Ford Canyon

Ford Canyon bridge

Susan and Jill check out the destroyed bridge

Last Saturday I ventured up Ford Canyon with Jill and Susan. The bridges were washed out so I fished a plank out of the water and we used that to cross Ricks Creek. We were not very far from civilization but it seemed like it as we got stuck in the undergrowth. We followed a trail upward but when it ended we had to descend to the creek again. Jill and Susan checked out the north side of the canyon but could go no further.

Ford Canyon Susan crossing Ricks creek

Susan crossing Ricks creek

I investigated the south side but could find no trail through. Jill and Susan returned to where I was climbing back up from the creek. We gave up and went back to our car and drove to Firebreak Road.

Ford Canyon Rick climbing up

Rick climbing back up to the trail. Photo by Susan Ward

I tracked this aborted attempt to find the trail in Ford Canyon using Google My Tracks (shut down 1 May 2016 by Google). My Tracks is was an application for your Android phone that enabled you to record GPS tracks and view live statistics such as time, speed, distance, and elevation while hiking.

Ford Canyon

Ford Canyon trail recorded using Google My Tracks

Here are some of the metrics that My Tracks recorded:

Total Distance: 1.15 km (0.7 mi)
Total Time: 44:13
Moving Time: 15:03
Average Speed: 1.56 km/h (1.0 mi/h)
Average Moving Speed: 4.59 km/h (2.9 mi/h)
Max Speed: 8.49 km/h (5.3 mi/h)
Min Elevation: 1324 m (4344 ft)
Max Elevation: 1380 m (4529 ft)
Elevation Gain: 88 m (287 ft)

From Firebreak Road there was a short trail that took us to Ford Canyon waterfall. Once we got to the waterfall we all had to pose by it, like it was the eighth wonder of the world. I even took a video of the waterfall, it is at the end of the post.

Ford Canyon Jill on the trail

Jill on the trail to the waterfall

Ford Canyon waterfall

First view of the waterfall

Ford Canyon Rick by waterfall

Rick by the waterfall

Ford Canyon Jill by waterfall

Jill by the waterfall

Ford Canyon Susan by waterfall

Susan by the waterfall


Ford Canyon view

Antelope Island from Firebreak Road

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Shepard Creek Trail

Shepard Creek Trail - Susan,  Shauna, and Jill

Shepard Creek Trail - Susan, Shauna, and Jill

Yesterday Susan, Shauna, Jill and I hiked Shepard Creek Trail. Shepard Creek Trail winds out of several residential areas in Somerset and Shepard Heights and up a canyon. To get to the trail, from Main Street go east toward the mountains on 1400 North one block. Look for a dirt road to the north and park along 1400 North. Step over the pedestrian gate.

Shepard Creek Trail stream

Shepard Creek

Walk north up the dirt road. This is part of the old Bamberger Railroad right of way. As you come to a large open area, cross near a stone culvert, past the weather station, to the far side of Shepard Creek. The trail parallels the creek winding through trees and crossing two bridges. The first bridge is a large log with a rope as a handrail. Turn left and follow the trail beside the stream.

Shepard Creek Trail steep in places

The trail was steep in places

When you come to some wooden steps, go straight across and continue paralleling the stream until you reach another set of wooden steps. Turn left and cross the second bridge. Follow the trail again paralleling the stream. You will pass some houses. If you take a wrong turn you could end up in someone’s kitchen. So watch for the trail markers.

Shepard Creek Trail flowers

Flowers along the trail

Keep bearing to the right and eventually you will rise up a short hill to an intersection where there is a bench. The Somerset section of the trail continues on from here.

In 10 or 20 minutes, the trail will come out on Bella Vista Drive. Look up the canyon over your right shoulder to see the break in the chain link fence where the trail continues.

Hike up the dirt road about 200 feet and watch for the trail to cut up the slope to the right. Continue up the trail beyond the chain link fence and hike straight up the dirt road until it “T’s”.

