Freedom in the Mountains

Late last week, my boss informed the team that we could have Monday, July 4 to spend with our families.  Jackson, my fiancé, danced for joy and immediately began planning a quick overnight trip into the mountains for Sunday night.

We decided to hike to White Pine Lake in Little Cottonwood Canyon for a few reasons – we wanted a hike we hadn’t done before, a destination close to water, and something relatively short.  We have hiked to Red Pine Lake (both camping and ski touring) so we were familiar with the first mile of the trail and were excited to see a different area.

We set out on Sunday afternoon, avoiding the worst of the oppressive heat, and made quick work of the first mile.  We also spent the early afternoon at an awesome driving range called Top Golf with friends…. so much fun and highly recommend checking it out!!  Once we got to the trail fork, it was time to venture on a new path!  The wide, consistent path made for a comfortable hike as we winded our way up around several switchbacks.  We turned off and packed our devices, allocating no time for photo breaks or mileage checks.  I now wish I had mapped the hike because it definitely seemed longer than the 4 miles that the sign claims.  (Strava has the hike at closer to 5.25 each way.)

Plugging along, I was so grateful to be outside and enjoying the surroundings away from civilization.  The snow is still melting up high and run-off made several sections of the trail more like streams.  On the hike up, we saw less than 10 people total.  We passed a duo that was hiking down at a point that I was certain must have been just shy of the lake.  We exchanged pleasantries and I mentioned I was ready to set up camp.  They said we were “getting closer” and I suddenly grew tired.  The final stretch involved multiple stops to enjoy the view (aka catch my breath).

When we finally made it to the lake, we quickly set up the tent and commenced snacking (which in my case involved eating an entire bag of trail mix).  Appetites sufficiently ruined, we headed down to the water’s edge.  I found some boulders that formed a nice sitting area and curled up with my book; Jackson tossed his fishing line into the lake, hoping to catch something.  Independence at its finest.  We truly felt free by the White Pine Lake on Sunday night.

The temp dropped and wind picked up so we walked back to our tent and built a fire.  As the minutes floated away, our stomachs started speaking up and we eventually ate dinner as the sun began to set… around 9pm.  The stars were coming out as the sun disappeared behind the mountains – nature’s fireworks putting on their own spectacular show between the fast moving clouds.

Spending the night outside was a grand reminder of how fortunate we are to live in an amazing place that has so much to offer and how blessed we are to be able to take advantage of it and enjoy the surroundings.  The wind continued through the night and the cool air made for perfect sleeping weather.  I was literally a happy camper :).

Monday morning, we awoke to a few minutes of light showers.  We walked back down to the lake to take in the view once more before hiking down and back into reality.  This time, we stopped along the way to enjoy the scenery and take some photos.  Here are some amateur shots (they will improve with time and more blog posts.  I hope!):

WP Lake 1The only photo I stopped to take on the way up

WP Lake 2Enjoying our hike!

WP Lake 3The last .25mi was back downhill to the lake.  Photo Credit: JDA

WP Lake 4Mountains all around us!

WP Lake 5Staying warm by the fire.  Not a bad spot for a campsite.WP Lake 6The view definitely did not suck.

Thanks for reading!  Stay tuned for more upcoming adventures…




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