Saturday we drove into Little Cottonwood Canyon (can i just interject and say that I am SOOOOOoooo excited to move to Salt Lake City and cut a half hour off of all of our trips!). We went to go rock climbing. Just a quick 5 pitch route that should have been pretty easy, but I was still nervous. We had to cross a roaring river to get to the other side of the canyon to start our approach to the cliffs, but the bridge was demolished. We drove and walked up and down that river to try and find a different way to cross. Maybe in the fall, when the rivers are not roaring from snow-melt we will be able to wade or hot stones or something. With the Spring raging water, it was too dangerous to cross on a pipe or fallen tree. So we hiked around a little. Then we drove up to Alta and Snowbird and looked over the prospective ski terrain, talking about where we might ski this next year. I love to think about skiing. And we left the canyon having never dug our fingers into any cliffs.
(Ruth Lake still covered in ice)Yesterday we drove up the Mirror Lake Highway past Park City deep into the Uintah's. We hiked 1.6 miles (so short!) through the woods to put up our camp next to Ruth Lake. We've been here before. Last September, and it was so incredible with the mountain views and rock climbing, crystal clear lakes and almost utter solitude, I've been squirming to go back.
(Duvick in the Mountains)We got there in the afternoon so we could have all day to rock climb until it got dark - it was the day that we would receive the most sunlight of any day of the year (sunset at 9:45 out here!). But our hike in was long because it was through a lot of snow, actually. And the actual trail was difficult to spot and when we did see it, it was often running beneath a stream of snow melt. We finally found the perfect camping spot beside Ruth Lake: flat enough for a tent, close enough to trees to block the wind, and a close distance for running water for drinking and i love sleeping without ear-reach of running water.
(hiking on snow!)We weren't sure if we could make it to the cliffs. It was very obvious that no one besides snowmobiles had been to this lake in many many months. And cliffs were North-facing, so we guessed the rocks would be cold/wet and the snow on the approach had less a chance of melting than the rest of the snow around us. And we had a hard enough time keeping our feet dry on the hike in. But we thought that we would just hike the 1/2 mile over there and see if it would be possible to try to climb the cliffs.
(getting water from a stream of snowmelt)The first thing we did was begin to filter water into our bottles to take climbing. We packed 4 bottles, but only packed 2 with water in them so that we wouldn't have to carry the extra weight. And we had already emptied one on our way in. But the water filter was broken. It was brand new, never used, and broken.
(Landon problem solving. pretty awesome filter though, huh? no pumping!)There is no plan B when there is no water. So we cancelled the climbing trip. If we can't get water, then we certainly can't make it there and back - even if we didn't climb at all - and still spend the night. So we brainstormed boiling water to drink and to make our dinner (spaghetti). But Landon didn't think that we had enough gas to fuel the burner for that long. And it was too windy to have a fire (the evergreens around our camp we red, dry, and dead from the beetles). We walked around through the forest for awhile, drank some Fat Tire, and packed up our stuff and hiked out.
(New Belgium, thank you for making Fat Tire in cans. Perfect for backpacking trips!)(you better believe we went straight to REI and exchanged our brand new water filter for another one).
(water running from everywhere!)Just being in the mountains was wonderful. We didn't see any wildlife, though I was on the look out for Moose, Bear and Deer. It was amazing to have those woods completely to ourselves. I loved being surrounded by the tall snowy peaks, the smell of conifer and ponderosa, and the sound of running water from every direction! Though I left with wet and muddy feet, the skin on my face was burned by the warm, high altitude sun. Things at home are a little stressful with preparing to move, working with sponsorship, and looking for a new job. My heart and my mind were completely de-stressed during my time in the mountains. It was such a physical feeling of burdens lifted as we drove deeper into the Uintah's.
(me gusto Fat Tire tambien)In the mountains I feel so at home, so at peace. These misadventures were not at all a waste of time.
(a frozen Ruth Lake again)I am so grateful to live life beside the mountains.