Saturday, June 25, 2016

Tubing The Weber River

The Weber River above Morgan offers a really pretty river float with two class 2 rapids. I’m not really a fan of river rafting so that doesn’t mean a whole lot to me, but when we went this year they weren’t all that bad. This was a little bit outside my comfort zone, I am kind of afraid of water, but I did it, and I am glad I did it.


Nearing Devils Slide on the Weber River.

We used a business called Barefoot Tubing (external link). They provide a good sturdy tube, a life jacket and a shuttle service up to the top, and then back down. They also gave a basic overview of what to expect. I am very happy with the service they provided.

Lets see:

General fee for the 2 hour trip: $25.00
Waterproof camera: $15:00 (If you think about it before hand, there are cheaper options).
Water Bottle $1.00
Sunglasses lost to the river because I didn’t bring the chums I recently bought: $8.00

$49.00 for a good 2 hour adventure!

To get here: Head about 15 miles up Weber Canyon in Ogden to exit 103. This exit is weird, head across the road that looks like you are getting back on the freeway (it doesn’t) keep strait/leftish following to 1400 E Round Valley Way. You will see the parking lot and tubes on the right.


Heading up Weber Canyon (DBP).


Some snow still hanging on to the pretty peaks (DBP).


And Barefoot Tubing's building! On to the adventure!

I definitely was NOT going to bring my normal camera down the river on a tube with me. I had a cheap waterproof camera, but I was disappointed to learn it decided to crap out on me. So, I decided to spend the money on the the water poof disposable point and click (PAC) camera they had available. I don’t know if I will ever do this again, so it was worth the 15 bucks for the memories.

As they driver took us up he first pulled into the spot where we would depart the river and be picked up. He explained we will see a green double railroad bridge, and then a cliff wall. There is the 2nd set of Rapids named Taggart’s Rapids, he suggested keeping left and hugging the cliff wall.

A little further up he said something about going under the freeway pass that I missed. Basically, avoid the columns.

And then after arriving at the part where we were to get into the river he explained that about 10 minutes down we would hit the first rapids called Rock Alley, again hang to the left here. After the rapids there will be a low bridge with 3 openings, you definitely want the right opening. The left has a bunch of rebar, the middle has a low pipe, but the right is clear.

So, those are the instructions we got. So what I decided to repeat like a mantra to avoid hazards was Left, right, left, right (to depart). And try to avoid other random hazards. This worked pretty well for me, until near the end.

Onto the adventure! The next set of images are all from the disposable waterproof point and click (PAC) camera.


Just as we were getting in, another large group was coming down from a little further up. So we had a bunch of people to float with for a while (PAC).

Oh man, I forgot how terrible point and click cameras are. Oi. But, worth not destroying my good camera.


It sure is a pretty canyon to float down (PAC).


Not very far down I looked over and saw a snake next to another tuber, he noticed it about the same time I had, and abandoned tube so fast, practically running on top of the water trying to get away from it. The snake just calmly continued swimming across, while they guy basically ensured he was closer to it longer than he had to be. LOL. I shouldn’t laugh, I have my own phobias, but snakes aren’t one of them. (PAC).


This part of the mountains has this weird, Wasatch Mountains meets Southern Utah feel. You can see some more of that in nearby Echo. (PAC).



I believe we are nearing Rock Alley in these shots. (Both PAC).

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I think this is Weber Arch there in the top right (PAC). The website for Barefoot Tubing mentioned this, and Devils Slide as 2 interesting geological features. I was familiar with devils slide (coming) but not this. I asked the driver about it, but he didn’t know about it. I am happy I found it! Albeit a little further away than I would hope. So, now I have a general idea of where it is and might have to make it a point to come back and see it.


Some nice calmer waters (PAC). This really was a rather relaxing float for most of the trip. Unfortunately, part of the problem with point and shoot cameras is the viewfinder is not actually looking out of the lens.. so quite a few of my shots have some water spots kind of distorting them. My advise if you chose this route, wipe the lens before each shot.



Cool rock formations above (both PAC).


Starting to his more green mountains (PAC).


Landis did not want to tube, so we planned on having him follow us down the road with my camera to take pictures. Unfortunately, this river doesn’t stay near the road… and it’s a freeway. He did find one spot and caught us coming down.

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Here I am in all my pasty white glory. In my defense, I am wearing a long sleeved white shirt. The site recommended long sleeves to avoid tube rash.


Here is the low bridge I mentioned earlier (behind the old wooden bridge) where you want to veer to the right (left from this angle). It’s a good thing you want to veer to the right, as right after it there is a nice little beach to hang out at on the right side. Landis met us up here and we got a few pictures.


Elise and I. I am having a great time so far!


As you can see, this is a crowded little beach!


Getting ready to head on down the river.



Back on the river (both PAC)!


Nearing Devils Slide (PAC). I really forgot how terrible most point and shoot cameras are, these pictures are well, bad. But, this one actually came out nicely.


Under a bridge (PAC).



Devils Slide (both PAC).

