Squaw Peak

Starting elevation: 4728
Summit elevation: 7854
Total Gain: 3126 ft.
Trail Length (one wayy) 2.9 Miles

It was a good day today to climb a mountain. Beautiful weather, not too hot or cold, not a cloud in the sky. Halfway up the mountain when I realized that it was a Saturday and that we had great weather I wondered why I wasn’t climbing one of the peaks on my list. Squaw Peak is probably one of the lowest peaks to climb in the area, but aside from a very well groomed trail all the way to the top it was a similar climb to many of the other peaks I climbed this summer. Some of those peaks even had their starting elevation around the summit elevation of Squaw Peak. The typical ascent on those peaks was between 3-4000 ft.

I was probably 12 when I first remarked Squaw Peak’s southern exposure with the jagged cliffs running all the way from the canyon floor to the summit, and the cliffs pretty much ran the length of the canyon at it’s base (Rock Canyon). I had just gotten into rappelling and I thought it would be cool to be able to rappel from the summit down to the canyon floor. I wonder if anybody’s ever attempted that. Looking at the range from the West it looks like Squaw Peak, and Y Peak (The peak just to the South of Squaw) were once the same, and the mountain just cracked open forming the two peaks, and Rock Canyon.

I almost summitted Squaw Peak w/ my bike 2+ years ago. I was riding along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, and as it typically does, it disappeared. So going in the direction the trail was headed I hopped a fence and rode a trail that was kind of faint, but still there; hoping eventually to rejoin the real trail somewhere down the line. The trail ended at another fence, but I saw a trail going up on the mountain. I thought I’d ride that for a while and then turn around. I got halfway up the mountain and decided that I’d already come that far I might as well keep going to the top. It took a couple hours, and I think I was finding my way up the upper half on game trails, but eventually I reached the ridge that leads to the summit. My roommate had told me at one time that there was a trail that led to Squaw Peak (he was talking about the one I hiked today) and I decided that I would try to find it. If I would’ve hiked for 10 minutes in a southerly direction up the ridgeline I would’ve hit it, but I went East, straight down the other side. The trees and grasses looked lighter and I thought I would intersect the trail eventually. There was no trail in the area I was in. The grass was now up to my shoulders and I had to carry my bike above my head, I ran out of water on the ridgeline, and it had been 8 hours since I’d last eaten, not to mention the denseness of the trees making travel time really slow. I would’ve turned around, climbed back up to the ridgeline and packed myself out the same way I came in, but I needed water, so I kept going another half mile until I hit what I was hoping to be a nice sized stream I could get water from. It was bone dry. It made travel easier for the most part though. When the streambed was blocked with fallen trees it was a pain. I thought I was going to have to go all the way up to Provo Canyon, but thankfully there was a canyon I ran into — I think it’s called Crack Canyon, not sure — it had a little trickle of water flowing down the top portion of it. It was teaming with all sorts of insects swimming around in it, and who knows what kind of other nasties were in it — the Camelbak slogan comes to mind to describe the situation: “hydrate or die”. If I would’ve known the area better I would’ve known that there was a beautiful dirt road and a campground about 500 ft to the east of where I filled up w/ the nasty water. It took a couple hours of rock hopping (on foot, not on my bike) to get to the mouth of the canyon, but the canyon was a welcome change to the dense forest I had just trudged through. Still carrying the bike was still a pain. I had wanted to leave it somewhere on the mountain to come back for it when I was in a better condition to carry it out — and after I had found a better route for getting into this area — but I never wanted to go back there, ever, ever again. I made it out of the canyon and finally I could ride again. Made it to the car about 8 hours after I left it. In all it was probably about 5 miles, but the route was less than optimal. It was really disappointing to see just how close I was to the trail I was seeking two years ago. Biking down that trail and coming out of Rock Canyon would’ve been the greatest thing, and would’ve made the entire trip only 3 hours long instead of 8. Well, whatever doesn’t kill you usually makes you stronger — and wiser. A GPS would’ve been awesome for that trip, no, I take that back, it would’ve been priceless.

I’m glad I went up there today. I’ve been bogged down with work from several different clients this past month, and this was a welcome break from the routine.

