Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Uinta Mountains, Utah - Backpacking

With the cooler weather rapidly approaching, a bunch of us decided to set out for a weekend in the Uinta Mountains of northeastern Utah before we'd need to strap on snowshoes to enjoy the scenery.  With the exception of the King's Peak trip last summer, most of my time in the Uintas seems to be spent during the winter months doing some snowshoeing to some of the hundreds of lakes in the area.  The Uintas in the summer are even more spectacular and the scenery is a sharp contrast to the redrock deserts of southern Utah.

Bald Mountain and Reid's Peak

Robert, Ryan, Keith, Melissa, Joe, and I, along with a few dogs, set out from Salt Lake early Saturday morning for the two hour drive to the Uinta Mountains via Kamas, UT.  We decided to do any easy backpacking trip that focused mainly on the camping and less on the hiking so that we could relax and enjoy some good food and drinks in the beautiful wilderness.  If someone saw us in the parking lot with of all of gear and packs, they would have probably assumed we were backpacking for a week.  Melissa thought the hike would only be about a mile, but it was quite a bit longer than that.  We probably would have taken a few less luxuries had we known we'd be hiking for several miles.

Melissa, Keith, Tonic, and Stoli

Joe, Robert, and Ryan

Our destination was Cuberant Lake where we planned to camp Saturday night before hiking back out on Sunday.  The hike passed through a few beautiful meadows that are typical of the Uintas, and a few smaller lakes before finally climbing up to Cuberant Lake.


 Snack break along the trail

Smaller lake just before climbing up to Cuberant Lake

We found a great campsite near the lake and set up camp for the night.  The sunset created some beautiful colors and reflections on the calm lake, and as the temperatures dropped we made a great fire to keep us warm for the evening.  After hauling in what felt like tons of food, beer, and wine, we were finally able to relax and enjoy a great evening of eating and drinking.  

This is more Dakota's style.  Hiking is overrated.

 Keith enjoying his toasted "ghost peep"

Cuberant Lake at sunset

Cuberant Lake at sunset

Enjoying the warm fire from a safe distance

It was a frosty night in the Uintas since we were at an elevation of over 10,000 feet.  The stars were beautiful with very little light pollution, so I stayed up for a quite a while in my tent enjoying the night sky.  It was difficult to get out of my sleeping bag the next morning; I'm not used to the cold so early in the season.

Joe filtering water in the morning

Ryan and Dakota

Cuberant Lake in the morning

After spending Sunday morning enjoying the lake and the warm sunshine, we packed our gear and headed back down to the trailhead.  The weather was absolutely perfect the entire weekend and I was fortunate enough to spend it outdoors with a very fun group of people (and dogs!) in one of the prettiest places in Utah.

Keith, Melissa, Robert, Ryan, me, and Joe