Distance: Only about 4 miles in total
Elevation Gain: 916
Highest Peak: Almost 11,000 feet!
Time: 3 to 4 hours, though we slept over in between!
General Impression: This was very high altitude, and while there were some steep parts, it was beautiful, relatively quiet, and fun!
We went on this trip with some new friends we've met and started getting to know. He encouraged us to try our first ever backpacking trip! We chose something that would be beautiful, that had water we could filter, and that was not too long so we could ease in to the idea of carrying all our stuff.
This is a beautiful loop hike in the high Uinta's. In fact, Lofty Lake's claim to fame is that it's the highest altitude lake in all of Utah. Wow! We hiked up heading clockwise from the parking lot and it was never really all that steep. After just an hour or more we stopped at Kamas Lake where we decided we would camp for the night. We would hike up and then down the other side of the loop the following day. We may have seen a handful of other hikers, and definitely no other backpackers, but that was probably because the forecast was for rain.
After setting up camp in a grassy field across the trail from the lake, we headed down to the water to pump, and to snack on the delicious guacamole and tortilla chips our friends had brought. Great snacks = happy campers.
They were easily able to get a strong fire going, despite the wet ground and the light showers that kept us on our toes off and on throughout the afternoon. Steve and I felt a bit incompetent after our recent camping trip where we tried and tried and tried to get a fire going to no avail. These guys did it with no trouble at all!!!
Before dinner we headed out on a walk around Kamas Lake. Don't be fooled by it's pretty banks along the trail. The back side of the lake consisted of a pile of boulders that we had fun traversing and trying hard not to fall into the water.
After that walk, which took a bit longer than anticipated (photo pops take time, too!), we headed back to our fire pit, which was already set up by some previous campers) and we made ourselves some dinner. We brought Tasty Bites and powdered potatoes and it was the best camping food ever. Easy, quick, and delicious, and not all that terrible for you. Mmm mmm. We hung out by the fire and soon enough it was time to throw our food up into a tree and head to sleep. Again, thank goodness for our friends because we know nothing about anything to do with camping.
Note that our camp was set up well above 10,000 feet. Steve felt nauseous and sometimes lightheaded and dizzy, and we both felt like we couldn't catch our breath as we lay in our sleeping bags about to fall asleep. Steve woke me up a couple of hours into the night complaining that he felt like he might vomit, so we got out of the tent and nothing happened. Luckily he was never sick. He thought it might have been the Tasty Bites, which bummed me out because I was excited about finding such a good and easy camping meal option. When we got home and looked a little more into altitude sickness, we realized that this must have been what he was feeling. At over 10,000 feet you can start to feel a little yucky!
The next day we took our time getting up and moving, but eventually set out to head up to Lofty Lake. Along the way were some beautiful vistas of the mountain range below.
Lofty Lake was pretty, but nothing special really. There were more hikers on Sunday, and a bunch with dogs. Some people were coming up to fish. We pleasantly walked along, heading mostly downhill on this day. It was really, really lovely.
We enjoyed this hike a lot and thought it would be a good one to do with our relatively fit friends who hopefully will one day come and visit us. :)