Meadow Magic: Mushrooms, Strawberries, and Brook Trout in the Fishlakes
Terry, who spends a good amount of time camping in the Fishlakes every year, was eager to show us a meadow he’d come upon last year. Unfortunately mid-September snows last fall had closed many of the forest roads early and we’d had to delay our trip. However, as avowed mountain meadow enthusiasts we put it on our list and thus made the trip on our visit to Utah.
Following Terry’s directions we passed the always-beautiful Anderson Meadows Reservoir and LeBaron Lake before turning off on an unmarked forest road and parking. Terry’s previous experience had been that the “road” was pretty iffy – even for a 4wd truck – and so we decided to walk the switchbacks down to the meadow. Once there we walked west toward the ribbon of water cutting through the healthy grasses. En route we came upon the first of many mushrooms, stunning in their colors and patterns. Once we reached the steep bank dropping to the thin stream of water we found ourselves in the first of many wild strawberry patches. Wild raspberries are not uncommon to come across while hiking in the mountains in southwest Utah but strawberries are decidedly less common. We feasted.
Despite the paltry amount of water in the creek so close to the headwaters we spent close to an hour stalking the brook trout, excitedly pointing them out as they darted under the cover of the shaded banks as we marched west. I took many a video attempting to capture the plentiful-but-shy fish but sadly neglected to capture any fish in the still photos I took.
We spent a total of a few hours walking the central meadow and exploring some side meadows, relishing the green and lush grasses bordered by spruce and aspen. This being one of first hikes back in the Utah mountains I particularly enjoyed the bright blue skies and listening to the wind in the trees; I don’t think I could have asked for a better day.