Monday, August 29, 2016

Shadow Lake, Uinta Mountains- August 2016

This past weekend was all about turning a bad situation into a good one. I had planned on visiting a new area with my friends, but I did not like the river crossing they were taking in there. Putting a DSLR into the drink would not be a good thing. Most Importantly, I was pretty remote and my gas gauge said I was almost on empty. It showed 3/4 of a tank when we hit HWY 150 the night previous. We had a pretty nice dispersed spot to camp in. I decided to bail on the trip and head to Evanston to fill up so I would at least make it home. I am glad I did because I putted into the gas station, my car acting like it was going to die. I filled up, and headed back down HWY 150. There was no way I was going to find my friends now since it was nearly 2 PM. I was just going to go home. Driving back up Hwy 150 I decided, since my pack was ready to go, why not head into Shadow Lake for a solo over nighter?

I got the last parking spot at the Crystal Lake trail head, and got out the pack. I put on the boots, and started on down the trail. Once I got past Washington Lake on the trail, I did not see another human being. Tail Lake was quiet and no people. Looks a tad low this year. After a very nice two mile walk in the woods, I arrived at Shadow Lake. I had the place all to myself. I found my spot and set up shop. It was so quiet in there. Some birds or a squirrel every once in a while, but other than that just plain quiet. The "Symphony Of Silence" as I like to call it. Evening came with a really nice sunset. I ate some dinner, then got a fire going. The light faded to black and I put out my camera for a star trail. I captured some cool images and had a great night by the fire. It was time to turn in.

I awoke to clear skies and cool temps. The dew point was rolling like fog across the lake. The sun was peeping through the trees as I climbed out of my tent. I decided to do Tea instead of coffee. Not for any particular reason, just wanted to change it up. I ate a bit of food out of my food bag, then gradually started to pack it up. My hike out was quiet and peaceful and I did not see humans till I got to the dam at Washington Lake. The trail head was slammed with people who had all been in other trails in. Talking to a few other backpackers, they said it was busy everywhere in there this weekend. So happens I may have had the only lake in that area which had no other campers in there. Just goes to show you that sometimes things don't always go as planned, but you can still make it a good one if you choose to. Its all about your perspective. I had a great hike in, night by the fire, hike out, and my car made it home. I chose wisely as you can see. Enjoy the pics. We have entered the tail end of the season backpacking. Just another month or so, and the alpine will go to bed for winter. Get it while you can! More adventures to come!

Shadow Lake Timelapse from Christian Paul on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Cuberant Basin, Uinta Mountains- August 2016

I always like to get out backpacking for my birthday. It is a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the valley, and the hot temps we usually get this time of year. I was fortunate to get out this year with my friends Chris and Jason. We all decided that we wanted something mellow and relaxing. So we decided Cuberant Basin was the place. We had a late departure, with a long delay because of the construction on Hwy 40. We arrived at the trail head and headed in around 8:30 PM. Nothing like going in via headlamp. We made a quick jaunt down to the meadow, then a fast pace up to the Cuberant Lakes/Kamas Lake junction. From there is just kept getting darker as we climbed, eventually having to put on the head lamps and make our way up the steep, but short pass you take to get into the basin. We stood on the top of the pass as the last light of the day faded to stars and dark skies. We stopped at the bottom of the other side and just took in the cool temps and the stars which were out and bright as could be. We then moved down past #2 and then eventually rolled into #3. The spot we were shooting for was taken, but we have a secret plan B spot which is just as nice. We dropped the packs and set up shop. I went to fetch some water to return to a birthday card and some S'mores cupcakes since it was my birthday. What I did not know is that Chris and Jason had pitched in and got me a REI Flex Light Chair for my birthday. I assumed that the chair was Jason's, and they caught me off guard with that one. I felt pretty spoiled. Thank you guys, humbled and honored to have such kind friends. Jason had been up since 4:30 AM on Friday, so he was off to bed. Me and Chris stayed up, made some food, and had a nice fire. I turned in after a long day for some much needed rest.

I awoke to partly cloudy skies, and pleasant temps. We all got up and made coffee and breakfast. Then we just hung out in camp for a bit as we were there to relax and did not need to run for anything. Eventually we put the fishing gear together and headed down to Cuberant #3 to get a line wet. I hooked into a a good one and as I was stripping it in, it got off. Bummer. I circled the lake fishing it with no suck luck. I eventually made my way back to camp and pulled up for a cat nap. I awoke to Chris and Jason coming back from fishing and deciding to do the same. I walked up to Cuberant #2 and fished for about two hours. I hooked into a nice one, but alas these guys know how to wiggle off. I did land a pretty 8" cutthroat that was hitting the dry fly. I made my way back down to camp and everyone was just getting up from their siesta. We decided that since it was 8 PM, time to put together some dinner and have a fire. The temps both Friday night and this night were a bit nippy, kind of like fall is knocking on our door. I put on the down jacket and beanie and settled in for some home made, dehydrated chili mac. My version was filled with multicolored pasta and some grated cheese I put in the tray while dehydrating it. It was so good! We then had round two of the S'mores cupcakes, and boy are they a great dessert! Me and Chris walked up to a view point above our camp and took in the sunset and watched a isolated thunderhead roll over Notch Mountain. It was cool to watch and a view of what was to come. I put my camera out for a star trail and pulled up by the fire in my new chair. After a couple of hours it was time for bed.

We awoke to pink clouds in the sky and just a beautiful morning. We made breakfast and had coffee, then we decided to pack it up. As we were finishing getting ready to go, the thunder rolled in and it started to rain. Then it got a bit more violent as a lightning strike hit less than a 1/4 mile from us, and rattle ours and the dogs nerves a bit. It eventually started hailing pretty hard as we sheltered under an even stand of trees. Then the sky broke briefly, allowing us to dry out a bit and we put on the packs and started making our way up to the pass. We had to hunker down for a minute at #2 as it started raining hard again, but then it let up and allowed us to get up the basin side of the pass. On the pass, we had a thunder crack overhead and it was time to get to lower pastures. We made a quick descent of the switchbacks and down into the woods. I felt like this storm was following us as it would give us a thunder strike and more rain every time we thought it was done. It did this all the way till the last climb out of Reids Meadow. Then the sky broke and we had a nice 1/2 mile walk to the car. We went from camp to car in less than 1 and 1/2 hours. It was nice to be back at the safety of the car and we all cracked a beer and were happy to be alive and safe. Enjoy the pics, more adventures to come!