Running sensei said, “You need to do 15 miles this weekend. Go find up and do it!” I saluted smarted and attempted to find 15 miles of up. Unfortunately for me right now all of the snowless miles are in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons which means that they are off limits as they are a no dog zone. Anything in the High Uintas is also off limits as there is still lots of snow up there. After much scouring I came up with a Plan A and Plan B. I notified Dad of my plans and off I went.
Plan A was do Notch Mountain to Trail Lake. As we drove up the Mirror Lake Road the snow line was much higher than it was two weeks ago when I was up that way for work. I started to get hopeful. Maybe, just maybe……came around a corner and BAM! Nope. Can’t even get into the parking lot for the trail head as it’s still under at least 3 feet of snow. Crap…..We stopped and I let Baby Trail Dog out into the snow. She dug, frolicked, and played queen of the mountain.
Plan B did not have the distance of Plan A, but it had the up. Man oh man did it have the up. Just as much up, but in a shorter number of miles. Ok, Plan B it is. As we headed up the trail it was rocky. Not the kind of rock that you can get a rhythm on, but the “don’t trip fall and bash your head in” kind of rocky. When we hit the 3.5 mile mark we ran into a Dad and his son coming down the mountain. I asked them a couple of questions about the trail. “There’s a few water crossings coming up and it gets sloppy, but you should be ok.” Super!
Approaching the water images of last week were flashing through my head. Don’t tell me I came the way for nothing, I thought. I let Charlotte off leash to let her suss it out. She won’t cross anything even remotely dangerous. She found a spot and waded right across. I followed her path. This repeated itself four more times. At this point the trail was more of a unstable boulder field and straight up. One of the water crossing was actually a waterfall! I was exceptionally grateful for having had something to eat at this point. That could have been really bad. Now, I know that in summer NONE of this water is here, but thanks to the heavy winter snow they got this year and the super hot temperatures it’s water water everywhere. At this point my feet were soaked and we were approaching 10k feet. No big deal, we just kept moving, and my Lone Peaks drained beautifully. Amazing things wool socks and the right shoes. Right up until the trail disappeared. Um….
I pulled out my topo map and compass. I also looked at the gps breadcrumbs I had of the trail. Theoretically the lake should be just over the ridge line. I saw how the trail was suppose to stair step and loop around. There was a big meadow that I started to make my way across. About half way I stopped. Warning bells were going off. This was STUPID. Not only did I not have any surveyors tape with me to mark my trail, but my feet were wet and I had no idea if the trail even started again. Nopenopenope. I turned both baby trail dog and I around, found the trail where we left it and headed back down the mountain.
By the time we reached the car I had had time to process. I’m willing to bet that the “creek bed” wasn’t actually a creek, but was the trail under water. Well….crap. Oh well. The bad news is that I pegged my stupid meter. The good news is that I didn’t let it actually go off.
Total miles: 9.2
Total up: 2327
Best part, I live to run another day.