Monday, July 02, 2007

The Return of Captain Holly and his Hiking Blog: Bull Mountain, Sawtooth National Forest

I've been terribly busy these past few months, and it's been difficult for me to indulge in my one of my favorite pastimes: Hiking. I finally was able to stop by a secret corner of Utah on my way back from family business in Idaho, the Raft River mountains just south of the Idaho border in the Sawtooth National Forest.

Bull Mountain is on the list of many local peakbaggers because it is the highest point in Box Elder county and many hikers make it their goal to "bag" to the highest peak in each county in Utah. The place has everything Captain Holly loves: a nice fishing stream, good campsites, beautiful topography, and very few people. The area is quite isolated and so far not many people care to go there. I was able to camp in a Forest Service campsite that was not even full on a Friday night in late June.

The stream is full of catchable rainbow, brown and brook trout, with some even getting to be about 10-12 inches long. I ended up keeping a nice brown trout for dinner.

Up on top you can see the canyon with its heavy timber. I actually hiked to the top while hunting here back in the 1980's, but as I was looking for deer and not the summit I didn't actually "bag" the peak.

In fact, it's not much like a mountain up on top. It's just flat meadows, full of wildflowers. Quite beautiful if you get there in the right season.

The actual "summit" is little more than a high spot in the meadow. Under this pile of rocks was a jar with a notebook in it for peakbaggers to sign, but since it was covered with bird crap (I guess eagles or hawks like sitting on it) I wasn't going to dig it out and sign it.

Overall, not a bad hike. It's only about 9 miles round trip, and the solitude and camping are worth it. It would have been even better if I had known there was an ATV trail that actually went up to nearly the top, as I ended up brush-busting for the first mile or so. Plus, I'm out of shape and I forgot to take my heart meds and was really having a hard time for the last half-mile. But I made it, and so I can mark this one off my list.

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At 7:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an absolutely beautiful place! I can see why you like to hike so much.

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At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What? You didn't sign the summit notebook?
Actually I can understand. eeewwwwww

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