Friday, July 28, 2017

lambs canyon on pioneer day

Monday was a state holiday for Utah: Pioneer Day, celebrating the arrival of the Mormon settlers in the Salt Lake valley.  Neither H nor I are much for parades so we thought we'd come up with something else to do.  He really wanted to do a bike ride early before it got too hot, while I really wanted to hike and knew that it would have to be early to get ahead of the holiday crowds.  So we went our separate ways.  Mine took me up Millcreek Canyon to do the Lambs Canyon up-and-down-and-up-again-and-down-again.

So green!

We did this exact hike just over a year ago: that post has the hike stats and hike profile; I did it in almost the exact same time this go-around.  When I got to the trailhead (shared with Mt. Aire), there were already a bunch of cars but I had a feeling that those hikers were all on the Mt. Aire trail.  I was right as I saw very few people.  On my way up the Millcreek side, I saw two high school trail runners; on my way down the Lambs Canyon side, I saw two hikers heading up; going back up Lambs Canyon, I passed one trail runner who was walking up and then those two hikers, plus another trail runner, coming back down; and going down the Millcreek side I saw two hikers on their way up, and a trail runner caught me right at the very end.  That's only eight people on a holiday hike in the Wasatch - amazing.

The flowers are pretty nice at the top of the pass

There are good reasons for this trail being less well-traveled than many others in the area.  There aren't really any views since the high point is on a tree-covered pass so you don't get the satisfaction of a summit.  It's a fairly long trail if you do what I (and all the trail runners) did: eight miles for front to back to front.  More importantly, the Millcreek side is really quite steep.  The footing for the whole thing is pretty good, though, almost all packed dirt with just a couple of brief rocky sections on the Millcreek side.  I can see why trail runners like it, especially the Lambs Canyon side (although that side tends to be very humid).

I kept a consistent pace, finishing the whole thing in about three hours, including just a little bit of stoppage time.  Things were picking up along the Millcreek Canyon road as I got out of my boots, pounded a beer and snarfed down a sandwich: road cyclists working their way up, MTBers cruising down, hikers and dog walkers hitting the trails and holiday-going picnickers setting up for their Pioneer Day lunch al fresco.  I was glad to be getting away from the hubub, but equally glad that I'd gotten the chance to have a bonus day to get some dirt under my boots.

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