HARDER TO PRONOUNCE THAN CLIMB
When an unplanned three day weekend hits the schedule, you go to the mountains.
Ry gave me three days notice that, because of the eclipse, his bosses were going to be out of office and therefore he had Monday off of work. Thank you sun and moon for choosing to dance with each other the day after Sunday!
We searched alltrails.com for a manageable amount of mileage that ended at a lake, a typical recipe for our trips. We found that the Christmas Meadows area in the High Uinta Wilderness boasted multiple routes that fit the bill so, after shaking off our Friday night martinis, we headed in that direction on Saturday morning.
We began our hike into Kermsuh Lake around eleven. Amethyst Lake is also accessible from the same trailhead but when looking over the register and seeing how many folks had listed this as their overnight destination our choice was clear. Torch the quads a bit more and sacrifice 'Instagram' worthy photos for seclusion.
The six-and-some-change mile trail in is quite perfect for an afternoon hike. Lots of tree coverage and the first three miles are flat or gradual inclines. The last mile is toted as switchbacks but it did feel a bit more like a steep climb full of loose rocks and thoughts of 'when did I add 30 more lbs to my pack'. There was plenty of creeks passing thru the trail for the pups to grab a drink at so we were able to hydrate ourselves on the move which keep our pace brisk. We made it to camp around 2:00pm, the exact moment my Subway breakfast was a distant memory and my tummy grumbled for my day one sandwich.
Post sandwich refuel we took a pack-less holy shit I feel like I'm flying tour around the lake to find our campsite. There were several pre made sites to choose from so we went with the one that suited our needs the best. We landed on a creekside camp equipped with a fire pit and makeshift benches compiled of fallen branches. Not a minute after we staked down the last rain fly tie did the rain gods begin dumping their wettest, heaviest rain onto us. I always have a deck of cards ready for when we are tent bound but the multiple thunderstorms that plagued us this weekend brought forth a harsh realization; Ry and I only know one two person card game between us.
When the sun chose to return to us the dogs immediately resumed their marmot chasing, a game that resulted in two exhausted dogs and zero fatalities, a win-win for me but a disappointment to Jasper and Osa.
Day two was for exploring the mountains by doing a bit of scrambling over rocks and moose scat and dipping our toes in various creeks and small waterfalls surrounding the lake. I always say that as much as I love wildlife I would be happy if I never once saw a creature larger than a squirrel in it's natural habitat. My cohorts are complete knuckleheads and I have absolutely no interest in discovering what they would do in an encounter with a wild(er) beast. Tiptoeing around all of the animal droppings reminded me of two things: outdoor school lessons of identifying animals by the dumps they leave behind was a LONG time ago and I am a complete nightmare to be around when I am worried about the safety of my brood. My solution was to head back to the safety of camp because, ya know, moose don't hang out around lakes (dumb).
The rest of the day was spent in a cycle of jumping into the lake, terrorizing the peace of our surroundings with screams of pain from the freezing water, laying on the large lakeside rocks like lizards to absorb every once of warmth they put off, and starting the process again. A day very well spent if you ask me.
With no need for an early departure on Monday Ry and I shared a bladder of whiskey and competed in what was at this point a 7 hour game of War. In the middle of the night Jasper, who sleeps on the ground at home and had been choosing the foot of the tent as his bed, crept up towards our pillows and snuggled in. When we woke the following morning we cooed happily at him for being such a sweet sweet boy, but these coos quickly turned to squeals of terror. Jasper, a newcomer to camping, had left some scat of his own. Ry and the dogs vacated the tent as I assessed the damage. I must have used all my luck to be the victor in our game of War because my pad and bag bore the brunt of his bowels. From that day forward when people see photos of him and say what a sweet handsome boy he is I respond with "they're all sweet until they're shitting in your tent".
Needless to say we got out of there with a quickness and were back on the road heading straight to the washing machine by ten.