As a child, a family tradition was to hike to Dog Lake. I remember singing camp songs as I marched happily along the trail. I remember blue skies, and the smell of spruces and wildflowers. I remember being relieved to find that there weren't dogs at Dog Lake. I remember fun.
I shared these memories with The King with the desire that maybe our family could go to Dog Lake too. The kids should be able to handle it, after all, I did at their age. And of course, it wouldn't be a problem for us because my parents could handle it.
I researched the trail. Despite what my Mom said, there was no mention of Dog Lake in Mill Creek Canyon. There was, however, a Dog Lake in Big Cottonwood Canyon. My Mom said that the trail in Big Cottonwood Canyon was not the trail we walked, but that it did connect to the same Dog Lake.
The website said that the Dog Lake trail was half of a mile long, and was described as "easy." I was fairly convinced that this must've been the same trail that I had walked as a child, and decided that even if it wasn't the same trail, we ought to give it a try.
On Saturday, we prepared for our adventure. Good walking shoes? Check. Water? Check. And away we go.
We arrive at Brighton Ski Resort near the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon, and find the trail head. The sign informs us that the trail was actually .75 miles long. We weren't worried, a quarter-mile ain't nothin'!
The trail started out going up. I was tired, exhausted, in pain... it became very clear to me that I was out of shape. Particularly when a man with a broken leg on crutches passed us up. Talk about a blow to the ego.
As we reached a relatively flat part of the trail, we noticed a beautiful waterfall up in the distance. I pulled out the camera and snapped a photo of it, using all the zoom capabilities available to me.
We continued our climb, and finally reached a plateau where a sign informed us that Dog Lake was only 500 feet away. We had made it!
Dog Lake wasn't quite as I remembered it. It seemed rather swampy, and very small. I figured that since I had been much smaller the last time I had seen it, it must've just been my perception. I did know, however, that this climb to Dog Lake was definitely, positively, NOT the one I had experienced as a child.
We explored the lake for a few minutes, and decided that we would begin our hike back down after we had checked out the spring we could hear nearby. We shortly discovered that this was not just a spring, nor was it just a river. This river, was actually the waterfall! In the course of this hike, we were now on top of the waterfall which we had first seen when it was oh so far away.
We progressed back down the mountain, much faster than we had climbed up the mountain, though The Princess and The Dragon were grateful to hang on to The King's hands as they tended to slip and slide down the trail.
Once at the bottom, we glanced at the map once again. Apparently we had traveled 580 feet upwards, during our .75 mile journey. No wonder my legs were killing me.
Further research informed us that there are actually TWO Dog Lakes. One can be reached from Mill Creek Canyon (by either the Big Water or Little Water trails) and Big Cottonwood Canyon, and the other... well, we know all about the other.
Maybe in a few weeks we'll try the Dog Lake that I actually remember.