On July 14th, 2011, Bill Joy and I went up into the Uinta Mountains of North Eastern Utah to check out the snow levels. This last winter put more snow into the mountains than we have seen for many years, so we knew that there would still be snow. Most years the snow is gone from the high area by the 1st of July, but not this year. We were hoping that it would be possible to check out some of the lakes close to the highway. Maybe hike around to the back side of some. These pages will show a group of short hikes we managed to do that day.
When we got up there it looked like about 20% of the high country was still covered with snow. Even so, we found it possible to walk on top of it.... most of the time anyway. Once in a while we would fall through the crust. The exposed land was very wet. Wet and soggy. The lakes were all full, many meadows were flooded, and the streams were high and fast. We didn't walk on trails most of the time, but went out cross country using my GPS. We started at Butterfly Lake, a high point along the road. Lots of snow there. We took some pictures but didn't hike around that one.
Butterfly Lake, High Uinta's
Coming back down the highway we stopped at Scout Lake and the Steiner Boy Scout Camp. Normally we wouldn't be able to go into the Scout Camp, but it wasn't open for the summer yet so we went in and checked it out, along with Scout Lake and Pearl Lake.
Scout Lake at Steiner Boy Scout Camp
Then we drove down to Pass Lake. Pass Lake is at the point along the highway were the Weber River starts out on the west side and the Duchesne River on the east side. Also in the same general area the Bear River begins its course to the north and the Provo River to the south. At Pass Lake we walked around to the east side finding some ponds below it where the outlet is. That area was very rocky and overgrown, making for some rough hiking. We got some great photos though.
Pass Lake along Highway 150 in the Uinta's
We stopped at Mirror Lake for lunch, getting to sit down at a picnic table. Didn't do any hiking there.
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Driving on down the road we found a bit less snow, so we stopped at Lily Lake along side the highway. We went back passed Lily Lake, and over to Little Lost Lake, then past Teapot Lake, up hill to Diamond Lake and many smaller lakes. Eventually we made it up to Star Lake, which was kind of our goal. It was very rough country, and we still had to walk through a lot of snow. We decided to look for the Notch Mountain Trail to go back down to Trial Lake, but when we found it, it was wetter and more trouble than going cross country had been. Finally we reached Trial Lake and walked around it back to the car.
Star Lake in the Trial Lake area
We found all the creeks up there full and fast. Getting across was quite a problem. At the outlet of some of the lakes we walked across log jams. Very tricky as the logs were either floating or at least not very solid, shifting under our feet. Using long poles for balance we made it across. Some streams we crossed on rocks where possible, and on the swollen streams we looked for dead trees over the creek, then walked across those. OK, I know what you are thinking, we must be crazy. What can I say? It was either that or go back.
We walked over 6 miles all combined, taking us more than 8 hours. Although we saw some very beautiful country, what we did was a little more dangerous. This would not have been a good hike for most of those in our group. Maybe it was for the best this time, that Bill and I went alone.
Bill crossing the Provo River on a log