ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

My Day at Desolation Lake

I didn't have anything to do to day and I didn't want to do it sitting in a hotel room, so I decided to take a hike. I googled the best day hikes around Salt Lake City and did some research. The words Desolation Lake kept showing up. How could an author of all things dark not take a hike to Desolation Lake. What the perfect name.

So I got up this morning and took a short twenty minute drive from my hotel in the city to the trail head in the Wasatch Mountains. I like that it's so close. After a winding trip through forests and into the mountains, I arrived at the trail head. There was a sign about glacier movements. Desolation Lake was derived from a glacier.

Then I began the trek. The websites said it was a moderate hike and about 8 miles or 12.5 kilometers. It started out uphill. I'm not sure what I was thinking, but it kept being uphill for kilometer after kilometer. Holy damn but my legs and calves were smoking. My average heartbeat was 120 and I was breathing heavy. I tried to take pictures and look around, but for much of the ascent, I was watching the trail in front of me. 

I achieved the summit and the lake in 100 minutes, about twenty minutes ahead of schedule. Must have been my old Army DNA kicking in. I put my head down and my feet in front of me and took the hill.

Desolation Lake was beautiful. It had a glacial blue quality to it, but it also had a green tinge and a rust brown tinge. Not sure if these were from the reflections or what was in the water. I tried to capture it in several pictures. The lake itself is fed from snow melt and has no other source. 

And of course, I took a drink of the water in Desolation Lake. I mean how could I not?

The trip down was much easier, although six kilometers downhill was tough on my joints. I passed several other hikers and dodged some bikers who were descending at insane speeds (but looked like fun). I saw a chipmunk, some long red weasel who was too fast for me to take a picture of, and a dark blue Stellars Jay.

I also met a man from Alabama who'd never seen mountains this big, so he decided to hike them. Turns out that the trail head has an elevation of 7260 feet and the lake lies at 9760 feet. My watch told me that it was an ascent of  602 meters and a total descent of 780 meters. Uphill was murderous so I told him, "It's all uphill from here." He laughed with good humor.

One of the websites said this - "The 1900 ft elevation gain from the trailhead to the lake is not one of the more strenuous grades in the Wasatch, but there are some stretches that are downright nasty. (My hiking buddy commented "This is one steep Mother--I think he was talking about Mother Nature). On the whole, the trail varies between very steep to nice, easy stretches of flatness."

I totally agree about the downright nasty stretches, but as far as the easy stretches of flatness? What trail are they talking about?

I encountered a Van Gogh palette of wildflowers, aspens rising like white sentinels all along the trail, and towering mountains in every direction. I also saw snow. In fact, I stood in some snow. In June!

And add to that I burned 880 calories on the ascent and 1259 total.

So here are some pictures I thought I'd share. Enjoy!

3 hours 20 Minutes

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