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371 triplogs
Sep 11 2021
ddgrunning
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,446
 Triplogs 372

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Pass Mountain-Wind Cave-Bulldog Saddle, AZ 
Pass Mountain-Wind Cave-Bulldog Saddle, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Sep 11 2021
ddgrunning
Hiking12.37 Miles 2,241 AEG
Hiking12.37 Miles   3 Hrs   55 Mns   3.26 mph
2,241 ft AEG      7 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Hit the Pass Mountain loop early. Was a little surprised at how many cars were at the Meridian TH at 5:15 am. Took the loop clockwise, as I had to be back by 10 a.m. and wasn't sure whether I'd have time to included the Bulldog Saddle addition.

Crossed a few folks on the southern end of Pass Mountain, and would see them all again on the north end :-).

We beat most of the traffic up the Wind Cave trail, but came across a fair number of folks as we were making out descent.

Back at the Wind Cave TH, we continued with the loop. Hit the Pass Mountain Saddle on the the east side by 9 a.m., with plenty of time to add a jaunt around to Bulldog Saddle.

The recent rains have caused an explosion of grass. Pass mountain is frequently travelled, so the path remains clear, but the Bulldog Loop in places has nearly been overtaken by grass. No major route-finding issue, but there was a lot of grass/brush to walk through.

The climb up the north side of the pass was a bit of a buttkicker at this time of year, with the humidity and with the morning sun heating things up.

A nice workout in advance of an upcoming R2R.
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Sep 04 2021
ddgrunning
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,446
 Triplogs 372

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Flatiron Hike - SuperstitionsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 04 2021
ddgrunning
Hiking6.45 Miles 2,950 AEG
Hiking6.45 Miles   4 Hrs      1.82 mph
2,950 ft AEG      27 Mns Break
 
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
A relatively cool, but quite humid, morning on the trail. Started at 5:30, and saw six people on the way up—a group of three, whom we passed, and then 3 single hikers who
crossed us coming down. It’s amazing how some good monsoon rains can transform this place. The path to the peak was pretty overgrown, and lots of greenery to be had. On the downside, lots of gnats.

Heading down, we came across more traffic.

Done by 9:30 am.
_____________________
Aug 21 2021
ddgrunning
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 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,446
 Triplogs 372

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
North Wilson Mountain Trail #123Sedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 21 2021
ddgrunning
Hiking12.23 Miles 2,709 AEG
Hiking12.23 Miles   6 Hrs   56 Mns   2.01 mph
2,709 ft AEG      51 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Left the East Valley about 5:30 a.m. and were on the trail in Sedona by 8 a.m. There are two trailheads for this hike. We started on the North Wilson Mountain TH, which begins at the Encinoso day use area and eventually connects with the Wilson Mountain Trail, after about 3 miles of hiking. The North TH is a lot more "forestry" and green, with more shade, while the Wilson TH is more open and exposed, but with more views of the surrounding red rock that characterizes Sedona.

The N. Wilson trail climbs right out of the gate, and we put up about 1000 ft of elevation in the first 1.5 miles. It was a page right out of Indian Garden to the top of the GC. That said, the climb was beautiful, with the surrounding forest and greenery. The temps were also nice and the shade was good. The humidity was a little annoying, but all good. Very few people on this part of the trail, so we enjoyed a lot of solitude.

After two miles, the trail topped out on a flat area called "First Bench," where the landscape opens up and where a fire came through about 15 years ago. Lots of meadow and wildflowers here, including a nice patch of sunflowers.

Then it was more climbing after the N. Wilson and Wilson trails merged, up to the top of the mountain, which is itself more a flat plateau, and which, upon reaching, we arrived at a fork that would allow us to head out to the south overlook (0.4 mi.) or the north overlook (1.5 mi.). Naturally, we decided to do both!

The south overlook, gives expansive views down on Sedona and surrounding area. We relaxed there and ate lunch, before retracing our steps and then heading to the north lookout. The section heading to the north lookout had been pretty scorched by the fire in 2006 and was the least scenic portion of the hike. However, the burn area did not extend all the way to the north lookout, which remains surrounded by some nice, tall pine trees and related foliage. In fact, the trees obscured some parts of the north lookout, which on first view didn't seem as impressive as the south view. But, with a little exploring, we discovered some alternate viewpoints, with awesome views and an ideal campsite right on the edge of the rim, from which I'm sure it is spectacular to watch the sunset. We made a note to come back and do this as an overnighter.

On the way down, at the junction, my wife suggested that I hike down to the Wilson trailhead while she headed back down to the car, and then she would shuttle over to pick me up. It was nice to get to experience both trails. The Wilson trail ends at the Midgley Bridge over 89A. The bridge itself is kind of cool, and it was fun to check it out.

Another great Sedona hike in the books
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Jul 23 2021
ddgrunning
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 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,446
 Triplogs 372

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Aster Falls - GNPNorth Central, MT
North Central, MT
Hiking avatar Jul 23 2021
ddgrunning
Hiking3.60 Miles 467 AEG
Hiking3.60 Miles   1 Hour   11 Mns   3.13 mph
467 ft AEG      2 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Glacier Day 6

This was a “bonus” hike on the way out of the park. Since we had a little flexibility in our drive, and since we hadn’t spent much time in the two medicine area, we decided to explore a couple of short hikes.

This one starts at Two Medicine Lake behind the boat house. The trail immediately enters the forest, and after a very short climb, comes to a junction that leads out to "Paradise Point" on the lake. With a name like that, I decided I would take a jog out there, if time permitted on my return.

But my goal was to get to Aster Falls, so I moved on. A short time later, the forest gives way to a more open meadow that skirts along some riparian ponds to the right of the path that form nice reflection pools for the trees and distant mountains beyond.

