[Editors Note: The following is a special report from Hunter, who is currently exiled in Utah, but has been having great success killing fish, unlike myself.]

Monday the 16th after O’Connor and I both got off work we headed to the store to get some last minute things for our trip, mainly food. Tuseday morning we got on the road fairly early and made it to the Christmas Meadows trailhead in the Uintas just off the Mirror Lake Byway. Very few cars in the parking lot was relieving. The first couple of miles was very smooth a fairly well maintained, then the rest was very rocky and muddy due to all the natural springs flowing through the trails. The amount of horses that use these trails didn’t the trail’s condition either. It was a 9 mile hike up to Ryder and Mcpheters lakes with an elevation gain of 2,200 ft making our camp at 10,600 ft. 1,800 ft of the elevation gain was in the last mile or so. once arriving at Ryder lake we found the closest campsite to setup and drop our packs.  Walter still had huge amounts of energy even after carrying his own weight up there in his saddlebags. The area to the south of Ryder lake was filled with small lakes  with high meadows filled with wildflowers separating them. Mcpheters lake was about a half mile hike away from Ryder and we waited until Wednesday to explore the area. We settled in for the night felling tired and beat, but  relaxed with the help of some of Utah’s High West whiskey.

I awoke to what sounded like thunder but turned out to be random rock slides coming down the surrounding peaks. The three peaks that surrounded us were all above 12,000 feet, one of which was called Hayden Peak. After a short breakfast we rigged our fly rods and ventured up and over to Mcpheters lake which was right at timber line and much larger than Ryder. Both lakes seemed to be spring fed, clear, clean and full of fish. There weren’t too many bugs at the moment so none of the fish were rising. I tied on a wooly-bugger, one of my more trusty flies for trout. I spotted one trout starting to inspect the fly then turn, but on the next cast he took the fly. The fish put up a pretty good fight which is always fun on a fly-rod, after playing around I landed the guy and it was a Tiger Trout. I had never caught one before and was very excited at the time. The tiger trout is a cross between the brook and a brown trout with some very cool markings. O’Connor was determined to get a fish now, so I tried coaching him a bit, since it was his first day fly-fishing. He didn’t have any luck up at Mcpheters, so while he was casting I enjoyed a nice mountain swim. On the way back to camp for lunch we found a ten foot cliff at Ryder Lake to play on for a bit. After a hearty lunch of shells and cheese the we took an afternoon nap since it looked like a storm was rolling in. While in the tent the storm did roll through, but thankfully didn’t shed a drop of rain and just produced a loud thunderstorm.

We headed over to the smaller lakes to the south of us to fish them. O’Connor left his rod and insisted on just watching me. He found some brookies so I cast in and caught one. O’Connor took my rod and seemed determined to try again for a fish. About ten casts later he turns to me and says ” I fucking hate fly-fishing” right then a fish took his fly and he landed his first fish. Walter would sit patiently on the shore watching for a fish to strike and would only listen to who ever held the rod. He ended up trying to help land some of the fish causing them to get loose.

we took turns controlling the beast. We proceeded to alternate turns with my rod while catching a bunch of brook trout until about 9. We retired to camp to cook and have our whiskey in celebration of a good day of fishing. Thursday morning we broke camp early and headed back to the trailhead. We made it out in 3.5 hours when it took us 5 to get in. We passed three different boy scout troops heading into the area which made us glad we had chosen the mid week trip. The last two miles seemed like forever, but we were eager to drive back to Samak (Kamas backwards) a small community outside of Kamas. There was a new bar there called The Notch which we were wanting to investigate. We were expecting a dive bar similar to the Oak Grove Tavern in Irons, Michigan, however the inside seemed more like a log cabin in Harbor Springs, MI. Drinks were reasonably priced and the food was outstanding, we found out the local smoke house runs the bar and provides the food. A good end to the trip and hard to come back to the heat of the city.

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