Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Notch Mountain Trail

Last week I went camping in the Uintas with my in-laws. We stayed a couple of nights at Pine Valley North Wasatch Cache Group Campground. (Longest name for a campground ever?) It was a nice spot. There was plenty of space for a large group and it seemed quite private.

A group of us drove to the mountains for an allegedly short hike. We planned on hiking from the Bald Mountain Trailhead to the Crystal Lake Trailhead, with a stop at Notch Lake in between. It was supposed to be only a few miles long and all downhill... The hike turned out to be over 10 miles with all sorts of ups and downs. I couldn't have been more happy. The Notch Mountain Trail passes by numerous lakes, streams, and meadows full of wildflowers. It was a wonderful way to spend half a day.

Clegg Lake
Notch Lake
Lovenia Lake
Wall Lake

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Death Hollow

Death Hollow is a lush canyon on the northern edge of the Grand Staircase Escalante-National Monument.

My dad, my brother, and I drove down to Boulder, UT. We parked at the head of the Boulder Mail Trail, near the dirt landing strip, labeled Boulder Airport, and camped there for the night.
Boulder Airport & UFO Landing Site

We got up a little after sunrise, ate breakfast and began the six mile hike to Death Hollow. It was hot, as expected, but there was a surprising amount of vegetation and shady resting spots.
 After only a few hours of hiking through sand, and up & down slick-rock hills, we made it to the canyon. The last 3/4 mile was a descent of 650 feet.
Upon reaching the bottom, I was amazed at how green and beautiful it was. There were trees, ferns, grasses, and flowers all along the banks of the river.
We found a great spot of sand underneath a big tree to set up camp, then immediately removed our shoes and cooled off in the river.
After eating lunch and resting, we explored the area.
We met a German couple who were spending their holiday hiking around Southern Utah.
Nearby our camp there was a duck and some ducklings. I was not expecting such biodiversity in the middle of the desert.
This was as close as I could get before scaring her off.
We ate fajitas and rice for dinner.
As it was getting dark, we heard the shouting & conversing of a large group of boys coming down into the canyon. When they finally reached the bottom,we talked to them for a while. Coincidentally they were (pretty much) my brother's neighbors. My dad showed them a good spot to camp, and pointed out the poison ivy they should avoid.
We went to bed around the same time the mice came out to find any scraps of food we might have dropped. 
I did not get much sleep, due to birds singing and chirping all night long.

We got up at dawn, ate a quick breakfast, packed up, and hiked out. 

The ascent out of the canyon was tough, but once we got out the rest of the hike was quite easy. Along the way, we met some guys who knew my dad's boss/hiking-buddy. It's nice that even in the desert you can find friendly strangers and friends of friends.