Go left at the “T” and follow this dirt road. After 75 to 100 feet, keep an eye to the right of the road for a faint footpath. Follow the footpath up a ways where it turns to the south. Notice that there is a footpath that travels east up and over a rock outcropping. Another trail goes south from here to Farmington Canyon.

It was a hot day but most of the first part of the trail was shaded. Once out in the open one could feel the sun. Occasionally there was a gentle breeze which felt really good.

We didn’t get to the end of the trail. A hiker on his return trip said it was very steep further up the trail. We weren’t equipped with hiking boots so we eventually turned back after admiring the view.

Shepard Creek Trail bench

There were several benches along the trail

Shepard Creek Trail uphill

Further up the trail

Shepard Creek Trail - Jill

Jill on the trail

Shepard Creek Trail - Shauna

Shauna with a view of the valley behin her

Shepard Creek Trail view of LDS granary

Jill with the Kaysville LDS granary in the distance

Shepard Creek Trail sego lily

Utah's state flower, the sego lily, by the side of the trail

Shepard Creek Trail flowers Shauna

Shauna and flowers

FAA long-range radar site atop Francis Peak

Shepard Creek Trail return trip

Jill, Shauna, and Susan make the return trip

Shepard Creek Trail waterfall

On our return, this little waterfall cooled the air while we rested

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Patsy’s Mine Hike: Part 2

Patsy's Mine Hike

Melissa by Patsy's Mine entrance

On Friday we hiked to Patsy’s Mine in the mountains above Farmington. The trail to the mine is marked and we had no difficulty in finding the entrance. The mine does not go very far and most of the time you can stand upright, though in places one has to stoop. I found out how hard the rock is when I banged my head against it.

Patsy's Mine Hike

Melissa found the bat first. We wondered if it was rabid

There was a bat about 20 feet into the cave. We wondered if it was rabid. It must have been, to want to go hang from the roof of an old mine. Apparently exposure to rabid bats increases with the migration season. This year, four elementary-aged Davis County students have been exposed to a bat that could not be tested. Whenever bats aren’t able to be recovered or are too decomposed for testing, it is not known if they carried rabies. Therefore, to err on the side of caution the children are treated with post-exposure vaccine because the disease is virtually 100 percent fatal.

Patsy's Mine Hike

Melissa, Susan, and Jill with the mine entrance in the background

I walked past the bat and caused it to fly out of the cave past the girls which provoked an appropriate round of screaming. Further into the cave we could hear a faint rumbling sound. We thought maybe it was the freeway traffic or the train. We were a long way from the valley though.

The last time Jill and Susan visited the mine, they navigated by the light from their digital cameras. This time they were more prepared.

There is graffiti on the walls of the mine that in 2,000 years will have archeologists wondering what manner of intelligent life wrote it. They will be figuring that out for a long time.

Patsy's Mine Hike

The right fork is basically just a big puddle

The main tunnel is straight with a fork at the end. The right fork ends in a few paces and the only thing of interest is a rusty rail. The left fork does not go much further before ending. Off of the left tunnel is a small space where you can clamber through and stand upright. Nothing to get excited about.

Patsy's Mine Hike

The left fork soon comes to a dead end

According to the deep thinking and creative Chanelle (her blog no longer accessible), there is an old steam engine that has become hidden from the main trail with years of plant growth. If we had known this beforehand we would have searched for awhile to see if we could find it. According to Chanelle, copper is the most available mineral in the mountain. Shes writes that “…even though there are large quantities of it, the quality is lacking. Because of this, the mines in this area were abandoned and closed up.”

Patsy's Mine Hike

There is an opening in the left fork that goes nowhere

Patsy's Mine Hike

Patsy's Mine entrance. That's it for the tour

Patsy's Mine Hike

Jill says she enjoyed this mine and that she wouldn't mind finding another to explore

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Patsy’s Mine Hike: Part 1

Patsy's Mine Hike

Melissa, Jill, Susan, and Rick at the entrance to Patsy's Mine

Yesterday we went to Patsy’s Mine above Farmington. It can be a pleasant hike — if you don’t get lost in the undergrowth, don’t have a heart attack on the steep rise, and don’t bang your head on the mine roof.

