Sunday, August 17, 2014

Accidentally on Purpose Hikes

Deer along the trail.
Yesterday, Heather and I decided to go for a short hike in the evening. We'd spent most of the day indoors and running errands. I suggested that we get out and enjoy the beautiful area on a short hike nearby. Heather easily and quickly agreed.

We grabbed some food and hit the road. I thought I had a good idea of where we were going to I started directing us without aid of a map or GPS... silly me. I did know where we were going, only I didn't know there was a more direct route to get us where we wanted to go- straight down the road from our apartment it connects to the road up Big Cottonwood Canyon Road. Despite my inadequacy as a map reader/navigator, we eventually found our destination: Willow Heights.

The trail behind us on the way up.
It was a hike just to get to the trailhead. We had to park on the highway and then walk a couple "blocks" through a neighborhood to the actual trail. At the beginning of the trail we saw a couple of deer, but after that we didn't really see any wildlife (other than bugs).

The book said it was a mellow grade and the walking was easy, but Heather and I thought differently. We were breathing hard just to get to the trail- it was quite an incline the whole way, until we got to the big meadow. When we crossed the big meadow we enjoyed the view of the ski slopes across the canyon before heading on to the pond.

We made a quick stop at the pond before turning back because it was getting dark. We stopped for a selfie with the mountain behind us and then hurried down the trail and back to the car. We definitely want to go back again when we have more daylight so that we can go around the pond and try the optional trail extension.

Selfie with the ski lift on the mountain across the valley.

Did I mention...

...the amazing sunset?

Today, we picked another trail in the same canyon. We headed for Doughnut/Donut Falls. The guidebook said it was 9 miles down the road, but as we approached mile 10 we decided to pull off and consult the book again. We realized that where we stopped on the shoulder there appeared to be a road, so we decided to take a chance and see where it might lead. We realized that it was the route we were looking for!

We headed down the road and it eventually became unpaved. It was an abrupt switch with a big hole; we think we may have left some of Heather's car on the pavement as we drove onto the gravel. People were parked all along the edge of the road, despite the "no parking any time" signs. We continued heading down the road, hoping to find some closer parking. (We did.)

It was a nice, low grade on a wide path. When we got to the creek, we scrambled down to the bank and along the water. We tried to stay dry as we climbed ("scrambled") up the rock along the waterfall. The view from the top was spectacular and I was quite proud of myself for climbing. There was a time in the past where I would have been too afraid to try and not in good enough shape to even consider it if I wasn't scared.

We went back down to the "hole" in the rock and did the obligatory photos under the falls, wading in the water (despite the signs directing us not to- everyone else was doing it). It was extremely cold and my toes felt a little numb. On the rest of the descent down or crossing the creek, we didn't worry about staying dry. Our shoes were already water-logged and we were cold and dirty.

Roommate selfie!
This was by far our favorite hike so far. I'd like to come back again, perhaps when my brother's family comes to visit. (I beg my niece and nephew could easily scramble up the rocks.)

On the way home we realized that here we are living in "Salt Lake City" and we still have yet to see "The Lake." Stay tuned for a future adventure to see "The Lake!"
Doughnut/Donut Falls

Above the hole

The cave below the hole.

It was great- but the water was freezing cold!

Spectacular views!

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