Elevation Gain: About 1,200 ft
Highest Peak: 8,497 ft
Time: About four hours including some time for lunch and to put moleskin on a blister.
General Impression: BEST HIKE SO FAR! That might not say much, but this hike had the most impressively beautiful view of the Wasatch and Unita mountain ranges and the valleys below. The fall colors are out in near-abundance and we LOVED IT!
The volunteer at the Wasatch Mountain State Park Visitor's Center told us to just drive up the road a little while until we passed a big hairpin turn to the left, and then a smaller but still noticeable turn to the right. Soon after these two turns we would come to a clearing on our right with a path and a culvert. We found all of these things with no problem, though we were a bit worried we'd miss it as there are no signs whatsoever. The guy was right, though, and the turns are "hairpinny" enough that you'll know it when you see it.
We set off on our hike at 10:30 in the morning, heading up, up, up a path/road that showed signs of car tracks here and there. Early on in the hike we passed two small water obstacles, but it had just rained the night before, so don't expect these all the time. Also, there were banks or rocks to step on and avoid submerging our feet in any water, so we high-fived and pressed on.
The trail was pretty steep, with long switchbacks that sometimes felt never-ending but were never too too bad. The benefit is that we were often rewarded with stunning views of the colourful valley below. We could see our car getting smaller and smaller and we climbed higher and higher. There were lovely wild flowers all around, and lots of trees.
Once we reached the top, which took I have no idea how long, we headed along the rim trail (I think that's what they call it), which consisted of tall yellow grasses and very few trees. We could see over to the other valley below, so the view was simply astounding.
Steve was stung or bitten by an insect at one point. Although it was pretty painful, he was fine and he pressed on. It didn't really look like anything, but by the next morning his wrist had swelled up about an inch more than it's normal size and was itchy, hot, and painful. Poor guy.
I felt like I had a small stone in my shoe so I stopped to shake it out, but nothing really fell out. While I love the feeling of my Asolo's, I do find that they need emptying now and then during a hike which can be rather annoying. I hiked up towards Steve, who had gotten ahead of me, feeling tired and pissed off that the feeling of the rock still hadn't gone away. When I reached him, we looked again and found an angry blister had appeared on my heel. Steve patched me up with some Moleskin from our first aid kit and we pressed on.
Soon the landscape changed from grasses to forest. The trees were lovely birches I think, though my tree-knowledge is really lacking.
After about two and a half hours we reached the top. There we found a little building with all kinds of radio antennae or something sticking out of it. I'm not exactly sure what they were. We found a spot with a view (what a view!) and sat and ate our salami, bread, and artisan cheese. It was delicious and peaceful and swell.
The walk down felt kind of long but not too bad I guess. We often feel ready to be done about an hour or so before we actually are. I'd really like to do a hike that was not an out-and-back to see what it feels like.
The total hike took about 4 hours and was very beautiful! Thank you Mt. Wilson, or whatever your name is!