Wednesday Night Hike
Lake Dog circumnavigation
Big Cottonwood Canyon
Wednesday, 23 September, 2020

Weather:  In the mid 80 in the valley and cloudy.
Present were: Tim, KK7EF;  Gordon, K7HFV;  Bryan, W7CBM and
Clint, KA7OEI
Destination:  Circumnavigation of Lake Dog - the one near Lake Mary
Question(s) of the day:  "Do we really want to go there?"
Total distance (GPS, miles approx.):  2.3

Total elevation gain/loss (GPS, approx. ft):  627
Times:  Departed trailhead (vehicles):  1844;  Lake Dog turnoff:  1910;  Arrived at Dog Lake:  1913;  Resumed circumnavigation:  1932;  Completed circumnavigation:  1956;  Returned to vehicle:  2026

Altitudes in feet ASL (GPS):  
Trailhead:  8805;  Lake Dog junction:  9377;  Lake Dog:  9409;  Highest point:  9432
Local sunset on this date:  The sun set at 1921 at an azimuth of 270°, about 12 minutes earlier than last week and 3-4 degrees farther south
.  This day had 12:05:15 of daylight, about 19 minutes less than last week.
Total 2020 WNH mileage for me:  80.4

Total number of footsteps:  Assuming a 28" gait, an estimated 5204 steps this week and total of 181934 steps by me this season.
The passing of the fall equinox is a sure indicator that the end of the Wednesday Night Hiking season is near - and so it was on this day.  Gathering on the nearly-full parking lot, watching the occasional helicopter engaged in the fighting of a fire in Neff's Canyon to the north, there were four of us at the appointed departure time and we piled into Bryan's truck and headed up the canyon.  Almost immediately past the Silver Fork lodge, we became alarmed:  Both sides of the highway about the Willow Heights trailhead were lined with cars for hundreds of feet - three dozen cars, at least - and with very few words the consensus was "Uhhmmm, let's not go there!".

Continuing up the road, we racked our brains for a reasonable alternative hike of similar duration and it was Gordon who came up with the answer:  "How about the trail around Dog Lake?".  With immediate agreement, we made our way to Brighton, parking in the somewhat-busy lot, donning our gear and starting up the trail in the cool air.  At this time of year, the sun had already set behind the mountains at Brighton and the surrounding peaks and ridges were teasing occasional glimpses of alpenglow.  We wandered up the trail - for the second time in two weeks - soon attaining the junction below Lake Mary where we made a left-hand turn to Lake Dog - a body of water not to be confused with "Dog Lake" in Mill-D North Fork.

A few hundred feet beyond the junction Tim, Bryan and I stopped to allow Gordon to catch up and while we were waiting, the landscape turned a golden color as a gap in the cloud cover allowed the brief appearance of the sun, lighting up the surrounding peaks and ridges - a nice substitute for the yellow and red aspen that we might have seen at Willow Heights.  This illumination continued until a few minutes after Gordon arrived when the colors shifted to a cool blue and darkness started gathering around us as we made our way along the trail around the lake.  Had we more available daylight, we would have taken a right-hand turn from the trail and followed the old road past the Big Cottonwood mine, but we chose, instead, an unknown trail that stayed lower and closer to the lake.  Initially a well-defined trail, it seemed to end suddenly in the trees and we struck up the hill, following a vestige of a path in the desired direction, managing the occasional obstacle and rejoining a trail that appeared below us - apparently a continuation of what we'd thought had been a dead end.

Hopping the occasional small stream that fed Lake Dog, we entered a stand of trees finding an area that had seen frequent camping where we briefly lost the trail until it was spotted below us by Bryan, closing the loop in the gloaming.  From there, we closed the loop, making our way back down the trail we'd just come up, returning to the parking lot in darkness.

After making our way down the canyon, we all headed over to the Porcupine where the four of us had a nice evening meal, celebrating the now-finished 2020 hiking season, good friends and the future before going our separate ways.

191514B - Tim and Clint near the shore of Lake Dog.
5043 - The sky lighting up with a warm glow just before sunset.  See also #192651T.
192911B - Lake Dog at the peak of Alpenglow.  See also #s 5049 and 192745T
192539T - Clint, taking pictures of the alplenglow.
5052 - Clint, taking a picture of Tim picturing me.
5058 - The obligatory group picture, backgrounded by Lake Dog.  L->R:  Bryan, Gordon, Tim and Clint.

Photos with a "B" suffix were taken by Bryan and those with a "T" suffix were taken by (you guessed it...) Tim.

Panoramæ from the area:

Many panoramæ were seen, but none were captured to silicon.

Comments about pictures/video/audio taken by Clint:

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This page maintained by Clint Turner, KA7OEI and was last updated on 20201003
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