Category Archives: Camping

Lake Blanche

My friend Chris often drives a few hours south to go camping and hiking with me, but he planned this trip and I ended up driving north for a short overnight backpacking trip in the Wasatch Range. Lake Blanche was our destination, which is about 3.5 miles from and 2,600 feet above Big Cottonwood Canyon in Mill B South Fork. The trees were mostly green, though some of the oaks and maples had turned to oranges and reds. We’d started late in the afternoon and were met by a lot of day-hikers descending as we made the climb. Some of the snow from earlier in the week was sticking around in the upper elevations, and a couple of trail sections were slushy or hard-packed snow.

Ascending the trail through mostly-green scrub oak
Ascending the trail through mostly-green scrub oak

Chris packing up the trail
Chris packing up the trail

Snow-covered ridge
Snow-covered ridge

Colorful leaves along the trail
Colorful leaves along the trail

Looking back toward Big Cottonwood Canyon
Looking back toward Big Cottonwood Canyon

Dromedary Peak
Dromedary Peak

Caterpillar on the trail
Caterpillar on the trail

Slushy trail
Slushy trail

The moon over some aspen
The moon over some aspen

Sundial Peak
Sundial Peak

Long view into the Salt Lake Valley
Long view into the Salt Lake Valley

White and orange along the trail
White and orange along the trail

Upon arriving at Lake Blanche, we had missed the last light on Sundial Peak. However, there was still a nice reflection of the peak in the water. We had each packed a couple of beers up and enjoyed them with dinner. I only counted two other groups who were spending the night in the area, but none of them were camped closed enough to see or hear–it felt like we had the place to ourselves. We watched the sun set and the city lights begin to glow in the Salt Lake Valley far below.

Sundial Peak over Lake Blanche
Sundial Peak over Lake Blanche

Pink clouds across the Great Salt Lake
Pink clouds across the Great Salt Lake

Salt Lake Valley at night
Salt Lake Valley at night

Saturday morning was dreary. We filtered some water out of the lake, and prepared coffee and breakfast on a small boulder that made a perfect table. After breakfast it began to rain. Chris and I huddled up in our tents and slowly packed our gear away until the rain let up. Then, we took down our wet tents and started hiking back down the trail at around 9AM. Some inscriptions along the trail dated at least as far back as 1924. There was a handful of day-hikers going up the trail, but the weather must have scared many of them away. I think on a normal Saturday morning the trail would have been packed. It sprinkled for much of the descent and we were both soaked when we returned to our vehicles.

Dromedary Peak reflected in Lake Blanche
Dromedary Peak reflected in Lake Blanche

Breakfast table
Breakfast table

Our camp
Our camp

Inscriptions dating to the 1930s and 1940s
Inscriptions dating to the 1930s and 1940s

The oldest inscription I saw: June 28, 1924, Farrel Johnson, Sugar House
The oldest inscription I saw: June 28, 1924, Farrel Johnson, Sugar House

Descending toward Big Cottonwood in the rain
Descending toward Big Cottonwood in the rain

Heart carved into an aspen tree
Heart carved into an aspen tree

Fall colors on the trail
Fall colors on the trail

We hadn’t planned anything for the rest of Saturday and Sunday, but then Chris said, “Wanna go camping in a cave?” To be continued…


Photo Gallery: Lake Blanche
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