Well, After months of moving, settling in, and traveling, I am finally posting about one of the most beautiful places I’ve been. Bald Mountain in Utah’s Uinta Mountains is a short out and back hike, about a mile one way. The altitude is pretty high, just over 12,000 feet at the top, so make sure that you are acclimated to hike uphill at that altitude. It was a little slow going for us, due to the lack of okygen at that altitude, but it was so beautiful anyway it was perfectly fine to take our time.
The trail meanders through mostly rock fields. Near the summit, the trail ran along the cliff and up steep steps made out of rock. It was a beautiful trail that had great views due to the fact that there were no mountains obstructing your view. In the Uintas there are small lakes everywhere, and it was so cool to see from the summit.
On Saturday, I got together with a couple of my buddies, Stephen and Tyler, and we went exploring up Salt Lake City’s Big Cottonwood Canyon. We took the quick jaunt up to Donut Falls and then drove up to Guardsman Pass where we summited Venture Peak and took a dip in Bloods Lake.
Unfortunately, I didn’t being my camera to Venture Peak, or Bloods lake, so those pictures are missing. Regardless, we had a great time hiking all over. The water in Bloods Lake was cooler than I remembered from out 4th of July adventure over there, but that didn’t stop Tyler from jumping right in. Stephen and I followed after a few minutes of debate.
It’s always good to get some friends together and explore the world.
A few weeks ago–yes I’m really late getting this posted–we went on a hike to Stewart Falls with our good friend Chelsey and Sean and their boy Jude. I have seen Stewart Falls from my hike to the top on Timponogos, but not from the Aspen Grove Trail. It was a warm day, but that didn’t stop us. The hike was relatively short, but the scenery was very pretty. Soon, we reached the falls and we were greeted by crowds of people. Sean and I found a way up and climbed to the top of the falls for a spectacular view. I am always looking for any excuse to get out into nature and this was a great time!
Sadly, Chelsey and Sean now live in Omaha. I’m not sure what kind of hiking is out there, but I imagine it can’t be anything like the canyons on Utah.
Mt. Timpanogos is a mountain that has been on my bucket list for a while. I’m sure it’s on the bucket list for most people that reside in Utah. It is a bit of a long hike, about 14 miles round trip with about 4,500 feet in elevation gain. It is the second highest mountain in the Wasatch range. The tallest, Mt. Nebo, is higher by a mere 179 feet. If you take a gander at the picture above, Mt. Nebo is actually pictured at the far right, way in the background there.
Koda and I got a later start than I would have normally liked. That is how it usually goes around here for us, though. I hit up McDonald’s breakfast on the way down to Happy Valley, gotta keep with tradition. We drove up American Fork Canyon and watched the temperature plummet to about 49 degress. It was wonderful to see considering it was in the high 90s at the valley floor that day.
We arrived at the Timpooneke campground/trailhead and began our summit attempt at 8:50 AM. Although, what I thought was going to be a wonderfully low 50s begin to the hike was a great lie. I was furious as it seemed that a pocket of hot and humid air followed along the trail with us for the first few miles. It was a little infuriating, but as we gained elevation the heat dissipated.
During the first few miles, we were surrounded by dense foliage on either side of the trail and we passed through forests of my favorite tree, the Quaking Aspen. It was a beautiful hike with streams and waterfalls all along the way. If you ever want a good hike, but don’t feel like climbing an entire mountain, I would recommend hiking this trail up to Scout Falls.
As we ascended higher and higher, we started to come across small patches of snow that kept growing and growing. The snow was on its way out for the year, but there was still plenty of it to fight with along the way. In fact, the scariest part of our hike came as we were crossing a snow field that was covering a rapidly flowing stream. I deemed it safe enough to cross, at least that’s how it was perceived from our end. However, as we crossed over the snow towards the other side, unbeknownst to us, the snow became very thin. My leg fell through the snow and I clung to a rock on the other side of the stream. I wasn’t too worried, it seemed straightforward enough to get out. That is, until I saw there was about a five foot drop between where I was stuck and the fast flowing water below. Surely, I would be swept under the snow and be stuck where I would struggle against freezing water to escape. Thankfully, I was able to clutch onto a rock and pull myself up to safety. Koda didn’t seemed phased in the least.
We ventured onward towards the summit and the snow fields just kept on growing. Eventually, we were hiking on nothing but snow with little patches of dirt trail as our next goal. It wasn’t too bad actually, and Koda handled it like a champ.
What I found to be the most frustrating was to try to decipher where the trail actually was leading. We took several wrong turns following what I thought were footprints that would lead to the top, that turned out to be nothing but dead ends. As we ascended higher, too, the trail traversed steeper and steeper slopes, insomuch that as we had to watch our step as we hiked along the snow as to not slide down the mountain. We wouldn’t have been hurt from sliding down the mountain, but we would have to re-climb great sections of the trail, and that was something that I didn’t have the time nor the energy for.
