Wednesday, January 22, 2014


She'd be 44 today. 

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Red Pine Lake

Red Pine Lake up Little Cottonwood Canyon Utah is a pleasant hike year round.  I shouldered the snowshoes on the day ruck and headed up the ski track.  The pack thermometer read cccold.  I kept moving.  The few vehicles in the parking lot revealed today will be quiet on this popular trail.
I made my way up, adjusting speed with the rate of sweat.  I made sure I didn't sweat.  Keeping warm means keep moving.  Survival means not getting wet. The trail, an easy step, as many skiers have taken to the rugged back country slopes this area offers.  To my dismay I saw but 8 people all day.
My sunglasses icing up encouraged me to use the brim of the hat to see.  I hiked most of the way up pointed into the sun.  This trail provides clear views down Little Cottonwood into Sandy City and beyond.  The valley, crisp and clean, I hummed a few bars of Michael W Smith's worship song "This is the air we breath."  I didn't mind today.  When I journey up here and see smog below then I mind.
I hit the trail split to Maybird Gulch faster then expected.  I took a breather and a good slug of water.  Utah's dry winter air is dehydrating.  To the west is a rocky gulch that looks to be very popular tday.  I didn't see many boot tracks but a ton of ski skins.  My path is south bound, scratched into the sign next to the engraved Red Pine is 1 hr.  Thruthfully, not far from the actual, when you're the one breaking trail or out of shape.
I pressed on wards.  The track fulk of post holes mixed with snowshoe prints.  I pressed on without snowshoes with no issues.  I hit the false summit in no time and the lake moments later.  Two months ago, I snowshoed up from the split.  Today I'd use the snowshoes as my lunch counter.
At the lake, I found a spot already tramped down and set on the snowshoes.  Pulling a little alcohol stove out I fixed a pot of noodles and tea.  A day like today couldn't be more perfect for this treat.
Headed back down after an hour, glancing at the thermometer there's an extra c to the ccccold.  In the sun temps are surprisingly pleasant, without wind even more so.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Desolation Lake January 1st

Ringing in this New Year couldn't be complete without a hike.  A dusting of snow overnight means a bit of a refreshed trail.  Knowing my car doesn't take to snow well, I headed up Big Cottonwood Canyon.  Mill D looked inciting, only a few cars at 10 am.  I threw on the micro-spikes, wrote in my trail log, and headed up.
I hiked this trail a month ago.  Ironically, it's also the last entry on the blog.  The Wasatch's received several brief snow storms since then.  This image is taken about a quarter mile up from the last post.
I hoped the trail would be packed up to the lake.  I got to the final meadow before it abruptly ended and someone post holed in from there.  I tried to match their steps.  I continued on from where they left off.  I can see why entries on begin to mark feet per hour in the Sierra's.  It took near 5 minutes to traverse 100 feet.  I didn't even think about tossing the snowshoes on the ruck because of how well traveled this trail is.  Thankfully this is Utah Powder and not Sierra Cement.  Waist deep, chilled but not cold, and dry as a bone.  Ah, near heaven (okay, at Desolation Lake).
A couple of snowshoers stomped right past me after I finished up my lunch.  I'd sat on the no swimming sign post which was a foot higher then the snow.  Trying to be in their tracks proved fruitless.  I continued to be waist deep.
Once back to the beaten path and on the way down, I began to see other hikers and snowshoers.  I joked with the hikers, I post holed for then.  With the snowshoers that they didn't need em until the lake.
Mill D leads to two lakes.  Dog Lake is fairly easy & well traveled year round.  Desolation Lake is a mile plus further. Though Desolation Lake is a bit further the winter traffic is nearly as heavy.  The trail splits about a mile behind a summer community in Big Cottonwood Canyon. I do recommend these lakes as destinations for those new to hiking.
As with all mountain traveling, take caution, be seasonally prepared.  It is said of the Wasatch that you never hike alone for long, please do not depend upon someone else for your safety.