Sunday, July 9, 2017

Jewel Lake, Uinta Mountains, Utah- 7.8/7.9.2017

Finally got out into the Uintas this year! I returned to my home away from home for a solo overnight recon to Jewel Lake. I arrived to a packed trail head, and I was lucky to get a parking spot on the main row. I put it together and headed on in. I leapfrogged several groups as the sky was darkening, and its only a matter of time before the Uintas give you a thunder shower. I passed Ruth, then up and over the divide to Hayden Lake. Still some big piles of snow on Lofty Peak, but the main areas and trails are dry. I then made the final descent into Jewel Lake. Its as full as I have ever seen it. I have seen no other backpackers to this point. Rare to have this alone on a July weekend. The skeeters greeted me at my camp spot so on went the bug spray. As soon as I got my tent up and camp set, the thunder roared. A pretty good 30-40 minute sprinkle, and then it was over. I got out the fly rod to give it a shot fishing. I fished pretty much until dusk, but only a few hits and nothing landed. You win some, you loose some. Name of the game with fly fishing.

Sunset came and I got some nice reflection shots from the shore. I got a fire going and made dinner. The moon came up, and as beautiful of a sight that is, it meant no star trails or milky way shots on this trip. I still had a great night out there, just lounging by the fire and sitting out with the moon in full view. I turned in for a quiet night sleeping under the stars. I awoke to clear skies and cooler temps. Coffee was in order so I made some then sat down to decide what I was gonna do. The skeeters made up my mind for me, so I packed it up and headed out. The hike out was nice, perfect temps, and the bug issue seemed to vanish leaving Jewel. I took my time on the way out, just plain happy to be back in the Uintas once more. On the way out on the highway, I saw an entire family of mountain goats. Yes I had to stop for a photo. Enjoy the pics! More adventures to come!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah 7.1/7.2.2017

After three days and two nights backpacking Boulder Mountain, I made my way over to Capitol Reef National Park. Its the one National Park in Utah I had not been to. The funny thing is that I come to Torrey for Boulder Mountain all the time. Not quite sure why I have never been in here. Not that I frequent National Parks that often, but this was a special treat to cap off an incredible holiday weekend. I made the drive into the park, stopping at the Goosenecks. I then popped in the visitors center to get the scoop on where I could disperse camp. I made my way out to Cedar Mesa Campground, which my new Renegade handled like a champ, only to find it not having the view I was looking for. So I reversed course and started hunting the ATV trails for a good spot in the BLM side to set up shop. I found a good area and set up my tent. I had passed the Hickman Bridge trail on the way out to camp, so I figured I had some hours to kill before sunset, so why not go for a hike?

The trail was very easy to follow and had some aspects which reminded me of Escalante. Some sandy sections, but overall not a bad hike. The views were spectacular. The Hickman Bridge is huge, and very much like the arches in Arches National Park. I made the loop out of the arch and decided to head for the rim for some views. That paid off as the sun was setting and the colors got amazing! It was getting late and I had a hop to get back to camp before dark. I arrived right at sunset and pulled up my camp chair and had a cold one. Night came and since there was a fire restriction, I just pulled out the Luci's, and played with my camera with some Pink Floyd as the soundtrack. It was really warm, so never even put on socks, nor a jacket of any kind. Eventually I turned in for some really good sleep.

Dawn broke and I got up and made coffee. I decided to pack it up and head out for some photos and to see a couple of more things in the park before making the drive home. It was a great first experience visiting this place. The Jeep was so awesome off road! I had a great time and its been a bit since I have had a full adventure. Enjoy the pics, more adventures to come!

Deer Creek Lake, Dixie National Forest, Utah- 6.29/7.1.2017

I finally got out for a backpacking trip this year! We headed to Boulder Mountain on Thursday. We decided on the dates we did to avoid the holiday traffic. The drive was pretty much a clear shot all the way into Torrey. We made good time into the trail head and packed it in. I have not been to this area this time of year. It was so lush and green! Wildflowers were everywhere! The hike in was warm, but good after the three hour drive to get there. We made a good push up to the Great Western Trail then took a short break. We continued on into the aspens where the mosquitoes made their presence known. I honestly was in a full sprint in this section because they were that horrible. Once we got to the Deer Creek junction, they mellowed out quite a bit. We made camp and settled in for the evening. We had a nice night in camp and turned in for some good shut eye.

We awoke Friday to a barrage of mosquitoes in camp, which motivated everyone to put it together and head out to find Mooseman Lake. We took a off trail route, which ended up being marked with pink ties which walked us all the way up to Mooseman. When we walked up to the shore, they were jumping like crazy. I tossed a line in and it was on! Seems every cast I had a fish on the line. We stayed a better part of the day up here because the wind was keeping the skeeters at bay. We eventually took the trail out to the Great Western section to get back to camp. We then fished Greens Lake. Some nice Cuttys in there, but even bigger brookies which wanted nothing to do with anything I threw at them. Evening came in and we fished Deer Creek again. Darkness fell and I set out my camera for a star trail. We all had some great beverages and then turned in.

