Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hikeblogging: Box Elder Peak, Uinta National Forest (1st attempt)

I tried this hike on July 19 but didn't get around to posting about it until today. Part of the reason is I took the wrong trail and didn't make it to the top. Doesn't happen to me often, but this time I wasn't so lucky.

The trail starts at the Dry Creek trailhead near Alpine, Utah. It's a well-used trail that gets alot of horses on it. Much of the canyon is glacial-carved granite from the Little Cottonwood formation. Throughout the canyon there are waterfalls small and large, such as this one just a mile up from the trailhead.

About this point I came to a junction in the trail that was not on any of my maps. As you can tell, it's not marked either, and both trails are equally well-used. I took the left turn, which as it turned out was the wrong choice.

I kept on the trail because it seemed to be going in the right direction and had plenty of human and horse tracks on it. But after a couple of miles, it petered out in the middle of a very rugged basin, and I had to pick my way through heavy brush. As a reward for my effort, I got slapped on my arm by some stinging nettle and for the rest of the hike I kept having the sensation of a bug crawling on my elbow.

The basin was very beautiful and had several small waterfalls like this one. However, it was north of the basin where I should have been, and I decided to scrub the hike because after a couple of hours of trail-finding, brush-busting, and boulder-hopping I was too tired to attempt the summit. Besides, it was late afternoon at this point and I needed to get back down. I crossed over the ridge and found the real trail, which was very well-used and in good condition.

The day wasn't a total loss. I figured I ended up hiking close to 10 miles and climbed about 4,000 feet in elevation, so it provided good training for next week's hike to Mount Nebo, the highest peak in the Wasatch Range. I plan to hike Box Elder in early September, except this time I will approach from the back side, which is easier and shorter than the Dry Creek route.



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