Tag Archives: snow

i’m in it for the commercials

We missed our normal New Year’s party at Happy Fish this year. With the holiday falling mid-week, resetting PTO banks and just all around difficulties coordinating, we did NYE in town and avoided the hassle. Since our last group outing to the cabin was back in July, we thought celebrating Super Bowl Sunday at Happy Fish sounded like a great plan.



We made plans for everyone to arrive either Friday or Saturday and head home Sunday or Monday. Lisa, Jeanne, Jer, Cheryl and Rob all made it to the cabin Friday, while Col and I drove up from SGU Saturday after he got off work. We also invited Hayley and Lance for their first Happy Fish trip, and they drove down from SLC on Saturday.




There was a pretty good amount of snow on the ground when we arrived, and the temperatures were pretty frigid. The lake didn’t look to be completely frozen yet, which was surprising given how cold our winter has been. Lisa said she can’t remember another time it wasn’t frozen all the way out. Even with the snow, everyone was able to get their cars all the way in, so no snow shoeing and hauling supplies was necessary. It snowed a couple times over the weekend, and some of us were hoping we’d get snowed in and not be able to leave Monday. But, there was no such luck.




We enjoyed a fun Saturday night drinking, playing games and having fun (for some of us a little too much fun). On Sunday we spent the morning decorating for the game and getting all our food ready. We probably overdid it with our menu planning, but we enjoyed all the traditional game day snacks and delicacies…queso dip (2 kinds!), cocktail weenies and meatballs. I also made a big pot of chicken cilantro soup that came out really good.




For once we actually had fans on both sides of the game. So, the rivalry and trash talk promised to be good. That was, until there simply wasn’t a game. It became clear very early on that it would have just been mean to trash talk Denver, so we mostly all just enjoyed the commercials and hoped Cheryl didn’t go on a rampage on us. We lucked out and nobody was injured.


This was Kendall’s first Happy Fish trip, and she had a blast. We had been wondering what she would do unleashed in deep snow, and she cracked us up hopping through it. She didn’t seem to like the really deep stuff and would get nervous if she got too far into it. She loved playing around the cabin and hanging out on the deck, even though it was cold out. I think she’ll really enjoy our summer trips up when she can run loose in the meadow. It was quite the dog weekend with four pups in the cabin always underfoot…especially when there was activity in the kitchen.




We spent Monday morning playing darts and hanging out before starting the inevitable (and always hated) process of cleaning and packing to go home. Luckily the weather was pretty nice for the drive home, so we didn’t have to worry about bad road conditions.




It was fun to have a new reason to party at Happy Fish. As usual, it’s a special place for us all, and good times reigned supreme.




It doesn’t snow often in Southern Utah, and when it does it’s usually a dusting. On Saturday we got nailed with an arctic storm that dumped a lot of white fluffy flakes. It pretty much shut down the city since there are no snow plows or salt trucks to keep the roads clear. It caused a lot of hassles, but on Sunday the day was sunny and clear, and the snow was really amazing!















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peach champagne and stogies

The latter part of December was a killer for me. With a ton of work travel and a whirlwind trip to LA for Christmas (barely 36 hours on the ground), I was really looking forward to the annual Happy Fish New Year’s trip.


We headed up in two groups on Saturday. Lisa, Cheryl and Jer left early to do the shopping, while Jeanne, Col and I got a later start. We were the official dog carrier with Lucy, Ricky and Bailey riding with us. Fortunately the weather was clear and the drive was nice and easy.


Lisa and Jeanne had been at the cabin for Christmas when there was a bit of snow, but not a lot. A storm blew through in the middle of the week, so there was a little more snow for New Year’s, although not as much as two years ago when we had to snowshoe in with all our supplies. We were able to get the trucks all the way in to the cabin, but people staying further up the road needed snowmobiles to make it in.


