Mountain Solitude: Reconnaissance Lake, High Uintas, early Sept 2019

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Born to Hike

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Jan 14, 2017
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This trip was a 4 day jaunt in search of solitude to an area I have wanted to scope out: Reconnaissance Lake in the upper Rock Creek Basin, High Uintas. It has been an wet one in this area and this trip was no exception: Apparently the week prior was high and dry, but the moment I parked the car at the Highline TH storm clouds were gathering..
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and the rain began - was grateful for the rain gear.
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It rained off and on for the next 2.5 hours as I boogied to Pigeon Milk spring before the climb up Rocky Sea Pass. The rain I could handle - it was the lightning that worried me climbing over that pass all alone with the dogs. Gratefully though the storm seemed to hold back behind me long enough to climb up and over the pass.
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Then came again in its fury as we descended into the basin.
Brinkley Lake.
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Recent reports of good fishing at Black Lake led me there to camp that night. The weather did clear out that evening and yes the fish were biting - no photos though - sorry!
The next morning was ominous again with rain.
Leaving Black Lake.
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I made my way up and around the "high route" of the basin as the storms came off and on as well as my rain gear as I tried to keep from sweating too much while attempting to keep dry as nature had her way.
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Rosalie Lake.
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After Rosalie the trees began thinning out while the high alpine meadows and views opened up as I made my way to Reconnaissance Lake.
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Looking down on Gladys Lake.
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I'm not sure what is more irritating: domestic sheep or cows in the high country? This late in the year it was the cows - no sheep.
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Then the rain/wind/hail really started to come down. It was a good time to shelter under the leeward side of some thick pines and make lunch hoping the storm would eventually break..
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After 30 minutes or so it did lesson and we continued on. Soon after I left the trail and headed North cross-country to Reconnaissance and about that time the weather broke, the sun came out and the country opened up. Love those moments!
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Close to Reconnaissance looking for the perfect camp site.
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This spot will do.
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Side note: This Collie/Shepherd mix is 13 years old and still handles these trips just fine - I think Ollie would rather die trying than not come at all.
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I quickly setup my wet tent and aired out my sleeping bag from the previous night. Thankfully the sun kept shining and I was able to explore around the outlet stream of the Lake with my fishing pole for a bit. Not sure why I did not take any photos of Reconnaissance Lake that first evening - but don't worry they will be in this TR..
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The fish were not trophy size by any means, but fun to catch while enjoying the views around me and watching the next round of storms come over the basin.
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After a few hours I was retreating back to my tent.. Nature controls everything out here..time to feed my loyal dogs and make dinner for myself - in the tent and out of the storm.
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Around 8 pm nature gave a spectacular treat of rainbows, setting sun and a picture of clouds impossible to describe. My smartphone camera does not do justice for the panorama views given that evening, but I'll post a few anyway - that is part of what this website is for, right? :)
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I just stood there a few strides away from my little camp site, awestruck at the quiet and awesome beauty on display that evening - all around me at 11,230 feet..
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The next morning did not disappoint as the sun came up. This is the view outside my tent door..
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Sunrise at Reconnaissance Lake.
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A few more pics of Reconnaissance
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After a leisurely breakfast the hatches were battened down for any afternoon storm fury that might come through: Its pretty exposed out in the open at over 11,200 feet and I wanted a dry tent and gear to come back to after a day hike checking out Continent Lake, Deadhorse Pass and whatever else in between. :)
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Doug Lake.
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Came across this lovely spot exploring off trail. Looking South over Rock Creek Basin.
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The waterfall above Ledge Lake. I followed the water source upstream assuming it would eventually lead to Continent Lake.
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It was a line of meandering streams and small waterfalls - gorgeous all the way.
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Continent Lake. Smoke from a local valley fire came in that afternoon - I could taste it.
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The water was crystal clear and you could see the fish swimming around.
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I headed East past Continent Lake and soon made it to the top of Deadhorse. The smoke was a downer, but the views and hike were good.
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Tucker checking out Deadhorse Lake below. We eventually made our way back to camp.
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Lunch break just down from Deadhorse pass. Not a soul around except for the dogs and I.
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The sun kept shining so on the way back to camp I found a small lake with no inlet which means warmer water compared to the snow melt temps of most of the lakes. With the sun out, and no one around it was bath time for me and the 3 day-old clothes I had been wearing. I brought along a set of and clean clothes with me that day if the opportunity presented itself.
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Another picturesque shot of Doug Lake in the quiet evening. No storms rolled through that evening or night - peaceful and quiet.
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All was quiet and well till about 3 am, then BAM! A new storm front and yes, this is snow at 10 am..
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I was in no mood to hike out in THAT. I packed up everything inside the tent (except for the tent) and waited for break in the weather which came around 12:30 that day.
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I literally ran on much of the downhill portions of the trail trying to stay ahead of the next storm - didn't make it though and slogged through rain/sleet/snow and hail till I came to the pass, then the skies opened up again as I climbed the pass - lucky!
View from close to the top of Rocky Sea Pass.
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The sun shone the rest of the trip as I packed out a went tent, a wet pack, rain gear, and wet clothes - which all added over 9 lbs I later found out! Crazy.
It was worth it.

