Tuesday, October 30, 2012

hiking in solitude

We had a little snow storm last week that dropped a tantalizing amount of snow in the mountains (and a couple of inches on our lawn, which didn't last long): nearly three feet north of SLC, at Powder Mountain and surrounds, and about a foot and a half in our own Cottonwood Canyons.  On Saturday we decided that we should go up and tromp around in it.  One of our very first hikes when we moved here was up at Silver Lake, trying to find Lake Solitude; we never found it that day, but since then we've skied that area enough that we figured we could locate it this time.

Just leaving Silver Lake

We started up at the Solitude Nordic Center in Brighton, by Silver Lake, taking the well-beaten lake path around to where the hiking/MTBing trails split off.  We'd brought our snowshoes but decided not to use them - this would ultimately be the right decision, although we did break trail in a couple of places where they would have been useful.  But I was wearing plastic bags between my hiking boots and my wool-socked feet and a little knee-deep snow wasn't going to be an issue.

Snow in the trees - so pretty

Just like the first time we tried to find Lake Solitude, we started following a trail ... that we eventually lost.  But we recognized Solitude Ski Resort's Sunrise chair, crossing under it and walking across the top of North Star to Zip-A-Dee, which comes out above the Summit chair.  From there we knew what to do, making our way through the trees to little Lake Solitude (not quite frozen over).  H suggested that we make this hike a loop and since a loop is always better than an out-and-back, I readily agreed.

Under the Summit chair

Our route - up Mine/Shaft and through the Headwall Forest to Sol-Bright - had been traveled before: we walked in ski-, boot-, snowshoe- and deer-tracks.  We went over the pass between Solitude and Brighton, continuing along the less-trodden Sol-Bright trail and then turning off on the well-packed trail back to Silver Lake.  It was a beautiful day, sunny and fairly warm, and we had the place pretty much to ourselves for a couple of glorious hours.

Along Sol-Bright

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