This is an area that I visit at least once a year in the Uintas. It is a great hike, very scenic, and a quick hop between two to three miles depending on where you want to set up shop. I stayed at Cutthroat Lake with Mike and his dog Cruiser for my birthday trip last year, so we decided to camp at Jewel Lake since it was middle of the week, and no one would be out there. The hike in was virtually empty, and when we got to Ruth there was one family who was on their way out. Those would be the last people we saw until we came out. After a brief stop are Ruth, we pushed on, over the minor ridge, and were standing lakeside at Hayden Lake. A couple of photos, and then we moved on past the next pond in the meadow below, and then down the trail to Jewel Lake. We had a moose delay as we hit the boulder field as you get to the end of the trail. No one saw it, and as we started hopping down the rocks, it took off west in a hurry, so no shots unfortunately. We made our way NW around the lake and settled on a very nice spot. We got shop set up, then decided to give fishing a try. I made my way around the lake and found a spot where they were rising. I had hit, after stolen fly, after hit, after fish get off. I lost seven that should have been landed and I missed a good 20 more. I did hook into one that Mike and Eric, who was new to our group, saw as they were standing on the ledge above me where I was fishing.
I have landed nice size Tiger Trout out of this lake before, so I am sure that is what was hitting my line. I had one on that I for sure was going to be a keeper. Just as I got him in shallow to retrieve, it snapped off my fly, and the sound was collective from all three of us. Bummer. If you catch a big one out there, and you find a black Beetle in its mouth, you will know the size fish I had on there. I fished until dusk, then headed back to camp to shoot some shots. I was trying a few different tricks with sunsets with my camera, and I managed to shoot in my opinion, one the best shots of the year for my portfolio. After that it was time for dinner and a fire, as evening set in. I started to get a really jabbing pain sensation after dinner in my left shoulder. It became a bit more aggravated later on, but I stuck it out as we were supposed to have rain and we had a mostly clear night with a 3/4 moon shinning over Lofty Peak. After a fun time hanging out and listening to tunes, we all decided to turn in. I awoke to feeling a bit dizzy, and nauseated and my shoulder hurt even worse. I am not sure what happened, but maybe I over did it fishing, and re-injured an injury that I got from getting hit on my snowboard by a skier doing 40+ MPH at Snowbird two years prior.
I made the judgement call, full inviting the guys to stay and I would just crash in the car. I learned a long time ago, that if you are sick or injured, and you try to stick it out, you only make it worse for yourself. Survival ultimately means you have to get out if you are able to walk. I did not sleep well because of the pain, and it was not getting better. I just had to get out, for if this got worse, I was going to need medical attention. I packed quickly, and Mike said he and Eric were going to go to Teal and Cutthroat then come out. I made a quick hike out. I have done this route so many time, that I did not think about it, I was on autopilot. I just did it because it was time to leave. I endured with my shoulder, mostly on adrenalin from being a little concerned about what was wrong. Eventually, after I had been at the car for a few hours, Mike and Eric made it out with Cruiser the wonder dog, and we headed back home. Huge thunderstorms were on their way in, and I think all three of us were feeling like we just did not want to sit in our tents all evening, so we made a good choice to head out. I am nursing a really sore shoulder blade, so gonna take a short break to heal up before heading back out into the wild. Enjoy the slideshow, more adventures to come.