Our schedule was a little different this year. Instead of arriving late at night, we got to Happy Fish late in the afternoon and still had plenty of daylight to get settled, make dinner and enjoy the evening. With two full days before New Year’s Eve, we paced ourselves pretty well. Sunday morning was clear and cold, so Jer, Lisa, Col and I bundled up and made the trek up the road to a good sledding spot. We packed a backpack of cold beer for fuel and hauled the sleds and tubes to a great spot we’ve used previously. It took a while to groom a good track, including building up some edges to prevent the sleds from shooting off into some rocks and trees, but in the end we had a great track that made for some good runs. The altitude was definitely a factor with all that activity, so we took plenty of beer breaks.


Monday we lounged around most of the day before setting up for the evening, including our balloon drop. We had a great fajita dinner and played lots of drinking games to get ready for the main event. No NYE would be complete without the annual dollar store gift exchange complete with best wrapping prize.


We celebrated the countdown with champagne and lots of kisses, then broke out all our glow sticks and bracelets for our own version of a disco. We capped the night off with some cigars and a wee morning romp in the snow covered meadow (Jeanne made a snow angel…and it was barely above 10 degrees!).


It was tough leaving on New Year’s day, but we packed up and made the drive back to St. George. Col and I had dog transport duty, and also had to drive up to Scipio to pick up Sydney who had spent the holiday with Col’s parents. It was a long day of driving, but well worth the fun.


I treasure my New Year’s trips to Happy Fish. It’s always a great way to say farewell to the outgoing year of good times and welcome a new one that will hopefully be as jam packed with adventures. Thanks, Happy Fish for all the good times!


Here is the complete photoset from this trip: New Year’s 2013 – Happy Fish

not so desolate

A pretty big system moved through late last week and dumped a lot of fresh snow in the upper elevations. A high pressure immediately following the storm brought sunny skies and balmy temperatures. So, what better way to spend a Sunday than in the mountains?

Col, MPK, Shawn, Brandon and I headed up Big Cottonwood Canyon to snowshoe up the Mill D trail to Desolation Lake. Avalanche risks were extremely high in all the canyons over the weekend, but Mill D is a pretty safe trail and isn’t directly under any steep slopes. We expected the trail to be packed, as it’s one of the few without the avalanche risk, but were pleasantly surprised to be some of the only people heading out.

I didn’t take the GPS, so I have no idea the distance, and I didn’t really even pay attention to time, so I have no idea how long we were out. I’d say we spent about 3.5 hours round trip, although we went up at a very leisurely pace (we did get hand clapping once from MPK for apparently going off task and taking too long of a break). The trail starts out as a gradual climb, then levels out for a while in a nice ravine before reaching the trail fork. Heading left leads to Dog Lake, while right climbs to Desolation Lake. According to MPK either choice is about the same distance and intensity, but he lies a lot about distance and intensity, so I’m not sure that’s true. We took the right fork and make a moderately steady climb that culminates in a beautiful, flat meadow that I’m sure gets some nice wildflowers in the late summer.

We found a nice spot and made some snow-bowl chairs to relax for a snack. MPK was generous and shared the beer he brought with him, so we had quite the nice relaxation station going on.

One thing most of us forgot about was the reflection of the sun on the snow. While foreheads and scalps remained unscathed, a few of us ended up with bad sunburns on our chins and necks. It’s easy to forget the dangerous combination of a sunny day on snow can have some nasty effects!

After our break, we headed back down the mountain. We made really good time and passed a lot more people heading up the trail. It definitely pays off to get into the canyons early on the weekends to beat the crowds! We had a great beer and food fest at Porcupine Pub & Grille where I enjoyed their “world famous” chicken noodle soup.

Later, I realized we didn’t actually make it as far as the lake. I had never been, and MPK had only been once, and with all the snow covering everything it was hard to tell if we were on the lake. Turns out we were still about five minutes away from it. Oh well…at least there was beer.

bait and switch

We had such a wet winter and spring and a mild summer in Utah. So, the fall colors are pretty much guaranteed to be awesome. A few of us decided to head up to Happy Fish to see the colors on the “Quakies” before it was too late. Fish Lake is above 9,000 feet, so the fall is relatively short.

