I had studied my information and decided on an overnight to Allsop Lake, a short drive from where I was off the North Slope road. About 8.5 miles one way, with a waterfall on the way, and more beautiful meadows and streams.
The first part of the hike I was not impressed, thought I had made a mistake choosing this one. It is through a burn of 2002, reminded me a lot of the Chiricahuas with the many small Aspen springing up among the huge sticks left from the burn. The saving grace was again the amazing flowers blooming along the way, add water and a burn area and the flowers seem extra plentiful and bright. But views up onto hillsides revealed lots more dead trees, a depressing sight.
Some unburned areas appeared and a nice flowing stream. Old cabin remains were intriquing, in a meadow of some dying plants that seemed to drug the insects. One butterfly I could almost position with my finger and take pics, he was so sluggish. Next a honey bee I gently stroked his wings, and he barely stirred.
At a fork I slowly went uphill, and the sound of major rushing water stimulated me. A glimpse of a nice tall waterfall through the trees. I left my pack and found a butt sliding route part way down to take an unobstructed photo, pretty dicey on a steep loose slope, one foot on a tree and one hand holding onto a root as I took the photos.
On up the trail at the top of the tumbling falls an obvious camp site, and the falls stair step a little with a couple of smaller cascades before the big one.
Past this the trip took on a magical quality, bordering on the fantastic. No more burn, lush wide meadows with fringing dense forests, a babbling brook , and giant rugged cliffs adorned with hoodoos. And of course many many flowers. I could never tire of them. The only fly in the ointment was the quickly building clouds; these looked seriously monsoon stormish, dark and big thunderheads. It was only 4.5 miles to the lake from the trail split, it was the longest ever. I had tarried too long at places and now the rumbles of thunder convinced me to seek a campspot in the trees short of my lake destination. I threw the tent up in record time and got everything in there in time for a serious rain of about 4 hours. Severe thunder and lightning for about an hour, one of the worst electrical storms I have been in outside of the Gila. Some of the lightning flashes strobed the forest brilliantly and the thunder vibrated the rain drops clinging to my tent. I was in a circle of about 5 pine trees in pretty good tree cover so I felt I was ok, besides descending and crossing through the open meadows would have been a really bad idea with the intensity of this storm.
I was disappointed in the amount of condensation in my single wall Black Diamond Hilight tent. It gave me something to do, read, and mop the dampness from the roof and walls of the tent, wetting through two bandanas in the process. I had the vents fully open, but the rain was mostly straight down, not much wind, so not much circulation.
My seam sealing held up well, no leaks. Night finally fell with still light rain, thankfully no more lightning.
The next morning I had a 10 minute walk to the lake. Now for the slightly goofy, funny part of the trip report. Cows were grazing up in here, and of course left presents on the trail everywhere. As I approached this picture perfect lake, at the end meadow, I saw the cows grazing at the upper end on the other side, mostly. Now I am not that imposing, but as I was taking pictures these cows suddenly decided to start mooing up a storm, running around the lake, grouping up and jumping around. I grew up on a farm and never saw a herd of cows behave that way unprovoked. They started around the lake back towards me but on the other side. Suddenly I heard another rock fall, on their side of the lake, from the headwall cliffs set back quite a ways from the lake. The herd came to a slow stop near the meadow end of the lake, resumed grazing and never looked my way or made any sounds. Did they sense the rockfall and potential for a problem??? Had the herder trained them, oh, a photographer, get out of the lake shots??? Guess I'll never know as they aren't talking----
Allsop Lake is a gorgeous photogenic gem. The headwall partially encirles the lake, it has a meadow on one end and trees lining each side with some rocky cliffs at the other end. It isn't huge but you can't beat the setting. I had about 30 minutes of good light, then the clouds came again. Back down the hill to break camp and trash bag my soggy tent, then on out. I couldn't beat the late morning rain, so on went the rain gear again. The trail was muddy and slick, any foot prints wiped clean. The waterfall roared with new volume. I even enjoyed the burn area a little more. At the car the rain stopped and the sun beamed out. Another great and wonderful trip to the high country was over, and I had a long but scenic drive home.
2009--- goal---one week in July--Wind Rivers----one week in August---the Uintas--probably the West Fork of Blacks Fork over Dead Horse pass and play in the Lake area off the Head of Rock and Jack and Jill trails. So many places and so little life span.