Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tooele Utah Hike - July 2006

The Freehiking Utah Group local freehike in July was a wonderful adventure, and a record setter - nine members participated - Ken and PJ, Steve and Dee, Ken and Kay, Ben, Steve from up north, and our newest member John. We met at a Salt Lake City and trail-convenient location and shared rides to the trailhead itself, near Tooele, since the trail is only accessible by 4-wheel drive vehicles.

The day was very nice – warm with blue skies (although it did cloud up a little just as we left). We undressed at the trailhead, and started up the single-track path. Occasionally a light breeze cooled our bodies, although it would have been nicer with a little more breeze. (Hiking clothed would have definitely felt uncomfortable; I have no idea why anyone would want to hike in sweaty clothes. Clearly the body is much better able to regulate temperature without being impeded by clothing.)

The area was beautiful the photos taken show ( ). The hills were mostly dry on the north side of the canyon with interesting rock formations, and wonderfully green on the south side of the canyon. Much of the trail was canopied by shrub oak and maple trees, offering lots of shade. Most agreed it was one of the nicest trails we’d hiked locally. The trail ascends at a moderate slope; perfect for exercise. We hiked slowly with lots of stops for rest and conversation so no one had to struggle to keep up. Along the way we saw some lovely flowers and vegetation, including some interesting mushrooms (again, see photos and/or just in case you were wondering what those were).

It’s wonderful to experience nature as you hike, and freehiking natural makes the link to nature so much stronger. Freehiking is really a spiritual experience, made more interesting and enjoyable when shared with good friends.

After hiking about 1½ hours and about 1½ miles, with 900 feet of elevation gain peaking at close to 6,500 feet, we started back down the trail. If this trail has a weakness, it is that we didn’t reach a summit with a great view, although we did see a few side trails that would have led to a view. We’ll have to try one the next time we hike this trail.

As always, the hike down the trail presented new, wonderful views. The valley could be seen at places and the green hills of the canyon were especially nice.

Just as we neared the end of the hike we experienced a little excitement. We almost ran into a family hiking up the trail with two dogs. This was surprising, since so few people ever hike this area on the weekdays, or even weekends – a family, on a weekday, hiking all the way up from parking in the valley below (in a car), what were the odds? We were not sure they even saw us naked; Ken quickly put on his shorts and walked down the trail to talk with them. They seemed just fine and headed out another direction, and we reached the vehicles in just a few minutes.
As we dressed we all agreed how wonderful the hike had been.

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