Eventually, after a series of extremely steep and sketchy sections of snow, the footprints we were following stopped. They just ended and we were stuck. There were some people we had passed along the way previously, so I decided it would be best to wait for them to catch up. They soon did, and together, we contemplated the best plan of action. Brian and Crystle were their names, and they quickly became friends with Koda and I. Soon, another guy, Marcus, caught up to us as well. We forged through the untracked snow as a group. I slipped once and fell a couple of feet, but Crystle had the biggest scare as she slipped from the snow and began sliding down the mountain. Soon, she was able to self-arrest (an ice axe would have done wonders here), but she had to make the steep climb back up to the trail, and by the time she reached the trail, her hands were swollen and numb. We pressed on.
Soon, we reached the coveted saddle. This is the first section of the mountain with views of Utah Valley, and boy are they breathtaking. From this spot of the hike, the trail crosses over the saddle and climbs up the other side. The trail is steep, rocky, and high in altitude, but it is only a half mile to the top.
After stopping every couple of hundred feet, at about 2:30 PM, we made it to the top. The views were amazing and we were so happy to be at the top after such a crazy climb. That snow sure made it way more challenging than it needed to be.
The hike down was our worry, but it soon became my favorite part of the trip. As we reached the steep sections of snow fields, we noticed that several other people simply sat on the snow and slid down. We gave it a try and had a blast! We found 3 different quite long sections of snow to slide down, and even had some races. Koda followed along by running along side of us. It looked more like he was trying to swim down the mountain. He seemed to have a bunch of fun as well, though.
The rest of the way down was uneventful, but still just as pretty. We reached that parking lot between 7:00 and 7:30 PM. It took longer than it would have normally, but it was well worth it. The hike was amazing, though, and beautiful. It was a great adventure.
Last week we drove out to San Francisco and then down Highway 1 to Los Angeles. Kiana has been updating her blog with all of our adventures from the trip, so I figure I would keep my overview to the outdoorsy-ish pictures to keep with the theme of my blog. All of her blog posts can be found at twopepers.com.
The first stop we made on the drive out was at the Salt Flats in Utah. There is a rest stop along I-80 where you can park and venture out onto the salt. Don’t be like me and go out there barefoot. It is the most painful thing I can fathom. I don’t believe the flats are usually covered in water like they are here, but it has been raining in Utah more than usual the past month.
We spent a few days exploring San Francisco together, and it was a blast. One of my favorite parts of the trip we didn’t even plan on seeing. It was across the Golden Gate Bridge. There is a road that takes you to the Point Bonita Lighthouse. It was such a cool drive with awesome scenery. We had a great view of the city from there as well.
After San Francisco, we headed down the Pacific Coast Highway to Los Angeles! Easily the most beautiful part of the trip was along Big Sur. We definitely need to do some backpacking in that area in the near future.
Kiana almost had a heart attack over seeing these beach cows
On Memorial Day, Koda and I took a drive down to Pleasant Grove for the hardest hike I have done to date. We got a later start than I would have liked, but it was fine. The hike began at the Grove Creek trail head. We headed up the trail towards a stack of waterfalls. The trail cut across steep cliffs and over loose rock. It was one of the more scenically beautiful hikes that I have taken. I was bummed at first, though, that Mount Timpanogos was socked in behind clouds. This was one of the main reasons I wanted to take this hike in the first place, to see the face of Mount Timpanogos close up.
In order to get to the peak, I simply followed the Grove Creek trail for just over 2 miles. There is a bench on the left side of the trail. Just a few feet past this bench is where the horribleness begins. Head straight up the hillside scrambling up the loose rock. Be careful not to kick these rocks too hard as there may be hikers on the trail below. The main goal here is to climb up to the ridge toward the prominent mountain straight ahead. This ridge is steep, so even when you get to the ridge, your troubles are not over. I seriously contemplated turning back several times here, but ultimately decided to press on.
Once up to the ridge, the goal is to try to access what is known as the upper ridge. I found it easiest to cut across the side of the mountain from the first ridge at an angle and then head up to the upper ridge. I found myself having to rest every 5-10 steps during this section of the hike. It was so brutal. Koda wasn’t enjoying this portion either, but he was a good sport about it all. (He especially didn’t appreciate the loose rock at the bottom section.)
Finally, finally, you will reach the upper ridge. I decided it was a great spot to eat some of my ham, cheese, and avocado sandwiches. That’s when my luck turned extra sour. Dark clouds, rain, and some thunder started rolling in. The steep portion of the hiking was done, and I could see the summit so close to me, but I was not about to take any chances of getting struck by lightning. So, I had to call off my push to the summit. After all of that hard work!