I finally convinced MPK to stop being a pussy and come with us to the cabin. He, Bailey and I headed down on Friday after work to meet Lisa and Jeanne there, and Col joined us on Saturday. I can basically do this drive with my eyes closed, and there’s never much of interest along the way. So, it was quite a nice surprise to see the goat normally tied by the side of the road in Aurora has a new friend.

We knew it would be cold at the cabin. We even figured there might be some snow on the peaks around the lake. We were not really prepared to drive up a snow covered road and driveway and see the cabin covered in snow and icicles. It was starting to look more like the annual New Year’s trip than a fall color tour. We opened up the cabin and shoveled the 4 or 5 inches of snow off the deck in front of the door, then started getting things heated up so we could thaw.

Saturday was mostly clear and sunny. MPK, Bailey and I took a walk down to the lake. The trail was mostly snow covered until we got near the lakeshore where it turned to thick, deep mud. Bailey enjoyed that, as usual. We made the circle loop over to the marina, then back to the cabin. Col arrived and we all loaded up and took MPK for a drive over to the lodge, then up to Porcupine Point for a nice view from the eastern end of Fish Lake. An evening with good food, good beer and fun games wrapped up the day for us.

Sunday was partly cloudy and pretty cold. Determined to make it a fall trip rather than a winter one, Lisa broke out the deck furniture. I made Bloody Marys and we all sat outside bundled up enjoying the fresh air.

Before lunch, we loaded up in my car to drive to a peak on the south shore of the lake. The roads cross federal lands and are mostly used by hunters. The elk hunt had just opened the day before, so MPK insisted we all wear orange to avoid any incidents. We drove for about 45 minutes on the rutted dirt roads…it was my Escape’s first real off road experience. We made it to the peak and enjoyed the view and a few beers in the cold. On the way back down the mountain a DNR officer stopped us to make sure we weren’t poachers.

At the bottom of the road there was a large mud bog, so we decided to have a little fun. After a slow pass to clear all the cows out of the way, we opened it up and bounced through the mud holes. Jeanne doesn’t love our little road adventures. She thinks it’s boring to sit in the back and get bounced around, so I jumped out to take some photos of her having fun in my car and the mud. To show her appreciation, she promptly sprayed me with cow-shit mud. Thanks, Jeanne.

About that time we heard several shots in the trees above us. We realized we’d been making so much noise, we probably scared the deer or elk up and into the hunting areas. Oops. Sorry, guys.

We headed back to the cabin for lunch before shutting things down to head home. Of course as we were ready to leave, the snow had mostly melted and the weather was warming up. We may not have had quite the fall color weekend we were expecting, but Happy Fish is always a good time.

Here is the photoset for this trip: Fish Lake – October 2011

bite me, utah

We’re heading into late July, so I thought it would be nice to head up to the Albion Basin at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon to check out the wildflowers. No such luck. It may be mid summer on the calendar, but in Utah’s high country, it might as well still be winter.

Normally, the service road is open all the way up to the campground by this time of year. But, it’s still closed, as is the campground. We parked at the base lot and hiked up the service road to the Cecret Lake trailhead. We expected blankets of wildflowers on the hike, but there were only a handful of barely sprouted blooms peeking up. It will easily be two to three weeks before anything is blooming up there.

The trail to Cecret Lake was completely snow covered. We started to tackle it, but then decided the steep parts would be iced over still. Without even YakTrax, we figured it was best to nix that part of the hike. So, we slogged through mud and snow and did a circle of the Basin, returning to the service road.

We actually passed one dude coming down the trail with his ski equipment, and there were visible ski marks down the still snow covered faces of some of the peaks.

We’ll head back next month to see if we can catch some of the wildflower show. Cecret Lake is normally a mellow hike with some great views. Anyone looking for an easy hike should check it out. It’s obviously ADA accessible, too, since we caught this on the way down.