Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Miscellaneous Wasatch Foothill Hikes

Mount Wire, July 28, 2017

I love running Mount Wire (7,137ft.) during lunch (recess for old men). It's right out the back door from work and I use to run it three or four times a week before I started cycling. Today I took a break from the bike, went back to my roots of trail running and I tried running up Wire. And it was pathetic! I was so slow compared to when I ran everyday. Running and cycling are not equal partners in conditioning one's legs and the result was about 50/50 running vs. power hiking. When I ran consistently, before I bought a bike, I could run Mt. Wire from start to finish, which is about 2.5 miles and 2,200 vertical feet of climbing, one-way. Today was my fourth time up Wire this summer and, although I was slow, it was so much fun to be off the bike that I'm wondering why I don't do it more? Cycling burn-out aside, it has been a dang hot summer, and I swear every time I ride I get blasted with a 20mph headwind. So, today while shuffling up Wire, I was reminded that trail running is a joyful pursuit.

Compared to cycling, running is a very simple pursuit. No equipment required other than shorts and shoes. Just get up and go. Plus there is little threat of getting run over by a huge Escalade when the driver is checking Facebook posts while driving (not a lie). I came away with a renewed commitment to tag Mt. wire at least once a week. I say hope because my OCD tendencies exhibit themselves when I work-out, and it seems like I switch activities every few years - all or nothing running or cycling - a weird accountant thing.
Drone shot on summit of Mt' Wire (elevation 7,137 feet, without tower). Man-boobs and no tan, not a pretty picture! I got fried and the sun-burn hurt for a full week.
I may be 5'8" and 160 lbs, but I look like 200 lbs with that cycling tan (dark arms, and way too white chest and belly). No 55-year-old male should ever go shirt-less. Just bad for everyone.  

Pyramid Peak, August 4, 2017

I hiked Pyramid (6,814 feet) a lot when I was a kid because it was it was a straight shot to the summit just out my parents back-door, and there were none of the houses in Cave Hollow that now block the way. Cave Hollow back then was a pristine canyon with a faint trail through mature Canyon Maples. Quiet, green and peaceful, no sounds of motos or 4X4's and I don't ever remember seeing anyone up there. 

Pyramid was also the first place that I hiked for ski turns back when I was in the sixth grade, 12 years old, in 1974 or so. It was back country skiing before it was cool. I wasn't a pioneer, I just loved skiing and didn't mind packing skis up a hill. I remember the year because I wrote a report about it (a writing contest themed on 'what we did on Christmas vacation') and my sixth grade teacher was mortified that anyone would hike with skis. She didn't believe me and gave me a C for effort and an F for imagination. The kid who won wrote about going to Las Vegas and Disneyland. And we wonder why our public schools are failing! 

Anyway, I hiked up there with skis-over-shoulders because I was too young to drive and too stupid to NOT hike with skis. My first turn off the top set off an avalanche (a wet slide) which slid top to bottom but it was more exciting than scary, and I returned the next week for more free turns. My parents seemed unconcerned with the danger, just happy that I was adventurous and outside in the clean air. 

I really miss the way Cave Hollow use to be (pre-trophy-home-hell of today). The geology of Pyramid Peak is unique, the face is missing and I've often wondered, 'how did that face slide off?' One catastrophic collapse or was it a grain at a time? The peak gets a lot more traffic now because the pipeline right-of-ways provides a brush-free access, from both Mueller's and North Canyon. The shortest route is up North Canyon (take the left by the cabin then follow those boot-leg 4X4 roads). Speaking of which, the Rhinos and 4X4's are causing severe erosion and some day there will be a deep ravine down the access ridge. If I owned one of those homes below, I'd be very nervous. There are gates on the main access road and I wish the landowners would lock them up. Foot traffic is best.
Pyramid Peak (6,814 feet), otherwise know as Cave Peak on USGS maps. That tiny spike on the top is me. In 1974 I skied straight down the middle from the top, hopping the shorts cliffs and falling about 50 times. The snow was like wet cement and my turning was still in a developmental state, but I was just happy to be skiing.

The old trail out of Cave Hollow ascended the right hand ridge between the open "cliffy" face and the Gamble Oak (barely seen about 1/3 from right side on bottom of photo). The "new" trail out of North Canyon follows the right side ridge (on the skyline on the upper mountain), which is the Kern River Pipeline right-of-way (ROW). One can now literally drive a truck or a Jeep to the summit of Pyramid Peak on bootleg 4X4 roads. The pipeline made a feeble attempt to keep 4X4's off their ROW by piling boulders along the junctions of the bootleg 4X4 trails and their ROW, but someone made short work of those barriers. Even my 91-year-old Mom could move a big rock with a pry bar and and a winch. The bootleg roads are quickly eroding and forming deep trenches, plus do we really need a road up every ridge? Just worried this area is going to become another 'Bountiful B' (if you don't know what I mean, take a look on Google earth, but be prepared to taste the bile). 
Pipeline scar, constructed in 1992. I love my home toasty-warm during the winter, and natural gas is much cleaner than burning wood, coal or oil, so yes, I am part of the problem here, but I think we can do better to make this blend.

Looking much better with a shirt on (see Mt. Wire pictures above). Wasted way too much time with the drone and the results are less than impressive so my drone work is about over.