stories from the trail : Chapter Three "Lake Blanche"

As I ready myself for hike number three, I realize that the majority of this three mile one way journey is basically vertical, no switchbacks. With the previous week bringing early snow to the Wasatch and my current physical condition, I’m certainly aware of the very real possibility of twisting an ankle, dehydrating, or God forbid a heart attack.

But then I see the sign stating the area is closed due to the Government shutdown. This fuels my fire, so I climb the barricade and try to hopefully make my way to an elevation of 10,320 feet. I will spite our government and their silly shutdown.

After a minor setback getting lost, I find the Lake Blanche trail head, and start my ascent. My heavy breathing matches the wet snow on the branches falling to the earth. Autumnal leaves are brilliant against the white backdrop of the earth.

The trail is a shitty brown from snow mixing with dirt, and slippery to boot. Hiking in this terrain requires supreme concentration. It allows my mind to forget the stresses and worries of the week.

Sundial Peak looms ahead as I slowly crawl over rocks and through fresh mountain streams from the melting snow.

As clouds wisp over the Twin Peaks, I finish my water and snacks, resting my bones by the lake. The mirror images in the water inspire all those that make the journey.

Eventually I head back down. No more than a minute passes before I hear a great crack in the sky! Looking up, I see great icicles break from the rock ledge and fall hundreds of feet. As they crash more rocks come loose and start a small avalanche. Luckily, it is just the start of Fall and no one is in danger.

Hours later, I make it back down the trail. I slid more than hiked most of the way back, feeling like an elephant swinging his trunk just for the hell of it. It brought to mind one word….

Crampons.

With two hikes to go, I’ll be purchasing some for my hiking shoes before I do permanent damage.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?