the time lapse that I shot as well. I am thankful for all the family and friends who supported me and made it possible for me to get out in our beautiful wilderness to do what I love- immersing myself in the backcountry, and shooting photography. What will 2013 bring? The mystery begins- and I am looking forward to new adventures. Thanks for visiting my blog over the last year, I have had a ton of visitors and I am honored to share my adventures with you all. I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2013.

2012 Retrospective from Christian Paul on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holiday Happiness 12.21.23.26.2012

Conditions have been incredible for December at Snowbird. I cannot remember the last time we had the whole mountain operational and accessible before Christmas. December 21st was a great cruiser day, Baldy Express opened, and there were windblown fluffies to hit. The 23rd was another blue bird day, with the opening of the Bookends. Snow was very good over there for being a few day after the storm. I took a few days off to spend Christmas with the family, but was back at it on the 26th. Full on blizzard up there, with so much snow, the options were endless. It has been a full season since I have ridden in a blizzard, and I have to say I missed the fury that Mother Nature can dish out. It was a great week up there, more on the way!

Holiday Happiness 12.21.23.26.2012 from Christian Paul on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December Dumpage- 12.16.17.19.2012

What a storm cycle! We had a classic Utah storm roll in and give us the goods! The 16th was fresh and deep blower pow. So much fun, and since things had filled in, just made the riding fantastic! The 17th was a wind buff free refill day. Every run you would take, you would load the chair and it was all filled back in again. These are rare days that you have to take advantage of because usually things get hammered out quickly. But not this day, as the wind and snow was giving us a treat, and it was fresh all day long. The 19th was the first bluebird day in over a week. With lots of leftovers, -14 windchill to keep your human Popsicle nice and cold, made for some great turns at the Bird. This season is shaping up to be a great one, we have the snow, and conditions are prime. Santa for sure showed up for us powder hounds early this year! Get out there and get some! More to come......

December Dumpage- 12.16.17.19.2012 from Christian Paul on Vimeo.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Filling In- 12.6.9.2012

Well, things at the Bird are filling in nicely! Thursday we received a skiff of snow that freshened up the playground. Made for some very nice conditions both on and off trail. The base area was bullet proof, so some care need to be taken to get back to the Tram. Very light traffic, and really good snow both from the storm and from the wind loading it into the catchers mitts. Sunday was a early worm gets the Bird day, as I caught second Tram. Headed out with a "0" degree temp reading on the peak. Got frosted on Regulator by one of the snow guns, had to scrape the goggles on the way to the Cirque. The Cirque traverse is still bony in spots, so take care as I did get a core shot from a rock getting out to Mid-Cirque. The turns down Mid-Cirque were the best so far this season, getting blasted by every turn, and ending up at the bottom like I just woke up from a dream! Rallied the P-Dog chair the rest of the day, just playing in the fluffies and having a great time. It is nice to see it actually snow in Utah again. Winter is in full force, and we seem to have entered a wet pattern which will keep producing snow for our mountains. So more fun on the way!

Filling In- 12.6.9.2012 Snowbird from Christian Paul on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December Begins- 12.3.2012

After what seemed to be a few weeks of spring like conditions, we finally got a storm. It was 5" of wet, dense snow which we desperately needed for our base. I caught first Tram and what a surprise the whole day was. There were some variable spots, some really good catchers mitts loaded with fluffies, and it was a really all around great day up there riding. Looks like we are heading into a winter pattern, so more snow is on the way this week! December is starting off right, lets keep this going!

December Begins- 12.3.2012 from Christian Paul on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Avenue Twin Peaks, Wasatch Foothills, Utah Nov 2012

I feel regardless of your affiliations and beliefs, holidays are time to be spent with family. I spent the whole weekend with my family, including hiking with my daughter on her first ascent of a peak. We have, after instant winter, begun to experience a high pressure ridge that is just keeping out all of the storms. Plus we have been upper 50's during the day, so just really unseasonable weather. We started on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, and headed up the trail. This has some good climbs without it being too steep. We climbed and climbed, taking a few breaks so my daughter would not be worn out, and finally reached the ridge. After a few snacks, we continued on and made the final push for the top. Avenue Twin Peaks are 2 miles to the peak, and it is about 1100 feet of elevation gain to the top. So it is a great workout. I think this was a great experience for my daughter, she really was loving being up there. We crossed over from the north peak to the south peak and had a full panoramic view of the Salt Lake valley. After soaking it in for a while, we made our way down, just having fun all the way to the car. I am very proud of my daughter, she did so well and never quit. This was by far the latest in the year I have ever gone hiking here in the Wasatch. By this time I usually have switched to just winter activities at this point. But when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. I love hiking, and it was a treat to be on trail this late in the year. The only bummer was looking at the inversion that was in the valley, realizing that when the adventure was over, we had to go down in that gunky soup. I hope you all had a great holiday.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thankful Turns- 11.21.2012- Snowbird, Utah

I got a couple of days riding Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving up Little Cottonwood Canyon. The sun was out and the snow was in great condition. And best of all, on the 21st, I got to ride with my friend Jeremy who I did the Wind River Range trip with back in September. Just fun playing around on things and slashing the smooth terrain at hand. It is days like this that are care free and no pressure. Which in my opinion, is what snowboarding is all about. And that made me very thankful for the turns I got. Hope everyone had a great holiday. Gobble Gobble!!!

Thankful Turns- Snowbird- 11.21.2012 from Christian Paul on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

First Tram Laps 12/13- 11.18.2012

Finally the day has arrived to take the fun boat up into the sky! Snowbird opened the Tram to riding. I headed up on a snowy Sunday to give the new terrain open a whirl. Peruvian Gulch and Regulator Johnson were the options, and with the new paint job on the mountain from old man winter, conditions were prime. I was fortunate the get the first Tram of the day and it was so worth it. Got my first legitimate barrel of the season. Really fun fast riding, which kept it interesting and fun. It is days like these that I live for, floating in the freshies, and just losing yourself to the mountain. Days like these I find to be timeless, like you could care less about looking at a clock. Enjoy the video, more winter adventures to be had- get out there!

First Tram Laps 12/13- 11.18.2012 from Christian Paul on Vimeo.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Opening Day 12/13- Snowbird, Utah- 11.15.2012

The day has finally arrived! Opening day @ Snowbird! First lift served turns of the season. It was a really great time being up on the hill with my friend Jeremy. We rallied some really fun laps. Surface was pretty fun, a few greasy spots, but nothing too unmanageable. We even found some pow left over from the storm that gave us our base so the resort could open. This season is starting out a bit more promising than last year. Looks like old man winter is back, and we have a small storm coming in this weekend. I smell Sunday Funday on tap. More to come.........

Opening Day- Snowbird, Utah- 11.15.2012 from Christian Paul on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

First Turns 12/13- Brighton pre-season- November 11th, 2012

Well in a matter of three days, winter arrived in full force here in Utah. With snow totals between 30 and 40 inches, it was time to get out and get some turns in. I made my way up to Brighton with my friends, and we got our gear together. I was a little behind, because I had some issues with my skins. Once I had all of that in order, I strapped in and headed up. It was bitter cold, and the snow was almost sticky because of the arctic air creeping into the canyon. As I climbed, I got a very nice cardio workout, and was really enjoying being out on the snow once again. I hit a very steep section, and my skins iced right up. I could not climb, as I would just slip backwards every attempt I made. I finally decided on a spot to break everything down, and drop in for a ride to the bottom. I had a very nice ride and even got some pow turns! Not exactly what I was shooting for as far as runs were concerned, but really fun to be floating in the fluffies after being off the snow for so long. It was really fun to be snowboarding again, and I have to admit, I have missed it a lot. Most of the resorts open this week, so this party is just getting started. Enjoy the short video from today, and there is more to come from this great start to winter that we just received!

