We just got back from an amazing backpacking trip in the Uinta mountains. I’ve been on many different backpacking trips but this one has to be my favorite so far. Of course it was more adventurous than usual due to the weather but I loved it all the same.
We started out at Washington Lake and then headed out on the hiking path towards the Notch. About a mile in we began to feel the rain and started hearing thunder so we took cover under in the forest. Not the safest place to be but we just wanted to avoid getting too wet.
The storm quickly passed and we took off hiking before it could start pouring again. Within the hour we reached the Notch, an area in the mountains that has been shaped by ancient glaciers. It provided an amazing view of the next portion of our hike.
At this point, we headed downhill to our destination, Ibantic Lake. Unfortunately, Kyle’s knee randomly started causing him a lot of pain making this half of the journey longer than the first. However, it was beautiful so we didn’t mind much. The wild flowers were out and amongst the lakes and beautiful dark forest, it was stunning.
Four miles later we reached Ibantic Lake. We dropped our packs, and while the parents searched out a place to set up camp, Kyle iced his knee in the freezing cold lake. I took a nap on a warm rock. Strangely it was quite comfortable.
We set up camp in between a grove of trees by a meadow. The mountain rose up just behind us and a spring and waterfall ran nearby. It was a setting that would make anyone’s jaw drop. The rest of the day we fished, napped, explored the area, and played games. Mom also supplied us with a gourmet dinner of cheesy angel hair pasta with sun dried tomatoes. How is it that even when backpacking Mom manages to make amazing food?
That night we all went to bed early. The next morning Kyle got up as early as he could manage to go fishing. Mom and I pumped and filtered water from the spring. Getting up and ready took longer than expected so we ended up eating breakfast as lunch, lunch as an afternoon snack and dinner as a before dinner meal. In between, the girls made friendship bracelets, we fished, played bocce rocks and pass the pigs.
At one point, Tessa, who eats everything she sees, somehow found a fishhook laying around. It had a bit of bright pink powerbait on the end and must have looked tasty because she gobbled it up leaving the hook to get stuck completely through her lip. Kyle noticed it first and we all piled on top of her to stop her from ripping it out. My Dad was the hero of the day and found a way to break the barbs off to more painlessly pull out the hook while we held her down. She struggled for a minute and then realized that we were trying to help her and just whimpered during the rest of the ordeal. Thankfully, it didn’t go deeper into her throat or I don’t know what we would have done.
Before dinner, Kyle and I pumped more water from the spring. As we were up on the hill we spotted white spots moving around on the cliffs above us. As we continued to watch, we realized that they were mountain goats. From what we could see it looked like 7 adults and 5 youngins. We saw them coming out of some caves, walking along the edge and then slowly start their way down the steep slope towards our camp. At that point we started thinking we were going to see some up close but our dinner was ready so we walked back to camp.
The weather had been perfect all day but as evening fell, the temperature dropped quickly and the storm clouds blew in. Soon the rain started to fall and we headed to our tents for the night. Just afterwards the mountain goats clomped through our camp and nestled down nearby. We couldn’t see them because it was too dark but we could tell they were nearby from the sounds coming from them.
Kyle and I woke up to find our tent sopping wet and our belongings soaked through. It had been raining all night and the temperature had dropped considerably. Since it was our last day this didn’t matter much but it did make it difficult to pack up.
The rain kept falling as we rushed to clean up camp. Of course, once we got all but a tarp packed up, the downpour began. We huddled underneath and ate our breakfast burritos while we waited for it to stop. Eventually it did so we quickly put on our packs and left our camp before the rain began again.
The rain brought out the greenery of the mountain making the hike back so much more enjoyable. Luckily for us, the rain only sprinkled as our hike continued but mostly served to cool us down. I loved the whole hike back despite the bruises that formed on my hips from where my bag was rubbing. Even with that, I couldn’t help smiling because of the stormy, windy weather. It was lovely.
After a few hours, we resurfaced from the woods to see the car. To finish off, we stopped at Dick’s Drive In to get our traditional burgers and shakes. Delicious. We couldn’t have asked for a better ending to a fabulous trip.