Lewiston Peak - May 15, 2021

scatman

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As I made my way up Ophir Canyon towards the trailhead, my original intent had been to hike up to Lewiston Peak and then head north along the ridge to Flat Top Mountain. The peaks are located in the Oquirrh Mountains, which are located on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley, and a place that had often interested me, but up until this trip, I had never hiked in the range before. Lewiston Peak is the third highest peak in the range and Flat Top Mountain is the highest.

Since this was my first time hiking in the area, it was also my first time passing through the quaint little mining community of Ophir. I happened to notice the Ophir Saloon on my way back, which I will have to stop in the next time I am there, since I now have some unfinished business to attend to.

I arrived at the trailhead about eight o'clock in the morning and set off up a 4WD road for about 2.5 - 3.0 miles before meeting up with the trail that heads east up the ridge to Lewiston Peak. At first, the trail heads up the hill with a number of switchbacks. At the top of the switchbacks, the trail just heads straight up the ridge to the peak.

Once I was off the switchbacks, and began heading up the ridge proper, I could tell that I was starting to feel a bit off. At first, I thought that maybe I just needed a snack to give me some energy, so I open a package of Nature's Bakery Fig Bar, that contains two bite sized fig newtons essentially. I ate one of the bars, and after a few more minutes of climbing, I began to feel just the tiniest bit nauseous. I thought to myself, "What's going on?" I continued on and eventually made my way to the summit of Lewiston Peak, where I had the second fig bar from the package. This time the nausea was worse. I rested for a few minutes, took some pictures from the summit, and then post holed my way down the north side of Lewiston, which still had a fair amount of snow on it. After leaving the snow and continuing along the ridge towards Flat Top Mountain, I started to feel even worse. I made my way to just below the south bump of Flat Top Mountain (the north bump is the high point), and I realized that I just couldn't go on anymore. For every few steps I took up, I just felt worse and worse. So at this point I turned around knowing that I'd need some energy to get back up through the snow on the northern slope of Lewiston Peak.

After retreating about halfway down the mountain, I started to feel a little bit better, and by the time I returned to my Jeep, I almost felt back to normal. Now, I have never experienced altitude sickness before, but I'm guessing that is what was going on. I also gave a pint of blood two weeks ago, and this time of year certain types of tree pollen can really put me down for the count if they are really high. Also I had just returned from Portland (close to sea level) where I had stayed for a week in order to be with my son for his graduation. Maybe, it was a combination of all of the above. This turned out to be one of the hardest hikes I have done due to my condition while hiking. Anyway, so now I'm going to have to do a return trip so that I can make it to the summit of Flat Top, and this time enjoy a celebratory beer at the Saloon in Ophir.

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View from the trailhead towards Bald Mountain

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Lots of aspen up the canyon

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Halls Canyon access. Still a ways to go before reaching my trail.

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Gaining some elevation on the 4WD road, looking back to the north

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View to the north towards Rocky Peak

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Leaving public land

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First sign of snow along the switchbacks

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View to the north along the main ridgeline of the Oquirrh Mountains

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Flat Top Mountain

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The Mercur Canyon Mine below and Rush Valley beyond

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Lewiston Peak above

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Very slow progress at this point

13b.jpg

Stansbury Range comes into view to the west

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Desert Peak in the Stansbury Range

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View from the summit of Lewiston Peak, north towards Flat Top Mountain

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View from the summit to the southeast towards the Lake Mountains and Utah Lake

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A look back towards the north side of Lewiston Peak, as I made my way north along the ridge towards Flat Top Mountain

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Working my way toward the south bump

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My turn around point. :( Looking at the north bump, the high point.

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y tough slo
Retracing my steps back up to Lewiston Peak. This stretch was a really tough slog for me.