First Turns of 12 13 from Christian Paul on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Jacks Peak, Wasatch Foothills, Utah- Nov 2012

I have been eyeballing the peaks around my new neighborhood I live in below the Wasatch Foothills. I have hiked almost all of this range, but this area I am in is one section I have yet to explore. I honestly did not know where I was headed, I just got on a trail on the Bonneville Shoreline trail head off of 2100 s. I followed it to the ridge, and climbed to a knoll that had a radio tower on it. I ran into a nice group who I got a bunch of history on the peak directly east from the knoll. It is called Jacks Peak. A toddler in 1995 passed away from a hard fought battle with leukemia. His parents scattered his ashes and placed two mailboxes on the summit with journals with his story and pages you can log your visit in. I had heard about this hike from trip reports and an article in the Salt Lake Tribune, but it was pretty cool that I stumbled onto it just heading in on a trail. After leaving the knoll you descend a low saddle. Then the climb begins, and it is well worth it. It is a good work out, and the views keep getting better and better. You climb two false summits and then you will reach the top at 6448 ft. A total climb of 1250 ft in elevation gain in about 1.5 miles. I enjoyed the workout since I have taken the last week or so off to get things ready for winter. It felt like a spring day up there. The climb was hot, because there is no cover on this hike. Bring your sunscreen for sure. After getting the workout I was after, and making the last section I found myself looking at all of the Salt Lake Valley, and all of Spring Canyon and Perkins Peak at the head of the canyon. I took some photos, and then signed the journal, and then sat on the highest point of this peak and just took in the view. After a while it was time to head down. It is a pretty steep down climb to the saddle, then it is manageable after that all the way to the trail head. This was a great intro to the area I am close to up here, and I will be checking out some more hikes on this front side of the Wasatch. We are expecting a huge winter system by next weekend, so winter might be upon us, and I may be tasting the essence of the greatest snow on earth if mother nature delivers next weekend. I am itching to get those first turns of the season for sure. Stay tuned!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Big Water Trail, Millcreek Canyon, Wasatch-Cache National Forest- October 2012

When we as a family have a whole day to spend together, which is rare, we make the best of it. We did an afternoon hike up the Big Water Trail in Millcreek canyon. It has gotten much colder in just the last few days, and the sun is heading south, meaning winter is just around the corner. We headed up and all of us had jackets on. As we climbed, we eventually got in the sun and had to shed the layers. All the leaves are off the Aspens, I suspect from the last storm. And that they have had very little water, so I am sure they were done a while back. As we climbed, we got a nice walk through the forest, just enjoying being able to just get out and walk this trail. My daughter is getting really strong, and is becoming a stronger hiker every time we go. We made it up to the junction for Big Water/Little Water trail, and my daughter was cold and tired. So we decided not to go to Dog Lake, as we were running out of sunlight, and the temps were dropping fast. The hike out was pretty chilly to say the least, and all of us were very happy to finally reach the car and get the heat going. NWS is calling for a pretty big low pressure which could be the first substantial snowfall for the season. I may get one or two more hikes in this year before we are snowed in and I start snowboarding for the season. We will see what the weather gives me. More to come..........

Monday, October 15, 2012

Oktober Family Fun- Bells Canyon, Wasatch-Cache National Forest- October 2012

I have really been away from home all summer. I mean literally. I was only home 3 weekends all summer because I was out building my portfolio for photography. So I have taken a few weekends off to spent some quality family time. Last weekend was Cornbelly's on Saturday for my daughter, and Oktoberfest for the whole family on Sunday.My Mom and Grandpa Bob were in town for a visit! So much fun!
This weekend we did the Living Planet Aquarium on Saturday because of the weather. Sunday, as a family we decided to go hiking. We settled on Bells Canyon since the parking at the trails was packed up Millcreek Canyon. It has been almost a whole season since I have been up there, so was wondering how it did over this hot, dry summer we had. The colors were outstanding, as well were the temps for Mid-October. We made the quick jaunt up to the lake, then hopped off the main route to look for some good spots to shoot some family photos. After the photos, we made our way around the lake and to a spot that my daughter likes to climb on the granite boulders that have come out of the canyon. The light was awesome, and it was such a nice day. I did not bring my fishing rod because I was spending time with my family, but I did see them rising out there, may have to sneak a quick trip up there in before the snow flies. It was an awesome day with the family that I love so much! Few more days hiking and we will be on the snow! More to come.........

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hidden Lake, Uintas- September 2012

After getting our first snowfall of the year in the higher terrain, we received a ridge of high pressure that melted it all off. So after discussing our destination with Chris, we decided to head into Hidden Lake in the Watson/Notch area of the Uintas. We arrived in the afternoon to find the Crystal Lake trail head emptier than I have ever seen it. We were smiles ear to ear at the chance that we would have no one out there, and to have an area all to ourselves. We got the packs on and headed in. The first section to Cliff Lake is very steep, and was a good warm up for sure. Cliff Lake is very picturesque, we stopped to look at it for a minute to catch our breath from the steep climb, then moved on. The next lake on the way up was Petite Lake. Very fitting for the name. Then we moved up to Watson Lake. At this point you climb a slight ridge, then drop down to Clyde Lake. This was one of the first views you get of all the surrounding peaks and the divide which we were to go over. After a few minutes at Clyde, we moved on to Three Divide Lakes. As we rounded the shoulder of Mt Watson, we began a series of small drainage crossings which seemed to go on forever.

We finally got to Peter Lake, and we started our decent bushwhacking our way in. We finally through the trees got a view of Hidden Lake, and we made our way down to the east side. We scouted around for a spot to set up shop, and found one near the outlet, that was pretty sweet. We go shop pitched, and the second half of our party showed up, Collin and his wonder dog Barley. We decided to get camp set because the days are much shorter now, and we knew we had two full days to explore out there. As dusk set in, we got our fire going, and made dinner. The moon was nearly full that night, and it gave me a chance to see where I could shoot some night shots without the moon affecting them. As the midnight hour started rapidly approaching, we all made our way to the warmth of our tents. I awoke to the sounds of birds singing in the trees in our camp. I had frost on my tent when I first climbed out to greet the day. Collin and Chris got up and we all made coffee. Soon the sun was blazing over the ridge, and we got it together and decided to see where a source of water was coming from, possibly a backcountry pond. As we crossed the big meadows, isolated cells were coming in from the west, and gave us a brief shower which I put on my rain jacket for and did some exploring back to camp. Soon the skies cleared, and we gave it a shot at fishing Hidden Lake.

They were rising, but no matter what you threw at them, they rejected everything. I even had one swim and surface right next to my fly, and not even pay it notice. After a frustrating couple of hours dusk started to set in, and the wind was now cold, so we called it for the day and headed back to camp for dinner and a beverage. Night came once again, but this time not as cold. Collin packs in a carbon fiber 6-string to pick at, and we listened as he jammed out his tunes. After a while my friends got tired, and I still had about an hour of shooting left before my image would be done. I retired shortly after they did, and found sleep not much later. Sunday I awoke to clear skies, slightly warmer temps, and a light breeze moving around the basin. Collin and Chris got up not too much longer after I did, and we once again go the caffeine train going again. We decided to head up to Three Divide Lakes and Clyde to fish them on the way out. We quickly broke camp, and then made the climb to the pass. At the Middle Divide Lake, I landed a very small brookie. I can't believe that guy actually went for my fly. We moved on down to Clyde Lake, and there our luck changed dramatically. Second cast I had a nice brookie on the line. Chris and Collin had similar luck, and we fished Clyde for a couple of hours. It was great up there, and they were attacking it off the top just like I like it. After a bit, we decided to push for Watson, then out to the car. We chilled in the meadow at Watson for a while, just soaking up the sun, and relaxing, which was the whole point of getting out this weekend. We finally made it to the car, where we had some tasty beverages, toasting a great weekend in the mountains. This may be my last Uintas trip this year, weather depending. It is now October, and the nights are going to get colder, and the days shorter. It has been a good season backpacking this year. Maybe one more adventure, and of course gonna get out for some day hiking for fall colors. Stay tuned- Enjoy the slideshow!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Marsell Canyon, Grand Daddy Basin, High Uintas Wilderness- Ashley National Forest- September 2012

I love September in the Uintas. The crowds are gone, the bugs are done for the season, and the fishing is best when the water starts to cool down from a hot summer like we have had here in Utah. I was planning on getting out this weekend, and my friend Chris suggested we hit a remote area in the Uintas called Marsell Canyon. This is an area accessed via the route into Grand Daddy Basin in the High Uintas Wilderness. The road to Grand View trail head is not a good one for a car, I would have an AWD or 4WD vehicle with some ground clearance if you are going to drive up there. Also, this is a very narrow road, so watch the corners and pull outs. It is not wide enough for two cars in sections. We got an afternoon start at the Grand View trail head, and started the rocky, sandy climb to Hades Pass. It was unusually warm for September, and it for sure made us work up a sweat climbing the 1,000 ft with a heavy pack on. Once we got to the pass, we took a quick break for some photos and to dry out as to not be wet once the sun set for the day.

