Dirtbag After Dark
- Aug 5, 2016
- Trip Reports
I have wanted to visit Ryder Lake for years. It seemes something always got in the way, or something came up that would not make this a viable plan to do this big of a hike. Well that day to go there finally came as things rapidly came together this last week to do what would be for me the biggest solo backpacking trip I will have ever done to date. I made my way up to the Uintas early Friday morning because I was looking at what all the info I researched suggested was a 8.5 mile hike into Ryder Lake. So getting an early start was crucial as it is a long walk. I arrived at the Christmas Meadows trailhead and put on the boots and pack and started in. The temps were perfect and I made the 2.7 miles to the Amethyst junction in 59 minutes. Moving to a UL set up really lets you put in the miles in rapid fashion. I stopped for about five mintues at the junction for Amethyst, then I moved on. This is where the water/mud rocks in the trail crossings begin. You would have stretches of trail you could really make some nice time on, then you would either have to cross water, or a big mud bog that the horses on this trail have made precarious for backpackers. I just would swing around them to avoid them. But a few you had to walk across logs or squish your way through.
I arrived 5.2 miles later at the Kermsuh junction, but kept going because the mosquitoes in this area were thick. I moved up the trail about another mile and found a spot to stop for lunch about 6.3 miles in. This is where I tried out my LifeStraw as Stillwater Creek was flowing right next to where I stopped for lunch. Ten seconds in the water and five quick sips and boom fresh clean water! It was so good and ice cold and I drank quite a bit of water while I was there. It really does help cut down on having to carry a lot of water with you and having a back up means of obtaining water is invaluable! Highly recommend this if you are a backpacker. I eventually moved on and made my way to the steepest part of the hike. It was a mix of boggy areas and really rocky terrain. At 8.5 miles I came to a big river crossing in a meadow which was at least waist deep. I did not want to get wet this late in the day so I looked around for a better place to cross. There were some stacked logs about fifty feet from the main trail and some boulders they were resting on. I made my way across those and was thinking 8.5 miles, lake has to be close right? The lake should be right here right? Wrong! More steep was in store including one final ascent that after 9 miles was a butt kicker to say the least. After topping out and walking which what seemed the biggest meadow with ponds I have ever seen, I arrived at Ryder Lake.
I arrived to a very moody Ryder Lake with clouds billowing over the peaks and the wind was howling and was chilly to say the least. I made my way around the lake till I found a spot that looked comfortable that would be my home for the weekend. I found it atfer a short walk. I then got camp built and then got a fire going as evening was setting in. I sat down for some dinner then the alpenglow started setting in so out came the camera for some really fun shots. Clouds would stay with me all night so I did not stay up late to shoot a star trail. I had a nice fire and enjoyed the night then turned in. There is a certain type of light a photograher is always looking for and moring brought that right out the door of my tent. I spent probably a good 1 1/2 hours just shooting and playing with the light that was painting the peaks with light and shadow. I was having a bit of an apetite issue on this trip, and I did my best to eat some breakfast as I knew I had burned a lot of calories. I did not have an upset stomach, just was not hungry for some reason. I heated up some tea with honey and enjoyed the moring as best as one could. There was a cold wind blowing and it was chilly start to the day. I worked on camp for the evening, rounding up fire wood, and refilling my gravity filter.
Afternoon warmed up a bit, so I put together my fly rod and camera and went for a walk. I ended up at BR-17 and took some pictures and fished a bit. The wind was just a bit too cold for my liking so I moved into the sun and fished Ryder for a bit. Walking back to camp my lower back was not feeling well so I made my way up to camp. I was honestly kind of anxious about my back being in pain and having to walk 9.6 miles back to the car. I took some cold water in one of my roll up water bottles and used it as a cold press and took some Aleve. It seemed to calm down and I walked down to the lake to kind of stretch it out. I met my neighbors Robert and Mike. Nice guys, and I let them use my fly rod for the evening as I did not want to agravate my back by casting. Once the Aleve kicked in I was feeling much better and got things going for the evening. I got a good fire going and made dinner. I was still struggling feeling hungry, but forced myself to eat all my dinner as I knew I was going to need the calories to get out on Sunday. Mike brought my fly rod back up after he was done and we chatted by the fire for a bit before he headed back to his camp.
Not a cloud in the sky and the stars were out in force. I put my camera out for a star trail and pulled up next to my fire and enjoyed the night. My back was feeling much better and I was in a very happy place. As the moon rose into the sky, it lit up all the peaks and the lake making for a wondeful view from camp. After my shots were fininshed I took a few at camp then decided to turn in as I was going to have a long walk out the next day. I set my alarm for 6 AM and got up, made breakfast and some more tea, wathced the sunrise, then packed it up. I was ready to go at 8:59 AM. It was cool but pleasant this morning on the trail. Not a cloud in the sky. Not too many bugs either which made the walk out very nice. I must have been making a break neck pace, I walked right past the Kermsuh Junction and before I knew it I was crossing Ostler Creek. At the Amethyst Junction, I checked my tracker and it said I had done 6.2 miles in 2 hours and 48 minutes. That UL set up is really paying off! Once at my Jeep I celebrated finishing the biggest solo backpacking trip I have ever done. I have done longer walkabouts than this with company, but never this far all by myself. I was proud of myself for pushing through everything all weekend and still having an amazing time! Ryder Lake is an awesome destination and I am glad I was able to visit! Enjoy the pics!