Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dog Lake Utah 08-25-2013

On my trip to Lake Desolation, I saw that there is a spoke in the trail that will lead you to Dog Lake.  What is dog lake you ask?  Is the lake the shape of a dog?  Named after someone's beloved pet?  Perhaps it is a dog-legged shape lake?

No, none of the above.  This is a lake for DOGS.  Yes, this is a place where you can hike with your dog and then throw sticks in the lake and watch your dog (and his new minted friends) chase after whatever is thrown into the lake.  I am told this is one of the few lakes in Utah that allow dogs to access it.

There was no shortage of dogs.  When I first arrived there had to be at least 30 of them diving into the water and barking at each other.  They were mostly retrievers, shepherds, and labs.  It was funny seeing all the variety and everyone enjoying their time with their dogs.

The trail to dog lake is a adjunct trip to the Lake Desolation trail.  It is a 0.6 mile climb... literally.  Every step will suck the air from your lungs and force you to really work.  Luckily it is over pretty quick, though.  This was after about a 1.75 mile hike just to get to the trail head.

You can't take your dog from the Big Cottonwood side but you can from the Mill Creek Canyon side.  Go figure.  It was funny watching the dogs coming down from the north side of the trail at a full gallop once they saw all the other dogs playing in the lake.  For the most part every dog got along with each other.

The lake isn't terribly spectacular, but if you enjoy watching dogs have fun this could be a great place to hang out.  I know I wasn't bored here and enjoyed watching the dogs at play.  If I had a 4-legged friend that would fetch things, this is the place I'd take him.

Lake Desolation Utah Hike 8-25-2013

Located at the 11 mile marker in Big Cottonwood Canyon is the start of the Lake Desolation Trail.  This trail is on the north side of the road, where as I think the Donut Falls parking lot is located on the south side.

I got up early to tackle this hike and was on the trail a little after 9AM.  While temperatures in the Salt Lake Valley were hovering around the mid 60's, it was in the upper 50's here.  I grabbed a sweatshirt -- just in case -- which I didn't wind up needing at all.

The trail starts off in a heavily pine tree laden area.  After a quick quarter mile uphill climb the trail does flatten out and become very manageable.  This is probably the first trail I've come across that is runner friendly -- consisting mostly of packed dirt with some rocks.  It had rained the night before so some of the trail was slick, but I would not be adverse to running it.

The trail is lightly traveled.  It is 3.5 miles to Lake Desolation and most of it was easy and very scenic.  It took me about an hour and twenty minutes to reach the top. You do hug a babbling brook for a bit, but for the most part it is heavy woods with some scenic overlooks.  The trail is broken up periodically with a meadow or two.  The climbs are fairly mild and I was progressing along at 20 minutes per mile.

I am told you can see some wildlife on the trail, but the only thing I saw was a dog and what appeared to be baby catfish in the lake.

This was probably the easiest long distance hike I've done and one I'd love to do again.  Also while you are here you can hit up Dog Lake, which is just a .6 mile side trek (write-up and photos coming soon).

The lake is indeed desolate.  There wasn't much there except the occasional ranger plane flying overhead.  The lake resides in the middle of a meadow surrounded by pine trees.  The trail does continue further into the wilderness and connects with other trails, but I opted to call it a day and head to Dog Lake.

Enjoy the photos and movie.

start of the trail

scenic view

lush pines

I'll be turning right...

A nice meadow

birch trees

almost there.

almost there

me at Lake Desolation

Me at Lake Desolation

If you look closely you'll see a ton of baby fish

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Video of White Pine Lake

I took this video the other day while I was at White Pine.  It is my first attempt at doing a video.  For what it is worth enjoy.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

White Pine Trail / White Pine Lake Utah 08-18-2013

This morning I was itching for a hike and the weather was absolutely perfect for one.  Sunny and warm but not obscenely so.  I was up early and while I sans a hiking partner I started to go out and adventure on my own.  A few weeks ago, patient readers may recall that I hiked Red Pine Trail. There is another fork in that trail that leads to White Pine Lake.  I was told this trail was a lot easier than Red Pine but quite a bit longer.

I did my research and decided I could try this one on my own.

I was NOT disappointed in this hike.  The scenery changed dramatically.  At one point, I was in a rock garden, another in a deep pine forest and then again I was crossing flowered meadows.  The trail was well maintained and there was absolutely no doubt in which way to go.

The trail sign said the trail was 4 miles to the lake.  That was a lie.  It was 1 mile to the trail head and then 4 miles from there to the lake.  My Garmin read 5.10 when I arrived.

Since I was solo I could go at my own pace.  I took plenty of pictures but I didn't dally around much and reached the lake in about 2 hours.  I spent a good 30 - 40 minutes enjoying the views and exploring the area before taking another 2 hours down.

Surprisingly I got half way decent cell phone reception up there.  Enough to send or receive the occasional text message to let people know I was okay.

The trail was pretty sparse as far as other hikers go (I probably saw about 30 people all morning) and I had the lake to myself.  Trust me when I say, other hikers are truly missing one of the best hikes around.  It is long enough and yet the hills were that's bad as the climb from about 7000 feet to 9500 was very gradual.  I am told you can see wildlife up there and while I wasn't hoping to run into a moose, I was looking forward to seeing a deer.  Alas, I only saw a trout in the lake.

Overall, I'd love to do this hike again.  There is also substantial sections that are safe enough to run on, so if I wanted a brutal 10-miler I could do this trail.

Enjoy the photos

Typical stretch of trail

Salt Lake Valley / Sandy Below

White Pine Trail Alta Utah
Heading into wooded section

White Pine Trail Alta Utah

White Pine Trail Alta Utah
Still some nice flowers

White Pine Trail Alta Utah

White Pine Trail Alta Utah

A stream

White Pine Trail Alta Utah

More flowers

White Pine Trail Alta Utah

Mini water fall

A meadow

Flowers / Meadow

White Pine Trail Alta Utah
A stream

White Pine Trail Alta Utah
Only about 1 mile to go. Switch back rock garden climb

White Pine Trail Alta Utah

White Pine Trail Alta Utah

White Pine Trail Alta Utah
If you look closely there are people down below

White Pine Lake Alta Utah
Almost to the lake. Beautiful blue

Almost there!

White Pine Lake Alta Utah
White Pine Lake

White Pine Lake Alta Utah
White Pine Lake

White Pine Lake Alta Utah
Me at White Pine Lake

White Pine Lake Alta Utah

White Pine Lake Alta Utah
Super muddy. Trail landing ahead

If you look closely there is a trout

White Pine Lake Alta Utah

White Pine Lake Alta Utah
Time to go....