After our break we moved quickly into the basin, passing Grand Daddy Lake, the biggest lake in the Uintas. Moving on, we made our way further into the basin, passing Lake Betsy, and arriving at the junction to Mohawk Lake. As we arrived at Mohawk Lake, the sun started to dip to the horizon, so we knew that it was in our best interest to move through the meadows north of Mohawk Lake which would deliver us to Marsell Lake which was our destination. There is no trail from Mohawk Lake to Marsell Canyon, you have to route find and bush whack to get into the canyon. We crossed three meadows, then ended up on a minor ridge looking down at Marsell Lake and Marsell Canyon. It took a slight bit of route finding, but we made our way down to the lake and found a really good spot rather quickly. We set up shop, and got a fire going, as dusk was upon us, and the temps were dipping a bit. I shot some star trails and we got our water, then we made dinner as the stars came out to give us quite a show! After some warming from the fire, and a full stomach, along with 5 1/2 miles of travel for the day, we were ready to crash out.

I awoke to the sun shining on the other side of the lake, and the water like still glass. Chris and his two dogs were still in the tent sleeping, so as not to disturb them, I walked down to the shore to give it a shot fishing. I set up my rig, put it out, and no kidding first cast had a huge Cutthroat on the line! I was so excited I ran back up to camp and got Chris up to see this lunker I had landed. He was pleased and got up and made coffee to get ready for an adventure to secure a fish dinner for that night. I made my way getting ready for the day with some coffee and instant grits. the temps rose rapidly that morning, and we headed off to fish Marsell and head over to Sonny Lake to see what we could catch. I only got a couple of more smaller fish on this trip, but Chris managed to nail a very fat, very large Brookie from Sonny, hook jaw and all. We had made plans to head out Farney Lake to try our hand at some graylings, but Chris was concerned at what condition his Brookie would be in by the time we made it back to camp. So we stayed at Sonny, explored the area, and fished for quite some time. Eventually we made our way back to Marsell, and set up the fish down at the shore and proceeded to just relax at the lake, fish some more, and just enjoy how quiet it was out there. We had not seen anyone since the trail head, we had a place in the Uintas all to ourselves! As it always does, the day came to evening and it was time to get our fish ready to eat.

Dinner consisted of Louisiana Rice and Beans with Cutthroat Trout as the main course, and Raspberry Crumble Shortcake for dessert. To top it all off, while I was shooting some time lapse and star trails, we did some hot chocolate with whipped cream that Chris was more than kind enough to pack in. It was the best backcountry feast I have ever had! We were both tired after dinner, and when my shots were done, it was time to turn in. Sunday came with some slight wind and a bit cooler temps than the previous morning. Chris wanted another shot at fishing, and I wanted to eat and just relax with my coffee lake side. After getting my caffeine fix, I had breakfast, broke camp, and got ready for the hike out. Chris after a couple of hours was ready to roll, and we bush whacked our way back to Mohawk, past Betsy, then onto the Grand Daddy and a swift climb to the pass. From Marsell Canyon to Hades Pass is three miles and some change. And we did it on Sunday in one hour and seven minutes. We stopped to look at the Uintas that are off in the distance from the pass, but you can see the heart of the High Line Trail from Hades Pass, so it kind of mesmerizes you looking at Cyclone Pass. That is steep! We made our way to the truck at the trail head, and wrapped up another epic adventure in the Uintas with a couple of cold ones. It was nice to be out there again, maybe another one before I move to winter activities. It is gonna be up to Mother Nature. We will see what she has in store. Enjoy the slide show below, and I will have more photography since we are now in fall and the colors are changing.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Wind River Range, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming- September 2012

The Wind River Range has been on my bucket list for about four years now. I have wanted to go, but just never seemed to be good timing to get a partner to go up there. This year worked out as my friend Jeremy wanted to go there, so we made plans for Labor Day weekend to explore the Temple Mountain area. We left Thursday night, and drove five hours to Big Sandy trail head. We arrived, pitched shop, had a few cold ones, watched the moon and turned in. I actually slept like eight hours, which is unusual for me. We woke up Friday morning, made coffee, and then prepared to head into the wilderness area. This trip is not like those of my Uintas that I take all the time. It required us to secure a Bear Resistant Food Container, Bear Spray, and to be on the lookout at all times. The last thing we wanted was an encounter with a bear that would cut our trip short. We filled our packs, chatted with some locals, and then we moved in on the Big Sandy Trail. The trail starts on a really flat meadow, and then climbs a set of switch backs. Once at the top of the switch backs, it flattens out again and moves through a huge meadow. Some more travel through the trees, and then you come to another beautiful meadow with the Big Sandy River rolling through the middle of it. As you continue to climb higher, you see more and more of the crest of the Winds. Peaks that were just enormous were in view towering over the whole area.

After five miles and some change, we found ourselves standing on the shore of Big Sandy Lake. This is a very picturesque lake, and a large body of water at that. We pulled up to take a break on the shore, when a pretty hard rain storm came in. We took shelter in some trees waiting for it to pass, but it seemed to pick up in steam, so we decided to take shelter for the night at Big Sandy and move on up to a more secluded area on Saturday. We sat in the tent for a couple of hours, then the rain let up, and we made ourselves at home as the sun set. I did some fishing for a minute, but nothing even took a bite at my flies. Skunked in the Winds fishing. I had the fortunate chance of getting some really beautiful shots of the sunset. After dinner and some photography, we decided to crash out for the night. Just after getting settled in, the rain began again, and I remember hearing the pitter patter on the rain fly as I dozed in and out of consciousness. I awoke to it still lightly raining, so I put on the rain jacket and headed out of the tent to see what the weather was doing. Grey and more grey, which meant not too many photos with the light we had at the time up there. I was about to go make breakfast when another wave came through and drenched our site. It puddled up below the tent, and we had to move spots because our gear was getting wet. After getting the tent relocated, the sun peered out and dried our stuff out pretty quick.

Then the crowds of backpackers started showing up, and we decided to move up to Clear Lake as to avoid the noise that these large groups were making that all were setting up camp at Big Sandy. We packed quick and made a very fast exit from Big Sandy Lake. As we rounded the meadow, I could see what looked like a very intense thunderstorm moving in from the Southwest, so we made a quick move to get to the split to Clear Lake our destination. We ended up taking a wrong turn, and made our way up the Black Joe Lake section of the trail. This was pretty steep, and we were lost for a minute. But I decided that I had seen a split, and we took it and it lead us up on a ridge top, and down slope to a very nice camp spot. As soon as we got the tent up, sleeping bags in the tent, the storm got very loud and very electric!!! Lightning was flashing all around us and it was scary to say the least! After sitting in our tent watching hail, and very heavy rain fall for about an hour, the storm settled down and let up slowly. We both were thinking, are we going to be spending our whole time in the tent while we are here? Eventually the storm passed, and we got out the BRFC's and made dinner. After securing camp, I headed down to the shore to shoot some evening shots of the area we had moved up to. Both of us tired from the hike, and a bit rattled from the storm, turned in hoping for better weather.


