Backpacking to Duck Lake
|My brother Justin has been planning his yearly Fourth of July backpacking trip to the High Unitas. For several years he has been going to Duck Lake with a group of friends for several days of fishing, hiking, and camping.|
My dad mentioned that he would like to go, and I thought that I would love to able to go too but really did not see a way to pull it off.
Next thing I knew, I was working my butt off on Monday and Tuesday to finish all of the Quarterly reports that I needed to do. I sent out an email stating that 'my Fourth of July weekend plans had unexpectedly changed and I will be out of the office until July 7th'.
I quickly packed up all my gear Tuesday night, then Wednesday morning my dad and I caught a ride with Marv, Andrew and Adam Gubler.
The hike in was much better than I had planned since I am considerably out of shape. Stopping a couple of times so that the guys could fish helped out too. The hike was about 1 mile up then 3 miles down a gentle grade.
We setup camp close to the dam on Duck lake. Justin and Austin said that when they arrived on Monday the fire pit was under two and a half feet of snow. The snow patches were still scattered about but each day they melted quite a bit.
In an effort to pack light I decided to not bring a tent. My tents are much too heavy (close to 10 pounds) to be hauling in on my back. Instead I decided to give Jill her birthday present early for purely selfish reasons.
The inspiration for her birthday present came during our last camping trip while Jill was laying on the ground reading her book. I knew right then what I was getting her for her birthday, a hammock.
So Jill opened her present then I promptly thanked her for letting me borrow it and packed it in my backpack. Happy Birthday Jill! Thanks!
The first night in the hammock did not go so well. The hammock was slung a bit too loose so my feet were higher than my head. I also was hot since I had over dressed. I thought it was going to be cold since there was snow drifts everywhere. The third challenge of the night was a bout of claustrophobia. The hammock fully engulfs you and wraps you up tight. So from about 3AM till 7AM I slept on the ground.
The second and third nights in the hammock went much better. I lowered and tightened the hammock and wore less clothing and thankfully no more claustrophobia. The hammock was actually quite comfortable and stable once I got used to it.
Each day we hiked around to different lakes in the area. The five fisherman in the group caught over 270 fish over the three days! Dad and I enjoyed the hiking, and being away from the rat race for a while. Dad wrote over thirty pages of notes during the trip documenting the fish tally and his surroundings. I'm not really sure what he wrote about, maybe he will post it on the family blog! Or maybe not.
Each day we hiked to nearby lakes where the boys slowly worked their way around the lake, fishing as they went. The first day we hiked to Beaver Lake, The Pond and Hidden Lake the back to camp.
The second day we hiked to Pot Lake, Weir Lake and Marjorie Lake. Marjorie is the only lake in the area that has Arctic Grayling so they were pretty excited about catching them.
The trip was a great escape from the world down in the valley. It was wonderful to soak in the nature. I love being in the mountains. And I finally got to use all my backpacking gear for actual backpacking (as opposed to car camping).
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