We met up around 8 am at Aric's house to grab him and his backpack...an hour and a half later we were strapping the packs to our backs and getting ready to hit the trail. The trail starts from the same trail head that Josh and I took with my dad a couple years ago to go to the Kamas Lake area. From the trail head to the largest of the lakes in the Cuberant basin is about 3 miles with only a little net elevation gain, with that said there was certainly plenty of ups and downs to make for a good workout!
Some of these pictures may look familiar to my last post about our trip to Kamas Lake. The meadow along the hike always blows me away with it's beauty.
After about a mile into the hike we depart from the Kamas/Lofty Lake trail and head through the woods over to the Cuberant Lakes basin. For the most part this section of the trail is relatively easy until the very end where we have to climb up and over the shoulder of a mountain and drop into the basin... and then again we have to make another climb up to the lakes in the back of the basin.
After getting to the largest of the lakes we decided we needed to get to work on setting up camp right away. The blue skies we enjoyed as we were hiking quickly clouded up with potential rain as is oft to happen in the afternoon in the Uintas. After setting up our tents Josh and Hannah set off to collect and filter water, while Aric and I went about collecting firewood. Actually Aric collected the firewood, I wasn't feeling too good as I started the trip off with a cold so I went to lay down for a short power nap.
After watching Aric breaking logs with his legs, I showed him my tried and true method for breaking down firewood without an ax. Step one, get the largest rock you can lift above your chest. Step 2, place the log to be split against an even larger rock. Step 3, Drop the first rock from as high as you can manage on to the log below. Step 4, Hope nothing flys back up at you and stabs or smashes you. Here's Aric showing perfect form.
After getting our camp squared away and set, we each set off to explore the area around the lake. A long evening of wandering gave way to making a fire and dinner. The wood was stubborn about not wanting to burn well, but thankfully we had some fire paste to get it started. I swear I will never go backpacking again without this miracle gel!
After what we call the "Never-ending night" when backpacking we got up to make a fire and have breakfast. I brought a dozen eggs from our chickens to scramble along with some spam and Velveeta cheese. Teri was horrified that I was going to defile our organic eggs with Spam and Velveeta! At home this would taste disgusting, but there's this phenomena when backpacking that all food tastes good... and if it's not freeze dried it taste fan-freaking-tastic! After breakfast, Juniper and Aric helped do the dishes. What a sweet dog. Aric ain't half bad either.
After breakfast we had a task we needed to accomplish. During his walk around the lake the previous evening, Aric dropped his phone. All he knew is that it was in a stretch of shoreline about 400 yards long and full of boulders that it could have fallen down between. We figured if we all helped and went slow we might have a chance of finding the proverbial needle in the haystack. After about an hour of searching we were getting discouraged. It was about this point as I was standing straddled over two boulders that I caught the sun reflecting off the metal in his phone. It took Hannah's little hand and her whole arm shoved shoulder deep to reach it, but we were able to recover it. Amazing, absolutely amazing that we were able to find it. Glad we did because Aric took some nice pictures along the way as well.
After finding the phone we decided to make an attempt to climb the mountain that loomed over our camp. To get to the top we had to scramble up a scree field of boulders. Juniper is the best rock climbing dog I've ever known. She just bounds up this stuff. We ultimately didn't' make it to the top because it looked like bad weather was setting in, so we stopped midway up on a large ledge and enjoyed a nice snack lunch.
Later that day after a much needed nap we gathered up again to go for a hike around the various lakes in the basin. The Cuberant Lakes basin has 6 lakes, but none of them are named...they are simply numbered. There are no defined trails between the lakes, just paths that people and animals have worn down over the years. Prior to leaving for our trip I had printed off a Topo map of the area to assist with our cross-country hike. I think everyone in our group agreed this hike was the highlight of the weekend. We visited all but one of the lakes on this trip, ranging through open meadows, dense forests, boulder strewn mountain sides. We eventually bushwhacked our way back to camp just as the sun was setting.
The rain fell almost all night long. Fortunately we chose our tent sites well and our gear stayed dry as did we. After waiting for the rain to wrap up we broke camp, packed up and hit the trail. 2 hours later we were back in the parking lot; tired, sweaty, dirty, and our heads and hearts full of the memories and experiences we shared. I had so much fun, and I can't wait till next year when we pick somewhere else to go.
Here are some pictures from Aric's phone. Thanks so much for sharing these with us Aric.