I awoke on Saturday to even more Mosquitoes. After three days of these micro vampires, I think I had reached my limit. I had this urge to head into Capitol Reef National Park to take my new Jeep off road and do some hiking and dispersed camping. I informed my group of my plans then packed it up and said my goodbyes. The hike out was pleasant and crystal clear. A bit warmer than on the way in. I made it to the Jeep in an hour and some change. This is one of my favorite areas to visit and it had been a couple of years since I had been there. My next post will be my trip into Capitol Reef National Park. Enjoy the photos. More adventures to come!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Mill D to Dog Lake, Big Cottonwood Canyon- 6.25.2017

I was able to get out in the Wasatch on a beautiful Sunday. The trail in was lush with wildflowers starting to bloom in full force. It was warm as I expected, and the walk in was just what I needed. The trail into the stream crossing was a bit busy as there were bikers and hikers going both ways. Once we passed the stream crossing it was pretty deserted only passing a couple of people on the way up to Dog Lake. Arriving at Dog Lake we pulled up some shade and took a break. After a while we circled the basin around the lake taking in all the color and how lush things are this year. The hike out was evening time, so the shadows and light make the bluebells pop very bright. It was nice to be in the mountains again. Enjoy the pics! More adventures to come!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Willow Heights, Big Cottonwood Canyon- 6.18.2017

Finally, after what seemed like forever, the snow is melting out. I took a chance on a recon mission up to Willow Heights to see how things are doing in the alpine. It was a pleasant walk in on the trail. The heat was for sure letting me know it was there. The bluebells on the way in are blooming larger than I have ever seen them. After a nice push to the upper meadow I stood at the edge of Willow Heights lake. Did I mention bluebells everywhere? I decided to make a nice loop up above the lake to see how squishy things were since the snow had just melted out. There were a couple of spots that were really muddy, but for the most part it was dry trail. For how busy the canyon was it was rather quiet up here. After circumnavigating the basin, I pulled up an aspen log and took in some shade for a bit. It was really nice to be in the quiet and hear the birds sing. The hike out was just wonderful and the color from the wildflowers was popping. Its great to be back on the dirt path. Enjoy the pics, more adventures to come!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Collins Gulch To Wildcat Ridge, Little Cottonwood Canyon- 5.18.2017

I really thought winter was finally over at the end of April. I got after it last month on the splitboard. When we warmed up at the beginning of May, I figured we were probably done splitboarding for the year. Winter had other ideas for us. The Wasatch got a cold front this week that took us back to end of February temps. It snowed in the mountains, so I figured why not get one more shot at some powder before its is all said and done. I made my way on the skin track up. The clouds were hanging in like fog on the mountains. It was a cool sight to see. I am not sure if I heard thunder, but something rumbled on the top of Superior on the way up. The snow was not changing. It was much warmer than my last time out on the splitboard. After a good push from the mid station in Collins, I found myself standing at the top of Wildcat. There were a lot more people up here compared to the last time I was here.

There were tracks everywhere. I picked a good spot that had very few track off the main line. I took a few pics and talked to some other folks that were skiing down the shoulder. After a brief visit, I made the switch over and dropped in. This snow was great, cold and fast. I made some really fun turns and gunned it to the mid station. That is where the snow changed. No matter, I was using my secret weapon and it was all glide and no manky stick to the base from wet snow. It was great to be out for a walk uphill, and some powder turns in May. This may have been my last day of the season. Backpacking is right around the corner. I usually make the shift to the dirt path around this time of year. But if it keeps snowing, I might just have to pull out the splitboard and work on that goggle tan once more. Enjoy the pics and video. Its been a great season! More adventures to come!

Collins to Wildcat Tour- 5.18.2017 from Christian Paul on Vimeo.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Solitude Tour, Big Cottonwood Canyon- 4.29.2017

This week has been incredible to say the least. Storm after storm has pounded the Wasatch putting some spots in the 50" range of new snowfall. I took the morning on Saturday to get up early and get one more day out of this amazing cycle out on the skin track. After arriving at Solitude, I put on the boots and headed on up. I was a bit worried with how warm things were getting that the snow would change. I was pleasantly surprised at how good the snow was holding up despite the direct shots of sun. After a nice walk I dropped in. Really nice powder had fallen yesterday so the surface was so good. A bit of a boot pack up to Apex to get my final run of the day. It was so creamy and good on the way down. No manky snow even at the base. This week was so amazing how much snow fell here in the Cottonwood Canyons. Enjoy the pics and video I put up! More adventures to come!

Solitude Tour 4.29.2017 from Christian Paul on Vimeo.