Grandeur and Church Fork Peaks Loop - May 29, 2021

scatman

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Yesterday, my family embarked on a 10.5 mile lollipop loop hike that began at the Grandeur Peak Trailhead in Millcreek Canyon. We first summited Grandeur Peak, and once on top we stopped for a quick snack and some picture taking. We then took the trail back off the summit until it married up with the Millcreek Ridge. At that point, we made our way east, off-trail along the ridge to Church Fork Peak. We enjoyed a late lunch by the summit cairn on Church Fork, and then continued east along the ridgeline until we reached upper Burch Hollow. After a quick descent down the Burch Hollow Trail, we met up with the Pipeline Trail and headed west, back to the Grandeur Peak Trail to complete the loop.

This was easily the most crowded I have ever seen the trail up to the summit of Grandeur. Of course, along the way, I was stopping to take photos of all the wonderful wildflowers along the trail. Our experience hiking east along the Millcreek Ridge was the complete opposite of the Grandeur Trail, as we saw no one. We wouldn't see another person until we left the Burch Hallow Trail and started heading back towards Grandeur on the Pipeline Trail.

The route along the ridge took us some time, and there was some unavoidable bushwhacking through scrub oak at times, even a little bit of route finding to try and avoid the worst of the scrub oak was called for. And of course the wildflowers were abundant along the ridgeline too, just like they had been along the Grandeur Peak Trail.

Here's some shots of our hike.

Grandeur_Church_Fork_Peaks_Loop.jpg

Overview map of our hike

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Millcreek

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Had to walk from the road, through the picnic area to reach the official trailhead for Grandeur

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A nice patch of Snake Grass, which looked better in person than it turned out in the above photo. :(

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After gaining a little bit of elevation, Mount Olympus and Wildcat Ridge to our south begin to come into view

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Geranium?

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Woodland-star

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Starwort

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Wild Pea

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Choke Cherry

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Solomon's Seal

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Arrowleafed Balsamroot

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A look up at Grandeur Peak

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Caterpillar nest - We ran into a lot of these on our hike

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More wild pea

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Wasatch Beardtongue

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More beardtongue

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Groundsel and Fernleaf Biscuitroot

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Utah Serviceberry

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More caterpillars

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Working our way up the Grandeur Trail - slow going thanks to Scatman taking a lot of pictures. :)

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View of the ridgeline, from the summit of Grandeur, that we will take on our way to Church Fork Peak

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Grandeur summit shot

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A lizard, just off the summit of Grandeur

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Larkspur
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On the Millcreek Ridge, looking back west at Grandeur Peak

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View along the ridge to Church Fork Peak

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More ridge views - looking east towards Church Fork Peak

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Nice shot down Church Fork Drainage to the bottom of the canyon

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Pretty typical of ridge hiking in the Wasatch

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Common Storksbill

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Prickly Pear

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More ridge views

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@Outdoor_Fool - need some help identifying

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Scrub oak bushwhacking

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Mountain Mahogany in bloom

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Third straight weekend hike that I've seen horney lizards

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Who chose to go this way! :eek: A nasty patch along the ridge. :D

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Looking back at Grandeur and the portion of the ridge that we have hiked across thus far.

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Aerial target on the ground

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Aspen, just starting to get their leaves at roughly 8000 feet

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More hills to make our way up along the ridge

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Approaching the Church Fork Peak summit

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The Millcreek Ridge, from Grandeur Peak to Church Fork Peak. Who are those stragglers heading up the ridge? :)

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Church Fork summit shot

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Church Fork Yurt - just off the summit

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Goosefoot Violets on our way to Burch Hollow

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Small-Flowered Blue-Eyed Mary

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Upper Burch Hollow, our way back down, and Mount Aire to the east

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A look down Burch Hollow to the bottom of the canyon

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A look back up at the ridge we traversed from Church Fork Peak to Burch Hollow

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Ball-head Waterleaf - this wildflower was everywhere along the Pipeline trail

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Only about 1.6 miles to complete the loop and about 2 more miles to the Subaru.

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A patch of phlox along the Pipeline Trail

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Grandeur Peak - the last summit to the west along the ridgeline, and a look down Millcreek Canyon

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Nice little waterfall on Church Fork

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Back at the Sube.

The End.
 
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Rockskipper

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LOVE the flower photos and your ID. There was one there I've been trying to figure out for some time (Solomon's seal).
 
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scatman

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Lol I deleted it because It seemed like it was going to crater your thread and take it into a hole new direction.

You're always welcome to crater my thread and take it in whatever direction you like. :thumbsup: Doesn't bother me in the least. You know I'd do the same to you. :D
 
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regehr

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Love it!!!

