Sunday, August 30, 2009

Camping: Butterfly Lake, Unitas Mountains, Utah

Butterfly Lake, about a hundred yard from our campsite, 10,000 ft up in the Unitas Mountains in Northern Utah.

Interesting factoid: The Unitas are the only mountain range to run east to west in North America.

Around the lake were lots of blue dragonflies in mating flight, dipping to the water to lay eggs against the upcoming winter, and these blue flowers springing up in the marshy meadow around the lake.

We travel light, and snug. This time in a campground with large RVs and shaft toilets, water spigots and trash containers. Lots of people and loads of children are enjoying the campground too.
We arrived Friday evening, and headed out for a hike Saturday morning. Ruth Lake trail head was just up the road, and the hike was featured as an easy 3/4 mile adventure.
It really was easy...we passed families carrying babies and toddlers on the way.
I admired the trail tones: rocks in mauve, pink, and rose shades that were difficult to capture somehow.
Harebells swayed along side the path. I'm such a sucker for blue flowers!
Small streams wound through meadows that must have been spectacular with wildflowers a few weeks back.
No snow on the mountain tops yet...but with the white stone, it was easy to imagine how it would look in a month or so.
Not Ruth Lake! Just a small lake along the way...
The pine tips were glittered with crystal sap droplets. (Click on the picture to see that effect!)
Bernie taught me something: These bunched branches were the result of constant "trimming' of a branch by by-passers. A similar technique is used deliberately in bonsai work.
Most of the lavender toned daisy like flowers were spent. What was left were being enjoyed greatly by insects gathering the last of the summers bounty.
Stony outcrops that appeared so evenly blocked out, it could have been the ruin of an ancient Abbey or castle on another continent. It was all natural, just a geological form, and evidence of one more thing in life that I know very little about, having never studied geology at all.
I love how tiny streams cut through meadows and how wild flowers follow the streams.

The bleached roots of a fallen tree made a magnificent sculpture along the shoreline.

This was Ruth Lake...and it was the center of a hive of activity: a Boy Scout troop was whooping it up, fishing, swimming, throwing rocks, climbing trees, name it, it was being done, with the non-stop boasting and challenging and laughter that only boys create.

I thought to myself: What a pity it was that boys that age are ever cooped up in a classroom, when they are obviously so created for this sort of setting.

At that moment on of the boys in the lake shouted out: It is 15 degrees in here!

Hmmm...well, I guess some classroom time is in order, unless the boy was using Celsius in his temperature reporting. (That would be 59 degrees F. then. That was possible...but if it was 15F., then the water should have been rock hard.)

Back to those darling blue marsh flowers....

The tracery inside is so lovely.

I left Bernie to fish, and climbed up above the lake a bit to a rocky flat.
Pockets of soil were sustaining small moss gardens.

Up close they looked like a parkland viewed from an air plane.
Or maybe a golf course.
The solid flow of rock was encrusted with smaller stones of a variety of colors.
How long ago had that flow occurred?
What are such rocks called?
(Curious, but not curious enough to get a geology book out. I just want a geology maven to chum up with on these hikes.)

At 10 thousand feet up, the few butterflies I saw were going flap flap flap WHEEZE wheeze...flap...wheeze...Oh I need to rest for a minute...

It was pretty easy to get this shot. The butterfly just stayed right there the longest time.

It was interesting to follow a small stream and meadow up to the end of the timber line.

We are still not sure what bird this is: A gray jay or a ?????

Dad? Any clues?

The bird and his buddies demanded we feed them. Thankfully we did have some peanuts in our trail mix or I don't know what would have happened.

Did Bernie catch a fish? Yes he did....and several more! He actually only kept three...a rainbow, and two of these below:
This was a brook trout...and it had sweet pinkish meat,while the larger rainbow had white meat.
B. actually only caught and kept one up at Ruth Lake. The others (and the ones he released) he caught later that day back at Butterfly Lake.

The trout loved to hid beneath the lily pads! this not gorgeous? And there was entertainment too, as we watched a man and his father launch a canoe, and promptly tip over in the water, only to emerge covered with slime.

They cheerily called out "The second show will be held at 8 pm!"

A steady gently breeze rippled the water most of the time. I was glad of the few shots I could get of still water reflections.
Bernie dry fly fishing. Yes, he caught the fish on dry flies!
While he fished, I was napping. He put together a foil wrap stew dinner for us.
As the pink sunset to the west turned the eastern mountain range red...