I awoke Sunday morning to clear skies, and a light breeze which is trade mark for this range. We made breakfast and coffee, and then put together the day packs to head up to Temple Lake. This is an awesome hike, walking on glaciated granite slabs all the way to Deep Lake. As we hiked, we watched some climbers on Haystack Mountain doing a very technical route up one of the cracks on a very huge wall. After a very fun walk, we were standing at the outlet of Deep Lake. What an amazing place! I have to say I parked it up against a boulder, and let my imagination fly. The wind was blowing pretty hard, and Jeremy's map decided to go for a sail in Deep Lake. He jumped in and got it, but the wind was cold, and he had to dry off before we continued on up to Temple Lake. The hike out of Deep Lake was awesome, route finding and some trail to the saddle. Once we got to the top, the wind was even colder, and the view spectacular. We walked down to the back end of Temple Lake, where we parked it for some down time, checking out the big glacier that was sunk into the side of Temple Mountain. What an incredible place this was, and it made me wish we had more time here, as weather seemed to take some of our exploration away because of having to hunker down during the storms. Eventually we decided to head back down to camp, and we made the jaunt over the pass, back to Deep Lake, and down the slabs back to Clear Lake where our home away from home was. I made the suggestion to Jeremy that we hike around Clear Lake so we could see the whole area we were camped in. As we were making the round of the lake, Jeremy jumped a rock and landed funny on his ankle- POP! He was hurt, and looked like he was not doing well. We stopped and let him gain his strength, but he was having a very hard time walking, and getting him back to camp to tape his ankle and to relax was first thing in order. After getting him settled, I decided to try my hand at fishing, alas only a few bites and rises, but I did not land anything.

I pumped our water and we made dinner. Since we had clear skies, I decided to try to do some night photography, but my interval timer was not working again, so I could only do cable release shots. It would not do multiple images. Something was not triggering the shutter from commands from the timer. I got some fun images, but alas not the shots I was hoping for. After a while, it was time to turn in, for we has a long walk out in the morning, and we had to get Jeremy out because of his ankle. Morning came early, we got up, broke camp, pack the bags, and hit the trail. Jeremy was doing much better, and was able to hike the trail from Clear Lake back to Big Sandy Lake. We took a break at the outlet to shed layers we had on because the hike out at seven AM was cold with a breeze that chilled you to the bone. We continued on, rolling through meadow after meadow, and after a few hours, found ourselves back at the trail head, spent, tired, and ready to call it a good trip. This was a first trip to this mountain range, and for all the weather delays and problems we had, we for sure made the best of it. And I cannot really complain, we got to see what we did, and we got to experience the Winds at its finest. We did want to go over Jack Ass Pass to Lonesome lake, but alas Jeremy's ankle was not in good shape, and we made the right decision to head home, so we could get him on the road to healing. All in all, I will return to this mountain range. It had the splendor you want when you are seeking solitude and majesty that a big mountain range has to offer. Remember, this range is fairly remote from the west side, being your closest service is about forty miles from the trail head in Boulder. So make sure you have a full tank and all the supplies you need, you will find none of that once you head in on the road. Enjoy the slide show of the full set of pics below. A few more trips are in the works before the snow flies. So my motto is get out there while you can. More to come soon.........

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bald Mountain Trail, Notch Lake, Uintas, August 2012

When the forecast looks good, you want to get out, clear skies and good weather are the motivation to hit the trail. My friend Dave had never been out to the Uintas, nor had his dog Odon. So I planned a trip that was under 4 miles, had great camp spots, and was a place I had not been yet. Dave got off work really late, so we made a after dark entrance to the Bald Mountain trail. We got to the trail head, threw on the packs, and hit the trail. I have not done a hike at night with a heavy pack on in a couple of years. So I forgot how much fun and work that is. Hard to see your feet at times, but the stars were incredible, and the moon was half full over the basin. We passed Cleg Lake, then some ponds, and finally arrived at what we thought was Dean Lake. It actually ended up being Notch Lake. We got to the west side of the lake, and found a nice spot, set up shop, had a small fire, and I did a few shots at night, unfortunately with out my interval timer, which was being warrantied, I only had my remote and "bulb" to work with.

After some shots, I then turned in for some great sleep. Dawn woke me up, and I unzipped my tent to see the first frost of the year clinging to my rain fly. As soon as the sun hit it, it was gone, so I am guessing there was a short period that it dipped to those temps. I crawled out of my tent, and looked up to the Notch, and there was a whole family group of Mountain Goats grazing on the slope. I made some coffee and then Dave and Odon joined me. After getting breakfast and making a game plan, we set off to fish. We fished Notch, even though it was low, I managed to land some 12" brookies, and some really small ones too. After some fun fishing, I had pulled out my map to get us to Dean Lake, when thunder cracked overhead. There was a ledge right below the cliffs that was dry because the water was so low, so we ducked in there. As soon as we got settled, it started hailing very hard, and did so for about 1/2 an hour. Then it just rained, boom, rain, boom, with no clearing in site. Dave and Odon took a small nap on a flat rock, and I took some pics of the storm as it rolled across the basin. We got a small clearing, and made a break for our camp.

Thunder continued to just pound above us, and it did shake us for a few moments for sure. Back at camp, we ducked under a small stand of trees and just waited it out. After another hour or so, it let up and some great light from the evening sun was painting Reid's Peak and Bald Mountain after loosing them in the mist for hours. I took some shots, then decided we better get a fire going, I knew it was going to be a cold night. After dinner I finished my adult beverages, and with no clouds just had a classic night catching up with my friend while we stayed warm by our fire. Then I turned in. I know I had some really great sleep, I slept for nearly eight hours, far longer than I normally sleep. After getting up, I broke down shop, packed it all, and made coffee. Then we packed it out. I wanted to get back to the pass to my car before the storms boiled up. We took our time, walking through the meadows we could not see on the way in. I got some nice shots, and was just really loving being out there. After a nice hike, we arrived at the car. Just in time, the thunderstorms came back in. It was a nice trip, new area for me, and just fun to be in the woods again. Enjoy the slideshow, more trips to come.

Monday, August 20, 2012

White Pine, Little Cottonwood Canyon- August 2012

White Pine Lake is a place I have visited for a day hike many times, but never have I backpacked it. I originally planned to head out to the Uintas with some friends on Friday, but my knee was not feeling so well, so I was going to stay home this past weekend. Friday evening arrived to me getting some really bad news that a really close friend of mine had been hit by a drunk driver on his bike Thursday night and was in critical condition in the ICU. It tore me up pretty good, for sure shed some tears, and I was pretty upset. I could not just sit around stewing about what had happened. So I pack the bag, and headed off solo to clear my head and to submerse my self in nature. I decided I would backpack White Pine Saturday and Sunday. My knee was feeling much better Saturday morning after the TLC I gave it over the last couple of days, and I headed in. This trail starts at the same place Red Pine does, and meets up at the same junction. But the trail to White Pine is more of an old mining road, with well defined switchbacks and some really wonderful forest and meadows to walk through.

As you climb, White Baldy starts to peek into view and you get a feel for how big this drainage really is. As you continue to climb, and the views keep getting better after every switchback. As the hike continues, you start to get above the tree line, and then you come to a huge boulder field which has what looks like an old service road that brings you up over a ridge to the lake. This is an unforgiving part of the hike as there is no cover, and the heat just roasts you all the way to the top. Arriving at the top, you are 200 ft above White Pine lake with White Baldy towering over you. I took some shots from here, and then pulled out my iPhone to check the stats from my trip up. Most beta out there says White Pine Lake is 4-4.5 miles. But my app from Trimble Outdoors calculated 5.39 miles one way, and 3,513 ft of elevation gain. As I was shooting some shots, Pikas were barking at me left and right. I could not believe how many were up here! Made me very happy as these little guys have been hardest hit from climate change in the North American forests.

