Friday, August 29, 2014

Dean Lake, Uinta Mountains- August 2014

We had planned a bigger trip, but because of the severe weather, and snow, yes I said "snow" in the forecast. The group was looking to head out for the holiday weekend. I was spying the weather, and Sunday was forecasted to be clear and sunny, with Monday night having a storm plow into us with low pressure. So I decided to hit Dean Lake. I have wanted to go there, as I am told that this was the place to camp if you are in this basin. Last time I was out here I camped at Notch, and it was a bit too busy for my taste. I arrived at the Bald Mountain trail head Sunday Morning and hiked in. The temps were very brisk, I hiked in my jacket, which is something I rarely do. There were some patches of snow left over from Friday nights freak August snowstorm. The whole range got hit, and this is not normal for this time of the year. The trail was a soggy mess, but I carried on, as I knew that I did not have far to go. I made my way off the pass, then arrived at Clegg Lake. It was pretty with the sun on it. After the hike around Clegg, I carried on for a bit till I saw a board walk just past a pond. From the map, it took me down a meadow, and soon I found myself standing at Dean Lake.

I wandered around for a minute, and found a nice spot to camp. I got camp situated, and then I took some pictures. I kind of just sat there for a bit taking in the silence. There was no one out here, I was truly alone in the wilderness for this moment. After a while, I decided to give fishing a try. I fished around Dean, and landed a little Grayling. I did not know that there were Graylings in Dean. I was told Cutthroats and Brook Trout. Pretty surprised to land one of those. After walking all around the lake, I decided to walk over to Notch Lake, and give fishing a try there. The weather had cleared out, with just the cotton ball clouds making the light so perfect. I landed some nice brookies at Notch Lake, and watched the sun fade behind Notch Mountain. I decided to head back to my camp. Just as I got settled the sunset became amazing, and I got my camera in position and got a shot that is one of my favorites of the summer. Night settled in, and just as I was finishing dinner, I saw lighting and thunder broke in the distance. Huge thunder and lighting for hours, on again and off again rain. It came in waves, and was cool to experience on a solo trip. I got my rain gear on and tried for a few hours to just stick it out. But about midnight, It just got too cold, so I moved into my tent. I never stopped coming down all night long. I awoke to the sound of snow sliding off my rain fly.

I got up to see that everything was covered in white frosting. I made coffee, took in the rolling mist off the lake. I decided that if that was the 30% chance of showers forecasted that I experienced the night before, I was not going to see what 70% chance of showers had in store for me. I packed it up, and headed out. I was crunching through ice and slush all the way up to the main trail. This path was even more soggy that when I had come in. Every boardwalk that cover the meadows were covered in snow. The temps were mild, and it was a cool hike out. Got to my car and the window was covered in snow! Crazy weather for August! I love solo backpacking. It is always an adventure when I go by myself. Enjoy the slideshow of shots from the trip, more adventures to come!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Catherine Pass, Little Cottonwood Canyon- August 2014

This is one hike I usually try to get in every summer. It is one of my all time favorites, and the memories from summits of Sunset Peak, to fishing Lake Catherine are legendary. This was a great weather day, and one of the best weather days we have had this cool and wet August we have had. The flowers on the way up were still holding up, so the meadows were still green and full of color. I made a furious pace and pushed straight through till I reached the pass. After a quick break and a few photos, I moved down to Lake Catherine. The fishing was pretty fun, not as fast as other years, but still a great time. I had the place all to myself, and I never complain about that. After hours of fishing, it was time to head out. I made my way back to the pass, and then made a quick decent to the car. This hike never lets me down, and as always, it is nice to be in the mountains again. More adventures to come......

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Toquer Lake, Ashley National Forest, Utah- August 2014

I have been to the south slope of the Uintas a few times, but it remains rather a new area for me as mostly I have been visiting the north slope and the areas off of HWY 150. Toquer Lake is one lake that we have wanted hit, because no one goes there and it is on the bucket list. We arrived in the Center Park area just after dark and car camped the first night out there. It was a nice spot, but a bit chilly with the wind. After a couple of beverages, we all hit the tents for some nice sleep. Morning woke to some breakfast burritos and packing it up to the trail head. This is a wild area, just how I like it. We started in on the Fish Creek National Recreation Trail, which crosses a meadow, then descends a rather steep section of switchbacks. We then crossed a creek, then made the slow gradual climb in this drainage. It is a beautiful walk in the woods, and you can tell that this trail is not overly used.