Devils Slide is a cool geologic formation that displays a lot of what created our mountains pretty well. Basically 2 layers of hard limestone sandwiched a layer of softer stone, then was tilted up a long time ago, and the softer layer has since eroded away. From what I understand the fins are 20 feet high! It’s like a perfectly strait thin steep slot canyon.

You can view this from the freeway, there is a pull out on either side. Though, the view isn’t as good from down here in the river.


I think this is looking back towards it, but I am not sure (PAC).


Point and click selfie! I was hoping to get the river behind me, but meh. What are you going to do with 30+ year old technology?



More fun peaks above. (Both PAC).


Beautiful views along this calm section (PAC).


I think I accidentally took a shot while I was using the camera as a paddle (PAC). It had a pretty sturdy wrist strap, so it was in my hand… I guess I clicked a shot off.


About, oh I donno, 2/3rds to 3/4’s of the way down there is another ‘beach area’ after a big rapid/small waterfall you have to pass over. It is the biggest waterfall, so after you plunge over it, veer left. It’s not so much of a beach as it is a nice place to stop and relax a minute. I thought the rope swing was a permanent fixture, but looking at this picture, it looks like someone brought in a crane to put it in. Looks kind of fun (PAC)!


Getting really pretty down here (PAC).


Another canyon bend (PAC).


The freeway underpass (PAC). Right after taking this shot, I started floating towards that pillar to the right there. I figured I could push off with my feet, as I had successfully done with a some other random obstacles before. Well, I planted against the pillar, tried to push off, and ended up flipping over, backwards, ass up and into the drink. It happened so fast but I somehow managed to stay calm, hang onto my tube and jump back on a few feet down river. Lost my sunglasses to the river, unfortunately. Really wish I had thought to bring my chums (that little string that holds onto your glasses and goes around your neck).

Elise did the same thing. She says about the time she hit the the pillar, and then into the drink she remembered them saying to avoid the pillars. Whoops. I totally missed that part, and this was my reward. The river is a little swifter here, but at least it wasn’t a rocky rapid! Kumar, who got flipped on an earlier obstacle that  I managed to kick off of, managed to kick off just fine here. Eh, you win some, you lose some.

I think there might be another beach to the right here as there were a lot of people hanging out, but we didn’t stop here.

Well that was the last of my point and click photos. Luckily we are nearing the end at this point. After the underpass with all the pillars, you will float under a green double railroad bridge, go around the corner and hit Taggart’s Rapids.


The calm before the rapids.



Taggart’s Rapids. They actually weren’t that bad. As I said before, stay to the left and hug the cliff.


Better shot of the cliff wall.


Along the front.

And we made it, and were able to successfully depart the river without incident (well on person in the group got a small cut on her knee and needed a band-aid, but otherwise no issues). They picked us up and brought us back down to where we parked.

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Where we saw some weird smoke?

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Oh, that’s right. There is an Air Show and Hill Air Force Base is on the other side of that mountain.


Elise has a ‘give a shoe, take a shoe’ policy. She lost one to the river but we found a flip flop on the side of the road. I was a little icked at first but when I thought about it. Yea, I’ll take a random sketchy flip flop over a bare foot on hot, rocky asphalt any day.


Mountains on the way back down the canyon (DBP). I had plans of doing more exploring up here, but we were both a little worn out. So we decided to go have dinner instead.


Weber Canyon is pretty this time of year (DBP).

I am super glad I did this. A lot of what I was afraid of I realized were things that I didn’t need to be afraid of. Of course, accidents do happen, which is why they ask you to sign a waiver. But accidents can happen with anything. I still wish I had started on the Provo River as my friends say that one is a lot calmer. They did say it is a lot more, work as there are a lot of bushes on either side and you have to keep paddling to center yourself to avoid getting scratched up. This one had some of that too, but really not that much.

It was a great float down a beautiful canyon. With some awesome geologic features to check out. There are at least 2 beaches to get out of the river and dry off, or just rest for a while. And 2 rapids that are kind of fun and just exciting enough without scaring the crap out of me (for the most part). So, this scaredy cat definitely recommends it!

Going with 9 out of 10 squirrels! Even getting flipped over into the river I had a great time!

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I can’t think of how to compare difficulty, so no rating on this one. Instead of your legs getting a workout on a hike, your arms will definitely get a workout paddling.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Twin Lakes Reservoir Summer

Twin Lakes Reservoir is a great, shot but kind of tougher hike up above Brighton in Big Cottonwood Canyon. It features a beautiful scenic high altitude lake surrounded by peaks, wildflowers, a good chance of wildlife and one of my absolute favorite nearby scenic vistas. It was at one time two lakes, hence it’s name. But the dam combined them into a larger reservoir. We did this one pretty recently, but we were with some friends camping nearby, so I thought I would show them the views.

Twin Lakes Reservoir 1

Quick Details:

Length: 1 mile to twin lakes reservoir, 8/10 of a mile around silver lake. Total 2.8 miles. If you decide not to go around silver lake, and go the shorter route to the trailhead, counterclockwise around Silver Lake from the parking lot maybe 2.2 miles total. The trailhead is on the back side of Silver Lake.
Difficulty: Silver Lake: DR2 easy peasy mostly board walked. Twin Lakes DR5 a lot of up and rocky.
Elevation Gain: Silver Lake: Negligible, Twin Lakes: 710 feet.
Restroom: Yes at the Silver Lake parking lot. Flush toilettes.