But now I'm sort of doubting that @scatman wrote this trip report:
"....even a little bit of route finding to try and avoid the worst of the scrub oak was called for."
are you sure you don't mean you headed into the worst of it as a test of everyone's mettle?
 

scatman

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Love it!!!

But now I'm sort of doubting that @scatman wrote this trip report:
"....even a little bit of route finding to try and avoid the worst of the scrub oak was called for."
are you sure you don't mean you headed into the worst of it as a test of everyone's mettle?

I'm losing my edge @regehr. I need you along to make me remember that young Scatman attitude once again. :)

You know after I finished this hike and was going over the pictures, I kept getting this distant thought in my head that I needed to attempt the entire Millcreek Ridge again from Murdock Peak west to Grandeur. Dying on the ridge wouldn't be such a bad thing, would it? :thinking:
 

regehr

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I mean for real I won't even consider myself to have hiked with you if I haven't lost at least a pint of blood to the demon of the Wasatch: Gambel Oak
 

scatman

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The scrub oak in Colorado is usually full of ticks this time of year. Any come home with you?

Actually, since I moved from western North Carolina when I was 14, I have only seen one tick in all the years I've lived out west, and that was one I saw while pulling weeds next to a corner of my house, maybe 15 years ago. Never on any backpacking trips, hikes or anything else for that matter. I used to get them all the time hiking in NC, or just playing out in my grandparents yard for that matter. Maybe they don't like kilts. ;)
 

scatman

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I mean for real I won't even consider myself to have hiked with you if I haven't lost at least a pint of blood to the demon of the Wasatch: Gambel Oak

We need to get some kind of local hike in this spring. :thumbsup:
 

Outdoor_Fool

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@scatman Sure looks like black bear scat. Next time dig into it a bit. Probably find several plant species in there.

That sure looks like a geranium but the leaves are all wrong. I looked through a few different sources for a geranium with narrow leaves but found nada. Doesn't appear to be an Erodium (same family) either. Interesting.

Great TR and excellent photos of the local flora!

Edited: I showed the pic to my wife who thought it looked like a geranium, but after I pointed out the leaves were all wrong she went to work and shortly thereafter decided it was probably a species of flax. I looked through a ton of images and could not narrow it down, but I do agree with her that it is likely a flax.
 
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scatman

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@scatman Sure looks like black bear scat. Next time dig into it a bit. Probably find several plant species in there.

That sure looks like a geranium but the leaves are all wrong. I looked through a few different sources for a geranium with narrow leaves but found nada. Doesn't appear to be an Erodium (same family) either. Interesting.

Great TR and excellent photos of the local flora!

Edited: I showed the pic to my wife who thought it looked like a geranium, but after I pointed out the leaves were all wrong she went to work and shortly thereafter decided it was probably a species of flax. I looked through a ton of images and could not narrow it down, but I do agree with her that it is likely a flax.

I told Sheila and Katie that it was bear scat, but I wanted to make sure. That is the first sign of a black bear that I have ever seen in Utah.

I think I have figured out what the wildflower is: thread-leaf phacelia.

I also forgot to mention, that I felt the leaves of the shrub (snowbrush ceanothus) and they did have a waxy feeling to them. The shrub was plentiful on the upper Grandeur Trail. Luckily, we didn't have to contend with any along the ridge to Church Fork.
 

Jon Carbaugh

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Nice Hugh! That thick stuff on the ridge takes me back to Dead Man's knob a little... :):thumbsup:
 

scatman

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Nice Hugh! That thick stuff on the ridge takes me back to Dead Man's knob a little... :):thumbsup:

A blast from the past! Dead Man's Knob! It's been awhile since I've thought of that. Best damn grizzly trip ever! The section along the Millcreek Ridge wasn't anything like Deadman's though. If it had been, I'd still be up there, belly up. :D You'd have to hike in and bury me Jon.

When are you going to do another trip with the old Scatman? Always welcome you are. If not a trip, then at least a beer.
 

Jon Carbaugh

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A blast from the past! Dead Man's Knob! It's been awhile since I've thought of that. Best damn grizzly trip ever! The section along the Millcreek Ridge wasn't anything like Deadman's though. If it had been, I'd still be up there, belly up. :D You'd have to hike in and bury me Jon.

When are you going to do another trip with the old Scatman? Always welcome you are. If not a trip, then at least a beer.
I'm always ready for a trip, or beer with the Scat! Just a matter of the stars aligning. Shoot me a message if/when you have anything in mind. Just took the week of Labor day off... trying to see Younts, or Sawtooth's this year.
Have a good weekend...
Cheers!
 
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