Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

July 5, 2017

High Creek Canyon Backpacking

Welcome back (to me).

Mononucleosis.   Yuk.  You're supposed to get that in college, not at the age of 30 something.   Hah.   Much complaining later, I knuckled down to really try to NOT DO ANYTHING physically demanding for as long as it took to get better.   I skipped a half marathon, a 50 mile run, and my favorite adventure race of the year, and didn't run a step for 2 months.   That's probably the longest I haven't run in 20 years.

I found out I could do strength workouts (slowly), and I took the dog for lots of walks.  I tried to keep training dog agility with Spot, but I would end a 30 second run wheezing and trying to catch my breath.  Wait...I always do that.  

Many times I thought I was better, and then I would try a 1 mile run, and then need to sleep for hours the next day, my energy was gone.  It's been 3 months now, and I think I'm finally getting back to normal.  Yay!

So we canceled all big summer plans which included lots of biking and hiking, and we are enjoying being in Utah for a hot summer.   Which includes exploring Utah now that I am feeling better.   I had been getting the itch to go backpacking, and we thought taking the dog with us would be fun.  

The Wasatch mountains are beautiful, but they tend to be steep and dry and not have many good places to camp.   I wouldn't say they are flatter in northern Utah, but we found a hike next to a stream, which would be good for Spot.  

High Creek Canyon lived up to its name as we drove up a narrow rutted gravel road to the trailhead.  The creek was in spring flood stage, and I hope I remembered correctly that all the creek crossings on the trail had bridges!   The snow this year had been almost 200% of normal so now that it was all melting, the streams were high everywhere.

We had the trail mostly to ourselves with only a couple of cars in the lot.    I kept Spot on the leash as we started up the trail, partly because of the fresh cow poop everywhere and partly because I was being overly caucious about his safety.  The first two crossings of the creek were on nice new bridges, but the third one was a rickety old thing that we had to cross on hands and knees ourselves.   The water was over Spots back and moving very fast.  I thought to carry him across the stream, and walked across myself to see how it felt.  Barely keeping my balance with my walking poles, I figured a wiggly 50 pound dog was a recipe for disaster.  The bridge it was.  Spot was cajoled to sit on my lap, and then I inched my way across.

We really hoped there were no more sketchy crossings.  Of course, there were, but the water was lessening as we walked up the canyon, and the logs were just big enough Spot could get himself across with a firm hand on his collar.  

The trail was a little sketchy too.  This early in the season, no one had done any trail maintenance except the cows, and there were large deadfalls to walk around.  It was a very Wasatch-y hike.  Dense forest, steep trail, thick underground, and no flat spots anywhere.   Certainly the opposite of walking through the Redwoods or across an alpine meadow.   

Somehow a horse had gone up and around all the deadfalls, and we heard about it later meeting a runner with his two dogs coming down the trail.  He had been up to our destination for the night and back again, saying that the lake was still mostly frozen.  A couple with two horses had tried to make it up there on a snowfield, and the horse had fallen and cut itself up.  They were slowly limping back down the trail. 

We met them a mile or so later, and could see that it would be a long slow descent for them.  It was already 6 at night so hopefully they would be able to make it down before dark.  We were hoping to find a campsite before dark, and had seen only 1 place in 5 miles that was flat and clear enough to pitch a tent.  When in doubt, go higher, and the trail complied.  It was steep, but the views opened up of the valley and several waterfalls.  There was evidence of some really major avalanches over the winter, with tress across the valley bent at 90 degrees or snapped off.  

Just below the lake we reach snow crossings and decided that we really didn't feel the need to camp by the frozen lake.  We found a decent flat spot across what was now a really tame High Creek and Spot watched us set up camp.  He wasn't too excited about his rehydrated dinner, but did enjoy digging in the dirt.  Right before crawling into the tent for the night.   Luckily he's a self-cleaning dog.

Our tent is small even for two people much less a dog, and our gear is lightweight and fragile.  We tried to cover the bottom of our sleeping mats with a foam pad to give him a place to sleep.   Spot had other ideas.  Given the opportunity to be close to us, he decided to lean against Jim's feet all night and lay his head on the very delicate mat Jim was sleeping on.  Somehow the sharp teeth and nails didn't pop anything all night, but no one except Spot got a good nights sleep!

We woke up to him snuggled between our bags.  
It was fairly chilly out but this is a dog who lays in snowbanks for fun.

A nice swim in Bear Lake on the way home to really tire the dog out.  
He didn't move much for 2 days.

This isn't Bear Lake, but it wants to be.  Actually, it's Silver Lake, closer to home.  It's pretty too.

And then....bacon covered Aspargus.  Because I can.

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