Lets get back to my traditional stuff. I have been on the Lake Powell kick for the past three weeks and now I am going to go back to regular hikes. Well the hike I bring you today is found once again here in the Wasatch Mountains. Remember its south of some parts of Utah so it fits my blog. 😉
This hike actually occurred this past July 3-4 but I never really got time to post it so here we go. We had initially planned on going to a place called Red Pine Lake, but earlier that day a huge fire erupted on the mountain side just over the mountain from our hike. Not particularly wanting to camp in a cloud of smoke, or in the path of a huge fire that was destroying everything, we decided to change our plans and went to Lake Blanche which is the next canyon over.
Lake Blanche can either be a day hike or a great over nighter. The hike itself is really quite challenging simply due to the extreme change in elevation over a relatively short distance. The hike is 2.7 miles long (one way) and has an elevation gain of 2700 feet. This means that you are walking up hill almost every step of the way and when you are carrying camping gear like us, it becomes quite challenging. Like usual I had my hiking buddy’s Bruce and my dad, but this time we had new comers, my dads coworker and his son.
The hike begins in a small parking lot located in Big Cottonwood Canyon. It’s just below the sharp “S” curve in the road so its not terribly difficult to miss because it’s the only place like it. The paths beginning is about a quarter mile up a paved walkway. The actual trail is marked by a sign on the right. Like I mentioned earlier there is about 2700 feet of elevation gain on this hike, and the moment you hit the dirt trail you start to climb.
The trail begins to take you back into the mountains and soon you are surrounded by huge cliffs. Also along the way, I suggest turning around and looking back where you came from in order to see how the main canyon and yours intersect. This is a great hike for scenery.
During this hike I had pulled out my new GoPro Camera and was filming our adventure, but as I was hiking, I was realizing it was way too difficult to try to pay attention to camera angles or even holding the stick properly to get decent shots. So I ended putting it away for most of the hike and just trudged along.
Side note. Mountains are swarming with mosquito’s, especially in the bushes and thick undergrowth. As evening was setting in they began to come on the hunt and Bruce and I were prime targets. Well my dad had the bug spray and we had gotten ahead of him so we needed to wait. Now it become the game of trying not to get bit. I of course took this opportunity to smack Bruce in the face cause he had two on his cheek. (All for the greater good right?) After a few minutes and a few dead bugs my dad showed up and with relief. It was at this point where I made this comment “Its funny how some people don’t like the smell of bug spray, to me it smells like heaven.”
The trail itself is not too terribly difficult to follow beside it being tiresome. There is one spot at the top though that can give you trouble due to the trails minor disappearance on a rock field. There is one cairn to mark the trails turn around and some faintly worn rocks and signs of people that let you know you are on the right path. The good news is, once you’re to this spot you are in the home stretch. We arrived just before dusk and Bruce and I sat down and ate granola bars waiting for the rest of the group to show up.
Good camping spots are hard to find here. There was one on the far side of the lake that some guy had taken and the rest of the place is covered with rocks and poor surfaces. There are streams and meadows on the left side of the lake that look tempting, but remember, mosquito’s like water and often those meadows are full of them. Also when the streams move through the grassy meadows like that, it usually means all the grass is actually growing in mud. So be careful. We ended camping toward the front of the lake just off the trail.
After setting things up we had some freeze dried dinners from Mountain High, which are extremely good by the way, especially the chili cheese mac. After dinner we just relaxed on the big smooth rock that had been warmed by the heat of the day and just watched the stars and the moon rise over the peaks. Soon after ten we hit the sac.
Note to the world, clear your camping area of all rocks. I had some how missed three huge jagged rocks that happened to be perfectly placed directly under where I was planning on sleeping. They hurt…alot. So that night I sat tossing and turning barely getting any sleep.
The next morning, about 5:30, I was tired of trying to sleep and just wandered around the lake and the camp site. I tried to set up a time lapse but my camera ran out of batteries but it was still a great sun rise. About and hour later we had breakfast and soon headed back down the mountain to enjoy our 4th of July.