Sunday, August 15, 2010

Moon Lake Run/Hike

So a couple of weeks ago, we went up to Moon Lake with a bunch of my cousins, aunts and uncles. We got up there on Monday afternoon. I really like moon lake because of the mountains. I also like the fishing, but I didn't get a license to be able to go fishing. Well one of the things that I wanted to do when I was up there was to go up the canyon to Brown Duck Lake. I decided that Tuesday morning would be the best time to go off by myself for a couple of hours.

Tuesday morning my alarm went off at 5:45 a.m. I didn't hear it though and at 5:50 Amanda nudged me and told me my alarm was going off. Sure enough, I'd slept through the alarm. I'm glad I didn't completely sleep through it. I climbed out of the tent and finished getting my bag ready and my running stuff ready. I knew I'd be gone until noon, so I packed three powerbars, a couple of energy gels and I filled my three liter camelbak. I thought that would be enough. So, I got on the trail by about 6:10.

The trail leaves Moon Lake Campground and goes up to the west following Brown Duck Lake. After a couple of miles you cross into the High Uintas Wilderness Area. The first "wild"life I saw was cows. It surprised me because I thought that since it was a wilderness area, ranching wouldn't be allowed. That's alright though. I managed to fight of the cows and survived. It was about eight o'clock when I got to where the trail split off to East Basin. I kept going on the trail to Brown Duck Lake and then on around to Island Lake. I wanted to go to Kidney lake but that would have added about a mile and I didn't feel like I could take the time. I had a long run in front of me, and I didn't want to fight any more cows. So I turned around and went back to the trail that split to the north to East Basin. I still hadn't seen any people. I was a little surprised that I didn't see anyone one the trail, or camping at the lakes.

This was a photo of Brown Duck Lake.

And here is a photo of Brown Duck Creek that goes down to Moon Lake about six or seven miles down the trail.

Well the trail up from Moon Lake to this point was mostly runable. It was a bit steep but at least there were not too many rocks in the trail. The next portion of it was mostly level, but there were lots of rocks in the trail that made it hard to run on. I still kept up a pretty good pace (well, good pace is relative here, it was probably like a 10 minute mile here). After a couple more miles, I passed a lake and thought I had lost the trail. The trail went straight into a meadow and I couldn't see any sign of a path through the meadow or a path on the other side of the meadow. I turned around and thought maybe it followed the lake a little bit. I came upon a guy camping with his son. They were having breakfast. They pointed me in the right direction and walked with me across the other side of the meadow. When we got to the other side it was obvious which direction the trail went. After running for another couple of miles, I came up over East Basin Pass. I didn't realized I was coming up to it, but then I passed it and the trail went down a pretty steep rock slide area. I paused to see if I could tell where the trail went. I couldn't see the trail, but I could tell where it went based on the map that I have.

The trail continued down into East Basin and then up a little into a nice little forested area. Pretty soon I came to a sign that said "East Basin Creek." It was located in a nice little meadow area with a creek running through it and several little lakes. I took a break right at that sign to eat a powerbar and take a good look at the map.

I continued on and crossed the creek. I ran up the last little hill from hear up to Cleveland Pass. It was nice up there. It was pretty flat, not many plants, and there was a cool lake up there. If I had more time, I probably would have hopped in for a little swim. Maybe next time. By the time I got to Cleveland pass it was about eleven o'clock. The GPS said that it was 14 point something miles. I had been going pretty darn slow. oh well I was having fun and it was all downhill from here. I told Amanda that I'd be back to Moon Lake by about noon, well, I knew that wasn't going to happen but I figured I should be able to get there by about one since it was all down hill. By this time I had eaten two powerbars and had probably drunk about half of my water. It was really pretty up there too. I took several pictures before continuing on down the trail. Here is a picture of the peak right behind Cleveland Pass.

Here is where the trail splits. I came from East Basin and I was headed over to Ottoson Basin. It was all down from here.

I think this lake was pretty cool. It might be a fun lake to camp next to some time.

This picture is looking down the valley to the east coming down from Cleveland Pass.

This is a picture of Ottoson Basin looking to the North. I think that peak on the right is East Lavina. It could be one of a couple others, but as best as I can tell from Google maps right now, it looks like Lavina. I don't have my good map with me right now. I really love the mountains. I really love being alone in the mountains. It is so peaceful up there. I love being in nature. Every time I see the mountains I am in awe. I sometimes wish I could live in the mountains.

Here is a picture coming down Ottoson Basin. As I was running I startled a couple of elk that were near the trail. I grabbed my camera in an attempt to get a picture of them, but I couldn't. I thought maybe there would be some more, but no luck. I took this picture of a meadow like the one where I saw the elk. I enjoy seeing wildlife. It was much better than the cows I saw a couple hours earlier.

And here is a photo of a river I had to cross. I stayed on the north side of this creek the rest of the way down Ottoson Basin to the junction of Lake Fork Trail. In fact it was a mile or so on that trail before I crossed that creek.

It only took me about 40 minutes or so to get down this portion of the trail. My guess is that it was about four or five miles. I was able to go pretty quickly. I was getting pretty tired by this point, but I figured I had about seven or eight miles to go. Afterwards I now realize it was probably more.

Here I am as I am leaving the High Uintas Wilderness Area. I ran completely out of water right in here somewhere. It was another 15 or 20 minutes before I could see Moon Lake, and then I really felt like I was close. I kept worrying about the time. I knew Amanda was expecting me about noon and it was already two o'clock.

It took about thirty minutes to get to the other side of the lake once I saw it, and about half way through this portion I noticed that I stopped sweating. My skin was sticky and there was no sweat. I didn't feel faint or nautious or anything like that, I was just tired. It was like the end of a marathon where if I kept running it was okay even though it was taking a lot of energy, but if I stopped to walk, it was practically impossible to continue running. I was chanting cadence to give myself motivation to keep going. It worked well too. I would have just slowed down and walked, but I knew everyone back at camp would be worrying about me and thinking I was eaten by some wild animal, so I kept my pace up. I got back to the cabins where everyone was located about 2:40.

Before I left I thought that it was about a 25 mile loop. Afterwards I felt like it was more like 35 miles. Now, looking back at it, I think it was probably about 28-30 miles. On my running log on runnersworld, I marked 28. I think that was probably right. I am so glad that I did that run/hike. It was nice to be alone in the mountains. Afterward I hopped in the lake to help cool off my legs. The water was cool enough to be an icing, but without really being ice. Well, that was pretty long, but I hope you enjoyed seeing the photos.

1 comment:

R.P. Long said...

It's really beautiful. Looks like a great run. I've never been to that area, but it looks like I should try to get out there some time.