Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Cutthroat/Teal Lakes, Uinta Mountains- September 2015

It has been a couple of weeks since I have been out in the Uintas. Fall has arrived in the Uinta Mountains, and with it the seasonable cold temps have shown up too. It even lightly snowed out there midweek. I headed in to Cutthroat Lake on Friday afternoon. The only folks I saw on the way in were two Forest Service employees who were putting in a new stone bridge. After that is was solo all the way. The hike in was quiet. No breeze at all, just calm and quiet. After passing Hayden and Jewel Lakes on the way in, I pushed up the big meadow that takes you up to Cutthroat Lake. I arrived at my camp and did some quick clean up, which seems par for the course these days, then got my camp set. I did some evening fishing and landed a couple of nice Tiger Trout, then moved up to camp for dinner after one beautiful sunset. I eventually lit up the lanterns and got my fire going and settled in for some long exposures. You could not ask for a better night to shoot the stars. Eventually, it got cold enough that I retired to my tent for some much earned quiet time and sleep.

I awoke to the sun shining on my tent. I must have slept pretty well. The ground was crunchy stepping out of my tent so I could tell that the dew point on the ground was cold enough to freeze overnight. There was no frost on my tent or gear, but it was chilly getting up. I made coffee just to have a warm beverage as the sun climbed into camp and warmed things up. After breakfast I put it together and decided to head out to fish and hike over to Teal Lake. Cutthroat Lake was really active till around 1 PM when I wandered over to Teal Lake. The wind always seems to hit the south end of this lake. I hiked around and found calmer waters. The first hit I had I thought I was going to land, but it got off. I could see its mass as I got it close to shore, it was a nice one. The second hit was a nice one, but smaller than the first. It was on from there. They just kept nailing my dry fly. After some amazing fishing, I decided to walk around the lake some more. I found myself fishing again and landed the best fish of the day. After pausing for lunch and fishing some more, I decided to head back towards camp. I had seen a pond that previously me and my friends had visited before. It was holding fish, so gave it a shot. They were on fire in this pond! I spent probably an extra hour longer there because fishing was fast and fun, and the colors in the basin were just pretty to look at. I moved up to camp, and got my fire ready for the evening.

I half expected there to be other backpackers to have come in returning from my hike, but to my surprise, no one was there. It is rare to have this lake all to yourself. I got dinner ready and then settled in for some more fun with the stars. This night was cold, and I knew I was going to need a good fire to stay up to get the shot I wanted. I got the fire raging and played with the camera until about midnight, when I decided I wanted to crawl in my down bag and fall asleep. Morning came and it was a bit warmer than the day previous. Still cold on the toes, but it was not for long as the sun climbed and the temps rose.I decided to take some pictures and fish before breakfast. I ended up landing my first Brookie ever out of Cutthroat Lake. I knew they were in there, but it has been all Tigers for me. I shot a pano of the lake as the sun was lighting up the west ridge. After getting warm, I decided to pack it up so when I was ready to go I could get moving. The noon hour was approaching and I decided to head out. The hike out was the same as coming in. Silent, and quiet because there were no people. I finally saw a human being at Ruth Lake. It was a family and their dog. The temperatures were perfect and I was at my car before I knew it. The seasons have changed and fall is officially here. Not too much longer before we change this party from dirt dances to snow dances. Enjoy the slideshow below. More adventures to come.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Reynolds Peak, Big Water/Little Water Loop, Millcreek Canyon, Wasatch-Cache National Forest- September 2015

This is a peak I like to climb as it is a nice walk in the woods then you end up on a very nice peak. I had some friends in town from Oregon and they wanted to get out in the Wasatch for a hike. I decided that walking up to Reynolds Peak would give them a birds eye view of the Wasatch. We made really good time up on the Big Water Trail. The temps were perfect and not a cloud in the sky. The last 1/2 miles was steep and full of views. We all found ourselves on the peak standing at a central point in the Wasatch. We spent some time up there taking in the view. There is a geocache box that has a summit log in it that we all signed. I shot a nice pano up there to give the viewer a perspective of the view up there. The hike down the Little Water Trail was very nice and very quiet. Gone are the crowds of summer, and fall is creeping in. Below are a couple of photos from the day. The dirt path party has switched to fall, and the colors are gonna start changing. More adventures to come!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Island Lake, Uinta Mountains- September 2015