Following the meadow, the trail resumes its path through the forest, and soon enough, I could hear the falls and took the short side trail that leads to the base of the falls.

The falls are very nice, though not a spectacular as others in the park. Worth a visit though.

On the way back, I went out to Paradise Point. Nice view of the lakeshore, but nothing more exciting that what you can see from the shore at the trailhead, IMO.
Named place
Named place
Aster Creek Aster Falls
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Jul 23 2021
ddgrunning
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 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,446
 Triplogs 372

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Scenic Point - GlacierNorth Central, MT
North Central, MT
Hiking avatar Jul 23 2021
ddgrunning
Hiking1.62 Miles 297 AEG
Hiking1.62 Miles      39 Mns   2.49 mph
297 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Glacier Day 6

One more bonus hike on our way out of the park.

I hiked up to Appistoki falls. The trailhead is not well marked in terms of driving, and this one is clearly one of the lesser travelled trails.

The beginning of the hike goes through a fir tree graveyard--many of the trees dead or dying from bark beetles or some other disease.

Just before the falls, the trail climbs steeply. Unfortunately, the trail is on the wrong side of the drainage for a good view of the falls, which are hidden behind an inaccessible corner that allows only a glimpse of the upper part of the falls.

On the way back, I just followed the creek rather than the trail for a section, and came across some nice cascades, which turned out to be the highlight of this hike.

Eventually, I popped back on to a road the led back to the TH, and passed an NPS "bear trap." I don't think it was "set"--just being stored in the area, but who knows.

In terms of Glacier hikes, this one probably had the least appeal, and I would recommend using your time to explore other areas of the park instead.
Named place
Named place
Appistoki Creek Appistoki Falls
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Jul 22 2021
ddgrunning
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 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,446
 Triplogs 372

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Grinnell Glacier-High Lake Viewpoint TRNorth Central, MT
North Central, MT
Hiking avatar Jul 22 2021
ddgrunning
Hiking13.58 Miles 2,835 AEG
Hiking13.58 Miles   7 Hrs   39 Mns   2.07 mph
2,835 ft AEG   1 Hour   5 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Glacier Day 5

After a short rain shower the day before, and a stiff breeze, we awoke Thursday morning to smoke-free skies for our last major hike in Glacier NP--the Grinnell Glacier Trail!! :y: :y:

We had originally slated this hike for Monday, but the trail was closed above Lake Josephine due to bear activity. So, we postponed till Thursday, hoping that the trail would be open by then. It was.

And with the clear day, we saved the best for last.

We arrived at the trailhead just as the last few spots were filling up. However, even with the full parking area, the trail wasn't overly crowded, and we were able to enjoy a fair amount of solitude for the first several miles. Those miles cut through forrested area until the trail connects with the upper banks of Swiftcurrent Lake. The trail then continues and skirts along the edge of Lake Josephine. Views are outstanding over the lakes. In one of the more protected pools along the side of Lake Josephine, there was a large "iceberg" still present, despite the unseasonably warm temperatures.

Beyond the upper end of Lake Josephine, the trail begins to gain elevation, and with it, the postcard views get even better as the turquoise blue of Grinnell Lake comes into view. The breeze was still present from the night before and helped keep us cool on the climb.

A little more than 4.5 miles in, the trail crosses a drainage where the snow melt and sheer wall requires passing through a quick shower, or dropping down off the trail to skirt the spot and the climbing back up. On the return trip, we chose to go "full shower" and it kept us cool on the descent.

Just before the final climb to the glacier, NPS has created a rest area with pit toilets that are well placed and hidden from view.

The final climb is more strenuous that I was anticipating. Not crazy, but I did find myself thinking: Aren't we there yet?

After cresting the hill, the glacier comes into view and lives up to the hype. We did some careful wandering out onto the still frozen edges of the the lake, and I explored some of the crumbling ice flow at the edge of the lake. Standing still and just listening, I could hear signs of glacial movement--rocks sloughing off into crevasses and ice chunks falling into the water.

We spent some time relaxing and just enjoying the views, including looking up at the overlook far above, where we had been the previous day.

The return trip was just as beautiful. At Lake Josephine, my wife contemplated trying to head over to the boat dock and hitch a ride back over the lakes, but ultimately decided to just hike it out. As it was, I think we got back to the TH faster anyway.

At the gap between Lake Josephine and Swiftcurrent Lake, I decided to cross over and head down the trail on the opposite side. It gave me a chance to see the views of the mountains from the Many Glacier Hotel side without the smokescreen I first encountered there on Sunday. Excellent views with some nice clouds to accent the scene.

I wished I could have teleported to Iceberg Lake to see what a difference the smoke-free skies would have on the views there .... But mostly, I was just grateful that we were able to enjoy at least one crystal clear day in the park.

Stopped in at Heidi's Snack Shop in Many Glacier Hotel for some ice cream and treats before heading back to the Airbnb for a well-earned nap. :D After some rest, we hopped in the car and explored various pull outs on Going-to-the-Sun Road before hitting dinner again in West Glacier.
Culture
Culture
HAZ PicMimic
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1 archive
Jul 21 2021
ddgrunning
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 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,446
 Triplogs 372

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Highline and Swiftcurrent Trails, MT 
Highline and Swiftcurrent Trails, MT
 
Hiking avatar Jul 21 2021
ddgrunning
Hiking18.70 Miles 3,516 AEG
Hiking18.70 Miles   9 Hrs   40 Mns   2.13 mph
3,516 ft AEG      52 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Glacier Day 4

This was the second of our three big/classic/must-do hikes in Glacier. While most visitors head out from Logan Pass to the Garden Wall along Highline for an out-and-back of a few miles, I wanted to get to the Grinnell Glacier Overlook and the Granite Park Chalet. And once at the Chalet, it's actually shorter to continue on the Swiftcurrent Pass trail down to Many Glacier than to backtrack to Logan Pass. Either way, it's an 17-19 mile day, with 3,000+ AEG.