I took some photos, and I have to admit, I felt like they were posing for the camera. I love those little guys! After my impromptu photo shot with the Pikas, I descended to the lake and found a great camp spot. Unfortunately, the previous visitors had left orange peels and trash all in the camp. So after pitching shop, I did some housekeeping and got my home for the night in tip top shape. After filtering some water I wanted to get some fishing in before dark. I moved to the lake, which is lower in water than I have ever seen it, and cast one out. After about a half an hour of bites, hits, and nothing landed, I hooked into what felt like a lead weight on my line. What a huge surprise- these Cutthroats are hogs! I fished till I just could not see anymore, landing one right after another. This was by far some of the best fishing I have had in the Wasatch. Night crept in, and I got a small stick fire going and set up the camera for some night shots. Tragedy fell as my interval timer lost its metal housing and would not initiate cable release functions, so I was stuck with operating in bulb to get my shots. Got some good ones, but not was I was hoping for. After doing the best I could without the timer, I crawled into my sleeping bag and crashed hard. I really don't know how long I slept, but I know it was good sleep. I awoke, broke camp, did a little more fishing, made some coffee and packed it out. I ran into quite a few day hikers on the way out that seemed amazed that I would camp up there all by myself, let alone backpack that length of a trail. It was a good trip, meaningful, and I returned to get news of some improvement from my friend who was in the hospital. Enjoy the slide show, more adventures to come soon!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Willow Heights- Big Cottonwood Canyon- August 2012

With a last minute change of plans, I made a quick over nighter up to Willow Heights. This is a very beautiful area, and a really nice place to see moose, deer, and a host of other wildlife in a pristine area in the Wasatch. I made my way up to the trail head Saturday afternoon, and got the pack on and headed in. Everything in this drainage this year is very lush. The trail makes a pretty steep jaunt straight up the hill for the first quarter mile, then winds its way through the trees. eventually it turns to a manageable grade and enters a very open meadow with good views down canyon. A few more paces and you find yourself at the lake. I walked over to the west side, and took a few photos east. After a bit I made my way through the aspens on the east side of the lake and found a very nice spot to set up shop. After getting shop set, I went to the outlet and filtered some water. After that I just pulled up a seat and watched the light play in the bowl surrounding the lake. Evening set in and I made a very good meal. As the sun started to set, I noticed some high clouds and the fire smoke turning that classic shade of pink that makes sunsets so much fun to shoot. On my way back to camp, I noticed a Cow Moose and Calf at the lake getting a drink. I had some worries for shooting later as I did not want to run into them in the dark. I found a spot, and let it rattle off some shots to get a star trail, as I had a beverage and watched a few meteors which I am sure were the beginning of the Persids meteor shower expected Sunday night. After a couple of hours, I rounded up my camera, took a few more shots and then went to bed. I slept so good, one of the best nights sleep because it was so quiet up there. I was awakened around seven AM to the sounds of Coyotes howling up on the ridge above me. I peeked out to see the Cow and Calf at the lake on full alert. They left with haste as the sound of the pack seemed to get closer. I finally pulled myself out of my sleeping bag, and made some coffee. I pulled up a seat as the light from the morning sun slowly painted the basin. All the flowers were glowing, and the air temps were a bit nippy in the shade. After some coffee, I packed up my bag, so I could wander around taking photos on the way out. As I descended, I noticed the ground cover had started to change color, first sign that fall is just around the corner. I also saw a wasp nest that was extremely large right next to the trail that I had not seen on the way in. After a while of wandering I made my way down the trail to my car. It was a great last minute adventure, and nice to be in the mountains once more. More adventures to come, enjoy the slideshow below.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ibantik Lake, Uintas- August 2012

Ibantik Lake has been on my hit list for the last two seasons. It just seemed either something would come up and I would have to cancel that trip, or weather just kept us outta there. Not this time. It was my birthday weekend, and of course I am flying solo. I made a quick drive to the Crystal Lake trail head, then got the gear ready. No bugs at the trail head, and that made me very happy! Got my pack on and started the 4.5 miles to Ibantik to set up shop. The trail begins very easy passing Lilly Lakes on the way in, then it rounds a ridge and climbs up to Wall Lake. Then you cross the bridge and follow the east side of Wall Lake. This is a beautiful part of the trail, lots of little water and meadows everywhere. Then you start to climb some moderate switchbacks, then you flatten out at Hope Lake. This is pretty picturesque, worth a visit on the way in. Then you start what seems like a never ending, winding set of switchbacks, which finally have you standing on Notch Mountain Pass, looking both north and south in the Uintas.

I spent a bit on the pass, then headed north dropping off the pass. I did not realize the elevation loss on the other side you would do to get to Ibantik. Passing Lovenia Lake and a host of other run off ponds, and you start to drop into the tree line just as you arrive at Ibantik. This lake, and its surrounding peaks are just a masterpiece from mother nature. I dropped my pack at my camp spot and just went to check the view for like 10 minutes. I was happy to be there, and got camp set up in a hurry. Evening set in, and I did some fishing below the scree slope and landed quite a few 12" brookies which seemed to be feeding over there. Soon, dusk set in, and I got dinner going. After a good meal, got out the camera and started shooting some night photography. Which was great until the clouds came in. Still rattled out one star trail, I am happy about that. I turned in, some of the best sleep I have had in a few weeks. Morning came, and the group just above me had come over and introduced themselves and asked me if I wanted to go with them to hike down to Meadow Lake. Map was showing 2+ miles to Meadow, my GPS clocked it at 1.73 miles one way, so nearly 3.5 miles round trip. I jumped at it and followed their crew on the hike. And a beautiful hike it was! So lush and green in that area, even saw some aspens which is rare in the upper elevation in the Uintas.

We finally arrived at Meadow Lake, and wow! It is a huge body of water. I am not sure on depths, but It looks massive in area. Spent hours there fishing, and just soaking in the view. Back to camp, I made dinner and tried my hand at some more fishing, which yielded about three landed, and about 12 I missed. The sun eventually set, and I played with my camera a bit, getting some great shots as the night went on. Then I hit the bag and was out for the count. Woke up Sunday Morning and made coffee, sat lakeside then packed it up and headed out. The hike out was fun, a good workout, and was exactly what I wanted for my Birthday! Another great solo trip to a new area, good times! Enjoy the slideshow. More to come soon!


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Red Pine, Little Cottonwood Canyon- July 2012

This is a trip that I usually do as a day hike, but this season I have been trying to knock off places that I have been hiking, but have wanted to stay longer than a few hours. I have been to Red Pine so many times, but I had never done it as a backpacking trip, so why not? I hit the trail just after 10 am, and proceeded to make a really fast jaunt to the trail junction for White Pine/Red Pine. Once there I started to get a sense of how explosive the wildflowers were this year. Some of the largest patches of Fireweed that I have seen since I was in Alaska. I crossed the bridge and made my way through the ferny section. Then the fun begins, the trail gets very steep from here. Something I never thought was a big deal with a day pack on. But with gear to stay over night, even though my bag was about 30 lbs with food and beverages, it was a good workout indeed. About two hours later, I found myself standing at the shore of Red Pine Lake. Did I mention the wildflowers? So much color up there this year. I made my way around the lake looking for a good spot to camp and I found one at the inlet. I pitched shop, filtered some water, then it was game on.

I landed a few as I made my way around the lake. After some Indian food and a curry soup, I settled in hoping that these clouds from the afternoon would clear out. They did clear, just not where I wanted to shoot from. Oh well, it is the life of a photographer, sometime you get the shot you want, sometimes you don't. I did manage to get some cool sunset shots, and a star shot with my tent. After that it was lights out. I slept rather well, and when I woke up, and it was coffee and fishing in order. I saw some Fireweed painted by the light rays first breaking the ridge top. I fished for quite some time, landing at least eight fish. After that, I made breakfast, then broke camp and decided to head out. The hike down is brutal for down climbing as it is really steep in some sections, and it is a staircase to climb down for miles before you get to any real flat trail. This was a workout of the best kind. Finally got to the car, exhausted, satisfied, and ready for another adventure. Enjoy the pic set below!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cecret Lake, Little Cottonwood Canyon- July 2012

This was a hike we did on Pioneer Day here in Utah. I had gotten an insider tip that the wildflowers in the Albion Basin were on fire. It is rare that the family has a week day off to get out for a hike, so we decided this one would be fun for our daughter since there is a lot to see and play in up there for little ones. The temps were perfect that day. We had a very nice hike up to the lake, seeing lots of wild flowers. Indian Paintbrush, Lupines, and a host of other flowers littered the meadows adding such nice color to the already beautiful basin. We arrived at the lake, and it seems to have had some vegetation cut down, possibly for fire control. I took some photos at the lake, then we decided to hike around the lake. Be careful doing this, there are some drop offs that little ones would surely get hurt on if they took a fall. Our daughter did great, she was smart in approaching obstacles on the path. After some snacks and some more photos, it was time to head down, for the clouds were growing dark, and best to not be up there if a thunderstorm were to make its way in. Enjoy the slideshow!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Butterfly Lake and Fehr Lake Trail- July 2012