I made a solo trip into Island Lake this past week for my holiday trip. I wanted to have no crowds, and my strategy seemed to pay off. I arrived at the trail head Wednesday just after noon, and got ready and headed in. There were five cars when I pulled in, and three of them left before I even got my boots on. I saw some day hikers on their way out, but no one but me packing it in. I ran into a dad and son on their way out from day hiking just before the pass, and chatted for a bit about who they saw while in there. They said no one was in there that they had seen. These were the last two people I saw until Friday. I was nervous that I may have some people in there, as I have never seen Island Lake empty. I was prepared to move up to Fire Lake if there were too many people at Island Lake. I continued over the pass, and was solo all the way in. The hike with the new UL bag was over before I knew it. I arrived to find Island Lake empty. I truly had it all to myself. I arrived at Island lake and it was so quiet and peaceful. I found my way to the camp I was going to stay at and set the pack down and just sat there for a few minutes taking it all in. Then in orderly fashion I got camp set for the next couple of days. I eventually just wandered out to the rock shelf that was a bit out of camp that sits and overlooks the lake. Sunset came to the lake, and I got out the camera and rattled out a few shots. The sun is setting earlier now, so I made my way back to camp for dinner and a beverage. I had a nice night by the fire, but was having trouble with my interval timer that I had just received. I am not sure if it was not communicating with my camera or what the problem was with that. I did manage to get an artsy looking single shot with my fire illuminating all the trees. After a long night with fussing with this timer, I decided to get some rest and turned in.

Thursday morning came with a bit more wind, and some passing clouds from the south. It actually looked threatening as there was no blue sky, but as the morning progressed from the coffee to breakfast, the skies cleared. I put it together and decided to walk up to Fire Lake. I had thought about Big Elk, but I really like Fire Lake, and I always make it a point to visit there. I gave it a whirl at trying to fish, but the wind was so strong, and the water was not good for running a dry fly. I found a meadow that was kind of wind sheltered and just layed there for a bit taking in the clouds moving fast to the north. Kind of daydreamed there for a while. Was really nice. I shot a nice pano of Fire Lake, and then moved on around the lake. Tried fishing some more, but there was just no activity at all. I am thinking full moon put them off. On my way around the lake, I was picking Raspberries to munch on because they are yummy! Eventually I finished my loop of the area and made my way back to camp. I decided on the way up to Fire Lake to go via the part of the lake that I did not go in on. And I made it a loop to get back to camp. I tried fishing again, had a pretty solid bite, but alas no luck once more. I meandered around the lake just taking it all in. I arrived back at camp and got things situated for the evening. The sunset this night was really fun to shoot. I set up my camera and this time my interval timer worked so I was able to get a star trail out of my camera before the clouds moved in. I had a nice night by the fire, just taking in the silence. Although I love to be out with my friends, there is something special about some alone time in your own head. I burned my fire down to ash, then proceeded to my sleeping bag for some much earned rest.

Friday morning arrived and with it came blue skies and slightly cooler temps. Coffee was perfect as I went and sat on the rocks overhanging the lake. The sun came up and warmed me up as I enjoyed my cup of joe. I eventually wandered back to camp and packed it up for the hike out. I left that camp clean! I hope the weekend crowd does the same. I got everything situated and then decided to go chill by the lake one more time before heading out. I made good time on the way out, seeing the first human beings I had seen in nearly three days when I got up to Long Lake. The trail out was a ghost town and I only saw a few hikers after I got over the pass. Arriving at the lot it was about half full, and I had to wonder where everyone was because the trail was empty for the most part on the way out. It was nice to be out in the mountains again, and this solo trip was so fun and very relaxing. Enjoy the slideshow below. More adventures to come.......