Adventure Running Season in Utah

AF Canyon and view of the Timp

It’s spring and the snow has been melting away in these parts which means there is tons of opportunity to end up with a small epic adventure day (or a big one…).  Since it was a three day weekend and we have one more day to squeeze in the ridiculous amount of painting that took place, I convinced B to give up house work for the morning so we could venture outside of our usual circle and go for an adventure run down in American Fork Canyon.  I was tempted by some facespace photos people had been posting of the Ridge Trail on the Wasatch 100 course and the views did not disappoint.  After a small effort to get up towards Mill Canyon, we changed our minds and headed away from the dirt bikers and picked out a route to go loop around Box Elder Peak.

Possibly by being over ambitious, and potentially by not looking at the map and the peak in front of us that carefully, we decided to bite off more than we could chew, with the outline in blue being the intended loop with a smaller “bailout” option from the top of the ridge. It was Sunday, we had all day to do our 3 hour run, and it was beautiful, so off we went!A lot of steep, steep, steep and some of my whining about the steepness later, we found some snow and Tele was in heaven!  I took a chance to catch my breath while we had some scenic stretching; when I run with B I am perpetually behind.  With his leg length, even power hiking is twice my speed, I have no chance of keeping up.

Snow! Mom there’s snow!

Taking in the views!

Re-learning how to run (and breathe) at 9600′

And up, up, up we went to the ridge line above.

It’s mighty fine up here

To the saddle looking out towards the Pfeifferhorn.

IMG_4294And views to the south looking on Box Elder Peak and the Timp (and our heads perfectly blocking the view).

From there on out, it was a sloooooooow go.  Post-holing through snowfields along the ridge, looking at time (90 min for what we thought was less than 3 miles) and our water supply and the puppy, and the snow; we decided to cut the loop short to the bail out loop and cut across into White Canyon.  From afar, we thought we saw the trail cut out clearly, but when we got closer, we ended up sinking and post-holing across what may have been  no more than half a mile of snow.  After losing the trail several times and some serious debate about following the drainage out versus trying to find the trail through the trees, Tele  pulled the plug for us.  Turns out mountain dog is a scared mountain dog and wanted nothing to do with scrambling down loose rock; she kept climbing upwards and, thankfully in hindsight, we reversed route and called it a day.  Funny thing about human nature is, that even though we spent 2 hours fighting through snow, figuring out how bad of an idea it was to try and short cut down, most of the way fighting back to the trail down, we were still looking for short cuts.  

IMG_4295-1

Our route and eventual scratch point in pink, it looks like we made it really far…

IMG_4266Turns out, we had a whole lot further to go.  Ah well, at least the view is pretty.  Time for the next one!

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About Wheels

mantra: love people, cook them tasty food, love life! Scientist. Engineer. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Coffee snob. Ultra-runner. Skier. Cyclist. Cook. Beer snob. Dog-lover. Volunteer. A former midwesterner, I moved to Utah to play in the mountains and found so much more life waiting for me here.

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