Today’s Hike: Training for Dry Mountain

Dry Mountain

It’s been a while since I’ve been walking seriously – life just sort of got in the way – but on June 1 I started getting out in the mornings again and today I thought I’d head back up the hillside. The last time I got up so far was a few years back when I hiked up to Mollie’s Nipple, at 6237 feet; today I found the trail that leads up to the top of the Dry Mountain Ridge.

I made it to 6589 today, which is an improvement over last time – and I’m carrying a significant bit more extra weight than I was then, so I feel good about making it that far. It took me 3:44 to get up and back, for a total of 6 miles, with a 1729′ elevation gain. Suffice it to say I was dog tired when I got back down. I think I’ll wait until I’ve shed another 10 pounds or so before I give it another shot.

As you can see from the Google Earth shot above, I’ve got a long way to go even when I make the ridge; Dry Mountain tops 2.4 miles to the south of the ridge above where I was hiking, at an elevation of 9839 feet, so it’s going to be an all-day affair by the time I get up there and back. I’ll need more than one bottle of water for sure. I should have taken two today.

I would seriously not mind cheating if I could find a different access point from the other side. Time will tell.

Here are some photos I took along the way:

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In the middle of the trail, struggling to survive, life finds a way. (Key for scale). Any 4-wheelers come barreling up the road, I’m afraid this little guy is toast. But so pretty and so fragile.

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A view west over Santaquin, Utah.

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A wildfire burned for two weeks on Dry Mountain in late August 2001. The “Mollie” fire consumed the vegetation on more than 8,000 acres. This is how low the fire came at this point on the mountain.

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Looking up from the point where I ran out of steam. To quote a line from Gattaca, “I didn’t save anything for the way back.” I wish I could have made it to the top of that central ridge, but there was just nothing left.

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A panorama taken from where I stopped.

Pigs

Cleaned up after some inconsiderate pigs on the way down. Pick up your trash, Gatlan. At least I left the mountainside cleaner than I found it. like a good Scout should do. I only ever made it to 2nd Class, but the lessons remain.

All in all, it was a good morning. Still recuperating at 3:42 PM, but feeling a bit more human.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

An Autumn hike

I’m out of shape.

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It’s been over three years since I was approaching marathon distance on my hikes in the Uintahs – life took a couple of hairpin turns for me and that put a bit of a kink in that goal, but lately I’ve been doing more walking and it’s my intention to get back into the habit.

Yesterday I took a walk up the side of the hill toward Mollie’s Nipple (the green ball below) which I attained in July of 2011 via a different, longer route (up the back ridge); I only made it up the side about 1,000 feet before my energy ran out, but it was a good climb just the same.

walk

3.48 miles

Followed the canal until I found a place to cross and headed up the face of the hill. By the time I got up there, the sun had crested the mountains and the slope up to the next level was warm and bathed in sunlight, so I stuck around a while enjoying the warmth before heading back down. Next time I go this route I think I’ll go up the shoulder instead of the face, it may be a bit easier.

Some shots from the  trek:

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The Payson temple framed by wildflowers.

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Comparison shot of the temple location taken in July of 2011

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Skeletons. A fire came over the ridge in 2008 and threatened homes in the valley; there are still reminders everywhere. It will take decades for the mountain to recover.

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A patch of color

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A sage field

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Another kind of skeleton

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Sunrise over Spring Lake

It’s sad in a way to see the summer coming to an end, but Autumn in Utah can be a beautiful season.

The Old Wolf has spoken.