The Challenge: Setting up a shuttle from Many Glacier back to Logan Pass. :-k

The Plan: NPS does not operate a shuttle from Many Glacier, but the park concessionaire, Xanterra, advertises on its website that it offers a shuttle from Many Glacier to St. Mary. NPS offers a shuttle from the St. Mary park entrance on Going-to-the-Sun Road to Logan Pass.

The Hurdles: (1) The Xanterra shuttle is first-come/first-served, with extremely limited seating, and only offered at certain times (which the website says will be posted at Swiftcurrent Motor in and Many Glacier Lodge). (2) For 2021, the NPS has instituted a requirement that a shuttle pass is needed from recreation.gov in order to ride the in-park shuttle. We didn't have shuttle passes, and the ones that had been made available were sold out months before.

The Due Diligence: To address the Xanterra shuttle concern, I spoke with the employees at the Swiftcurrent Inn following our earlier hike to Iceberg Lake and was informed that: (a) the shuttles were actually running every hour on the hour, and (b) that Xanterra wasn't charging for the shuttle, and (c) mostly employees were using it, and few hikers, so there should be plenty of room. Perfect! :y: To address the NPS shuttle ticket concern, the NPS was issuing a small number of additional shuttle tickets on recreation.gov that would be available at 8 am, two days in advance. Although we would be hiking to Iceberg Lake at that time, I put my sister back in AZ and her Jeopardy-fast fingers in charge of trying to secure the NPS shuttle passes. As expected, they sold out in minutes, but my sister was able to secure passes for us. I downloaded them from my email and we validated them the day before the hike and got our "wristbands" at the Visitor Center in St. Mary. So, we were all set! :DANCE:

The Execution: [Spoiler Alert] The Xanterra shuttle never came .... ](*,) More on that later, but first, how was the hike?

The hike was spectacular (mostly)!

The "mostly" asterisk is that this is an extremely popular hike, and even though we arrived at the Logan Pass Visitor Center by 6:00 a.m., the large parking lot was already nearing capacity. This was also, in part, due to the fact that cars driving Going-to-the-Sun road in 2021 are required to purchase a separate pass through recreation.gov, but the pass requirement does not apply if you get on the GTSR before 6 am. So, the non-pass-holders are incentivized to get on the road early.

Back to the hike ...

Even though the first couple of miles were a bit of a conga line, we took it in stride and still enjoyed the views. The much hyped "exposure" along the Garden Wall was grossly overblown, as wide path is carved out of the wall. They have also bolted in a hand rail on the cliff wall for those with queasy stomachs. So, while it is possible to fall of the cliff side in this section, you'd have to be trying pretty hard to actually do it.

As the trail carves its way along the mountainside, the views down into the valley and of the surrounding, snow-capped peaks is excellent, though on this day still obscured somewhat by lingering smoke in the valleys.

At about the 2.3 mile mark, the trail begins to veer away from the GTSR below and climbs up and over the pass behind Haystack Butte. Then it begins a relatively gentle descent on the opposite side and mostly flattens out until the junction with the Grinnell Glacier overlook.

At the junction--7 miles in--is where the real work begins. The climb from there to the Grinnell Glacier overlook gains about 900 feet in 0.8 mile. A solid work out, but well worth the views across the divide of Grinnell Glacier and down into the Many Glacier valley. Along they way, we saw several bighorn sheep, a marmot, and we were greeted at the overlook by mountain goat, which just casually walked within feet of enjoying the views down to the Glacier.

We ate lunch and then I poked around the area and climbed to a couple of different viewpoints, while my wife and daughter began their descent back to the Highline Trail.

We reconnected at the Granite Park Chalet, which is less than a mile from the junction. Another time, I would like to stay at the Chalet, which offers rustic accommodations for backpackers. We enjoyed the shade and views off the back porch and pulled off the shoes/socks to give our feet a bit of a breather.

We were surprised to find cell service at the Chalet (Verizon), and sent a Marco Polo video to the rest of the family before transitioning the the Swiftcurrent Pass trail from the Chalet.

Once on Swiftcurrent, we left all crowds behind and enjoyed solitude, passing only two or three groups over the next 6-7 miles.

Swiftcurrent climbs about 500 feet from the Chalet to Swiftcurrent Pass at 7185 in about 0.75 mile. Before long, Bullhead and Red Rock Lakes come into view, along with a relatively brief glimpse of Windmaker Lake. All are beautiful, and provided a contrast to the views on the opposite side of the pass. Additionally, as we rounded the corner about 12.5 miles in, the waterfalls draining from the suspended Swiftcurrent Glacier come into view--cascading probably 1,000 feet into the valley below. They were spectacular and something that photos have difficulty capturing. More than the views, the powerful SOUND of the falls was breathtaking.

As we snaked our way down the switchbacks to the valley floor, the heavens opened up and we got a pretty solid downpour, but it only lasted about 10 minutes. Then the clouds parted. But the rain with a little breeze did wonders for clearing out the smoke--and laid the foundation for wonderfully clear day the following day.

Bullhead lake was calm, and its glassy surface offered beautiful views and reflections. For the lower half of the lake and down toward Red Rock Lake, the trail skirts back into the trees and cuts through thick underbrush, where we frequently were brushing off the moisture from the rain-stained plants as we traversed the narrow pathway. At points, we could hear cascades along the creek, and I jutted out off trail to catch a glimpse of one at one point.