Well, we tried to go camping the weekend of my daughters birthday, but the weather was just not cooperating, so we moved it up one weekend. We stopped for fish tacos at Cafe Rio, then pushed on to HWY150. We headed out to Butterfly Lake to camp, and get up, have a pancake breakfast and then go on a hike. Our camp spot was pretty nice. We got shop set and then got a fire going. I had to work pretty hard to get it burning, the camp ground had been soaked from a thunderstorm just hours before we got there. My daughter got to have her first campfire S'more, I'd say she is hooked! After a long day, the ladies turned in. I stayed up for a while, hoping for a break in the clouds to do a star trail, but alas, it was not to be. I finally dozed off and slept pretty soundly all night. Morning came and pancake and bacon breakfast was in order. Som coffee, a quick change of clothes and I was off to give Butterfly Lake a whirl since I had brought my pole. Landed a pretty sweet Tiger, probably 15" range. Then it was back to camp, pack it all up, and head to the Fehr Lake trail for a stroll. My daughter loved this hike, she was naming all the flowers all the way there. I fished Fehr, just to see if I would have any luck, but alas not even a bite. After a while, the girls finished the loop around the lake and it was time to head out since the afternoon thunderstorms were pushing into the area. Great family fun, Milo is hooked on being out there, and we are gonna do another trip soon! Enjoy the slideshow below.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cuberant Basin, Uintas- July 2012

I spent the weekend backpacking Cuberant Basin in the Uintas. I was able to get out with my friends Jeremy, Flor, and Jason. We started in on Friday, and it was raining hard. I was in full rain gear, and everyone else was as well. As we made our way into the meadow and up to the junction, the sun broke and we all had to shed gear. But the skeeters were out, so we all had to deet up too. We continued our climb, making our way through the woods and meadows till we reached the final climb to the pass. The view is awesome from up there. We made our way into Cuberant Basin, with a quick pit stop at Cuberant #2, and then to camp. It was nice weather for the most part, and we all got shop set up, and then I did a little fishing catching a nice brookie right off the bat.

After a while, it started heading for dark, but with the clouds set in, alas, no night photography Friday night. I have to say that was some of the best sleep I have had out there this year. Saturday morning we awoke to partly cloudy skies, and nice mild temps. We made breakfast, coffee, and then geared up to hike the basin. We made it up to the overlook for Cuberant #5, then made our way up to the Spooky Pond. It was at this point, the storms started building in, and the thunder and rain kept getting closer. We made a hastily decent back to camp, and that was a good call. As soon as we got to camp, it came in on us. Lightning, thunder and gropple, which is as close to snow as you would get with the temps being so high as of late. It rained and hailed for nearly 3 hours, at which point I decided to retire to my tent and take a thunderstorm nap. I awoke to cloudy skies, but the wind and weather very calm, and the fish were jumping.

I spent a few hours fishing, then the rest of the crew got up from their slumber, and we made dinner. As evening set in, the clouds pulled all the way out, making it a night photography adventure, complete with a star trail, and some nice camp shots I took with meteors in them. Finally it was time to turn in. Morning came early, and we wanted to get out of the basin before the thunderstorms rolled in. We made a very quick hike back to the car on Sunday, but it was an enjoyable walk in the woods. Once again the Uintas did not disappoint. Nice to be in cooler temps, and being in the mountains with good company. Enjoy the slide show below, more adventures coming soon!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Catherine Pass- Little Cottonwood Canyon- July 2012

I have to think this may be one of the earliest hikes to Catherine Pass I have ever done. I connected with my friend Dave to go up and get a hike in and do some fishing at Lake Catherine. The canyon is so green this year. And everywhere you looked, the wild flowers are starting to show. The hike up was very nice, way cooler than the valley, and just pleasant to be up here again. We climbed, and climbed some more, pushing to the pass. We arrive at the pass and we took a break. After a few snacks and some photos, we dropped into the basin. As we neared the bottom, some micro burst clouds came over the ridge, and had us worried for a minute because we felt a couple of rain drops. But then it just blew out, and the sun was out in full force again. We wandered around the basin, getting a good look at Lake Mary and Lake Martha, then we headed back up to Lake Catherine to fish. Second cast I had one on. Tough little brookies for sure. I did manage to land about a 12" brookie, but most of them were pretty small. After a while fishing, both of us got hungry, and it was time to go. The hike back to the pass was a good cardio workout, and we made good time back to the car. A great day to be in the mountains, can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday, hiking the Wasatch.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lofty Lake Loop, Uintas- June 2012

I had originally planned a weekend long trip with a friend of mine, but he got food poisoning, so he backed out last minute. I was thinking maybe my weekend was a wash? Not to be, I decided to get back to basics, going solo like I used to years ago. I got up Saturday morning and headed out to the Uintas to do a solo trek on the Lofty Lake Loop. I had heard that this trail was pretty busy, so I has some plans to beat the crowds. I started in and there was no one around. As I kept climbing, there was still no one out here. Had the reputation of this trail been false all along? I had read on several sites and books saying this was a particularly heavily used trail, but not on this day. I was solo all the way up to Picturesque Lake, Scout Lake, and to the pass to Lofty Lake. The hike in was so much fun, and very beautiful. As I climbed to the pass, the view just kept getting better.

I got to the top, and shot a pretty nice pano. I walked the shot distance over the pass, and there was Lofty Lake in my view. What an awesome lake tucked back in this high elevation basin. I took some shots and walked around the lake, but decided to push on as the wind was pretty strong up here. As I started to descend the switchbacks, I had a familiar site in my view, Cutthroat Lake down in the basin to the north. I did not know how the campsites were at Kamas Lake, being that I had never been there, but I had hiked to Cutthroat last August while camped at Jewel Lake, so I figured this was tucked back in, and better for photos. I climbed down to the lake, and found a nice camp spot with a lake view and was tucked into the trees. I set up shop, and then started fishing.

Had one on in about 10 minutes of tossing a fly out there. They were attacking everything that was on the surface. I fished until dusk, then got out the camera, took some shots and made dinner. Since there is a state wide fire restriction in place, alas no fish for dinner on this trip. Dehydrated backpacker meals to the rescue! As night settled in, the stars and some fire smoke crept into the sky, and I settled in with my frosty beverage I packed in as I took tonz of pics as the night sky shown bright with the stars. Finally, I was tired and ready to crash out. Some great sleep for sure. I woke as the sun was up over the ridge and shinning down on the lake. Made coffee, and enjoyed the view. Breakfast and a quick pack, and I was off to complete the loop past Kamas Lake and out through Reids Meadow. It was perfect temps for this hike. A few log jams to get to the meadow, but nothing too difficult. I actually made super good time and was standing back at my car before I knew it. I am gonna do some more solo adventures in the future.

I was on my own time, and only had to worry about myself while out there. It was quiet, peaceful, and I really felt relaxed. Good times, enjoy the pics- more adventures soon!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lake Blanch- Big Cottonwood Canyon- June 2012

Backpacking is something I usually do outside of the Wasatch. But I have taken some over night trips in the past in the Wasatch. The geology is steep, rocky, and challenging for a backpacking trip. Mill B South Fork to Lake Blanch is no exception. I usually do this as a day hike, as it is one of my all time favorite day hikes to do. I wanted to backpack somewhere and only had two days free to go, so I decided since I had never done this as an over nighter, that I might as well knock that off my list. I started the hike out a bit after noon, and from the trail head it was hot. The shade the trail provides in the beginning is a blessing at that time of day. As you climb, you start getting more exposed to the sun, and it was hot! With a day pack I cruise pretty fast up this, and it was no different with my over nighter bag. I climbed for a long time, passing groups of hikers which were feeling the length and uphill climb this hike offers up. I just know this trail so well, I was able to surpass the mind tricks and focus on making the distance. I took one small break at the mine dump just below the last switch backs, then pushed on to the lake. It became partly cloudy when I first arrived, so the shade the clouds were giving was very nice to cool down with. I found a very nice camp spot just between Blanch and Lillian which was down off the ridges and virtually wind free. It also had a very nice shelf, we called it the "Porch."

