With each passing year, it becomes more difficult to be “off the grid.” It seems like there are new cell towers going up in every last remote region of the industrialized world. Last weekend I found myself in an area so remote that there was no cell service, and the nearest land line was a 4 hour hike away. It was refreshing. We spent 5 days in a Utah mountain range called the Uintas. My family vacationed there during the summer when I was young. Nestled between the dense lodge-pole pine trees on the edge of Moon Lake, there is a rustic ‘resort’ comprised of log cabins and a lodge dating back to the 1920s. Last weekend my family had a reunion in those same cabins. I thought that this would be a good opportunity to take B on an overnight backpacking trek for the first time in her life (something that I have enjoyed doing since I was a youngster). B and I arrived in Salt Lake a couple of days before the reunion started, met up with our good friend Sam Adams who came in from Portland (OR, not ME), and headed into the woods. We left the car at Moon Lake (which is where the road ends), and proceeded to hike to a remote glacier-melt called Brown Duck Lake. Even though the hike was only about 7 miles, there is roughly 2000 feet of elevation gain (starting from over 8000 feet). All three of us are in relatively good shape, and it still took us a little over 4 hours to complete. Our ginger pace may have also been partially attributable to the fact that I was carrying about 30 lbs in camera gear (which I broke out and used often along the way) in addition to the tent, sleeping bag, etc.. My shoulders are still a bit sore from the endeavor.
We arrived at Brown Duck Lake about an hour before sunset, in time to set up camp, build a fire and catch some fish for dinner. The lake is loaded with native trout. We caught a few different varieties, keeping only a brown trout and a cutthroat for dinner. After swapping Sasquatch stories and shooting about 300 frames of the night sky (mostly film and on Sam’s camera), we hung our packs in trees in an effort not to attract any bears, then hit the sack. We broke camp early the next AM and made it back down to Moon Lake just as some of my family was beginning to arrive. We spent the rest of our time in the mountains catching up with family, laughing, eating, fishing, hiking, playing horseshoes, and sitting around the fire. Sometimes it is really nice to be completely disconnected from the real world, especially when surrounded by amazing company.