Root Family

Root Family

Aug 25, 2010

Stewart Falls Birthday Hike

Sometimes I'm a nature snob. I'll start thinking that popular places to hike are overrated or only for those not willing to venture out further into lesser known areas. Or maybe I start underrating them because I think they are too crowded. But sometimes I am reminded that there's a reason they are popular and crowded and it's okay. Stewart Falls is exactly in that category. It's a fairly easy 2 miles each way, easy even for young families, the trail from Aspen Grove is shaded most of the way so it can even be done on a hot day, and the falls are beautiful.

I had talked with Tyler about doing a number of outdoor things for my birthday together, but we decided to do this hike with our whole family and I don't regret it. Bailey was an angel riding in the backpack, maybe that was her gift to me. Usually after about 10 minutes she is squealing to get out, but this time she seemed content. I did take some precautionary measures--I gave her a sucker, we took the canopy off of the backpack because it wasn't too sunny and she likes it better off, and I cruised along at a good rate, not stopping long for distractions at all. Lucky for her there were lots of wildflowers to point out, and we saw a bluebird and a snake. She still hasn't forgotten the snake we saw at Capitol Reef so that was a big hit. She seemed happy and even was singing for a bit of the way.

At the falls she had fun getting her feet wet and throwing little rocks into the stream. Then we had Bailey making different faces.

I love how Bailey is reaching out to touch Caiden's head in this picture.

Here I am trying to get Bailey to touch the falls, it doesn't look like we are close enough, but believe me, it was closer than Bailey wanted to get, and we were getting wet.

It was again, a perfect hike, not too hot, not too long, great scenery. I loved it.

Aug 24, 2010

Mt. Timpanogos Loop

Two weeks ago April and I and her sister-in-law Whitney hiked Mt. Timpanogos. This was my 3rd time doing the summit, but my first time doing it as a loop hike.

My first time hiking Timp was in college I went with a group to the summit, departing around 12:30 am so we could be on top to see the sunrise. We hiked via the Timpooneke trail, the side that starts in American Fork Canyon, known for being a little longer, but less steep than the other side. My second time I backpacked it with April and Bill via the Aspen Grove, or Provo Canyon, side. We spent the night at the lake and I did the summit in the morning.

This time we wanted to see both sides of the mountain in one trip. April had never hiked up Timpooneke so we decided to go up that way, since we all acknowledge that you pay more attention to scenery on the way up, and on the way down, just want to get down. However, this meant that the return trip down Aspen Grove was the steeper one, which was much harder on our knees. But it was cool to see both sides and I prefer loop trails in general if given the choice or possibility. Loop trails feel like more of a complete trip than reaching a destination and turning around the same way I just came.

I would agree that Timpooneke is easier as I hardly felt the need to rest at all. We made it to the summit in 4 hours even after a long rest at the saddle.

All pictures are courtesy of April as I forgot to even bring my camera

Here is a beautiful meadow we saw.

Here we are at the saddle, cold and windy.

Here we are at the summit, and even though the clouds sort of blocked the view, I thought it was just perfectly beautiful and they added that whole mystical element to being on a mountain peak.

Looking out from the summit.

Looking down on the lake on the Aspen Grove side from the summit.

A mountain goat family that we followed down from the peak and then the whole herd at the lake.

We hung out at the lake for a long time to eat and take pictures. I like how the Aspen Grove trail has more waterfalls, but it's true I didn't notice as much on my way down. I was glad to be done when we were, all in all it was 10 hours for the hike, which I consider pretty good time. My calves were sore for a few days afterwards, but it was awesome to do that hike. I strongly recommend doing it on a Sunday if you want to avoid crowds. It's a hard hike, but it is really popular.

Lake Blanche and Sundial Peak

April and I have been trying to get some good hiking in this summer and I'm behind on some of the trip reports. We did this hike in early July.

Lake Blanche is up Big Cottonwood Canyon. It's an absolutely beautiful hike, tough because it's so up hill (gain 2700 feet over 3 miles), but super rewarding because the lake and Sundial Peak greet you at the end and the whole scenery along the way is beautiful too, with trees all along the trail and the creek beside it most of the way too.

The last time I hiked Lake Blanche it was mid-June and there was lots of snow at the top so I was a bit weary even in early July because of the long winter we had this year. Plus I had cut my knee open at the top last time, hiked down bleeding, and ended up getting stitches the next day--be careful of that rock field just before the lake!

Anyway, we started after 5 and made excellent time to the top. Here are some pictures of the route on the way.



Then this is what you see as you are just about to drop down to the lake, that's Sundial Peak in the background. I was surprised to see no snow at all in or around the lake. I love the red rocks right around the lake and the big gray peak behind it and how suddenly the trees have become pine instead of aspen and cottonwoods.


This is the little waterway to some smaller lakes just below Lake Blanche.

It was a perfect early evening hike.