I got a beta this week. I call him Monsieur Poisson (Mr. Fish). I was thinking it’s kind of sad how he has to live his life in a tiny little bowl just swimming around in circles all day long. He’ll never be able to puddle jump in southern asia where he comes from, and fight off invading male betas, or enjoy any of his other natural activities. I realized a second after I had that thought that his life isn’t that much different from mine. I really spend most of my days in my room; either working or sleeping. If we were to compare our living space relative to our mass I think Monsieur Poisson gets more living space. On top of that he has a deluxe beta tank w/ his own cool blue led light in a stylish little stand which is quite the upgrade from a puddle back home. And human kind today lives better than the noblest kings of the past with all of our conveniences and technology. Since we’re pretty much in the same boat I can only reason that if I enjoy my living quarters and lifestyle, then so does Monsieur Poisson. 

View photos from this trip

Timpanogos Cave

A friend just got back from a 2 month vacation back home in France, so I got a couple other francophones together for an excursion up to Timpanogos Cave. It’s a 3 mile round trip w/ 1000 + ft in elevation gain, kind of modest, but what’s cool about this trip is that you’re making your way up the mountainside on a trail which was essentially cut out of the cliff that makes up the north face of Timpanogos. The last time I was there was probably 15 years ago. The cave was shorter than I remember, and it was definetely cooler when I was younger. There were a couple little boys, probably 5 years old, in our tour group in the cave, and they had these LED headlamps that they kept turning on when the cave was supposed to be pitch black to be in awe of the darkness of it all. They kept pointing out all the stalactites, and stalagmites, and shouting about how each one was cooler than the last. It was cool to see it all again, but it was even cooler to see those kids getting such a kick out of it. I was jealous because they never had to duck once. It was mildly hot, but not unbearable, and not a mosquito, or fly in site. We spoke in French the whole time which was nice, but reminded me of how much I’ve lost already after 2.5 years. It was flowing pretty easily by the end of the trip, but there were still those stuttering moments when you’re looking for a word. 

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Deseret Peak

Naomi is no longer my favorite peak to climb out of the county high points. After Deseret Peak, Naomi Peak just seems docile, and immature. Deseret Peak has been one of the mountains I’ve wanted to do all summer. So I did it. The summit is at 11,031 ft., and the trailhead starts at 7,400 for a total elevation gain of 3,631 ft in roughly 3.5 miles (one way).

After a hectic Monday morning I decided it would be best to get out into the mountains. The sky was blue, thunderstorm forecasts were non-existant, and the temperatures were below 100 degrees in the valley for the first time in 2 weeks, which meant that the temps in the mountains would be even nicer. I planned the trip around 1:00 pm, ate a quick lunch, threw my gear into a bag, and was driving through the desert in no time. I got to the trailhead at 3:00, and was on the trail by 3:20. I swallowed two flys on the way up (unintentionally, mind you). There were hordes of every kind choked onto the trail like it was an LA freeway at rush hour until 9,000 ft. The trail switchbacks incessantly all the way up the mountainside. At the treeline at 10,000 feet I came out of the canyon I had been hiking through onto the saddle, where the view to the north and the south was magnificent. The trail continued in switchbacks up to the base of a false summit, and then went around the southern end of the mountain where the vertical grade was steep, but the trail was nicely cut. The trail is nice the entire trip up. The route was well planned, and the trail was nice, except for the thistle growing into your walking path until you hit 10,500 ft just below the false summit. After many, frequent stops to breathe the good air I was at the top. The peak is one steep slope on the south end, complemented by one 2,000 foot cliff on the north end. There’s a wind shelter up there in case the winds pick up, although it’s quite rudimentary.

From the summit you can see 6 of the 26 county high points in Utah: Bull Mtn, Ibapah Peak, My Nebo, AF Twin Peaks, Willard Peak, and Thurston Peak. There’s also an excellent view of the salt flats, the Great Salt Lake, the military proving grounds (where I saw a couple jets take off, well, heard them first, they were 50 miles away), a forest fire, and I was able to look down on 3 eagles catching updrafts to soar on.

The trip down was uneventful till I hit the trailhead where a deer came out and greeted me. It even let me get 8 feet away from him for a picture.

All in all it was 2:40 up, and 1:35 down. 5 hours in all w/ 45 minutes at the summit.

View photos from this trail

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