Koda and I raced back down as fast as we could to avoid the storm. By the time we had retraced our steps back to the bottom, the sun was back out and the heat came with it. I probably would have been okay to make it to the summit if we would have waited for the storm to pass, but that wasn’t a risk I was willing to take.
As we drove away, we caught a glimpse of Timpanogos coming out to play. Yesterday, was a bunch of bad luck strokes, but it was still a good hike overall.
Oh, the best part was I took along our new Nikon D3300 with us! I’m am so excited that we finally have a great camera to take along on our adventures!
Woah! It has been a while since my last update. This last semester was a killer, but I did spend most of my free time in April skiing, so all was well!
Not too long ago, Koda and I went on a hike in Millcreek Canyon. We ventured up a few miles to the top of Grandeur Peak. The hike was decent, not nearly as fun or pretty as Deseret Peak; however, it was a more enjoyable hike than Mount Aire by a long shot.
It was a fairly steep hike, I think about 1,000 feet in elevation gain per mile. Which means it is about as steep as Mount Olympus next door. We began at Church Fork in Millcreek Canyon and headed straight up at a fairly quick pace. Koda had a blast running through the streams and wondering out to the snow drifts. I cannot wait for the higher elevation snow to melt to get going on some of our more adventurous hikes! I have the Bullion Divide, Mt. Timpanogos, and King’s Peak on my agenda for this summer. I’m hoping that I will have time for some more as well!
Last week, we spent a good few days exploring Southern Idaho. Namely, the Snake River Plains and Sun Valley in the Pioneer Mountains. We ventured out to places we haven’t seen before. One of these places, which I haven’t been to since I was really little, was Craters of the Moon. It’s a bizarre area in the middle of Southern Idaho filled volcanic rock and old lava flows. Additionally, there are many caves to explore. We ventured into a few, and had a good time.
We even climbed up this little volcano called Inferno Cone. It was a 0.2 mile hike one way. (Tough, right?) but it let me add another peak to my PeakBagger ascent list!
We went into a few caves. Sadly, we forgot or cool headlamp at home, so we were stuck using our LED lights on our phones. The coolest cave, Indian Tunnel, had high 50 foot ceiling and holes in the roof to act as skylights.
Crater’s of the Moon is a great place to stop for a couple of hours. I wouldn’t necessarily say it was a destination park like Yellowstone. However, it is cool to know what kind of crazy stuff exits right in our backyard.
Oh, and check out Kiana’s post on Craters of the Moon on Two Pepers.
Today Koda and I decided it would be a good idea to bag a couple of peaks since Kiana is out of town. The weather was pretty, but cool, and once we parked my phone notified me of a high wind advisory for Salt Lake. Oh. It’s a quick hike (we finished in about 2 hours), with a decent view of the valley and surrounding areas. We summited Red Butte (pictured above left, although the peak is not visible) and Mt. Wire (picture in the background above right).
To get to the trailhead head East on 400 S towards the University of Utah. Follow this road as it winds up the hill and around. Turn left on Wakara Way, the right on Colorow Rd. You can park along here, or possibly closer. I just parked along this road. Follow the trail up towards the mountains. (There is a spiderweb of trails up here, but as long as you take them straight up they should eventually converge into the main trail.) If you have ever hiked The Living Room before, this is the same trail.
Follow the trail up the mountain. Eventually, you will reach the fork to get to The Living Room. Don’t take that path. Instead, take the fork to the right to continue your way up. Soon, you will reach a “T” in the trail. The left side of the “T” will take you to Red Butte (about 100 feet away), then the right will eventually lead you to Mr. Wire (about a half mile). That’s it! It’s a pretty straightforward hike, with some not-so-pretty shrubbery. It’s a good thing the views make up for it.
Along the trail we hit ridge for a bit and the winds picked up. On top of Red Butte they were screaming. And freezing. Here’s a video to prove it:
Tower at the summit of Mt. Wire I tried to climb, but the wind was too intense.
Today we took a short hike up to what’s called The Living Room. It’s is just under a 3 mile hike (out and back) behind the University of Utah. It was chillier than it has been this morning, although, it was still probably warmer than average Salt Lake February mornings. It was bright and sunny as we started our ascent. Once we reached the ridge, however, a great dark cloud rolled overhead and the wind picked up. I wasn’t wearing my jacket, but I was glad that I brought it. It was painful to watch the people hiking down in shorts and a t-shirt.
At the top, there were couches and chairs made out of rocks, and even remotes left behind. Quite the good view of the Salt Lake Valley and the Great Salt Lake as well.