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The Old Man And His Stick

September 6, 2019

We used to take the boy scouts on this hike. It was the hardest hike we did every year. It’s called “The Baldy Hike.” We hike up to Grove Creek Canyon to Indian Springs. Then, we hike across and camp in the meadow.

When we used to take the boy scouts, we would then attempt to summit Baldy. The hike started at about 4500 feet. The hike to Indian Springs is six miles and about 2500 feet in elevation. Baldy was another 1000 feet.

About half the time weather prevented us making the ascent. We would do the hike in May. Sometimes it would snow. Sometimes it would rain. Sometimes it was beautiful. That’s what made the hike so much fun.

I don’t work with the scouts anymore. It’s a volunteer position, but it’s more of a volun-told position. And they volun-told someone else to do it. We were, they still are, a very active troop, camping 11 months out of the year.

I decided that I needed to start taking my own kids on the hikes. So, we did the Baldy Hike. But, where in May there’s a chance of sleet or snow, in August there’s only one kind of weather. . .hot. At least during the day. At night it’s chilly at 7,000 feet.

So, we set out on a Friday in August. We hiked the six miles up Grove Creek Canyon. It was hot. We took plenty of water. Two of my children were available to make the hike.

I’m a slow hiker. I had hoped the hike up the canyon would take three hours or less. You can hike on level ground at about 3.5 MPH. Hiking up hill slows that, of course. I hoped to make 2 MPH. I’m slow. Turns out I was more at 1.5 MPH.

We arrived at Indian Springs about 8:30 pm. We decided it was too late to move on. We camped for the night at Indian Springs. In the morning, we had a decision to make. Battle Creek Canyon, our normal route back down out of the mountain was closed due to an overflowing Battle Creek.

Should we take a route around Baldy and make for Dry Canyon? (That was the route I’d left with my lovely wife. Ultimately we decided to make a day hike up to the meadow. It was a lot different than it looks in May. The grasses were waist or sometimes chest high.

Ultimately we headed back down the Grove Creek. Again, it was hot. Where we had averaged 1.5 MPH on the way up, we nearly tripled that rate headed down. We made it in 90 minutes. In fact, we were down an hour before our ride would have arrived at the trailhead to pick us up. So, we simply continued walking down hill to our house.

It’s amazing to live in a location where I can literally walk from the beautiful high mountain meadows and stark canyons to my front door.

Next month we’re going to the High Uintas. It’s a hike we took with the scouts every September.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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