The view was dramatic with a full view of Mill B South Fork, the North Ridge, and the Great Salt Lake in the distance. After about an hour of scouring around, my friend Jeremy who was scheduled to do a climbing route up Sundial peak showed up, and he joined camp. It was great to be up there with Jeremy, he is one hardcore climber and canyoneer. He got his digs set up, we DEET'ed up as the skeeters were out, and then filtered our water. We sat up as the stars appeared. Having an early start, Jeremy went off to bed, and I stayed up shooting the stars. The light here is very different in the day as it is at night. I got some unique images which were fun to play around with. After a few shots, I decided to retire. I slept so good, it was like a very nice present. I awoke to Jeremy and one of the climbers he was meeting up there getting ready to head to the Sundial, and I got up and made coffee and watched the sun rise.

About 9 AM, it got hot quick and I made breakfast, zipped off the legs to shorts, put on the boots, and headed over to Lillian and Florence to take some photos and do some fishing. Third cast I had a bite but I missed it. I walked over to the dam, and presto, fish on. As I was getting the fly out of its lip, it went flopping all over the place, snagging the line and burying the hook deep into my finger. OUCH! I had to pull it out as that was the only option. I quickly used hand sanitizer and iodine to clean it, gave it some neosporin and bandaged it up. Seemed to be ok after that. I continued on over to Florence and took some shots. I started fishing and it seemed every cast I had a fish on. The prettiest one I landed I put in the slideshow. After what seemed a while, I headed back to camp and packed it all up. Hung out for a bit watching Jeremy's progress up the Sundial. I decided to head out. The hike down was hot, and pretty busy on the trail as it was Saturday. I did not stop, hiked the full 3 miles and change all the way to the car in just over an hour and 20 minutes. It was a really great trip, weather was perfect, fishing was awesome, and it was for sure an adventure, the kind that makes you feel alive! Enjoy the pics, more Wasatch adventures soon!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Twin Lakes Trail- Big Cottonwood Canyon- June 2012

It was a sunny day. Crystal clear skies, and very warm temperatures. So why not do an exploratory hike to see what the upper Wasatch is looking like north facing? It is so green, so early in Big Cottonwood Canyon this year. I started in from Silver Lake, and was quickly moving into the aspens. Mother Nature is for sure putting on a show this year. The wildflowers are already beginning show up, as there was a sea of yellow with white starting to peek out in the meadows. I only saw the faintest piles of snow in the shady areas, and their days are numbered with how warm it has been. As I made the climb, things just never stopped being beautiful. I reached the dam, and was shocked at how low the water level was. It was at least 10 ft lower than last year, with only the snow hanging out in the Wolverine Cirque to put back what our valley has used. I have been to several other reservoirs this season, both backcountry and accessible.

All of them seemed to be holding their water, but this one only had a very small gap between sides. It probably looks more like the original Twin Lakes that were there before the dam was built. I made my way from the damn to the pass, but did not stay long because the winds were unbearable as a front is approaching the area. I made my way down to the inlet to do a little fishing and just enjoy the beauty up there. I got a couple of very small Lake Trout up there, maybe 7-9", I know there are bigger ones in there, need to find out what they go for. My dry flies seemed to be uninteresting to them. The sun started to head for the west, and that means It was time for me to head out. Took some fun shots on the way out. It was a great day up there, and from my view, the Wasatch is in full summer swing this year! Enjoy the pics!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Duck Lake, Uintas- June 2012

It was really nice to make it out to the Uintas this early in the season. Our winter was the fourth driest on record. And this has been the hottest spring I can ever remember. In contrast, our first trip to the Uintas last season was the last week of July. We made for the trail head Friday evening, and headed in, shortly followed by the rest of our group. We made a swift jaunt to the pass, climbing over and post holing through piles of snow still clinging to the east facing sloped in the shade. Gaiters are a bonus, you can walk through anything wet, and keep your feet dry. The trail was soggy and muddy in sections, and you had to navigate snow piles along the way. From the pass we made a quick decent passing Weir, and Pot lakes and arriving to a very soggy and wet Duck Lake.

We found the one campsite that was dry enough for us to pitch in, and made camp. Evening set in pretty quick after that, and we got a fire going and had a few beverages. I took a star trail shot, then decided it was time for my sleeping bag. It was so quite that night, and the breeze was nice in the trees. Morning came and coffee was on tap and I sat in the sun in the meadow for quite a bit. Then the fishing was on. I did not start out hot that day, but my luck picked up as the day moved on. After some great fishing, I caught mine for dinner, then the thunderstorm rolled in. Packed quite a punch in the rain department, giving everything a soaking. I just fired up the shuffle, layed down for a nap listening to Zeppelin and Floyd. After the storm passed, it was time to get things ready for dinner. What a meal, fresh fish, a sweet potato I packed in, and a Backpackers Pantry Beef Stroganoff meal too boot. The night set in, and also a much fuller moon that night, made for a very nice star trail shot as the moon was lighting up the landscape.

The next day was a early coffee and break camp start to the day, as everyone wanted to fish the upper lakes on the way out. I made a straight push to the pass, then took a nice break in the sun up there before returning to the car. It was a great trip out there, and nice to be back in the Uintas, especially this early. Enjoy the pics, more adventures to come this summer!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Great Western Trail to Long Willow Bottom Lake, Boulder Mountain- Dixie National Forest, Utah- May 2012

All I can say is I have been waiting for this trip for a long time now. This was the kick off to the 2012 backpacking season. We departed Salt Lake City on Friday, and made our way south. We were a little worried the farther we went, the winds were howling, and the dust was getting kicked up everywhere. We pushed on and about five hours later, we found ourselves at Barker Reservoir. We set up shop for the night, made some tin foil stuffed portobello's and wedged yukon golds that we put on the fire and ate up under the stars. After the long drive, good meal, and some beverages, we turned in. The next day we awoke with some serious clouds in camp. We started to think that maybe we were going to be stormed out, but we waited, and it snowed for about 2 hours, then just cleared out. The temps were really cold though. We made our way to the trail head and threw on the packs and started our walk in. This hike is extremely beautiful, with a mix of Aspen and Engelmann Spruce with huge meadows to boot.

What a nice walk it was. We took our time, had a few log hurdles to cross from downed trees, then headed up the junction to Round Willow Bottom Lake. This is a very nice size lake, and saw fish right off the bat. We decided because of the holiday weekend, we would continue up to Long Willow Bottom Lake and stay there to get some peace and quite. The first night up there was very strong winds and really cold temps. We tried to have a fire, but the wind was just so bad, you could not even feel the heat from it. We ended up turning in early because it was just too hard to stay warm and enjoy yourself with those conditions. Morning came and we got up and got the coffee going to warm us up. We decided to go fishing to get in the sun. After a what seemed to be all my flies that I had brought in, I moved to a spinner and finally caught a nice Tiger Trout. Nabbed a few more as we explored the area. It was a much more pleasant day, but still chilly in the shade. About mid day, the winds just died. Leaving the lake to turn to glass. As evening set in, we had zero wind, and much warmer air. We could actually have a fire and a fish cookout! After a great meal, and some beverages, midnight soon came, and it was time to turn in. Monday seemed to come way too fast, and we got up and fished the lake for a while, then broke camp and headed down to Round Willow Bottom Lake to give it a shot there.

After fishing for quite a while, we decided to head for the car as we had a long drive home. This was a great kick off to the backpacking season for 2012. We had so much different weather in a span of a few days, it made shooting a challenge at times, but got some nice night photography, and it was nice to hear the sound of silence once more. Enjoy the pics, more adventures to come.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Arches National Park/Moab Trip- May 2012

I have wanted to take my daughter to Arches National Park for a while now. So I had finished up school, and we had a weekend free, so we planned a family trip to Moab. Friday was a pretty smooth drive in. We stopped at the CEU Dinosaur Museum in Price, Utah, which is on HWY 6, so we figured our daughter would love to see it. After taking a step back millions of years in time, seeing the Mammoth they have there, and the Utah Raptor which was found near there, we headed on to our camp in Moab. A pretty nice drive in, not too much traffic for the construction that was on HWY 191. Arrived at our camp, and were greeted with fierce winds, which were creating a small dust storm. My wife's parents rented a cabin near our camp, so we dropped off our daughter and headed over to fight the winds setting up our camp. Building a tent in 50 mph winds is not treat. After getting everything up and tied down, we retreated to the cabin until the winds died down. Sunset came and the last of the micro-burst moved out of the area and the skies cleared. I think after 4 hours on the road and all the excitement of the day, we were all tired, and we all wanted to rest.

