Washington Lake Group Camping, 11-13 August, 2023

Let’s camp somewhere cool and sunny, with trails to beautiful views and lakes. It happened.

Thirteen Cache Hikers spent the weekend at the Lincoln Group Campsite on Washington Lake in the Uinta Mountains. Though prepared for any weather, our sunglasses and hats got the most use, pulling out jackets for camp meals in the morning and evening. The famous biting bugs didn’t make much of a showing. One 20-minute sprinkle (or downpour, depending on one’s location) was the only interruption to our sunny weekend.

Campers arrived on Friday afternoon at our group site on the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway and left midday on Sunday. Our site had plenty of parking and tables, with space for tents and gathering. Group breakfasts and dinners provided great buffets. The walk to Washington Lake took about 10 minutes and led to the trails we used as well as the perfect place for a little paddleboarding.

On Saturday eleven campers hiked the “lollipop” trail from our camp to the Crystal Lake Trailhead and on to Duck Lake, passing the lovely quartzite-bordered Long Lake and later Pot and Weir Lakes. Mount Watson, with its distinctive top “wave” and rocky slopes, was often in view. David, our hike leader, took us in a counter-clockwise direction with a highly scenic lunch stop overlooking Duck Lake (see David's video). The many junctions were signed with cut-out letters in metal plates. Throughout the day we passed hikers and backpackers, along with a few horses. Interesting plants and rocks drew our attention for identification and photographs. Another group spent the day on a pleasant walk south to Shadow Lake.

On Sunday morning several hikers followed the trail past Shadow Lake to Haystack Lake and back before packing up to return to Logan. Others enjoyed a leisurely morning in camp or paddleboarding on Washington Lake.

We were treated to a clear, starry sky each night. The Perseid meteor shower presented a show for those who were awake late or early. On Saturday night the startling SpaceX starlink satellite train crossed the sky.

Partly luck and partly by design – the weekend was just great!

Trip Summary
  • 13 participants: Bree, Brent, Dan, Dave P., Dave W., David, Jane (organizer), Jerry, Kathy, Michelle, Ophelia, Susan, Teresa
  • 3 trailers, 3 tow vehicles, 3 cars, 5 tents
  • Drove 155 or 142 miles from Logan, depending on route taken
  • Temperatures in the mid-60’s and down to low 40’s at night
  • Hikes: Duck Lake loop, about 8.7 miles with about 1000 feet of ascent; Shadow Lake, about 2.5 miles with about 150 feet ascent; Haystack Lake, 4.6 miles with 350 feet ascent

Thanks to Jane for the narrative and photos, Kathy, Dave P, and Susan for photos, Dave W and Dan for photos and GPS data, and Teresa for GPS data .

Our Washington Lake group camp site

There was plenty of room for parking and tents

Mmm, bacon (and pancakes) for breakfast
A group supper

Waiting for darkness so we could see meteors

Ready for Saturday morning hiking
Most went on a hike to Duck Lake

Which way do we go?
All-metal trail sign at Long Lake

Hiking past Long Lake

Mount Watson, 11527 ft. elevation, reminds us of a cresting wave

The Uinta terrain is very different from the Bear River Range, where we usually hike

Does this look like a duck to you?

Glacial striations
Teresa on her SUP

A Uinta flower garden (false hellebore or corn lily, paintbrush, bog orchid, monkshood, fleabane daisies, and more)

Parrot's beak lousewort (Pedicularis)
Wildflowers everywhere!

Pearly everlasting (Anaphalis)
A rock ledge with stonecrop (Sedum)

Whipple's Penstemon
Monkshood (Aconitum)

For the Duck Lake hike, our GPS track shows about 8.6 miles and about 1000 feet of ascent and descent.
You can look at our route using Google Earth or download our GPS file.

Our GPS track for the walk to Shadow lake shows about 2.7 miles and about 150 feet of ascent and descent.
You can look at our route using Google Earth or download our GPS file.