For work I did a writing retreat to a friend’s off-grid remote cabin in the Murdock Mountain region of Nevada, Elko County. Not only did I get an incredible amount of work done revising my book manuscript, but I took a few hours to tag the local peak. I approached from southwest, up a jeep road. I hit the saddle west of the false west summit and the wind was just ripping over it. It was gorgeous though. Along the ridgeline up to the west summit, then down and up to the main summit – views for days. From there, I continued east for the descent and looped some other jeep roads back down. It was possibly the most remote adventure run I have done. I was the first person to sign the summit registry since 2015! Ha! I’ll go back and do the full ridgeline someday.
I have been eyeing Mt. Mahogany for a while – from the freeway, while climbing up Grove Creek, from Timpooneke Rd., etc. I decided I needed to do a full traverse of the ridgeline – in preparation (hopefully!) for a full Timp ridgeline traverse later this year. MVH came with, and it was a great day on the mountain!
We started at the Grove Creek Trailhead. To climb this south end of Mahogany, most take the Grove Creek Trail up to the bridge, then go straight up the scree north of that. That leads to the southernmost end of the Mahogany massif. For a cleaner “ridge” approach, we went straight up the SW ridge that begins at the Grove Creek trailhead.
It was steep, but fairly straight forward. There were a number of “trails,” and game trails. At the occasional cliff-band, stay left (north) and they are easy to skirt around. Steep though. 3,000 ft. climbing in 2 miles.
Once at the top, you are met with a beautiful set of verdant meadows – amazing spots for camping, though it would be a haul with lots of gear!
The summit was great, but I’m always amazed at how ridgelines that seem to only have one main pitch, always have multiple climbs. They are always steeper and longer than they look from the valley floor.
Coming down off the summit, continuing north, there was some fun snow to glissade down.
We made our way to the northern edge of the ridge where it drops down into American Fork Canyon. I jogged up and to the right to bag the north summit. Views for days. The descent down the NW ridge was steep – my knees didn’t like that.
Above the Orem Gun Range there is a great set of squiggle trails that lead up to Trail Nr. 051. Between there and Little Baldy I have noticed a series of green meadows that lead up in between the trees and have long wanted to explore them. So, I did. I did the climb out of the gun range a couple times, and messed around in those little meadows a bit. So quiet – I didn’t once see a single person up in them.
I have been doing my best to seduce a new neighbor (kind of old family friend) to the trails. So far, pretty good. I have taken him up the Lindon Squiggles, around the BST, the Dry Canyon – Altar/Rock Pile loop, the Johnsons Hole / Taj Mahal / GW loop, etc. Good times. I still struggle to believe all of these great trails are just a 5 minute drive away.
Above Timpanogos Park there is a great set of squiggly trails (obviously built by mountain bikers) that some call the racetrack. If you loop a specific route, it is exactly 2 miles around. Super fun. I have done it a few times now in the snow, mud, and dirt.
Work took me down to Emery County for a couple days of digging in the archives. On my way out of Castledale on the last day, I realize I was only a few miles from the Wedge. I figured it was my moral duty to go for a quick run before driving home. For something new, I started at the Wedge Overlook and ran WEST along the dirt road, and then a bit along the rim, then to the overlook that is directly across (south) from Virgin Spring Canyon. It was overcast and the canyon colors were a bit washed out, but still gorgeous.
I grew up snowboarding in NW Washington and had never skied. However, lots of my trailrunning friends have been posting pictures of backcountry ski-touring. I couldn’t let them have all the fun so I hunted on the used classifieds and put together a pretty good set-up. Some Surface Sherpa skis with dynafit speed turn tech bindings, some La Sportiva sparkle tech boots, and some G3 skins.
So, before I knew it, I was skinning up Sq Peak road and then realizing I didn’t know how to ski down. Thankfully the road isn’t too steep, so my rudimentary pizza wedge worked fine. The boots KILLED though.
After getting the boots adjusted I return to the same road, went up higher and felt great. The new snow, however, made the way back down very slow – lots of pushing and having to stay in my tracks. So, not much practice getting turns on the downhill.
3rd attempt I skinned up from the Lindon equestrian parking lot up to make-out point just north of Dry Canyon. The way up was great. Downhill was a disaster. I picked a broad treeless open slope because it would give me the space to do long wide turns. There was a lot of deep snow, which made turning hard and who would have guessed that not know how to ski at all would make going down difficult. It was embarrassing.
4 attempt I went with a friend from Tibble Fork Resevoir in AF Canyon up to Silver Lake Flat via the road and trail, and then took the road down. It was great. Steep enough on the way down that I didn’t have to push a lot but not too steep. I got some turns in and started to figure out the mechanics of it.
Finally, on an afternoon after work I ponied up some dollars and got an evening lift ticket at Sundance. It was great! After a few runs I figured out how to distirbute my weight from one foot to the other, carve back and forth, slow down, dodge trees, etc. There was a good 18 inches of fresh snow, which didn’t make for the best learning conditions, but it went very well. By the end of the day I could swish down greens and blues without much trouble. Huzzah!
Every winter I start pounding out more pavement miles because I’m too lazy to run the snowy or muddy trails and every winter I get overuse injuries. So far so good this winter! I have mixed in some treadmill with some street runs, culminating with an accidental 1/2 marathon. I have only done a 1/2 on pavement once before. This time, I was planning to run from the mouth of Provo Canyon up to Nunn’s Park and back – about 6 miles. When I got to Nunn’s I was feeling good and figured I should head another 1/2 mile up to Bridal Veil Falls to see it. It had been warm, the Provo River was surging so high, and I thought it might be fun to see. Once I got there, I figured I should probably just go all the way to Vivian Park so I could say I had done the full canyon trail up and down. When I got back to my car I was at 11.75 miles, so I figured I was ethically and morally obligated to run another 1.5 to make it a full 13.1 miles. I was a bit stiff by the end. A couple days later I did a 4 mile “recovery” run that started sore and ended great. The next morning all soreness was gone, so I am again converted to the recovery run idea for shaking out sore tight muscles.
Snow has arrived (finally!) in Utah. I have only ventured out a few times, but it has been pretty great.
In mid-November my back tweaked again (see my nightmare injury from Summer 2015). I decided to test it out on the Lindon Squiggles and foothills below Dry Canyon. It started beautiful and ended with a whiteout. I knew a system was moving in, but figured I’d be ok not venturing too far from my car. It was fun to get first tracks in the snow and my Altra Lone Peak 3.0 Mid Neos worked great!
A week or so later I ventured up Dry Canyon a bit – mistake. It was too tracked out and complete ice. Not wanting to descend the steep ice I cut up the Curly Springs trail Nr. 051 and came down the Squiggles. Much better on those back trails.
I hosted the 3rd annual Wasatch Mountain Wrangler Secret Wrangler Gift Exchange and someone was kind enough to hide a gift for me too. Like last year’s gifts, it took up new trails. Mill Creek, Pipeline Burch Hollow, towards Church Fork Peak. My childhood best fried was visiting and he joined me. The last pitch to the Church Fork ridge was a bit of a slow – he snowshoed up – but I didn’t put mine on until the ridge. We headed west a while, but didn’t trek all of the way to the peak. We were a bit short on time, and lazy. How beautiful though! AND, my new Christmas present Hillsound Ultra crampons were AMAZING. My Atlas snowshoes performed great too.