Aspens are peaking, temperatures are dropping, and days are growing shorter. The trip I had planned changed as we were en route to the trail head. Lone Peak was the goal, but as the sun sunk itself into the horizon I realized hiking six steep miles in the dark would be a bad idea. My solution: Red Pine Lake.
The lake is nestled in Little Cottonwood Canyon and is a meager three mile hike. The trail is one of the more popular routes in the area during this time of year thanks to the Aspens transformation from green to gold.
The walk in seemed to go quickly. (Hiking alone always makes things seem much farther.) Neena, Jeff, and a new friend named Kyle made camp and cooked up some grub and conversation. Tanner hiked in alone to meet us and we all slept under the stars. The light pollution spilled over the mountain from Salt Lake, but the night was nevertheless breathtaking. Clear, crisp, and still. I was lucky that the wind didn't kick up, I had grabbed a sleeping bag with a broken zipper. I woke up a few times when miscellaneous body parts would sneak out of the bag letting the cold night rush in.
Morning came and we sat and enjoyed what we couldn't see during the hike in. Neena and I went for a hike as the others headed home. I wanted to gain the ridge that was separating us from a view of Pfeifferhorn. That is an incredible peak, and it happens to be on my list this winter. The camera can't quite capture this little peak's majesty.
We took our time on the way out. We snapped photos and just enjoyed the day.
Chipmunks were a little too friendly.
Kyle (left) is a ranger and I learned a lot from him about "leave no trace" principles. I have heard a lot of things but never really thought about the reasons behind them. For every principle he had a story to back up why it is necessary. I now have a greater respect for our wilderness areas and will be more careful in the future to take care of it.
A stary night.