Eventually, we came to Red Rock Falls. A beautiful area, where we stopped for some photos, and began to run into the short-hiking crowds who had come up from the opposite direction to play in the pools and cascades which make this area a perfect destination for families with younger kids. As for us, we were pretty beat, so despite the beauty, we were focused on the finish line.

One more stop along the way at Red Rock Lake, where we were able to observe two moose grazing out in the water, while a baby rested on the nearby bank in the reeds.

At long last, we made it to the Swifcurrent Inn at 3:40 pm--just enough time to catch our breath and get a treat before the 4 pm Xanterra shuttle would arrive. But 4 pm came and went with no shuttle. I checked with the front desk and was told that the shuttle is sometimes late. Meanwhile, we chatted with another set of hikers on the porch of the Swiftcurrent Inn who were headed over Logan Pass, but we didn't want to intrude by asking for a ride, and we were sure the shuttle would come. Our new acquaintances left. When 4:30 and then 4:45 and then 5:00 passed with no shuttle and with the parking lots in Many Glacier beginning to empty, we found ourselves wishing we had bummed a ride off the folks we talked with earlier. As it was, we were reduced to asking random strangers, and eventually writing a sign "Need Ride to St. Mary or Logan Pass" and sticking out the old thumb.

Eventually, we got a lift a little further down the road to the exit point of Many Glacier Hotel, which gave us access to a few more departing cars. Finally, a group with a truck offered to give us a ride to Babb, which was only a couple of miles from our Airbnb. From there, my wife and daughter could walk back to our place, while I continued to figure out how to get from Babb to Logan Pass. Thankfully, when we reached Babb, the folks in the truck told us they were going over Logan Pass and made space inside for me to join them. Turned out to be two young couples from North Dakota. I've never been there, but it now has a special place in my heart. :-)

Long day; beautiful hike; and some extra adventure to cap it all off ....
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Jul 20 2021
ddgrunning
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 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,446
 Triplogs 372

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Hidden Lake OverlookWestern, MT
Western, MT
Hiking avatar Jul 20 2021
ddgrunning
Hiking2.81 Miles 576 AEG
Hiking2.81 Miles   1 Hour   28 Mns   2.19 mph
576 ft AEG      11 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Glacier NP Day 3:

Our third day was supposed to be a relatively low-key day, centered on a boat tour on St. Mary Lake. But since our boat tour didn't start till 10 a.m., we decided to head up and check out Logan Pass and the east side of Going-to-the-Sun Road.

We arrived at the Logan Pass visitor center on the Continental Divide at 6:20 a.m. and found the parking lot nearly full. For 2021, NPS is limiting traffic on GTSR to cars that have a permit. Cars without a permit cannot enter the road between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. As a result, non permit holders must get on the road early.

Having secured a parking spot, we decided to do a quick hike out to Hidden Lake Overlook, which starts just behind the Logan Pass visitor center. I believe this is one of the most popular hikes for those who generally prefer to explore the park by car. The hike is mostly on a raised boardwalk over the alpine meadow. The trail gains a surprising amount of elevation for the casual hikers.

The trail provides nice views of the surrounding mountains and meadow as it climbs around the south side of Clements Mountain to Hidden Lake Pass. Up on the side of Clements Mountain were a dozen plus bighorn sheep. With their coloring, they blend in perfectly with the talus slopes and are essentially invisible if they sit still. Even in photos, absent a telephoto lens, it is hard to spot them.

Once at the lake overlook, we enjoyed views of the lake below and were visited by the friendly neighborhood marmot family. We also saw a couple of mountain goats, but they were so far off in the distance that our low power binoculars revealed little more than white blobs on a distant rock outcropping.
Named place
Named place
Hidden Lake - Glacier
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Jul 20 2021
ddgrunning
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 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,446
 Triplogs 372

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Siyeh PassNorth Central, MT
North Central, MT
Hiking avatar Jul 20 2021
ddgrunning
Hiking0.89 Miles 227 AEG
Hiking0.89 Miles      41 Mns   1.53 mph
227 ft AEG      6 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked linked
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Glacier Day 3

Quick stop and explore along Going to the Sun Road from Siyeh Bend before our scheduled boat tour on St. Mary Lak. Wandered up the first part of the Siyeh Pass trail, which connects with the Piegan Pass trail. Great creek views, and a climb up to a verdant forested area. As you begin the climb up, you pass through a violent avalanche zone that chopped off the trees at about 5-6 feet. Sad for the trees, but it opens up a nice view!

Would have liked to continue the trail, which has an option of going 2.5 miles and popping out further down the GTSR at the Jackson Glacier Overlook pullout. Or more ambitious, take the trail over Piegan Pass and down in to Many Glacier. Another time....
Named place
Named place
Siyeh Creek
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Jul 20 2021
ddgrunning
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 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,446
 Triplogs 372

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
St. Mary Virginia and Baring Falls, MT 
St. Mary Virginia and Baring Falls, MT
 
Hiking avatar Jul 20 2021
ddgrunning
Hiking5.29 Miles 1,024 AEG
Hiking5.29 Miles   2 Hrs   6 Mns   2.56 mph
1,024 ft AEG      2 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Glacier Day 3

This was the "big event" of the day. We started off with the boat tour of St. Mary Lake. Tickets were a little overpriced IMO, but the boat tour gave us a nice opportunity to get off our feet for a bit and still see some cool stuff. The boat captains shared interesting facts about the geology of the area--including that Wild Goose Island is a tall spire of Alston Limestone that withstood glacial grinding and is just tall enough to poke out of the top of the lake--as well as on info flora and fauna (including that moose are apparently good swimmers and can dive up to 18 feet underwater).

