Sunday, August 7, 2011

Big Cottonwood Canyon: Lake Mary, Lake Martha, and Lake Catherine

Date: August 7th, 2011 - Our first hike!!!
Time: From about 12:00PM to 3:00PM (Approximately 3 hours)
Distance: 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 1200 ft
Highest Point: 9950
General Impression:  Pretty tough at the start for our undeveloped legs and lungs, but beautiful.  Quite a lot of people.  Very nice.

Now that we were officially living in Utah, we were ready to get hiking.  We Googled "easy hikes near Salt Lake City" and decided upon this Big Cottonwood Canyon hike.  It's close by, and it sounded like a good one.

We jumped in the car, stopping at Whole Foods on the way to buy some sandwiches that we planned to eat on the mountain.  We came prepared with our own Nalgene bottles and sunscreen.  

It probably only took about 30 or so minutes to get to the trailhead.  It started at the base of Brighton ski resorts and had us hike up through the meadows running underneath one of their chairlifts.  The meadows were filled with purple, yellow, and blue wildflowers, which were very beautiful!  As mentioned in the general impression above, the beginning of this hike was pretty challenging, as it is quite steep and we were out of shape!  I had to stop every five or ten minutes to catch my breath and regulate my heart rate.  I should be bringing my Garmin on these hikes to get a sense of distance, heart rate, etc.

Eventually the incline became more manageable.  At one point we had to scramble over a stream littered with rocks and stones, stepping along on the stones to keep dry.  That was fun.

We first arrived at Lake Mary, a sparkly mountain lake that was just what Steve was hoping for!  It was a little buggy around the lake.  We kept on going up, past Lake Martha where we were happy to see some unmelted snow - in August!  Wow.

Finally we arrived at Lake Catherine.  We found a nice, flat rock and pulled out our picnic to enjoy while admiring the lake and watching a crazy guy swim across it.  That water was cold!  I mean, there was still snow around!

Steve pulled out his sandwich and found some curious white saucy-type stuff on the foil wrapper.  Assuming the sauce had leaked, he immediately shoved the package in his mouth, only to discover it was in fact our sunscreen bottle that had leaked in his bag!  Ahhh ha hahaha.  Okay, so it wasn't all that funny for him.  Sunscreen doesn't taste too great.  But hoo-boy, I got a kick out of that one. 

As we headed back down the mountain, my toes began rubbing against my running shoes and workout socks.  Time to get hiking boots!!!

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