Our lightweight backpacking weekend plans went through a few small changes the week before we set out. To say the least. First we were going to hike near Timpanogos Peak. Then the forecast looked like it would be in the 100s in the valley, which would be way too hot in that area to enjoy it. Then we decided to bring the dog. As in 11 month old energetic cattle dog Spot, who had never camped before and was sure to walk his sharp claws all over our delicate, expensive, weight-measured-in-ounces-not-pounds air mattresses and down bags.
So the backpacking trip, ostensibly to see if my gear was ready for a longer backcountry hike, became a car camping trip. The Uintas seemed like a place to escape from the heat of the valley. Unfortunately, we didn't really know where to car camp, with our stringent requirements of great views, no bugs, water nearby, easy to get to, hiking trails, and no one nearby. Hah. I'm sure such a thing exists, but it is (and should be) hard to find. After driving down a few bumpy gravel roads, we finally passed the point of no return on one (as in there was no way I wanted to turn around and drive it again for nothing), and decided we would continue on until we came upon a camp site. Amazingly, we did. It was isolated, with a little stream, nice views, and close enough to a place to hike the next day. But the bugs...yuk. Luckily we brought head nets is all I can say.
Aside from mosquitos it was nice, and Spot managed to be polite in the tent and not pop our heavier and more comfortable air mattresses. The next morning we took him on a hike down the road/trail, which dead ended in about 4 miles so we saw only a couple of people all day. We did find a few nice small lakes, and near the end of the hike, we finally found Echo Lake, where Spot jumped in and swam around of his own volition. It looked inviting, so we jumped in too. Even at above 9000 feet, temperatures were in the 80s and we had been carrying our packs for training. It was nice to cool off and chase the dog by the lake.
Spot was exhausted by the time we got into camp, and ate more for supper than I've ever seen. Luckily being tired meant he was very good in the tent that night! I guess if we want to use our lightweight gear we need to make sure he is good and tired before we hop in the tent :)