The boat tour heads up to the western side of the lake where it docks, and allows those on the short tour to walk the 0.2 mi. up the trail to Baring Falls, while those with more time can hike over to St. Mary and Virginia Falls. We did the latter (and also did a quick jaunt on the way back to Baring Falls).

The first part of the trail goes through a burn area from the 2015 Reynolds Creek fire. The undergrowth is recovering nicely, but the trees are going to take awhile. In the meantime, as the trail climbs up from the lake, the views of the western end of the lake are also a nice distraction from the burn scar.

Once we rounded the corner at the end of the lake, we passed the burn scar and were back in the verdant valley. Shortly, we came to St. Mary Falls, where NPS has constructed a bridge just down from the falls, creating a nice viewing platform.

This is a popular area, and many people were there. And for good reason. The falls are impressive! And the clear water is great eye candy. A few people were cliff jumping off the rocks near the bridge. I might have partaken in other circumstances, but we were in a time crunch--wanting to get out to Virginia Falls as well and back to the boat dock before our departure time.

So, we took in the views briefly and then continued on up the trail. The traffic lessened slightly, but was still relatively busy. In another mile or so, we reached Virgina Falls, which is also very impressive. A very large fall, which can be seen from Going to the Sun Road, followed by several downstream cascades, which are worthy sights in their own right.

We enjoyed the views and took in lunch before hustling back to the boat dock.

Upon arriving at the boat dock, we continued on briefly to the viewpoint for Baring Falls. Definitely worth seeing if in the area, but not as impressive as St. Mary and Virginia Falls--both of which were up at the top of my cool waterfalls list in Glacier.

We took the boat back to the dock. Less commentary from the captain on the return, but a nice chance to take a breather between hikes.

If I do this hike again, I would do it in the evening--arriving at the trail head on GTSR around 5:30 pm and then hiking out in the evening. During the summer, it is light till around 10 pm, and the late-day start would be less crowded.
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Jul 20 2021
ddgrunning
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 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,446
 Triplogs 372

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Sun Point Nature TrailNorth Central, MT
North Central, MT
Hiking avatar Jul 20 2021
ddgrunning
Hiking0.61 Miles 163 AEG
Hiking0.61 Miles      33 Mns   1.14 mph
163 ft AEG      1 Min Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Glacier Day 3

Last small hike of the day--a short loop out to Sun Point on St. Mary Lake. Sun Point used to be the location for the Going to the Sun Chalet--built in the early 1900s and operated till WWII, and then fell into disrepair and was torn down in 1948. Not much remains other than a few signs of old foundation. But the views of the lake are still nice!

After finishing this little jaunt, we spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Going to the Sun Road westbound, where we exited the park to grab dinner in West Glacier at the Glacier Highland Restaurant (good pizza, hot sandwiches/burgers, and homemade pie!), and then returned to watch the sunset from a beach/pullout along Lake McDonald.
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3 archives
Jul 19 2021
ddgrunning
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 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,446
 Triplogs 372

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Iceberg Lake & Ptarmigan Tunnel, MT 
Iceberg Lake & Ptarmigan Tunnel, MT
 
Hiking avatar Jul 19 2021
ddgrunning
Hiking17.37 Miles 3,489 AEG
Hiking17.37 Miles   10 Hrs   7 Mns   2.11 mph
3,489 ft AEG   1 Hour   54 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Day 2 in Glacier NP:

After finding that Grinnell Glacier trail was closed due to a bear frequenting the area, we moved up our plan to visit Iceberg Lake. I also wanted to tack on Ptarmigan Lake and Ptarmigan Tunnel, if we were still feeling strong on the way back.

After staying the night in a makeshift motel a few miles outside of Babb, we woke early to get to the trailhead and on the trail before traffic from other parts of the park arrived. The morning was quite foggy, which when added to the smoky haze from the numerous fires burning in Montana and Idaho made for reduced visibility and a dampening of the usually vibrant colors on this hike to mostly a slate gray.

We arrived at the trailhead with plenty of morning light but before sunrise. Despite the hazy conditions, the trail was still very scenic. This trail was open but was still "posted" (as opposed to "closed"), cautioning about a bear in the area. We didn't see one, but ran across a hiker on the way back who had started a couple of hours behind us and had seen a grizzly bear 150-200 feet from the trail within the first mile of the trailhead.

After a little more that 2.5 miles of hiking, we crossed over Ptarmigan creek and falls. The trail crosses above the falls and trees obscure a frontal view, but you can downclimb a bit from the trail and take in the upper portion of the falls from a ledge. A nice cascade. The trail skirts above the fall and passes Ptarmigan Creek over a wooden footbridge. The glacier-polished and vibrantly colored stones carpet the bottom of the creek and are on clear display through the glassy water.

Shortly after the creek crossing, we reached the fork that leads up to Ptarmigan Lake and Ptarmigan Tunnel. We debated heading up to the Tunnel first and then returning to Iceberg Lake later. But knowing that the Lake was the more popular destination, we were anxious to visit there first before it became crowded.

At about the 3.5 mile mark, the trail emerges from the trees for good. Here, the sun finally rose over the mountains behind us, but instead of a providing rush of morning rays to paint the surrounding landscape with color, the cresting sun was only marginally perceptible. In fact, I hadn't noticed that it had risen until my wife looked back and pointed to the fiery red dot through the smoky haze. It was a striking view, which cameras failed to accurately capture, but still reminded me that it was time to put my hat on if I wanted to avoid sunburn!

At 4.7 miles, we crossed Iceberg Creek, which is the drainage outlet for the lake. A nice photo area, especially of some cascading falls that are a little downstream from the bridges (which we checked out on the return trip).