Getting to Patsy’s Mine

The trailhead begins at a rusty green gate on 1st. North and as far east as you can go in Farmington. At about 50 yards along the trail take the right fork. You rise steeply to eventually meet a dirt road. Cross the road and continue on the trail. After that follow the signs. The mine entrance is just south of and a little below the flag.

Patsy's Mine Hike

Taking a short cut following the 4 wheel drive tracks. Not recommended as we lost the trail

We took a wrong turn and followed 4 wheel drive tracks. When the tracks ended we had to work our way through the undergrowth and back on to the trail. The trail was steep in places but fortunately the old folks didn’t have a heart attack. I did drink more water than usual even though it wasn’t as hot a day as some other hikes. On the return trip we kept to the trail to give us an easy descent.

Patsy's Mine Hike

Susan finding a way around the undergrowth

Patsy's Mine Hike

Jill looking to find the trail. Must be somewhere up there

We eventually got back on the trail.

Patsy's Mine Hike

Me by the mine sign

In the next post I will have some photographs of inside the mine. Not much as mines or photographs go but it is fun to have something different at the end of a hike other than the view. And yes I did bang my head on the mine roof — don’t you do that.

Patsy's Mine Hike

Susan by the mine entrance

Patsy's Mine Hike

View of Farmington from the mine entrance

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Deuel Creek North and South and Centerville Canyon

Deuel Creek Hike

View of Centerville from Centerville Canyon

On Friday Susan, Melissa, Jill and I took a pleasant hike up Centerville Canyon. We parked the car on the dirt road by the Deuel Creek North trailhead and ended up walking to the Deuel Creek South trailhead. So we began by following the south trail for about one mile to the junction of the north trail where on our way back we would descend on the north side of the creek.

Click on the images to enlarge and be sure to view the videos.

Deuel Creek Hike

Jill is as sure-footed as a mountain goat with her new walking stick

In places the trail is not maintained well. However, I think it adds to the enjoyment to have the possibility of falling off a cliff or two. If you make it to the first stream crossing, there are now eleven log footbridges at key crossings. The Centerville Hiker even put metal mesh on the wood to prevent slipping.

Deuel Creek Hike

Jill, Susan, and Melissa. Notice the metal mesh on the logs

From the junction we continued up the canyon for some distance. On the south side of the creek there is shade and the melodic sound of gently flowing water. Susan and Melissa found a geocache and signed the enclosed book.

Deuel Creek Hike

Give said the little stream as it hurried down the hill

Deuel Creek Hike

Turn right at the 589th tree, remove the grey colored rocks, and you will find the geocache

For directions you could follow the flag flying atop of the mountain. Does anyone know who placed it there?

Deuel Creek Hike

I wonder who unfurled this banner high on the mountain top?

The hike turns into the adult equivalent of the toddler that gets to run around at the park and play on the swing. That’s because there is a long rope swing hanging from a tall tree along the trail. After some of our party tried the swing we turned around and retraced our steps to the previously mentioned junction.

Deuel Creek Hike

Give Melissa enough rope and she will swing high into the trees

Deuel Creek Hike

Jill likes to hang around in the trees

On the north side of the creek Susan and Melissa searched among the rocks for another geocache. I don’t know if they found it because Jill and I went on ahead. The afternoon was getting hot and there was no shade except under our hats.

Deuel Creek Hike

Melissa looking for another geocache

Deuel Creek Hike

Melissa and Susan following our path back to the trailhead

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The Mueller Park Trail

Mueller Park Trail

Today we hiked The Mueller Park Trail in Bountiful. It is a great walk that is mostly shaded all the way up. Much of the trail is gently sloped. From various locations there are good views of the Great Salt Lake and the valley far below.

The Mueller Park Trail is 13 miles round trip. The route begins at the Mueller Park Picnic Grounds in the east Bountiful foothills and ends at a small grassy clearing called Rudy’s Flat. We chose to turn around at Big Rock, called “Elephant Rock” by the locals, to make it a 7 mile round trip.