Saturday morning was a mild one, and the sun was out, not a cloud in the sky. The ladies were taking a boat trip on the Colorado to start the day, and so me and my father in law decided to go on a hike. Several places were discussed, but we finally decided on Corona Arch. At the trail head, there was a guy flying parrots around the area. It was crazy, these birds were awesome, something you don't see often in the desert. The hike was nice on the way in, a bit hot in the sun, but some nice shade, and no wind, which I was happy about. My father in law was really fun to hike with, we had never gone on one together. That evening we had dinner, and went and got shirts made which was a tradition with my wife's father. I got the wise men from Horseshoe Canyon pictograph on a shirt, was pretty happy about that. After dinner, everyone was tired, but I was in need of shooting some night photography.

I settled on a star trail image of Skyline Arch in Arches National Park. It was pretty awesome in there, to be all alone in that section, not another person around. It was like you could hear the fins slowly crumbling away to make more arches. Sunday was break camp and head back in the park so my daughter could finish her Jr. Ranger badge she was trying to do. I figured the best place for this was the Devils Garden Trail. We took her into the first section of the trail, not going past Landscape Arch. We did not have a lot of time, and we wanted her to get her badge before we did the long drive back to Salt Lake. It was a hot one, no clouds and how I remember Moab. My daughter loved the place, she was just in awe of what she was seeing. She especially loved Pine Tree Arch, because there was lots of sand, and that you could be in the arch. Alas as every fun weekend does, this one came to an end. But a good one, my daughter earned her Jr. Ranger badge, and even stumped the Ranger who swore her in with a flower she found in the park. Family trips are fun, not as extreme as most of my adventures go, but just as fun. More family fun to come this summer.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Closing Weekend- Snowbird, Utah- 5/9.11.13/2012

Well, it had to come to an end, as everything does. This was the fourth driest winter on record for the Wasatch. We had very few big storms this season, and it was a year of just making the best of it, regardless of the lack of snowfall. I got 63 days snowboarding, which is really about 75% of normal for me in time spent on the mountain. We just did not get the snow, and I spent my energies finishing my degree, so I think this season is more a reflection of quality over quantity. I feel I had the best this season offered, riding every storm we did get, and being at the Bird! So long for now Little Cottonwood Canyon, be up hiking this sumnmer, and for sure will be back at it when the snow flies in the fall.

Playschool 20 yr Anniversary- 05/12/2012

How does time fly? It almost seems a blur to me, like it was just yesterday that I used to play and Dj at Salt Lake City's first EDM club. It was an amazing evening, being able to play the music from that era, and seeing all my fellow Playschoolers show up and lay it down proper on the turntables and the dancefloor. Salt Lake City for sure has one of the strongest dace music scenes on the planet. And to have the original Dj's Chris Sick, Dazy, Dopey, Stimey, Bobby Reno, Superfly, VJ Lextacy, San Diego's finest Dj Myxzlplix and your truly Dj Nebula throw down all the classics was a long awaited treat! All the people who were involved with the original club that was magical to say the least were in attendance. It was like being able to time travel for one evening back to the days of good music, positive energy, and a tight knit group who were more than club people, they were famliy. What is really most amazing, was to see that everyone still have that love for the music, which is what brought us all together. Enjoy the slideshow, and it looks like this may happen again next year. Thanks to Chris Sick for making the magic happen again!

Commencement- Salt Lake Community College- 05.03.2012

After three years, countless days of hard work, determination, and commitment to finish this program, I graduated from Salt Lake Community College with my AAS in Photography. It has been a work intensive, challenging, and a growing experience to say the least. I managed to graduate with honors from the photography program. I think there are a million things I could say about my time as a student there, but this is how I sum it up- so many times with all the trials and tribulations I faced since I began school, I wanted to quit- but I didn't. I stuck with it, learned so much, and had an experience that was huge in excersizing the mind and in problem solving. I have to toot my own horn and say that I am very happy I finished strong. Thanks to all of my friends and family who supported me all the way through.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May Days- 5.2.6.2012

Well, it is getting down to it. The snow is melting, the temps are warm, and the season is about over. But these two days we had a small cold front move through, and it kept the snow not sticky for the most part. It was fun to be cruising the mountain, slashing the corn and mashed potatoes. It is times like these that you want to just ride all day, but alas, they are closing at 2:00 PM these days, so last Tram is about the best you can get. Still a hell of a lot of fun, and for the lack of snow we have had this season, things could be a lot worse. This will be the last week of the original Little Cloud Chair, they are putting in a new high speed quad for the 2012/2013 season. Ride it while you can, closing day is May 13th.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Superior Star Trails on the cover of Folio SLCC Spring 2012

Wow, what a huge honor! I have submitted photography to this publication every semester I have been in the photography program at Salt Lake Community College. I graduate this year, and what a way to finish things out by having one of my favorite shots I took this year make the cover of this great outlet for literary works and arts created by the students at SLCC. You can check the web site here: http://folioslcc.org/

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Epic April Pow Day- 4.13.2012

I think old man winter is trying last minute to make up for the winter that never was this year. We had a very wet storm come through on Thursday, and it dumped some very high density snow. As the storm moved in, a cold front pushed in behind it and it allowed for us to get our Utah Pow that we are so famous for. Friday was to be described with only one word- EPIC!!! Everywhere was good. I mean everywhere. You would have been hard pressed to find anywhere in the mountain that was not good. I started in Mineral Basin, spent the better part of the morning putting fresh tracks in back there, with walk on lift chairs and no traffic, it made for wide open runs and miles of powder to boot. RTP finally got the go ahead and they opened that area up. Snow was a bit windblown, but pretty good for sitting there for a whole day. I made it back to the front side around noon, to find that Peruvian Gulch was holding some very nice goodies! I worked my way over to Gad Valley just to have my full Bird, and was pleasantly surprised that the snow was in great condition there too, and there was plenty of fresh tracks to still be had. My legs about 2 PM started talking back to me, and since I had been riding from first Tram till then, I decided to listen to them and call it a day. One to remember this year, and some redemption for us powder hounds that is for sure. Enjoy the video, I know I enjoyed slashing it up making it!

Bells Canyon- 4.11.2012

Did a little hiking this past week, as we had a huge winter storm headed our way. Did a little fishing and got a beautiful Cutty while I was up there. I hung out until the sunset to catch some great photos. Enjoy the pics, wont be long now until I am on the trail a lot more.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Surprise Pow Days- 4.2.6.2012

Little Cottonwood got a couple of Surprise Pow Days Monday and Friday of this past week. It was nice to have some fresh after pretty much snowboarding on glue because it was so warm over last weekend. Monday was a bit variable, with pockets of wind collected fluff. The crust was still fully in play, so line choice was optimal. The new snow was extremely windblown and very grabby, so you had to make sure not to get off balance. Friday was epic in all ways. The forecast was calling for 3" of new snow, so I was expecting a repeat of Monday. Pow!!! Pleasantly surprised with the 12" of fresh coating the whole mountain. You would occasionally touch some crust, but overall it was a great day and much needed redemption for the low snow year we are having. Enjoy the video, high pressure sets back in this week, pray our snow holds up.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hiking Arizona- Spring Break- March 2012

Well, after starting off Spring Break with some deep pow, I was off to the desert for a mid-winter break. It was really great weather all around, and it was nice to get out with the camera on the trail. Did some hiking in the White Tanks and traveled to the Joshua Tree forest that is just north of Wickenburg for some sunset shots after eating at Anita's Cocina. The Pork Burrito there is world class and I cannot say enough about the chips and salsa that are endless and delicious. Spent a few nights just enjoying the over head view of the dippers with Jupiter and Venus blazing in the western sky. It was strange after 6 days to have to put on socks upon returning to Salt Lake. It was a great trip, enjoy the pics!