Another 0.3 mile brought us to the edge of Iceberg Lake. While the haze muted its colors, the lake was still magnificent, with several "icebergs" still decorating its depths.

The lake, perfectly still and quiet, and surrounded by a glacier-carved cathedral, truly had a spiritual feel to it. As I walked along its banks and came across another hiker perched above the lake, I was impressed with the natural pressure to preserve the reverence of this place of contemplation and communion with Nature.

Although the forecast was for 90 degrees, it was much cooler at the lake, and almost dissuaded me from taking a dip in the lake. Ultimately, I compromised by wading out to my waist and then climbing up on one of the floating icebergs. Not surprisingly, the water was very cold! :lol:

We spent some time skipping rocks, and I think it would be harder to find a better place for that activity than Iceberg Lake.

As expected, by the time we were leaving the lake, a steadier stream of hiker were arriving, but not a big crowd. Also on the trail were some folks on horseback, who would end up following us up to Ptarmigan Tunnel become rather annoying on the way back because they could not keep a consistent pace (thus passing us and then being passed by us multiple times). ](*,)

Returning from the Lake, we hung a left at the Ptarmigan Lake junction and climbed up to the lake. The trail is a steep but steady climb to the lake. We took a break and a swim in Ptarmigan Lake--still cold, but not like Iceberg.

From the lake, you can see the two, long switchbacks up to the tunnel, which cuts 240 feet through the top of the Ptarmigan Wall and was originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the 1930's for horses and early park tours. Coming out the opposite side of the Tunnel reveals a contrasting view of the "red" rock in the opposing drainage. Continuing on the Ptarmigan trail beyond the tunnel leads to a point at which you can look back across the mountain range to see Old Sun Glacier on the upper reaches of Mount Merritt.

The hike back to the trailhead was uneventful, other than the annoying tag team with the horse riders.

We celebrated the day with some soft serve ice cream at the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn.
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Jul 18 2021
ddgrunning
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 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,446
 Triplogs 372

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Running Eagle Falls Nature TrailNorth Central, MT
North Central, MT
Hiking avatar Jul 18 2021
ddgrunning
Hiking1.83 Miles 285 AEG
Hiking1.83 Miles   1 Hour   7 Mns   1.89 mph
285 ft AEG      9 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Day one in Glacier NP. Actually, this was planned as a travel day, but since we arrived a little early, and since it was light till nearly 10 pm, and since we didn't have other planned hikes in the Two Medicine area of the park, we decided to stop by this easy and rewarding hike on our way to our home for the night a bit further up the road near Babb, MT.

Unfortunately, our arrival in Glacier coincided with most of Idaho and Montana being on fire (something like 40 wildfires combined) :cry: :x ](*,). As we traveled through Idaho and Montana, I kept hoping that the smoky haze would let up, but no such luck, and it seemed that all of the smoke descended on Glacier. As a result, all of the distant mountain views were reduced to grayish outlines. The up-close views remained beautiful, but visibility for extended distances was limited. I was frankly pretty depressed by the situation and joked that we would get to see Glacier through cataracts .... :( , I hoped that the valleys would clear out as the week wore on. :pray:

Anyway, Running Eagle Falls nature trail is a popular hike in the area, based on its lack of difficulty and a neat waterfall as the payoff at the end. It was also a nice intro to hiking in Glacier, which features some amazingly well-groomed trail and many trails featuring thick leafy undergrowth through which the path often cuts a narrow swath. This turned out to be common on many of the trails we hiked and reminded me somewhat of the wild grape field between Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls in Havasupai.

Only the lower portion of the falls were running, but they were beautiful, and the clear, cold water running powerfully down the rocky falls was impressive to watch.

On the way back, we stopped to skip some rocks in the creek and then made our return via the nature trail loop, which educated us as to some of the flora in the park.

After finishing the hike, we drove up to Babb and then decided to scope out the trailhead at our hiking destination for the following day in Many Glacier and catch the sunset at Many Glacier Hotel.

The road is under construction and is currently dirt travel from Babb to the park entry. Beyond that, a nice new road has been installed.

We watched the sunset from the Hotel over Swiftcurrent Lake. The smoky haze obscured views, but also created a unique, red sunset effect. Although not what we had hoped in terms of views, it was still quite mesmerizing in its own way.

While at the hotel, we also found out that the trail for our planned hike the next day (to Grinnell Glacier) had been closed due to a visitor leaving a backpack on the trail, which was confiscated by a visiting bear. According to the ranger, that is one of the more serious encounters--more serious than a typical bear encounter on the trail--since the bear was "rewarded" with food and thus is more likely to return.

As a result, we changed our plans and moved up Iceberg Lake/Ptarmigan Tunnel on the agenda, and crossed our fingers that Grinnell Glacier trail would reopen later in the week (which it did. :y: ).
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Jul 10 2021
ddgrunning
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 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,446
 Triplogs 372

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Abineau and Rees Peaks via A-BJ Loop, AZ 
Abineau and Rees Peaks via A-BJ Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jul 10 2021
ddgrunning
Hiking10.50 Miles 4,261 AEG
Hiking10.50 Miles   6 Hrs   58 Mns   1.62 mph
4,261 ft AEG      28 Mns Break
 
1st trip
My wife wanted to do a fitness test for our upcoming trip to Glacier. The Abineau-Bear Jaw Loop is a little shorter in distance than most of the Glacier hikes we have planned, but it packs about the right amount of elevation gain and at about the right altitude, so we zeroed in on this one.

We were able to drive up Friday night, which allowed us an early start on Saturday morning. Hit the trail about 6:50 a.m. One other car in the parking area.

