Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Trip Report: Thousand Lakes (Boulder Mountain), UT

Location: Fish Creek Reservoir, Boulder Mountain, Utah
Mileage: 3 Miles out-and-back, 6 total

Last weekend I went to Boulder Mountain here in Utah. It was a small hike, but I learned a lot in the over-nighter...

A year ago I took a friend to Fish Creek on Boulder Mountain for a quick little excuse of getting a backpacking trip in, as well as a prime opportunity to catch fish on a Lake where there would be very few other visitors. The weather was prime, and the hike was strenuous enough to feel good about ourselves once we reached the lake. After making our way around the boulder-covered (hence the name) shore-line, we camped at the inlet and caught fish, after fish, after fish. When we left the next day, I would say that I felt more confident with my fly-fishing abilities than my backpacking know-how.

This year was a little different, but more profound for me in may ways. I was meeting this same friend up at the lake (he decided to ride a 4-wheeler), and was left by myself to hike the steep 3-miles up to the small lake. About 2/3rds of the way up it started to rain, giving me an opportunity to test the integrity of the cover for my backpack, as well as the breathing ability and water proofing integrity of my rain jacket. I was breathing and sweating hard, but I was dry and I was happy. Being by myself gave me more freedom to take my time and really get a better sense of my surroundings.

Love finding those out-of-place scenes that don't seem to belong in Utah
Once I made my way around the lake I set up my minimized tent, using only the foot-print, poles, and rain-fly. This was the first time that I have ever used my tent without the tent body, and doing so saved two or three pounds in my pack. I was impressed with the structural integrity of the tent without the tent-body, and my friend and I both stayed dry during a mid-night storm. The only downside to not having the body, I soon discovered, was the large gap between the ground and the bottom of the rain-fly.

View of Fish Creek
When getting into my bag that night I saw a salamander chilling on my pad and looking up at me with a "what? I'm not bothering you - don't bother me" sort of look. I debated between just tossing it outside, or placing it on my friends head while he slept, but chose to toss it out. For some reason this little harmless salamander triggered thoughts of all those OTHER creatures who would probably have loved to crawl under the rain-fly and snuggle up with our warm bodies. Images of raccoons, skunks, squirrels, and mice danced in my head as I struggled to move as little as possible while in my sleeping bag (another thing I learned during this trip was that I am done with the 'down-slope shuffle' I struggle with when sleeping in a silky bag on a silky-textured pad while on a slope, and will fix the problem before going out again). I'll admit that I may have jumped to my headlamp once when hearing little paws next to my head, but all-in-all I was very pleased with the minimalist version of my great tent.

The last learning experience I had was with my trekking poles I used for the first time. I'll admit that I used to think that using poles when hiking was less-than-cool, and would silently mock those who used them. I tried using them on my way up to the lake, and after feeling ridiculous I determined that I would only use them when snowshoeing. On the way back down the mountain, however, I decided to see if the poles would help me get over the slick and steep terrain, and was very impressed. My opinion has TOTALLY changed, now I will use them when snowshoeing AND when hiking downhill:)

It was a great trip for learning more about my gear and how to work around rain storms. Due to the rain I only had about two hours worth of fly fishing and didn't catch anything, but felt like I got so much out of this trip that not catching anything meant very little in the grand scheme.
*Be sure to stop at Slackers for good hamburgers if you are ever passing through Torrey, UT.

Discovered that the Great Western Trail passes through part of this hike to the Lake


  1. I SOOOO want to go fishing!! And.... I would have totally cut the fish' head off and put it on your friends face afterwards. (you know I'd do it too)
    Awesome blog, I am totally wishing we had some fun hiking to do out here in the 120 degree desert. Color me jealous!

  2. sounds like a fun time, wish I could have gone. Me and a buddy at work want to plan a trip to the tetons, but on the west side just outside the park so we don't have to have a permit and can sleep wherever we want. oh, and thanks for silently mocking me the entire time on the teton trip, JERK!

  3. mizkylie - don't forget that we have crappy temperatures in the winter, and you have yours in the Summer! Get your hiking in during the other 8 months of the year.
    NatureBoy - It took me a second to know what mocking you were referring too...hahahahaha!!!! I wasn't mocking you the ENTIRE trip, you only used them for PART of the trip:) Just kidding. Seeing you with them gave me enough confidence to get some of my own - seriously.