Sherrie and I had two big adventures this week. We started our PADI open water diver certification classes, and we went on a big hike with Sherrie’s brother Kevin.
When Sherrie was younger, she always dreamed of being a marine biologist. Growing up in Utah made that a far away dream. We’ve had a couple of trips to Hawaii and California where she’s had the opportunity to snorkel, but the idea of learning to scuba dive was something that seemed out of reach, or even out of our conscious thought. On our recent trip to Southern Utah, we learned that our friend Glen, who is an experienced diver, was planning a diving trip to Cozumel in December, and the thought occurred to me that this was our opportunity to learn to scuba and help Sherrie get closer to something that’s been a dream of hers for a long time.
So we took the plunge, so to speak, and started a dive class this week with a local establishment that teaches classes here in Brigham City (yes, Brigham City!). We took our first class this week. Learning to scuba is a bit intimidating. They talk about all the things that can go wrong and teach methods to cope with potential problems. It’s technical, because you have learn how to use the equipment. There’s a lot to keep in your head, and you have to learn a new language–that is, you have to learn to talk underwater with hand signals. And, it’s scary to be under water breathing through a tube! But we’ve started, and we’re looking forward to learning more and becoming more comfortable as we learn. Our “graduation” if you will is to do four “open water” dives, which for most Utahns who learn to dive happens in a hot spring crater in Midway called the Homestead Caldera. We’re looking forward to learning more and becoming more comfortable and less anxious while in the water!
Our other great adventure this week was a loooonnnnnggg hike in the Uintahs with Sherrie’s brother Kevin. We started at Trial Lake and hiked north through notch pass. Our original goal was to hike over the pass and go to Ibantik Lake. We got there early in the afternoon and decided to continue our hike further and go all the way to Meadow Lake. Here’s a screenshot of the track:
The hike was probably 7 miles each direction, with about 900 feet of climb up to Notch Pass. Our endpoint of Meadow Lake is about the same altitude as Trial Lake, so it was up, down, up, down for 1800 feet of climbing. It was a long day, and we were tired at the end, but it was awesome!
We had some fun things on the hike: (1) we caught fish at most of the lakes where we stopped (Wall, Lovenia, Ibantik, and Meadow), and (2) we saw tons of wildflowers! We also saw a mountain goat near the summit of the east portion of Notch Mountain. It was walking along the ridgeline up high, and we could easily spot its silhouette. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen a goat in the Uintahs!
Wildflowers near Notch Pass:
Panorama looking south toward Wall and Trial Lakes from Notch Pass:
Panorama of Ibantik Lake (One-half of Notch Mountain in the back left; Notch Pass is the dip in mountains near the middle of the picture. This view is looking almost due south):
Sherrie with a fish on the line at Ibantik:
Michael on the trail somewhere:Michael with a monster (!) but colorful Brookie at Ibantik:
Yes, it is the middle of the summer, and I am wearing a warm jacket in that last picture. Early in the afternoon at Ibantik, a small rainstorm blew in and cooled us off quite a bit. It warmed up later, but it was a nice respite.
The trail on the north side of Ibantik to Meadow is some of the most beautiful terrain I’ve seen in the Uintahs. It was great to be there, out in nature, enjoying a beautiful day with Sherrie and Kevin.