The only other time I've hiked this one, we took the loop counterclockwise, up Abineau. So, for variety's sake, we headed up Bear Jaw. The trail was gorgeous and having it to ourselves early in the morning, as the sun rose through the aspens, pines, and fir trees, with the birds singing the day into existence, was magical.

Other than a pair of trail runners, who passed us in the opposite direction just as we approached the final climb to the Waterline road, we didn't see a soul to that point.

At the Waterline junction, my wife found a comfortable spot in the shade and settled in to read a book, while I tackled a long-time objective of summitting Rees and Abineau Peaks.

The climb up to Rees from the Waterline Road gains about 1750 feet in 1.2 miles. Definitely gets the heart pumping. There is some deadfall to navigate right out of the gate, but it diminishes further up. The scree field (marked on my route) provided some relief from the deadfall and underbrush, and opened up first views to the north. After that, it was back into the woods (and welcome shade) for the upper half of the summit push.

About a 1/4 mile from the summit, I was near enough to the ridge into Bear Jaw Canyon that I took a quick jaunt to the west to view the canyon and look across and up to my second goal--Abineau Peak.

Shortly after resuming my climb, I topped out on Rees. Coming out of the forested climb and cresting the inner basin caldera, with the 5 other peaks instantaneously popping into view was awesome. :y:

I signed the summit register and settled in for a mid-morning snack at what I believe to be the best lunch spot on the peaks. With a clear sky, no wind, and no other human being in sight, I took in a few calories and caught my breath, while admiring the impressive south-facing perspective across Caldera of Doyle, Fremont, and Agassiz--with the Weatherford trail slicing its way through, and with the Inner Basin pumphouse and "bus stop" almost 2,000 feet below, and with Abineau and Humphreys Peak at my right shoulder, also joining in the view.

Just off the summit to the west, Rees Peak is also home to the coolest-looking tree skeleton in the Peaks. Not sure what kind of tree it is, but its remains are a true work of Mother Nature's art.

After admiring the Rees summit "tree decor," I covered the brief descent on the west side of Rees and then began climbing again up to Abineau. There was a little more "choose-your-adventure" on the route up Abineau, mostly involving which side of the ridge to take when coming up to an obstacle. Mostly, I stayed to the right and that seemed to work well.

Just before the summit, I came to a boulder obstacle. On this one, I banked left which required a little hand-over-hand, Class 3 climbing, but nothing requiring major exposure.

The summit of Abineau is bare at 11,838 ft, allowing impressive 360-degree views, and, with its ability to give Humphreys some perspective (rather than being on top of it), I think Abineau provides the best vantage point to take in all of the peaks in one place.

After drinking my fill of the views, I realized I was a bit behind schedule for reconnecting with my wife, so I decided to see if there was cell reception on the summit. To my relief--but also disappointment--there was. I was able to readjust our meeting time and then started my descent.

On the way down, I visited the B-17 crash site and paid my respects. Crazy that this accident happened only three days after the better-know B-24 crash on Humphreys. Also, while the plane in this one was having a lot of other issues (it was on fire prior to crashing) and may not have survived in any event, the proximity of the crash to the top of the ridgeline suggests that it would have cleared the ridge with only a small amount of additional elevation.

The rest of the descent was uneventful, but seemed to take forever.

I reconnected with my wife on the Waterline Road, where she reported a handful of mountain bikers and a few groups of hikers passing on the loop. By that time, temperatures were rising and the sun was high, making shade along the road a scarce commodity.

Descending Abineau trail through the avalanche zone in the exposed sun cemented my preference for the Bear Jaw trail.

Back at the the trailhead, the temps were plus 90 degrees. Thankfully, a few clouds had developed and provided some protection from the sun as we traversed the last open section before the parking lot. All in all, some great nature therapy for the weekend!

Hit up Freddy's for frozen custard before heading back to the valley. Ended up having to divert through Payson at Camp Verde due to an accident closing down I-17. Poured rain between Pine and Payson. Probably the same storm that pounded the Valley later than evening.
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Jun 11 2021
ddgrunning
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 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,446
 Triplogs 372

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Cathedral WashNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 11 2021
ddgrunning
Hiking4.33 Miles 826 AEG
Hiking4.33 Miles   2 Hrs   57 Mns   1.98 mph
826 ft AEG      46 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
A repeat hike from the day before, with some different youth From our group camping on lone rock beach at Lake Powell. Ran into a scout troop at the river, as well as a couple of rangers. Water was cold and refreshing. This is a great little hike, with a little scrambling and decision making on routes, and a lot of beautiful geology.
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Jun 10 2021
ddgrunning
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 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,446
 Triplogs 372

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Cathedral WashNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 10 2021
ddgrunning
Hiking4.84 Miles 819 AEG
Hiking4.84 Miles   3 Hrs   6 Mns   2.09 mph
819 ft AEG      47 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Nice morning to explore the wash. Getting toasty, but not too bad. Just a handful of people on the trail. Took a jump in the river to cool off before returning. Hit up Navajo Bridge and Horseshoe Bend on the return to our camping spot on Lone Rock Beach.
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May 28 2021
ddgrunning
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 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,446
 Triplogs 372

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 28 2021
ddgrunning
Hiking26.78 Miles 5,881 AEG
Hiking26.78 Miles1 Day   4 Hrs   28 Mns   
5,881 ft AEG
 
1st trip
My youngest daughter graduated from high school on Thursday and wanted to celebrate with an overnight backpacking trip. :y: She picked out the Cabin Loop, which is an area that has long been on my radar, but hadn't quite made it to the top of the list.

