I love hiking so when Kalina, my daughter, made a 2016 goal to bag 26 peaks, I rose to the challenge and decided I would set a goal to do half as many. Thirteen peaks, no problem right? Wrong!
It's been a more challenging goal than I imagined with weather and health problems setting me back. I thought I would be able to climb some peaks in the winter. I would make it all of the way to the saddle of a peak only to find out the snow has made it too treacherous to finish the climb. Take Mount Olympus in Salt Lake City for example. I set out on a beautiful winter day with my climbing spikes and made it to the saddle. No way could I go any further. Kalina met me at the saddle and let me know it was way too slippery to make it any further. Not worth risking a life. An all day ordeal felt like a failure but shouldn't have as the views from the saddle were amazing anyway.
The weather problems were only half the equation. I didn't anticipate I would also develop achilles tendonitis with swelling on the back of my heel. A six week rest barely made it feel better.
Now I'm finally back on the trails and hoping to do some catch up. I chose Grandeur Peak for my back to work trail as it is it easily accessible from the Wasatch Front. This trail has two main access points. One from the West Ridge and the other from Millcreek Canyon. I chose the easier but longer route from the Church Fork Picnic Area. Best to park along the street and walk along the road to the trail. It is well marked and not hard to find. It's a short hike up to a small bridge. Before the bridge, take a left on the Pipeline Trail. The fork for the trail for Grandeur Peak is the first right.
I always enjoy the lower part of the trail. It is shaded with a nice, steady climb. Nearing the top, the trail becomes exposed and rocky in spots. I've been trying to do some trail running but I can never manage on the way up and have to wait for the downhill and the less rocky parts.
It's exciting to get to the traverse that leads directly to the saddle and see the peak across the way. It always looks so close but ends up being the hardest part of the hike. It's one of those "Are we almost there," moments that seems to take forever.
|Overlooking the Salt Lake Valley|
The views from the top make the 6.2 miles round trip worth it. At 8299 feet, it really feels like I'm on top of the world. While the trail is rated moderate to hard at the end, it is obtainable for beginners. Staring at Mt. Aire gave helped me set my next peak goal. Mt. Aire here I come. I can't wait to tackle you this next week.