It is sleeting in the valley right now, as I type this, a couple of storm systems finally moving through and hanging up over the mountains where it's snowing and snowing. It's cold enough to make snow too and the ski areas are all counting down until Opening Day - next Friday, for many places. What that says to me is that we were right last Sunday, when we thought we might be taking our last hike for the year. With that in mind, we headed over to Round Valley once again to try to walk a big chunk of what we regularly ride.
We parked at the Quinn's trail head, cutting out the paved rail trail portion from town. It was a beautiful day, sunny and very pleasant, not too warm. We started off at a pretty quick pace and maintained it pretty much throughout the hike. Although we didn't see very many people at the beginning, by the time we'd clawed our way up Hammerhead [Pladsen] Hill, we started to see lots; we would end up counting 100 MTBers - there were definitely lots of folks out there, enjoying one of the last, warm great days.
When we got to the end of Rambler's downhill sagebrush switchbacks, we decided to change it up a bit and try a new section of trail to see if we might want to incorporate it into our rides next year: we took Ramble On around the backside of the hill instead of taking the jeep road to the paved path. Ramble On is well-named - or maybe should be Ramble On and On and On. We finally joined up with the "new" section of trail, not too far from the Staircase, and headed for the truck.
As we finished up, we tried to guess how far we'd walked. We were hoping for around fourteen miles, to match up with the City Creek half marathon we did to start the hiking season. We were a little dismayed to learn that we'd only gotten 12.4 miles from our traipsing around Round Valley, but afterwards, sitting on the tailgate with our PBRs, our legs stiffening up, we decided that 12+ was pretty good for the day and a nice way to finish up (hopefully) the 2014 hiking season. Let it snow!
Hike stats: 12.41 miles, 3 hours 39 minutes, 3.4 m.p.h., 100 MTBers, nine dogs.