Mueller Park Trail can be busy on weekends and holidays. Its multi-use designation means it’s open to hikers, mountain bikers, and motorcycles. Today we were passed by numerous bikers.

Click on the images to enlarge. In the video Jill explains what we are doing.

Mueller Park Trail

Jill at the trailhead

Mueller Park Trail

Susan, Shauna, Jill, and Mike begin the ascent

Mueller Park Trail

We are headed for Big Rock

Mueller Park Trail

Mueller Park Trail

Mueller Park Trail

Here we are just above Big Rock

Mueller Park Trail

Taking a break on the bench above Big Rock to admire the view

Mueller Park Trail

Mueller Park Trail

JIll says, "I'll race you down!"

Mueller Park Trail

Goodbye folks, I'm glad you could join us on the Mueller Park Trail. Photo by Susan Ward

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City Creek Canyon Trail

Yesterday found us walking along City Creek Canyon Trail. City Creek was the first water source used by the Mormon Pioneers settling the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. In the early years water flowed through ditches for irrigating gardens. Residents hand dipped water for their culinary and domestic needs. In 1866, City Creek was first diverted into a municipally-owned, piped water distribution system to provide fire protection and culinary water supply to city residents.

The maximum recorded flow in City Creek during the floods of 1983 was 322 cubic feet per second, which resulted in considerable debris flows, flooding and damage through downtown Salt Lake City as State Street was converted into a temporary “river” after debris clogged the city’s storm drain pipes.

We walked up the road 2.5 miles and back again. So not many photographs (click to enlarge). The first two shots about sum it up:

City Creek Canyon Trail

Going up. Shauna, Jill, Susan, and Mike.

City Creek Canyon Trail

Coming down. Susan, Shauna, and Jill.

Mike carried on when we turned back. However, we did find a concrete staircase built in the middle of the wilderness by a lost civilization.

City Creek Canyon Trail

City Creek Canyon Trail

We stopped for lunch.

City Creek Canyon Trail

We sent Shauna out over a rotting log to find the trail but there was none.

City Creek Canyon Trail

The girls found a geocache by a big tree stump.

City Creek Canyon Trail

I love it when the directions say, "You will find it by the tree down by the river"

City Creek Canyon Trail

Mike went on to Area 26, about a 10 mile round trip.

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Bear Lake Trip

Rick riding a Jet Ski on Bear Lake

On this trip we had Rick (me), Jill, Paul, Daniel, Derek, and Sarah in our van. In the Excursion hauling the jet skis were Kent, Susan, Byron, Shauna, Melissa, and Miguel. Connie and Mark will arrive tomorrow after work as will Scott, Conner, and Ashley. From Kaysville we slipped onto northbound I-15 to Brigham City to pick up the keys to the cabin. We then headed through Sardine Canyon to Logan. Then Logan Canyon took us to Bear Lake. The forecast for tomorrow is 100 degrees in the valley so this is a perfect time to go to higher elevations.
Working with Google Docs on my Eee PC
While Jill drives I am putting my new Eee PC to the test, typing this report as I ride. Before leaving I synced my Google Docs using Google Gears so I can work off-line. Then when I get home I will sync back to my online Google Docs. The keyboard is surprisingly easy to type with and the screen is easy to see. There are four modes to help with battery life. Power Saving, High Performance, and Super Performance which I surmise will really crank up the CPU speed. For laggards just slip into Auto. On a trip there is always some dead time so I purchased this little Eee to write my blogs. The battery looks like it will last at least six hours. After an hour of driving we stopped at a Wendys to eat. One can get a little peckish after an hour on the freeway. Bear Lake is two hours away so why not break at the half-way point? Let’s not overdo it. At the cabin the light was beginning to fade so we hung around playing games like Rumba Cube and I gave Frozen Bubbles and Crack Attack a spin on the Eee. Paul and Daniel always beat me at Frozen Bubbles. Jill and I shared a room with Derek and Sarah and once she stopped giggling we were all able to get to sleep.

About Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a natural freshwater lake with a unique turquoise-blue color, the result of suspended limestone deposits in the water. It is the second largest natural freshwater lake in Utah and has been called the “Caribbean of the Rockies”. Bear Lake was formed at least 150,000 years ago by fault subsidence that continues today, slowly deepening the lake along the eastern side. The lake was discovered in 1819 by Donald Mackenzie, an explorer for the North West Fur Company who discovered the lake in 1819, and named it Black Bear Lake.

On Bear Lake

Susan and Kent Ward tubing on Bear LakeAfter a pleasant night’s sleep Shauna took off at 7:30am to the beach to throw down some blankets to reserve a spot. We launched the jet skis and each of us took a turn riding them. I decided to have Derek drive a jet ski and I be a passenger and take some pictures. As I was climbing on Daniel wanted me to leave the camera. I kept it, but being my usual rickety self, could not keep my balance. As I fell off backwards into the water I stuck my hand in the air holding the camera. As I went under Daniel grabbed the camera out of my hand.

We had lunch at the beach and when Scott arrived with the boat we went tubing. This was the first time I had rode a tube. I just had to hang on. I tried leaning to each side as the boat turned and I leaned the wrong way and fell off. I got back on and Daniel drove the boat faster. I was doing very well until Jill told Daniel, “Sharp turns! Sharp turns!” She caught me on video rolling over — it looked quite spectacular. I will mention here that it is advisable to let go once you are in the water. It is a little hard to hold on and to breath. After a few seconds I figured this out and let go. The water was warm and clear blue. Byron, Daniel, and Miguel made sand castles and Ashley threw buckets of water at a dog for it to catch. The dumb dog thought the water was a ball. It chased the waves that were breaking and tried to catch them. In the afternoon the beach got busier. It is a private beach so that we didn’t have to mix with the peasantry. However, it didn’t seem that private with all the people arriving. Derek had to wrestle the beach umbrella back to land when a breeze blew it away. Scott also had to chase after his boat when his it lost its moorings and was floating away.

Return From Bear Lake

Derek had to run after the beach umbrella when a breeze blew it into the lake.
The next day five of us left for home after a breakfast of eggs, bacon, and pancakes. Scott is a very good host, letting us use his cabin and boat. He let us use his bedroom while he slept in his truck. In the morning he asked if I had slept well and when I was leaving he told me to get a bottle of cold water from the fridge for the ride home. We enjoyed our time here and will be returning soon to eat our bear lake raspberry shakes which we missed out on this time around.
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Nephi Overnighter


Nephi CityJill and I were invited by Kent and Susan Ward to spend the night at Camperworld in Nephi. So Friday afternoon we loaded up the van, threw in the tent, food, and some old chairs and picked up Sarah and Derek on the way.

After a two hour ride we were eating supper at Nephi’s One Man Band Diner (even though there were three people serving). Kent, Susan, Connie, Shauna, and Byron were already well into their meal.

I ate bacon, eggs, sausage, pancakes, hash browns, and toast. Water to drink because I am watching my weight.

When we made camp Sarah ate a cookie

When we made camp Sarah ate a cookie

We made camp at Camperworld and ate a few cookies because it had been all of thirty minutes since we had last eaten. Shauna and Connie test the camp chairs for comfortability after pitching their tent. It was decided to go swimming in the pool. Derek and I were undecided but changed to the affirmative when Susan brought a Frisbee with a hole in it with which we played monkey-in-the-middle for quite some time. We had the whole pool to ourselves. See, take a look. Children were not allowed to swim after 7pm but that didn’t stop a family with two little boys from trying to take a dip. The boys were kitted out with water wings and were eager to paddle. Pool management appeared and said otherwise and one of the boys cried. I said, “Get used to it kid, life is full of disappointments”, in a very uncharitable voice, out of earshot of the parents of course. Someone had the bright idea to get a tiny sliver of wood and dive and release it in the water. The rest of us then had to find it. Jill won this wood sliver game by standing in the same spot in the pool and would find wood almost every time.

