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!

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