With some help from the HAZ forum (thanks!), we mapped out a tentative itinerary for the eastern loop. We changed our minds several times about starting location, but ultimately settled on starting from Buck Springs cabins. We were happy with our choice. On the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, we were the only ones at the TH and enjoyed an amazing amount of solitude.

We took Barbershop over to the U-Bar trail and then started a counterclockwise loop. Didn't see a soul until we reached Pinchot Cabin, where one group was setting up camp and we were passed by a few vehicles.

From there, we decided to take a side excursion up to the southern leg of CC Cragin Reservoir to make our camp. Total solitude all along that path and at our campsite overlooking the dregs of the reservoir, which in that area has been reduces to spotty pools. While we were hoping for a more scenic view of the lake, it was still a nice spot and we enjoyed the evening.

The following morning, we packed up, retraced our steps to Pinchot, and then continued the loop down Houston Brothers. We stopped for an early lunch at Aspen Spring and really enjoyed this area, with the cabin remains, and beautify meadow. I can see why this would be a popular camping area. One of our favorite sections of the loop. We hung up the hammock and relaxed for a while before continuing on.

After Aspen Spring, we enjoyed the continuous meadows and stream/springs along HB, which then gave way to a very nice, canopy-covered fir forest.

By the time we were approaching the HB-Barbershop junction, we were ready to be done, but still had about 5 miles of hiking to go. We grinded it out! Thankfully, the scenery kept us distracted from the tired legs, with 27 miles and a Grand Canyon's worth of elevation gain.

Arriving back at Buck Springs, we were still the only ones there and no other entries in the register. As we drove out, FR 300 was more of the expected crowd of Memorial Day weekend traffic.

Got back to the valley around 6:30 pm and hit the hay early ....

Great trip and more priceless memories with my daughter!
Fauna
Fauna
Horned Lizard
Named place
Named place
Aspen Spring Houston Draw

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Aspen Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
flowing nicely

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Dane Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Pinchot Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Didn't check out the source, but plenty of water in the creekbed
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May 14 2021
ddgrunning
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 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,446
 Triplogs 372

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Ragnar Trail Relay (Zion), UT 
Ragnar Trail Relay (Zion), UT
 
Run/Jog avatar May 14 2021
ddgrunning
Run/Jog15.49 Miles 2,017 AEG
Run/Jog15.49 Miles   16 Hrs   48 Mns   0.92 mph
2,017 ft AEG
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
First time running a trail relay race. 8 person team. Course consists of three loops. Each person on the team runs each loop over the course of the race. 122-ish miles total. Our team came in 20th place. Not too bad. Although there was a little competitive spirit, it was mostly just for fun--as evidenced by my convincing my teammates to do a 10-mile hike to Observation Point the night before the race. :-)

Pros of the trail Ragnar: single location (no driving around constantly); this location (Zion Ponderosa Ranch) had showers, pool, and a jacuzzi available!

Cons: Having to set up and then take down your camp before and after the race.

All in all a fun event. I'd do it again.
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May 13 2021
ddgrunning
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 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,446
 Triplogs 372

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Observation Point - ZionSouthwest, UT
Southwest, UT
Hiking avatar May 13 2021
ddgrunning
Hiking9.94 Miles 2,372 AEG
Hiking9.94 Miles   4 Hrs   4 Mns   2.66 mph
2,372 ft AEG      20 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
This was a "warm up" hike prior to participating in the Ragnar Zion Trail relay race, which itself involved each team member running 15.3 miles and a total of nearly 2,000 AEG.

After we set up camp near "Ragnar Village" at the Zion Ponderosa Ranch just east of the NP entrance, I had convinced the team that we should do a hike out to Observation Point--as the TH was within a 1.5 mile drive from the Ragnar Village.

We called the hike a "warm up," but it was really a pretty substantial workout, as the stats show--10 miles with 2,300 feet of elevation gain. Even though it would zap some energy for the actual race, it turned out that our team was slated for a late start time the following day (1:30 pm), so we figured we could just sleep in to our heart's content on Friday morning.

The hike was awesome! It starts out on the forest-covered rim of Zion Canyon, then descends into the canyon, dropping 1200 feet. The trail we were on actual drops all the way to the canyon floor, but a couple of years back there was a big rock slide, which closed the trail at about the halfway point from the bottom up, but did not impact the upper section of the trail. So, as a result, we basically had the trail to ourselves!

After dropping in to the canyon, we then climbed out the opposing canyon wall out to Observation Point--a spectacular viewpoint, which actually looks down on Angels Landing. We arrived at Observation Point just as the sun set. The views were spectacular, as they were throughout the canyon on the hike over to that point.

There is another (easier/flatter/but seemingly less interesting) trail that gets out to Observation Point, which joins the trail we hiked about a 1/2 mile before arriving at OP. There were several people who had accessed the point from that trailhead, so we had more company at the viewing spot.

After taking in the views, we began our return trip and were soon hiking by headlamp. We only managed to get lost once (a short detour that added another 1/4 mile or so)--which can be seen on the track. By the time we got back to our campsite, it was past 11 pm. We cooked up some spaghetti and had a very late dinner and got to bed a little after 12:30 a.m.

Yes, we paid a bit of a price in terms of energy in the race, but it was a price I was happy to pay!
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May 13 2021
ddgrunning
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 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,446
 Triplogs 372

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Sand CavesSouthwest, UT
Southwest, UT
Hiking avatar May 13 2021
ddgrunning
Hiking0.44 Miles 91 AEG
Hiking0.44 Miles      21 Mns   2.20 mph
91 ft AEG      9 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Took a quick side trip to visit the sand caves on our way to the Ragnar Zion Trail race. A Handful of people there. A fun little place for a quick visit for anyone who’s passing through.
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average hiking speed 1.97 mph
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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