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!

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