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.


  1. Really cool pictures. We were in the Uintas over the weekend as well, a lake called Tamarak, but I could never hope to capture pictures of the stars like you did.

  2. Thanks so much for the kind words. I have a timer that I usually have to shoot star trails with while I am out there. But it was being warrantied this week, so I did not have it over the weekend. I got it Monday and should be fully functional for my trip to the Winds this weekend. Thanks for stopping by to check out my adventures.