Playing monkey-in-the-middle with a Frisbee in the pool

Playing monkey-in-the-middle with a Frisbee in the pool

After we were thrown out of the pool it was time for a snack around the campfire. It was another opportunity to take a group photograph. Sarah and Derek brought some strawberry turnover kits to make into dough boys. The dough boys are made by wrapping the turnover dough in the form of a cup around the end of a broom handle and heating in the fire.

When cooked fill with strawberry filling and top with frosting and whipped cream. See what it looks like when it is cooked. CampfireHere it is with the filling. This is what it looks like being eaten.

There were bats flying nearby and if you shielded your eyes from the bright camp light you could see them catch a big fat juicy moth. Now I never did see any bats but I did see plenty of moths. Whether they were juicy or not I’m not able to say. I rather think my fellow travelers were worshiping the camp light god. Around eleven we turned in. It wasn’t long before I was in my sleeping bag. The temperature was just right for sleeping.

After breakfast Derek, Byron, and Shawna played Frisbee under a blazing relentless hot Nephi sun. Later several of the party played horseshoes. We broke camp and left on the Nebo Scenic Byway. Every year it experiences four distinct seasons.

The organisms of the Byway must be equipped with special adaptations to survive the changes from freezing ground, to high temperatures, to changing day lengths. Leaves changing colors, and animals entering hibernation are examples of adaptations. Plant species can be found growing in specific elevation zones. Below 8,000 feet a variety of brushes including sage brush, scrub oak, and serviceberry are present. The zone from about 8,000 to 10,000 feet is predominately quaking aspen, alpine fir, and Engelmann spruce. See, I can read the signs.

Mount Nebo

Mount Nebo

Mount Nebo

Mount Nebo, at 11,928 feet above sea level, is the highest peak in the entire Wasatch Mountain range which stretches as far as southern Idaho.

Indians once built signal fires on the summit of Mount Nebo which was named by the early Mormon pioneers after the Mount Nebo in Palestine. The name Nebo means “Sentinel of God”. In 1869, W. W. Phelps was the first settler recorded to ascend the mountain. There are several land slumps where no vegetation is growing. These slumps occurred during the extremely wet years of 1983-84, when the moisture content of the soil was so great it could not hold its own weight and slid down the mountain.

The 1800’s found several groups of pioneers settling the valley below Mount Nebo. These early pioneer settlers relied on the nearby mountains for food, fuel, and shelter to ensure their healthy survival. As pioneer communities became more established in the area, the settlers began to use the mountain for more than basic survival needs. In the 1870’s and 80’s, the development of mines and railroad spur lines increased logging in the Salt Creek area.

Devil's Kitchen

Devil's Kitchen

A saw mill stood where Bear Canyon Campground is now located. Logs from Bear Canyon were floated in a flume to a mill, where they could be prepared for shipping. Early settlers also quarried grey sandstone from Salt Creek, and red sandstone from nearby Andrews Canyon. Even Mount Nebo was a mining sire where gypsum was removed for making plaster.

Devil’s Kitchen

Before the birth of the Wasatch Mountains, nearly 80 million years ago, streams were actively eroding a mountain range in this area and depositing sand and gravel at the mouths of canyons. The deposits were eventually buried and cemented to form conglomerate.

Devil's Kitchen formation

Devil's Kitchen formation

The conglomerate has been carried upward with the Wasatch Mountains as movement on the Wasatch Fault raised the mountain range to its present heights. The red color is due to oxidation of iron within the conglomerate. The forces of weathering and erosion are very active here. Because the cementing material is weak and the slopes are steep, erosion occurs rapidly. The result is the uniquely sculptured landscape we call “Devil’s Kitchen”. Cone erosion creates cone-like forms because there is no capstone to protect the material underneath. The upper portion also weathers more quickly because the material is weaker than the bottom portion.
Bald Mountain is bald because vegetation will not grow readily above 10,500 feet

Bald Mountain is bald because vegetation will not grow readily above 10,500 feet

We stopped along the way to take several photographs and at the end of the Byway we had a picnic. It was then into Payson, northward and homeward.

Check out Derek’s blog for his report.