We enjoyed a fire in the cool evening air, and I read John Adams aloud by lantern.
Back home we knew it to be close to 100 degrees F.

Being high in the mountains is a great solution to August heat.

Come morning...trout for breakfast!
I did wash up...and wondered what others thought: is mis-matched flatware fun or bum?
Should I stay with the odds and ends, or get a neatly matched set?
(Put your opinion in the comments please!)
After washing up and packing up, we headed back down the mountain, stopping by a portion of the upper Provo River, where a large waterfall was right off the road with a viewing area.
Of course fishermen were fishing...
We pulled over a bit more down the road, and Bernie took a try at a bit more angling.
While I did a bit more camera exploring.
I thought this was the prettiest flower of the weekend. Love the furry throat.
This was pretty wonderful too...
and this. I never get tired of photographing flowers.
Lichen catches my interest as well....
It makes for a nice balance: He fishes, I photograph.

More geology...the colors! It could be bark if the blue wasn't in it.

Pretty everything.
So much beauty all around...and less than two hours from home.


Kathy said...

WOW - Quite possibly the most beautiful place I have ever seen! And you captured it so well. The reflections are perfect. I also say that not only does Jill think different - she sees different. I love that about you.

Kathy said...

PS About the cutlery - I vote for mish mash. I have a variety that I've picked up here and there and enjoy it. I have my favorites and some weird ones that I make Lando use. HA.

Lovella ♥ said...

Amazing beauty. You always make me smile in your posts. . there is always something new and interesting on your walks.
I love the mish mash. . that was what I had for years but only now bought uniform so that they'd take up less space stacked.
I wonder how long it will be before the two of you are going to get itchy for a little camper van. Your camping is us several years ago.
Good job on the fish B.. .I'll be rubbing Terry's nose in them this morning. .

Laura said...

Oh, but that was an enjoyable post! I had a big smile plastered on my lips the entire read!
I say mis-matched, as it makes for more interesting conversation. And it gives you a choice for a "theme" or mood when dining in the great outdoors. oh, I just feel like I was there with you and could hear the water babbling. Thank you for the vicarious vacation!

Amy Letinsky said...

What gorgeous photos! Looks like you two know the great places to camp. I love the mismatched cutlery. Very kitschy in a good way. We just use re-usable camp plastic, not very exciting.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said... is camping, after all! It looks like you had a wonderful camping experience...complete with entertainment on the water...fresh fish...and cool tempertures. Perfect.

running wildly said...

I'm a sucker for your blue flowers too. And seriously, SERIOUSLY......your landscape shots are beyond breath-taking. They look like postcards. I'm all about mish mash for camping.

Marg said...

I love the favorite colors. Yes, the world of camping...You looked somewhat more organized than my mish mash of a collection from 50-60 years ago..
It doesn't matter, it's that we're still out there in the world camping and getting away from all our technology.
Wait for my fish story.

Vicki said...

Ahh...I love your outdoors posts and photos...very nice! Your photos are amazing! I like the mis-matched utensils...very campish...campy...what's the word I want?

I've never been big on fishing or camping, but if you keep up these posts, I'll be wanting to give it another try!

Not sure, but I think those very first blue flowers (and you have another photo farther down) are gentians.

a woman who is said...

Oh what a lovely camping trip. And your photos are stunning. I am a tad bit curious which loo did you pick :]

I haven't been camping in over 15 years. When the kids joined us we became "Pool People"...long story. Now that they are all grown up the idea appeals to me. Have you heard of Glam-camping. I don't think I want to rough it so much this time around lol!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful spot to holiday. Just what Scot and I love to away from the bustle, fish, hick, enjoy the scenery, sit by the fire with a book and just be together. Honestly, why don't you guys join us at the anual Manning trip next summer. Surprise us all. Great pictures! Kathy

Anonymous said...

Oh, I forgot to vote...what you have keep it. Kathy

Heidi said...

I love the Uintas! Good for you hitting Provo River Falls, too. It's a gorgeous place. :)

Bermarie Barreto said...

Very nice pictures. I'm planning to visit the same place in a couple of weeks. Thank you for sharing!

Natalie Ockey said...

Beautiful! That bird looks like Clark's Nutcracker to me!

~Utah's Adventure Family