Long Canyon

Marsh Lake Trail to Long Canyon and return
(9 miles, +1,800/-1,100 feet).

I had a really tough time falling asleep last night.

I kept replaying the nearly-fatal river crossing in my head, over and over.  My worst memory was me just holding onto the trunk, falling around on the surface of the water, watching my hands as they went nowhere.

And then I thought about my friends.  And my wife.  And the rest of my family.

What an idiot I was.

Sigh.

It was maybe midnight when exhaustion quieted my mind and I drifted off to sleep.  But by 5:30am I was once again wide awake, and I joined Ultrashuffle who was making a fire.

One by one, my friends awoke and came to sit by the fire.  And one by one we packed up and readied for the morning’s climb to Marsh Lake.

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Fish Creek/Lake

It was less than a mile to hike this morning, but it was a climb of maybe 700 feet, so it took some time.  I hiked with Geo as we climbed.

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Ultrashuffle crosses a stream
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Bee’s Knees, Scamper, and Ultrashuffle

In less than an hour we were up at the lake.  We scouted campsites, but once again the best place was the first place we looked, so we eventually reconvened and set up camp on the southeast shore of Marsh Lake

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Marsh Lake reflection shot
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And another
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And another
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View of Bloody Mountain from our campsite

We secured our food and tents, loaded some day packs with snacks and essentials, and headed off to Long Canyon and Beetlebug Lake.

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It’s thataway

Once again, we had to do some cross country when the official trail crossing was not feasible.  It was shallow but strong and running across slickrock.  But about a quarter mile upstream we found a very easy log jam to cross.

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Geo on the logjam
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Scamper builds a cairn to remind us where to cross

Long Canyon is mostly gentle uphill and for the first hour or so it was easy to follow the trail.

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Only patchy snow below

But then the snow got steadier, and it was harder to find the trail.  Soon we were just choosing our own path as we ascended.

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More snow here
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Scamper on a snow bridge
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View of the south wall of Long Canyon

At one point we saw something fluffy and golden about 200 yards away.  It was a bear!  We were too far away and the bear was too fast to get a good picture.  But after that we did shout out as we hiked to make sure we didn’t startle any other bears that might be nearby.

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Yo, bear!
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Finder studies the route
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Our last climb up to the lake
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Finder and Scamper negotiate the sun cups
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Into the woods
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Here comes Ultrashuffle!

The lake was breathtaking.  Still nearly 100% covered in ice, the edges of the lake were just starting to melt.  A bluish frontier between water and ice encircled the lake.

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Beetlebug Lake towards Silver Peak
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Beetlebug Lake towards the outlet
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Beetlebug Lake panorama

We all rested for lunch, and after I ate my tortilla I explored the edge of the lake.

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Time to explore!
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A bit more open here
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Finder enjoys the view
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My closest approach to Silver Peak
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Blue above and below
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Ulatrashuffle refills his water

Too soon it was time to head back to camp.

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Looking down on the falls below the outlet
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South face of Long Canyon below the lake
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Heading back down
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One sun cup at a time!
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Getting lower
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And lower

On the way back we stayed closer to the river.  It was beautiful.

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Long Canyon creek looking south
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And looking north
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Log group shot
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Meadow group shot
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Ultrashuffle
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Long Canyon
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Back to the meadows
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And huge erratics
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Following the trail
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Back at the beginning of Long Canyon

Between the snow and the water crossings and the marshy meadows, we all had soaked feet when we returned to camp.  But even the late day sun was strong enough to (mostly) dry them out.

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Thank you sun!

We had dinner and chilled out as the sun slowly set in the sky.

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View from our campfire
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Sunset clouds above Bloody Mountain
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Good night Marsh Lake!

 

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