Monday, February 20, 2012

Wasatch Mountains, Utah - Snowshoeing

I strapped my snowshoes on for the first time this winter, three months later than in previous years.  I haven't given snowshoeing much thought this winter because the weather has been so mild and dry.  It's been easy to avoid the snow and warmer activities like running have keep me occupied for the past few months.  I enjoy snowshoeing for the physical activity and the peaceful mountain solitude, but it loses it's appeal after a few months.  Winter usually drags on for many months beyond my tolerance, but winter began in February for me this year.  Spring isn't far away.

The first trip of the month was an easy trek with Shawn up to Dog Lake from the Mill D trailhead in Big Cottonwood Canyon.  Avalanche danger has been particularly high this season due to the inconsistent snowfall, but this trail is generally a safe bet.  This area is popular with snowshoers and backcountry skiers and making a trip over to Desolation Lake after Dog Lake can make for a more challenging trip.

On the way to Dog Lake from Mill D

Shawn relaxing at Dog Lake

Peaceful solitude

The weather wasn't very cooperative for the second snowshoeing trip of the season.  A quick burst of snow in the morning closed the canyons to vehicles without chains and getting to Neff's Canyon in the Milcreek area was a challenge due to the very slippery roads.  Shawn and I decided to check out Lambs Canyon off Interstate 80 on the way  to Park City.  We snowshoed up the road and then on the trail that connects Millcreek and Lambs Canyons.  The fog and snow made for a colder trip, but the scenery was still beautiful.  Warming up at Red Iguana after the trip made for a great day.

Foggy, snowy Lambs Canyon

Fresh snow on the trees in Lambs Canyon

Snowshoeing in Lambs Canyon

After a couple of warm-up trips, Shawn was ready for a more challenging snowshoe hike.  This past weekend we snowshoed to Red Pine Lake from the White Pine Trailhead in Little Cottonwood Canyon under sunny blue skies.  This has always been one of my favorite snowshoe treks in the Wasatch with amazing views and just enough steep sections to make it a good workout.  Beer at Squatters wrapped up this trip - it doesn't get much better than that!

 Shawn on the way to Red Pine Lake

 Red Pine Lake

 Red Pine Lake

 White Pine Trailhead

A perfect day to be in the mountains