I don’t think I’ve ever welcomed Spring with such fervency. It hasn’t been a hard winter here in Utah, at least not in the valleys. We’ve had somewhat mild temperatures and hardly any snow to speak of, but more rain than I can handle. On the flipside, our mountains have more snow than they’ve seen in 20 years. It’s great, considering the drought and all, but I’ve had enough. I want sunshine and warmth.
My husband and I have been dreaming about hikes all winter -- old favorites and new adventures. I’ve realized in the past year or so that my favorite type of hike is one that will get me on top of a mountain. There is such exhilaration from topping out, such a deep sense of accomplishment. I’m not talking Everest. No, just local stuff. Peaks that look like mere hills compared to the tallest mountain on the planet. The hike I’m looking most forward to at the moment is Sunset Peak in Little Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake. The only problem: snow. At the base of the mountain, down at Alta Ski Resort, they’ve still got fifteen feet of the stuff. In April. We’ll have to snowshoe the damn thing in June!
Mother Nature teased us with Spring about a month ago so my husband and I took advantage of it. We hiked the Frary Peak trail on Antelope Island in the middle of the vast Great Salt Lake. Frary, at 6596’, is the highest point on the island. It was gorgeous and so different. Most of our hikes take us to places where the lake is in the far western distance, but this time, we were surrounded by the lake and looking east, toward the Wasatch range. Plus, since we were on the island, we could see past it, further west. The views were amazing! There was Utah scenery I’d never seen before. From our perch on top, we munched on peanut butter sandwiches, string cheese and fruit leather, and watched herds of bison meandering on the valley floor below, oblivious to the growing cities just miles beyond their island. Tiny blue birds chattered with each other and cawing crows floated in the breeze. I loved every second of it and quickly added the hike to my list of favorites.
I can’t wait for real Spring.
We stopped here, about a mile from the summit of Frary, to wait for three hulking bison to move off the trail. The openness on the right of the image is the shoreline of Great Salt Lake a thousand feet below, and on the horizon is the Ogden portion of the Wasatch range.