|I believe, but I'm not certain, that this is Little Lily Lake.|
I had originally wanted to do a backpacking trip this week, but after not being able to find anyone else to go, decided on a longish day hike to some great fishing in the Uintas.
My plan was to go to Little Hidden Lake and Divide Lakes which are accessed via the Crystal Lake Trailhead.
I started off on the trail and the first thing I noticed was that neither of the trailheads that start from that parking lot had the name of the major lake in the area that I was planning on hiking to. I was looking for Clyde Lake to be on the sign because that's near the Divide Lakes, which are near Little Hidden Lake etc. I started up the trail not knowing where I was going really. I'm glad I didn't attempt it in the dark as I had originally planned. My Uinta maps are buried underneath tons of rubble in the basement (my daughter and her family live down there), and I didn't want to buy another one knowing that those were down there, so I just thought I could manage without. I did, but I ended up spending a lot of time traveling cross country and trying to figure out where the actual trail was and which lake was which. My GPS was helpful with that, but some of the smaller lakes weren't on my GPS map. I think part of my problem is that I get too involved in looking around, and miss the obvious trail.
|I found myself looking down at Wall Lake where I had camped in the 1970s just after Christmas one year.|
Anyway at about 7 am, I hit the trail, heading up the right one and took a fork to Cliff Lake, which I remembered was along the path to Clyde.
|No wild roses, but there were flowers in abundance. These will have to do.|
|I'm not sure if this is James Lake or what...|
I decided to head back to the Divide Lakes.
|Divide Lake 2|
|My first fish|
|Clyde Lake close to where I caught five fish|
|My feet were hot. I decided to stick them in the lake.|
|Just one more reason to bring a bandana along--drying feet.|
Because of the trail situation, I had decided that I didn't want to attempt descending after dark, so I had made the decision to go down earlier while it was still quite light, and fish at Crystal Lake, which is near the trailhead.
Again, I was glad I made that choice because I got off the trail again when it vanished into some rocks. I heard some guys below though and thought that they were probably on the trail, so I waited until I could see where they were and started toward them. They were on the trail, and I talked to them for a couple of minutes. They weren't sure where they were either, so I told them where Clyde was etc. and they said, “good, we're on the right trail.”
I talked to an elderly couple further down the trail. They said they had come up to Clyde Lake 35 years previously and wanted to visit it again. I gave them general directions, mentioning that I had lost the trail up there, but showing them where it was up over which ridges and stuff. I'm pretty sure they weren't going up there to have a picnic, but it was kind of romantic anyway.
When I got to Crystal Lake I had some memories flood back because I had been a Scout leader several years (10 maybe) ago when I had last been there. I looked for the lean-to the boys had made, but couldn't even find the right spot. I didn't spend a great deal of time looking though, because I wanted to get fishing. The waves were choppy because a breezed had kicked up and one thing I'd noticed at some of the other lakes I'd fished was that when the wind was blowing, the fish didn't want to bite as much. I ended up catching one, making my total 13, but that one was different from all the others. It was an Arctic Grayling—the rest had been trout—and that beast really fought me. It jumped out of the water three times as I reeled it in. Of course, I was doing catch and release, so I let the fighter go to live another day.
|Arctic Grayling. He's the fighter!|
As for the day itself, it was beautiful. The sky, however, was a bit murky due to all the forest fires in California, Nevada, Oregon, etc. We always get that smoke trapped in our mountains for a while. There were no clouds in the sky, and I was treated to a rare Uinta day that didn't include an early afternoon rain storm. I really enjoyed listening as the breeze came through the trees. It's interesting how you can hear it coming from a long way off, before a particular blast reaches where you are. That's an amazing thing about being in the forest. The temperatures were nice, though I got a little cool sitting in the shade at Clyde--I also got a little hot in the early evening sun at Crystal.
|Never leave your hip belt buckled for pics...it always makes you look like you have a pot belly.|
I ended up leaving at around seven, stopped in Kamas and got a personal pizza, and began the drive home, arriving at around nine. Just another great adventure in the wilderness. I couldn't be happier.