Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Island Lake

Alright, I think I am finally ready to share some of our adventures from our backpacking excursion up in the High Uintas. As previously mentioned, we made a quick stop by the Provo River Falls on our drive up to the trail head which would eventually take us to Island Lake. We were with our buddies, Ryan and Rachelle Evans.

Then there was us, the Copelands. Scott and Emily:)

We began our hike at a lovely little sign that said, "Crystal Lake 1 mile. Long Lake 2 miles. Island Lake 3 miles." Only three miles? Easy! When we went to Coyote Gulch in March we packed 16 miles in two days. This was going to be a piece of cake. 6 miles in three days. Or at least that is what I thought. We were on our way and I realized we were at a much higher elevation, causing thinner air than I am used to and making me want to stop more frequently for breaks! :) So, we stopped and ate and enjoyed our time.

Along the way was a turnoff for Crystal lake, which we only got to catch a glimpse of since we didn't head that way. But we did see lots of mountain meadows with wildflowers.

And other beauties that reminded us that we were hiking at about 10,000 feet (hence the lovely tree line).

So we kept on hiking. Until we reached Long Lake! Which was two miles in, and a nice easy stroll in the mountains.

Long Lake was so beautiful, I just wanted to give Scott a kiss, but he got a little shy.

So Rachelle and I showed him how to be tough and love the camera.

We continued along and crossed a cool bridge.

On the other side of the bridge was a sign that read, "Island Lake, one mile this way!" So we followed the trail "this way" for awhile and took another break. This mile sure was taking forever! So we kept going until we came to a meadow and suddenly, there was no trail to be seen! We were a little lost. So, we turned around and followed the trail back to the sign by the bridge, which was probably .75 of a mile to a mile back, so lets make that one and a half to two miles out of our way...We looked at the sign again and still could not figure out where we went wrong. Until a lovely dog came trotting along from the opposite direction. His owner told us he had just come from Island Lake and that the trail was the other direction. We realized that the sign was loose and wobbling around, leading us to the wrong trail:) So we got back on track and we were very happy to be on our way again.

So we hiked on and saw more ponds and meadows along the way.

We were loving it, but our little detour made me a bit tired, especially since we hiked up to 11,500 feet and then back down to 10,000, then back up and down, up and down. I was getting so pooped! But I'm lucky to have Scott. He took my pack from me and carried it up the last little incline for me! What a sweetheart! Then, we saw this!

Yup! That's right. We FINALLY made it to Island Lake! So we set up camp and enjoyed a nice rest. And some MREs:)

We made a fire, and slept a good sleep that night. Until the deers started coming down to drink out of the lake. They were noisy! But the loudest noise we heard came from an elk that was in our camp! It was fun to see the animals so close up.

The next morning, I woke up with the sun. Everybody else was still asleep in the tent, so I decided to try to build a fire by myself. Scott usually builds it when we go out, but I wanted to surprise him. So, I gathered the kindling, and some small twigs to start. Then some bigger ones and eventually, I made a fire! I burnt my foot in the process, but I still made a fire! Scott was proud:) We ate some oatmeal and frozen breakfasts. The eggs were delicious! Then, next thing I know, the boys are all ready to jump in the water!

We all brought floaties and blew them up. Rachelle and I laid on our inflatable floaties and floated around the lake while we watched our husbands jump off of the 40 cliff. It was fun. Then they grabbed their round tubes and tried to float around, but they tipped over. We had a blast just hanging out on the lake.

After awhile, we took a lunch break and played some stick ball. I don't have pictures from those, but we had a fun with it anyway. Then, the boys decided they wanted to cliff jump again! Rachelle was floating around again, but I went to the top of the cliff with the men. And Scott and I took a few pictures together:)

Ryan was excited to get some action shots of Scott's cliff jumping skills, so he climbed down and got ready!

I apologize because to watch this video of Scott, you have to turn your head sideways:)

After his sweet jump, Scott got to use his sweet rock climbing skills to scale back up the cliff, rather than swimming and hiking around.

Then Ryan came up for a jump!

Jumping got tiring, so Scott and I went for a little walk. We came upon this pond full of lily pads and flowers!

We heard the fish jumping in the background, so Scott went for a fish!

I got bored, so I went for a hike on my own:) This was my view.

When I climbed back down, we went back to the pond with the lily pads with Ryan and Rachelle to play on the logs.

Scott got way down low...

And guess what he found...

A salamander! It was not happy:)
But we were!

We continued on our little nature walk to the other side of the lake and actually saw the island which gives this lake it's name!

It was beautiful! But the sun was beginning to set. So we hurried back to camp and found some firewood for the night. We built our fire and cooked up some dinner. Those Mountain House freezer dried entrees really are delicious. I recommend them to anyone and everyone. We finished off with a vanilla pound cake for dessert(MRE desserts are delicious as well), and some hot chocolate. I love drinking hot chocolate in the cool mountain weather. It was very warming and refreshing in the cool weather that comes along with being over 10,000 feet above sea level. I'm not going to lie, even in the summer time, it got pretty chilly up there. So, if you ever go, make sure to pack some layers to keep you warm!

After snuggling up in the tent in our sleeping bags one last time, we woke up to a lovely morning, ready to hike back to our car. But not before we ate some oatmeal one last time before we headed out.

We were very fortunate to know where the trail was on our way back, so we didn't get lost this time around. It only took half the time to get back. It was a nice quick hike and we're glad we went. We can't wait to go again sometime soon! Hopefully I can find a new job so I don't have to request off every weekend. Wish me luck:)


Lindsay said...

Girl! What an awesome post! Kind of makes me wish I enjoyed hiking... =)

Briana said...

That sounds wonderful! I miss camping - its harder to get out and about with Elena :)

We'll have to try that one sometime! And thanks for the MRE recommendation :)