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Mount Timpanogos in the distance


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Heading back down the ridge

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A plant along the ridge that I had never seen before - Feather-Leaf Kitten Tails

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A horned lizard crossed my path

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A gnarly aspen along the ridge

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A look back up the ridge

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Aspens beginning to get their leaves

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The story of Ophir at the trailhead.

The End.
 
Last edited:

Jackson

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That's a cool area back in there. I spent a day up a side canyon on the north side of Ophir Canyon for work once. Beautiful area this time of year! I need to get some more cases involving land disputes with the government. Haha.

Anyway, too bad on the altitude sickness. That's wild how quickly it went away as you got lower down. Is the saloon only open seasonally? Seems like every time I've been through Ophir, everything has been shut down.
 

scatman

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That's a cool area back in there. I spent a day up a side canyon on the north side of Ophir Canyon for work once. Beautiful area this time of year! I need to get some more cases involving land disputes with the government. Haha.

Anyway, too bad on the altitude sickness. That's wild how quickly it went away as you got lower down. Is the saloon only open seasonally? Seems like every time I've been through Ophir, everything has been shut down.

Not sure about the saloon Jackson. I didn't even notice it on my up the canyon, only when coming back down. I looked into it this morning and it looks like they have restored some of the old historical buildings in Ophir, and it might not actually be a working bar anymore. I'll have to check back when I complete the Flat Top Mountain route I wanted to do on Saturday.

I'm still not sure how to evaluate what happened to me on Saturday though. Will it happen again? I'm at the age where I just can't power through it anymore I guess. :( As I have gotten older, my allergies to Juniper/Cedar, Elm and Cottonwood tree pollen have gotten worse. When the counts are high or extremely high for those I suffer, even if I take medicine for it (which helps). So from about mid-March (sometimes as early as late February if conditions are right) to around the end of May, I try not to overdue it. This hike may have just been the perfect storm, with the allergies, giving blood, returning from low elevation, riding up City Creek on Thursday to get my pollen fill, and it did get into the low 80's down in the valley on Saturday. Not sure what the temps were up high.

Anyway, the area is sure beautiful this time of year. I should have been out there exploring long before now. I'll definitely be returning to the area. It's worth anybody's time who might be interested.
 

gnwatts

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Nice TR.
Altitude sickness is interesting. I have found that I deal with altitude better now than in my younger years, I don't know why.
Ophir! Land of gold. We lived in Ophir, CO for a few years. No gold. Just a lot of dogs.
 
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Hope your feelin back to normal . I feel yer pain with th dad gum juniper/ cedar allergies( here in Austin area it’s considered th worst in th country..durn yellow skies)

I’ve never(knock on pine) encountered altitude sickness when I was up at 10,000 ft elev n above, but it did hit me one occasion round 8000....

in a couple of weeks I’ll be eligible to get my lifetime national parks pass, that bein said, I have noticed that gravity is stronger, th mountains have become steeper, a mile has increased in length, the ground is much harder, and th altitude is much thinner than a few years back...I don’t think our age has anything to do with that though....LOL

take it easy and please send us some cold weather this way as it’s gettin hot n humid here. Can’t wait til Sept to get some cold on!
 

fossana

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Pretty scenery. The only time I've had AMS below 17K' was once in the Sierra when I was super dehydrated going in. Hope it is a rare event going forward for you.
 

scatman

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in a couple of weeks I’ll be eligible to get my lifetime national parks pass, that bein said, I have noticed that gravity is stronger, th mountains have become steeper, a mile has increased in length, the ground is much harder, and th altitude is much thinner than a few years back...I don’t think our age has anything to do with that though....LOL

Ain't that the truth! :D
 

scatman

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Pretty scenery. The only time I've had AMS below 17K' was once in the Sierra when I was super dehydrated going in. Hope it is a rare event going forward for you.

Maybe dehydration did play a part. I took plenty of water on the hike and I always drink a 16oz Nalgene bottle of water at the trailhead before starting off on longer hikes, but if I was dehydrated going in, that probably wouldn't have helped out much.
 
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