Fall is really here. The leaves are beginning to change, the days are getting shorter, and the temps are getting cooler. I had a weekend free, so I decided to head out backpacking. We were in the line of fire for the Aurora Borealis, but it was a small chance because we still has a half moon rising. I hit the road early Friday morning with my friend Jason, and we made our way up to the Mirror Lake Highway. After lots of fall colors visible from the drive in, we arrived at the trail head. We got everything locked and loaded, and we made our way in. The temps were perfect, and it was so quiet out there. We wandered the meadow, then up the switchbacks to the pass. Then a quick decent into the basin down past Long Lake. We then headed west, passing some ponds, then to the junction to go to Island Lake or Duck Lake. We made our way up the switchbacks to the outlet of Island Lake. We decided to camp on the north west side.
We found a nice spot and got shop set up quickly. We then decided to give fishing a turn, and after a bit and fighting with the wind, I landed a decent Cutthroat. I put him back and proceeded to camp for the sunset and to get a fire going. It was going to get cold that night, but I wanted to stay up and see if the northern lights were going to make an appearance. Jason turned in and I stayed up shooting a star trail image. I think for about 5 minutes I could see them in the sky, but then the moon started to rise, and that put an end to that quickly. I finally decided to turn in. Morning brought some much needed coffee and breakfast. After a nice meal, we decided to head up to Fire Lake. It was a great hike, and Fire Lake was showing off its fall look. I fished for a while, and finally hooked into a big one, only to loose it, as it thrashed back and forth while I was retrieving it until my fly was off the line. Bummer! That would have been the fish of the summer, he was so huge! At least I know he is still out there. I'll get my fly back! After a while, and getting a panoramic view of the basin, we decided to head back to camp at Island Lake.
Dusk came quick, and we got our fire stoked and made dinner. As it got dark, I think both of us were pretty tired, so I only stayed up for a bit to have an adult beverage, then I made my way to the tent. A much warmer night than our first night out there. Morning came with an even warmer sun, and we made coffee, then decided to break camp and make the hike out. It was perfect weather, and a great hike out. Enjoy the slide show below. I may get one more trip in for the year then it will be hiking for fall colors and getting ready for winter. More adventures to come!