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!