To get here head up Big Cottonwood Canyon.As you enter the one way loop road at the top, look for the Silver Lake Solitude Nordic Center on the right (first driveway on the right). General Store on the left. If you make it to the big Brighton parking lot, you went too far.

You will have to walk around silver lake as the trail head is near the back end of it. I recommend going right (counter clockwise) as the trail head is a little closer from that direction.

On to the adventure!


Well, that is a little confusing. It is the Solitude Nordic Center, even though it is much, much closer to Brighton.


Looking towards the trail, and nearing Silver Lake.


Silver Lake, Millicent Peak to the left. I’m not sure if the peak on the right is named. Twin Lakes is nestled between to two.

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Duck and ducklings.


Trailhead sign. Lake Solitude is also a great trail, a little longer, but a little easier.


Old trail sign at the trail split.


And into the woods we go!



Thick aspens.


Neat tree displaying the fortitude of conifers. It looks like the main trunk broke off a long time ago, and 2 family trees growing off of it continue to thrive.


More aspens.




And up to one of my absolute favorite nearby viewpoints. The Brighton Valley and Silver Lake is incredible from up here!

Silver Lake 1



And a little closer.


Found some snow.


Gnarly tree.





Rocky, rocky trail.



Loads of Glacier Lilies up here! We get them along the benches too, but much earlier in the year.


Rocky, piney peak.


The dam, almost there.


Twin Lakes Reservoir.

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Panoramic. Millicent Peak on the left, I know Mt Wolverine is back there someone, but not sure which one. I think it might be the one to the right of Millicent.


Tree pollen.


Lots of fish!


The dam again.

The water is definitely higher than last time we were here, but it still has a couple feet to go before being full. You can see it has a ways to go before reaching the spillway.


View from the dam.

Brighton Valley Stitch

Panoramic of the view down Big Cottonwood Canyon from here.


I wish I could figure out what this peak was called.


Dry spillway.

If it was just us, we probably would have wondered around the lake a little bit, but we had a group, and the hosts of the group were expecting others, so we decided to head back down.


Mt. Millicent.


Me with mountain views.


Scraggly peak and wispy clouds.


I think this is an old tree that has about finished it’s decomposition process.


I think I see signs of glacier scraping.


The main trail, which I think used to be an old jeep road is very rocky. A thin side trail is on the other side. We usually hike up the rocky trail, and down this side one. I still am not sure which is better. The side trail has much steeper parts. I think next time we come up I will try to hike up the side trail.


The group hiking down. I was really impressed with the preteens they did the whole thing without a single complaint! The adults on the other hand…. LOL they did grumble a lot, apparently I threw the term ‘easy’ out (I honestly don’t recall doing so, as I know this is not a particularly easy trail). Anyway, after a couple threats of throwing me into the reservoir, they all said, tough aside, it was a great hike and they are glad they joined us. And I was happy to have the additional company.


Band of color.


Another amazing view.


I think this is Western Stone seed.




Out of bounds ski sign, The gist is, you are skiing out of bounds and assume all risks. It has to be a good 20 feet up. My issue is, is someone skiing down going to have time to read this?


Back to the landslide scar.


Pretty blue rock.


Back to that amazing viewpoint.


This really is one of my absolutely favorite view points.








Beautiful forest!


As always, remember to look up!



Ruins from some old cabin.


You can see a glimpse of Silver Lake peeking out from behind the trees.


Twisted aspens.


Neat old twisted stump.


And we have made it back down to Silver Lake. As is tradition with us, we we hike these back trails, we always continue around the lake, because, crowded or not, I still love this lake.

Today they were doing some fun kids in nature event and had fun stations situated around the lake. I like wildlife and birds so I stopped when I saw the big birds.

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I didn’t catch what this is, but it looks like a hawk. Possibly a red tailed hawk.

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I caught it rousing its feathers. They do this as a form of grooming as it readjusts their feathers. The handler knew it was about to do it, so I was ready with the camera. Super neat!

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Great Horned Owl. Man! Look at those claws! I love these guys! We found a nest with some babies when we did The Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point earlier this year. Us Americans view owls as wise, but I recently learned that there are some cultures that consider them to be dumb. Interesting cultural difference.


Ok, sorry, back to the lake.

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Pretty green forest.


And here is a view of the landslide section of the trail we did.


Silver Lake is really quite beautiful!

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Another panoramic.


Small waves.


The small patch of pines.


One of the 2 inlets.


Beaver dam.


Mt. Millicent.

Well, even if it is a little bit of a tougher trail, I still love it. Amazing views, nice forest, a good chance of seeing wildlife, although not today really. Some wildflowers, and 2 beautiful alpine lakes. I highly recommend it!

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As for difficulty, This one I will bump up to a DR5. It definitely up! even if it isn’t that long and very, very rocky.

Dogs are not allowed in Big Cottonwood Canyon so leave your furry friend at home.

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