We passed meadow after meadow, then crossed the stream for the second time, and after a bit of uphill travel we were standing at the outlet of Toquer Lake. This basin is beautiful! Wildflowers everywhere. We found a spot and set up camp. Shortly after we were hit by a heavy hail storm, which I just stood under a set of trees and watched it paint our camp white! I did not want to pull my DSLR out of my tent in the storm, it was just far too soggy. After a while of waiting it out, we finally got a break in the action, and we headed out with the fly rods to give it a shot. Second cast and I had a nice one on! They were very nice brookies, and contrary to the book saying the fishing was no good here, we had hot action fishing this lake. Everyone caught fish, and we kept a couple for dinner. Dusk set in as we made our way back to camp, we got a fire going, and settled in for the evening.

I stayed up after Chris and Colin went to bed, and I watched the moon come up over the trees, and make it almost like daylight out. It was cool to see this place lit up at night. I awoke to crystal clear skies, and nice temps. We all had breakfast and coffee, then we decided to give fishing another shot after packing it up. I did not fair as well as the previous evening, but Colin and Chris did fine and actually landed some very nice fish. We packed it up and headed out around noon. The hike out was nice temps, and sun in and out of the clouds. As we reached the final stream crossing, we heard the loud crack of thunder, and the dark clouds were heading right for us. We made haste up the switchbacks, and the storm was just upon us when we reached the final meadow before the car. As we were getting settled at the car, a huge bolt of lighting came down about a quarter mile from us, and the boom was intense. This was a great trip, fishing was hot, and the place shelters well when there is a storm. I am taking the week off as to spend some time with my family and attend a wedding. Enjoy the pics, more adventures to come soon!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Cuberant Basin, Uinta Mountains, Utah- August 2014

I always like to get out for my birthday. After a the long trip to the High Uintas, some maxing and relaxing was in order. We made a late departure on Friday and we set in to Cuberant Basin about 8:30 PM. We knew that we were going to be headlamping it, so we pushed a good pace to the Kamas Lake/Cuberant junction. It started to get pitch just past the junction, and we put on the headlamps and made our way up the pass on Mt Marsell. It was loose rock this time as it had been raining earlier in the day. It was quite a sight to see with the moon showing off in its crescent form, and to be standing on a 10,000 ft pass after dark. We pushed into the basin, and made our way off the pass. This would have been tough had I not visited this place many times before. We moved down to #2, then down to #3, which was occupied by some other campers. So we took the spot in the meadow just southwest of the lake.

It was actually a great spot, and we set up shop. My friend Chris has these great solar lights that are feather weight called the Luci Solar Lantern. They are great, they weight nothing, and they give a large amount of light. Helped us pitch camp in the dark, and provided us with some nice lighting in camp. We set up shop, and then got a fire going. There was a small meteor shower that we were lucky enough to see from our vantage point. Then we turned in. It was great to sleep once again in what I call the symphony of silence. Morning came and the weather was just beautiful. We made breakfast, then put it all together to give fishing a try. Chris got red hot right off the bat, like second cast he had one on. I had a bit more of a struggle to get things going, but eventually landed 4 nice brookies. We made our way around the northwest end of the lake, then a small rainstorm, no thunder, came in on the area.

We just pulled up under some trees and watched the rain fall on the lake. It was so quiet and peaceful, it took everything down a few notches. After the rain let up, we were back at it, and this time, I had the biggest brookie I have ever landed at this lake on the line. I always have good luck fishing after a rain storm. After a while, dusk started to set in, and we made our way back to camp for dinner and a fire. Once again, crystal clear night, and we had a nice fire to sit by as the evening came on. We turned in much earlier than previous nights, and what a great nights sleep it was. We awoke to a few more clouds in the area, but still just gorgeous weather. We kind of just hung in camp and had coffee, then slowly packed it up. We had a perfect hike out, flowers everywhere, the lighting was just right. We made it to the car, got the boots off and had a cold one. Sitting on the back of the truck, we were treated to a light shower, and some distant thunder which made the atmosphere just awesome. It was just what the doctor ordered, a relaxing trip, in the backcountry, and some fishing. I could not have asked for a better birthday trip. Enjoy the slideshow below. More adventures to come.