Monday, April 29, 2013

My Difficulty Scale


I met with a friend of mine recently and she asked me what are some of the best easy hikes and my brain started going a mile a minute and ultimately I only had 1 or 2 ideas for her. I thought to myself, I sure wish there was a way for me to sort my blog by difficulty so from idea to fruition here is what I came up with.

Instead of using the standard Easy, Moderate, Hard I came up with the following scale:

DR1: Get out and look Seriously drive up to and see. May need to take a few steps.

DR2: Paved (or like paved) most likely wheelchair accessible.

DR3: Mostly flat, slight elevation gain, well maintained trail.

DR4: Steep uphill terrain and/or rocky footing footing. Possible short sections with steep drop offs.

DR5: Long steep segments. rocky trail, bush whacking, steep drops offs.

DR6: Too much for me to handle. Extreme heights, rock climbing, above waist water crossing, etc. Honestly I don’t think I will post any of these

Furthermore to be expressed as DR# in future posts, and I am going to try to go back and re-tag old posts.

My difficulty rating system is based upon my personal experience as an out of shape smoker, your experience may differ greatly.

Lastly, part of why I chose this more detailed scale and, partially the reason I didn’t have one before, is I get ragey on other peoples. We’ll hike something marked easy and we don’t think it was easy. Hike something marked as moderate and we think it was a cake walk. Also aside from this being from my own experience, there are other factors that really just make this my opinion, which can change.

For example I re-hiked Davis Creek yesterday and I remembered it being easy with some difficult parts. On hiking it yesterday I am probably going to put it at a DR5. It was a lot more difficult than I remembered. Then I realized, last time we hiked it was late in the season, we had already done a bunch of long, hard hikes. This was the first REAL hike we had gotten in this year so it seemed quite a bit more difficult. This is another reason I decided to define my difficulty levels. Easy, Medium, and Hard are really subjective.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Skull Valley Part 2: Iosepa and Timpie Springs


After enjoying Horseshoe Springs we continued South to see what else Skull Valley had to offer us.

The next adventure I had planned on included a ghost town, er, well the cemetery of a ghost town Iosepa. Original findings determined it was a group of Pacific Islanders that settled it, so I guessed (correctly go me) that it was actually pronounced yo-sep-ah (or yo-see-pah)  both are accurate. There are also apparently some petroglyphs around here.


Another spring. I believe this is Kanaka Lake.


The turn out for this is about 15 miles from i-80 (I 80 exit 77 SR 196. In case you didn’t continue from my last post) and is a fairly well maintained gravel road, up hill. As you can see it doesn’t seem too bad, so my little Ford made it up without incident.


Rather new looking sign for a ghost town, what gives?


And a pavilion with basketball nets? Anyway, here is a good info sign.


The cemetery.



Utah Historical site. Yay for preserving history! We also discovered from one of the many signs that it is the site of a yearly Memorial Day celebration for islanders. I guess that explains all of the modern additions.

A little history and insight into this ghost town. Mormons converted Pacific Islanders and Hawaiians and in 1889 they eventually emigrated to North Salt Lake. Even though they were now Mormons, the white majority Mormons shunned them and would not allow them into restaurants or hotels. (You would think a group of people who just some 40 years ago were chased out of their land for being different would be more accepting, but you know, times were different I guess.) So Church leaders tried to find a place for this group of Polynesian converts to settle in. They chose the desolate and remote Skull Valley and in 1889 Iosepa (Hawaiian form of Joseph (in honor of Joseph Smith (the famous, and also a nephew with the same name)) was formed. The Hawaiians were joined with other Pacific Islanders. With many hardships they somehow thrived for 36 years eventually growing from 80 residents to 228. From what I read they had built a really beautiful town, lined with trees and flowers. Of which, not much exists anymore. In 1915 The church announced they would build a temple in Hawaii, and most of the town emigrated back. By 1917 It was a ghost town.

Today, all that exists are the grave markers of those who did not survive the harsh conditions, and about a mile south some foundations and fire hydrants.





Quite a few old, old graves.


And one recent one. Must be a descendant.



Some more pacific islander imagery.


We decided to hike up the hills above the cemetery.



Where I really started feeling the complete isolation we were in. It’s weird not being anywhere near another human being. Your mind starts giving you auditory hallucinations to fill in the normal cacophony we ignore living in a city.


Some more PI imagery.


The mountains above. We climbed up to get a good hike in, but we also hiked up because I was hunting for some petroglyhps  I had read were nearby. We never found them. There is no trail to them. They are a very well kept secret. I am simultaneously upset and glad by this fact. Upset I was unable to find them, glad I couldn’t find them armed with the knowledge they exist. They are probably the most unique petroglyphs in Utah, or even the country, created by residents of this PI town. They show sea life, instead of prairie life.  Yes, I would have LOVED to see them, but if they are easily found, they are easily destroyed. Humans don’t seem to respect history. So again, sad I didn’t get to see them, but glad they will be preserved for a little while longer as they are impossible to locate.





Some pretty Indian Paint Brush.


GIANT beetle! This thing was freaking huge!


Coming back down we saw more metal cut-outs of PI imagery. Pineapple, bunny, and a butterfly.

Copy of DSC_0594

I don’t know what this is but it was big, bumbly and terrifying. Probably something similar to a june bug. There were quite a few of them buzzing around us.



Old stoves.


Fun cinder block art. I can totally see what they were going for here.