Selfie at Pigeon Milk spring after the pass.

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Jackson

I like to go outside.
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Awesome trip! Crazy there were still wildflowers blooming up there in September. I went probably the week after you, and all I saw were a few withered Indian paintbrushes.
Your canine companions look like a lot of fun too. I adopted a young rescue a few months ago and am trying to get her to a point where I can trust her off-leash for backpacking.

And I really like your idea for elevating your InReach. Probably gets a much better signal that way!
 

Titans

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Awesome, thanks for sharing! Man, Ollie is right at the edge of that drop off looking down. I didn't expect to see SNOW after the weather cleared. Any problems with sciatica pinching or SI joint issues on this trip, or have you fully recovered from that?
 

Born to Hike

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Awesome, thanks for sharing! Man, Ollie is right at the edge of that drop off looking down. I didn't expect to see SNOW after the weather cleared. Any problems with sciatica pinching or SI joint issues on this trip, or have you fully recovered from that?
Hey @Titans you have a great memory! I'm sorry to say I did not go on enough or long enough backpacking trips this year to fully test out my SI - but what I did do there were no problems. :)
You ought to see Ollie riding in the back of a truck - makes me squeamish, but he has never fallen out!
 

Born to Hike

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Great report. How do you handle wet dog(s) in your tent?
I never let the dogs in the actual tent (and would only do so if we were freezing to death). All three cuddle up and fit well under one of the vestibules (see attached photo) that keeps them warm and dry. The attached photos show 2 of the dogs there, with one more spot and room for the third. :)
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Born to Hike

Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2017
Messages
82
Awesome trip! Crazy there were still wildflowers blooming up there in September. I went probably the week after you, and all I saw were a few withered Indian paintbrushes.
Your canine companions look like a lot of fun too. I adopted a young rescue a few months ago and am trying to get her to a point where I can trust her off-leash for backpacking.

And I really like your idea for elevating your InReach. Probably gets a much better signal that way!
Hope you had better weather on your trip than I did. I love the InReach! And good for you @Jackson adopting a dog - all three of mine were rescued too!
 

Born to Hike

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Jan 14, 2017
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looks like a great trip except for the rain part

your tent doesn't look big enough for you and 3 wet dogs :)
Yeah the weather was not the best, but there were some good days, and still worth going. Believe it or not @wsp_scott , those dogs all fit under one vestible of the tent. I posted a couple of pics illustrating that responding to @Pianomover comment below..
 

Pianomover

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May 25, 2019
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I never let the dogs in the actual tent (and would only do so if we were freezing to death). All three cuddle up and fit well under one of the vestibules (see attached photo) that keeps them warm and dry. The attached photos show 2 of the dogs there, with one more spot and room for the third. :)View attachment 82751View attachment 82752
I know when I had more than one dog I was stricter. Now that I have one I baby her more, only child syndrome methinks.
I do carry the zrest pad for her so I think we’ll try the vestibule next trip.
 

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