Sunday, March 23, 2014

Battle Creek Falls – Early Spring

We recently hiked to Battle Creek Falls last summer. Unfortunately, the unique feature of the falls was not present due to low water level. So while looking for lower elevation hikes, I decided to do this one again. So since we have been here before, I will try to keep the post shorter.

To get here head south on i15. Take exit 275 for pleasant grove, and head east. Turn right on state St. turn left on 200 S. Follow that all the way up until the road turns into a dirt parking lot next to Kiwanis Park.


First view from the bridge towards Kiwanis Park is not leaving me feeling very confidant. Stream bed is empty again. Oh well, we will still get our early spring hike in.


The trail is quite a bit more crowded today than it was last time we were here, including a guy on a horse, which Roxy promptly decided to try to get to. I’d really like to know what she would actually do if she caught up to it.


Hey, there is water in the stream. Guess it gets diverted in multiple places.


Snow covered mountains. Luckily this waterfall isn’t too high up, so I don’t think we’ll be hiking through it today.


The little diversion dam.


View upstream from the bridge. From here the trail gets quite a bit steeper, but luckily it’s not much further.


Well darn it. Again, the twin waterfall is just a single. Guess I will have to come back again. And some snow at the base of the falls.


A little further back.


From the other side, with a faint rainbow.


Closer on the rainbow.


What’s this? Well cool, on the other side of the canyon is a little ice fall. I guess that makes up for the missing 2nd waterfall. Seems like it is too warm for this to still be here, it must not get much sun.


Pretty cool little icefall.


From the trail above.


A little further down there is a little cave.

Copy of IMG_2352

Little icicles form on this bush.

Well, I am a little disappointed we missed the twin falls again so we may have to return a little later in the year. I do enjoy this hike though. It’s fairly easy, short (at about a half mile) and there is a nice waterfall to cool down in at the end. It was a bit more crowded than the last time we were here, but it wasn’t too bad.

As for difficulty I am going with a DR4 it is a nice wide flat path with a slight incline for the first 3/4 of the way then there is a short steep section near the end, but it’s not so bad.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Davis Wheel

I can’t really find any official documentation on this, so it could be a hoax, or a less than historically significant recent reproduction honestly, but the general consensus is it is an ancient Native America Medicine Wheel. Considering I randomly stumbled upon petroglyphs in the area recently, I am inclined to believe this is authentic.

A Medicine Wheel, or Sacred Hoop is typically a large structure made by laying stones into a pattern of a wagon wheel, often with the spokes facing cardinal directions.

It sounded fascinating. I heard about this in the fall of last year, made one attempt, and then had to wait winter out to make a second attempt. Due to it’s remote location, that is really hard to get to, and the fact that there is no trail to it, this one is really rather well preserved and I would like to do my part in keeping it that way.

First things first. There is no trail to this. You just have to know where it is, climb up a rather steep hill and hope for the best. This is way out of my comfort zone, I like to explore, but also like to avoid having to be rescued. I guess I just really wanted to see this! If you do attempt to find this, hike at your own risk, and please, please do your part in preserving it. Do not disturb it in any way.


Cool rock outcropping.

When we got there I determined 2 possible routes. One had a trail part of the way, so we opted to do that. Not long after this we had to abandon the trail and just wing it.


Random boulder field and .. wait a minute, we’re here! I don’t think I noticed it when I took this picture. Do you see it?


And here it is. Spring might have been a good time to come as it looks pretty overgrown.



I scrambled up the hill a little ways in an attempt to get a from above shot.




Couple different angles.


We counted 9 spokes (radius, center to outside). Or 4 that cross the entire diameter, and one extra one that only goes to the radius.


To show size. I would guess it is about 20 feet in diameter.


It’s actually large enough to make out on Google maps satellite view. (screen shot from Google maps). Huh, now that I am looking at this I didn’t notice that line on the outside. It seems to coincide with where the “missing” spoke was. I wonder if that is significant.


We decided to try my alternate route down, which wasn’t going to work, so we ended up just hoofin it down the steep mountain slope. Eventually, we came across this boulder field.


The grass was all laying down. my guess is the snow and water slide down the steep slope and bend it over.

Well this was really cool. I am glad we visited. I’m not sure if it was cool enough to warrant all the stress involved in finding it, but it was really cool and I like to see history.

Now, seeing as this was not a trail I can’t really rate it. Your route may differ greatly. I will say it was a lot of work, with the constant nagging voice in the back of my head to stay vigilant, don’t get lost or cliffed. Sometimes I feel I may be overly cautious, but like I said, I don’t ever want to get myself into a situation where I would get hurt, or need to be rescued.

As for difficulty I am going with a DR5. It was very steep, very rocky, there would be bush whacking much later in the season, and again, no trail. Hike at your own risk.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Bryce Canyon – Wintertime Pt 2

In case you missed them:

Day One and Two: The drive down, and a foggy adventure through the park.

Day Two: Hike to Mossy Cave

Day 3: Back to the park!

