Sunday, November 9, 2014

lemons lemonade

 We're already behind on snowfall this year - Alta is supposed to open in two weeks! - but the weather really is supposed to be changing in the next day or two.  So we had one more weekend of glorious weather to deal with and decided to make the most of it.  The short track speed skating World Cup tour was in town at the Olympic Oval in Kearns and we were tempted to go check it out.  But the sun was shining and it just seemed criminal to be indoors.

November hiking outfit

We did yard work first, mowing and raking and cleaning up the flower beds for the winter.  It never seems to look good after we've worked in the yard, but it always looks better so I guess that counts for something.  After getting cleaned up, we got our hiking gear together to go up to Solitude/Brighton, first stopping at the Wasatch Powder House to pick up our Alta season passes.  We were in and out quickly and headed up Big Cottonwood Canyon, finding a parking spot in the busy Silver Lake parking lot.  The plan was to head up to Lake Solitude, follow the access road up towards the summit and then take the Sol-Bright trail back around to Silver Lake.  We'd done this hike last in October 2012, right after an impressive early snowstorm; there was a little snow on the ground this time but not nearly so much as two years ago.

Rock skis recommended for now

We didn't see anyone else on our way up, following the well-packed trail through the shady woods and across sunny clearings.  The temperature was in the 50s: pleasant in the sun but cool in the shade.  There were deer tracks everywhere (but no actual deer sightings) and we also saw porcupine tracks, trundling off into the trees (but no actual porcupine sighting).  We lost the Sol-Bright trail for a little bit as we started to descend, but it was easy to pick our way down the hillside to pick it up again.  The packed snow was slippery in places and we were glad to have our hiking poles for extra assistance.

Evergreen Peak cliffs

When we got back to Silver Lake, we looped around the lake on the path and boardwalk, which was also pretty slick in the shade.  We had our post-hike beers and homemade jerky in the waning sun, watching other people come and go.  Yes, we would have rathered it have been nuking snow - but still, what a nice day.

Silver Lake still just barely in the sunshine

Hike stats:  4.05 miles, 1 hour 53 minutes (10 minutes of stoppage time), 2.4 m.p.h. moving average.

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