And back down the road, with of view of Kanaka Lake.

We drove south a little further before deciding there was not much else to see before hitting Dugway.



Some Antelope I think.(DBP)


Copy of DSC_0619

Lone Rock. (DBP)

The last location I planned on exploring was Timpie Springs Waterfowl Management Area. As I am typing this up I am regretting this last location choice. I have quite a few bug bites currently driving me bonkers. Some may have come from Horseshoes Springs, but I guarantee the majority came from here.

To get here, if I haven't completely discouraged you from doing so yet, follow SR 196 back under i-80 and instead of getting back on the freeway, follow the road as it curves west. There is a un-helpful sign that tells you where it is. Turn right at the salt factory. Ignore the scary signs warning of being subject to having your car searched and do not turn around like we did. However, do not go into the gated area, instead turn right just before the gate and follow the not so well maintained gravel road around it perimeter.


Aforementioned salt mine/farm.


Lone Rock can be seen from the freeway or here.


Driving in we scared off all of the wildlife.



Not much to this place. Some channels and fields.


For a second, as I was going through my images, I thought this was Stansbury Island, but it is actually the Stansbury Mountains we just came out of.


This would be Stansbury Island.

Okay, not much to see here, and the bugs are driving us bonkers. I am done. Note: I was not wearing any bug repellant, but if memory serves me, the particular bugs that hang around the Great Salt Lake, it doesn’t faze them anyway. They are voracious!


Pretty shot of the meadow.


Closer shot of the salt mine. Which I noticed has a Morton symbol on. Didn’t realize that was so local. And now for the long drive home.


Another shot of the Stansbury Mountains. (DBP)


Submerged fence. (DBP)

All in all it was a fun adventure, and I am glad we went out and explored the area, but ultimately, it was quite a drive for not a whole lot to see. I think in order to make this trip worthwhile, you might consider camping and exploring the Cedar Mountains, (which I have yet to explore, but I do know they have wild mustangs) and the Salt Flats as well. Just my two cents.

Iosepa: Really cool, unique ghost town. Not really another soul around fro miles! 7 squirrels.

squirrels 7

Timpie Springs: A pain in the ass to find, terrible neglected dirt roads full of potholes, and really not a whole lot to see. Not to mention the awful, awful bugs. 1 squirrel. I believe this is a first. Yes it is, it would appear the lowest ranking I have given before now is a 5 as I don’t have an image for this. Well, now we do.

squirrels 1

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Skull Valley Part 1: Horseshoe Springs


Still early in the year, where I look around for low valley adventures. Today I found Horseshoe Springs which is quite the drive from us, so I tried to find some other things to do in the area. Horseshoe Springs is located in Skull Valley. To get there, from Salt Lake take i80 west, past Tooele, Past Grantsville, to exit 77 south onto SR 196 (Skull Valley Rd.) heading towards Dugway Utah.

DSC_0476 DSC_0477

A couple DBP shots of Antelope Island.


Stansbury Island (DBP)


The first landmark is Lone Rock, official name, although locals call this Submarine Rock, which I think fits better. (DBP).

Not much further down the road is the signed turnout for Horseshoe Springs. It is a short gravel road, that I think any vehicle can make.


Clear stream above it.


The trail starts on an old boardwalk that looks like it could use some maintenance. You can see the right spring clearly, and if you look really close, you can see the other side of the horseshoe middle left. It is fairly flat here.


It’s quite a bit larger than I imagined it would be.


Pretty shade of blue.


And quite clear.


So clear you can see the fish! How the heck did fish get here?


Fairly quickly after the beginning of the northern pool, the trail goes back to normal trail.




We heard water trickling and looked up to see water coming down the hill into the horseshoe. Pretty sure that’s another spring up there.


And here is where the 2 arms join, and then flow on downstream.


View back towards the road and the mountains.


This arm looks a little more shallow, and a little more gross.


caught this fish speeding though the shallows towards deeper water. Kicking up mud and creating a wake behind it as the stream was more shallow than his body size.


Here another stream feeds the southern arm.



And the southern pool. Also a very pretty shade of blue. There were some people wading in it. I had brought a swimsuit as I wanted to do so as well, but for some reason wasn’t feelin it at the moment. These springs are warm, at about 73 degrees so it would have been comfortable. Still kind of kicking myself for not jumping in.


Some geese enjoying it.


The source of the spring I mentioned a moment ago from the runoff. This is between the 2 arms, and is a little more on the gross looking end.


Back at the northern arm. I am pretty sure each arm has a spring in the bottom, and I think you can see the source in this image,


The stream above, and Lone Rock. So I said it was bigger than I thought it would be, but the entire loop only took us about 5 minutes or so. Not much to it, but it is pretty.



And back from the road you can better see the full horseshoe shape. I wanted to climb the hillside a bit higher to get a better image, but there wasn’t any shoulder to pull off onto, and there was a fence at the base of the hill, so this is as high as I managed today.


Quick grab of Google Maps really shows the horseshow shape.

This is a really pretty and fun spring, but I am glad I looked for some more to do as that was quite a drive just for a warm spring! So keeping that in mind, and the fact that I didn’t take a dip I’m not sure if I can give it a fair rating, but I am going to go with 7 squirrels. Its really far away, and has quite a few people, but it is pretty, and is a nice excursion from the city.

squirrels 7 

This post is running long so I am going to split it out into two parts. Check out Part 2: Iosepa and Timple Springs.