Day 3 was checkout day. We woke up fairly early and packed everything up so we could check out of the hotel. They had forecasted terrible weather today, but luckily they were way off. Yes, there was snow on the ground, but the weather was just about perfect! So we decided to head back into the park.

Unfortunately because of the snow the main park road was closed 4 miles in which meant we couldn’t see most of the view points, but luckily the 4 best view points were still open. Hooray!


Snowy trees and beautiful skies!


Back to Sunrise Point. No deer today but it is a winter wonderland.


This is the view I was hoping to see! I am so glad we came back in today. So stunning!


The red hoodoos certainly standout against the white snow.




Cool old gas station. I wonder when was the last time it was operational.


And this would be Sunset Point. I think I like Sunset better than Sunrise.


And down here you can see Thors Hammer.


A little closer.


Another angle.


Thors Hammer actually looks better from this angle.


Snow covered hoodoos.


Wall Street.


I got one of the trees in it. They seem much, much bigger from below.


Next stop is Bryce Point. This particular feature is called The Grottos. It is actually a lot cooler than I remember.



Do you see why this is my favorite point yet?


Some more snowy hoodoos.


Bryce point has this cool little pine filled valley in the middle.


Panoramic of the view from Bryce Point.


The Grottos look cool from this angle.


A very nice couple asked us to take their picture and I obliged. We started walking away when I went hey wait, can you return the favor? I’m, glad I did. Otherwise we would have ended up with the same thing that happened last year, just single shots of us here.


Closer to the parking lot there is a small alcove that offers this view. If the point out is too much for you, at least you get this view. But, seriously, go to the point. There is a small section that is not fenced, but you’ll be fine. I am terrified of heights and I did fine in the fog, and I did fine on a snowy path.


And this is Inspiration Point.


A mess of hoodoos.


I like this point as well. I think the ranger was correct in saying the 4 best points were still open today.


Someone made a itty bitty little snowman.


Reds whites and greens.


The trail above is closed, probably because it’s snowy and there isn’t a fence on the canyon side. Looks like a few people at least chose to ignore that.


Snowy trees.

Well that was all we could do in the park today as the rest is closed. I am glad that we made the other points yesterday, even though the weather wasn’t great.

Bryce Canyon is awesome, and you can spend a half day just doing all of the various viewpoints. However, to fully experience it I recommend planning some time to hike down into it. Be advised, all trails (other than Mossy Cave) start at the top and go down in before coming back up. So know what you are getting yourself into. Know it will be tougher on the way out. Also, as much as I loved the new experience of doing it in the wintertime, for your first visit I recommend spring, early summer. It is pretty hot, but you are really going to get to experience this special park. I might go back and post some of my old pictures from the last time we were here.

Well we had our fun and saw everything we could see. We checked out the Visitors Center, and the souvenir shops in town. I got a couple cool little things that I am pleased with. Now was the time to start heading home.


Not far down the road is Red Canyon. It’s fairly pretty, and has some trails but I don’t know too much about them.


The man blasted tunnels. Landis found a sign that he says mentioned they were originally just going to demolish the outcroppings, but eventually decided to blast some tunnels through.


Interesting formation.


The second tunnel.


Cool formations.


Neat little window.


Some tall hoodoos. These last few images were taken from the parking lot of the Visitor Center, which unfortunately does not open until May.


The next view point. There are a couple of trails here, the was one called the Hoodoo Trail that sounded interesting but we did not do it today.


Well I lied I walked a little ways up it.


Some fun hoodoos.


Across the way.


This one looks like a couple lions.


More hoodoos.


There is another trail that goes up towards that but we didn’t do it. Now that I am home I wish I had researched the area the Arch Trail sound awesome.


And the beginning (or end as you are leaving Bryce) of Red Canyon.

Red Canyon is pretty cool. There are actually quite a few nifty sounding little trails and as far as I can tell is free to visit. Definitely going to plan some more time here next time we pass through.

Time to head on back.

Copy of IMG_2153

I think I saw a pair of eagles in this tree. (DBP Album).


Roxy just having a fun time.


One of the mountains we have to get over. (DBP Album).

Copy of IMG_2166

The front end of Mount Nebo (The tallest in the Wasatch Range). The back end of it is actually a pretty scenic drive and a nice little day trip. Also, oddly enough, there is a little area that is often referred to as the miniature Bryce Canyon called Devil’s Kitchen. (DBP Album).


My new game to keep me entertained on the long drive was to see how far back I could recognize and name peaks. Here is Timpanogos. The 2nd tallest. (DBP Album).

Well that was a short lived game. The weather got too bad to really see anything.


Mount Olympus obscured by rain and clouds. (DBP Album).

Before long we made it home, the weather was much better on the way home than on the way in so we made much better time.

Even with the weather which made driving a little rough, and hiking and site seeing a little cold, it was a wonderful late winter vacation. I did eventually get the view of the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon covered in snow. I got see see a neat ice cave, explored Red Canyon a little more and most importantly, get away from it all and relax. If you have never been to Bryce, I say go see this amazing display of nature. Also, it is about 1-2 hours from Zion so you can hit them both with one trip.