This is the view of the mouth of AF Canyon from Highland.
This view is approaching AF Canyon from the west. Just looking at the view right now makes me want to get my gear together.
These rock formations can be viewed from the road. There are trails up and around these rocks on the north side. The elevation gain makes for good exercise and incredible views. There are many spots on this side of the creek that are frequented by climbers. Stay clear of the climbing spots.
The morning and evening light makes this canyon look like art. The direct overhead light isn't too bad either.
The many rock slides make the trip down really easy-kind of a controlled falling.
Monday, July 28, 2008
I told my brother to meet me at my house at 7:30am to hike to Silver Lake, but that was before I knew I would only get 2.5 hours of sleep. When he showed up, I figured I would do the hike anyway. This was my second time hiking to Silver Lake. I also took my son and my nephew. The drive up to the trail head is spectacular by itself. There is a narrow dirt road above Granite Flats that has no guardrail and drops off for hundreds (maybe thousands) of feet on one side. When I drive up that road, I always wonder if anyone has ever gone over the edge. The road reaches the top, which is called Silver Lake Flats. A lot of people think they have visited Silver Lake, but have only been to the flats. The Silver Lake hike starts at Silver Lake Flats and is quite steep and does not appear to be very long, but it takes over an hour at a pretty good hiking pace. The trail starts out in an area with large trees, some of which have fallen across the trail. The trail has a lot of beautiful scenery, especially where it crosses the river. When you reach the top, you will find a reservoir that is about the size of 3 football fields. There is an earthen dam that was constructed in the late 1800's and seems to be holding strong. Fish are visible in the reservoir. They were probably planted there, but I'm not sure. It is fun to hike the entire bowl area and climb and slide down the small glacier. It is pretty amazing that there could still be this much snow anywhere in the middle of summer. There were many small waterfalls and the rocks just seem to produce streams all over. At one spot, there is a good sized creek just coming out of the ground. I think we spent more time messing around in the bowl area than we did actually hiking. This is a fun hike, but wear appropriate clothing/sunblock because at Silver Lake altitude you can get fried. (note: the pictures are in order from the top of the hike to the bottom)
Thursday, July 17, 2008
My younger brother (the same one I always hike with) told me about a cool hike up Santaquin Canyon. It was hard to imagine that canyon being very scenic because from I15 it looks very dry and barren. My brother told me that the hike was really easy. It has about 1,600 ft elevation gain so its not "really easy". We started early in the morning (around 7:00am). The canyon road wound up toward the top of the mountain beside a creek. Just driving up to the trail head was very scenic with great rock formations typical of most Utah canyons. The hike began in a pine forest near a campground. It always amazes me how cool the temps are up in the canyons even on a 95 degree day in the valley. If I wasn't hiking & generating some body heat, I would have needed a light coat. The hike made nearly a complete circle as it followed the rim of the mountains. There were a lot of guys on horses. That is the laziest way to hike and will never get you in shape, but allows the same incredible views. The hike was full of beautiful scenery. At one point in the hike there were waterfalls spilling down steep walls on both sides of us. There was a butterfly hangout that had every kind of butterfly imaginable near where water was coming out of the rock wall. We had to cross the creek numerous times, but used logs and stones to avoid getting our boots wet. This hike was worth the trip.
Saturday, June 2, 2007
My friend Tony dropped in unexpectedly. I had not seen him in years and did not even know that he lived in Utah. Even though it was evening, we (my brother, Tony, and some other friends) decided to hike to the top of Mt. Timpanogos (elevation 11,749 ft). Tony only had a pair of leather dress shoes. None of us had a flashlight that worked. We weren't even exactly sure where the trailhead was because none of us had hiked Timp before. After stopping by a store for some flashlights, we headed up American Fork Canyon in Tony's car. We found the trailhead and started hiking in the dark. After hiking just a short while we realized that we were dead tired and the elevation gain was killing us. My brother had thought to bring a tent and we looked for a place to set it up, but the only place we found was a wide spot in the trail so we pitched the tent there. There were 5 of us and the tent was a 3 man tent, but we made it work. We woke the next morning to the voices of early morning hikers trying to squeeze past our tent, which was doing a pretty good job of blocking the trail (yea, we were idiots). I looked out the door of the tent to see some very puzzled looks on some faces. I retreated back into the tent partly because I was embarassed, but mostly because I was still very tired. A little while later I got up because my brother had a camp fire going so close to the tent that I was choking on the smoke. After two failed attempts to wake Tony, my brother and I set out to hike the mountain (the other guys bailed). Our hike path was probably one that had never been taken. It included some rock climbing and sometimes even crossed the real trail. It was the most direct route that could get us to the top. We even came upon a disemboweled deer that was probably freshly killed by a cougar. When we reached the top of the mountain, it would have felt like a great accomplishment had there not been about 15 young boy scouts and their overweight leaders. Seeing them gave me the feeling that pretty much anyone that isn't in a wheelchair could do this. We then remembered that we had ridden up the canyon with Tony and that there was a good possibility that he could leave without us. We jogged almost the entire way down the mountain and found that Tony had not left us, but was preparing to do so. Even with the lack of preparation, the hike was fun and worth doing.