Mount Wire and Mount Van Cott Lollipop Loop (or the Foothill Follies) - November 6. 2021

scatman

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Over the past twenty five years or so, I've hiked to the top of Mount Wire and Mount Van Cott at least sixty times each. Usually, I hike each in the early spring as I warm up for bigger peaks later in the spring/summer. In the fall, I hike them again as I wind down my backpacking/hiking season before the snow flies here in Salt Lake. Occasionally, I will hike them a third time during the year if I need to get a quick hike in and get back to do other chores in the afternoon. I have always done these hikes as separate ones, but yesterday I combined both peaks into the same day hike. The length of the lollipop loop was roughly 14 miles as measured on a map. I'm guessing that it was probably closer to 15 when all was said and done on the ground. Another first for this hike was that I would summit both from the south, as opposed to the northern routes to the peaks, which I had taken all the previous times that I summited Wire and Van Cott.

I might mention too that this fall, for all my foothill hikes, I have been starting out from my house instead of driving to the various trailheads like I have done in the past. I figure this would add some miles to my hike, and give me a bit more exercise to keep me in some semblance of shape before old man winter arrives.

Let's get started.

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Route overview map

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My wife and I headed out about 7:45 in the morning and the sunrise was a good one.

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Pretty

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We're heading through the neighborhood at this point, with a view of the southern peak of the Avenues Twin Peaks to our north

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I zoomed in from the Avenues on Triangle Peak, the snow covered Broads Fork Twin Peaks, and Mount Olympus far to our south

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Dropping down from our neighborhood towards Dry Canyon and the Bonneville Shoreline Trail which I will follow all the way to the
mouth of Emigration Canyon and the trail up the south side of Mount Wire

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Startling a flock of pigeons as we pass by Mount Van Cott on our way towards Mount Wire

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One last patch of yellow on this rabbit brush shrub

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Sumac showing off its fall colors

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The western approach for Mount Van Cott

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Signage for the Shoreline Trail as we approach the Natural History Museum

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About to cross Red Butte Creek

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With the sun popping out over the foothills, it was time to take a break and put some sunscreen on. This is the point where my
wife turned around and headed back.

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Rabbit brush in bloom

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A look back north at Mount Van Cott

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A teepee in the "This is the Place Monument"

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The silhouette of Jack's Mountain to the south. Another spring hike favorite of mine

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View slightly to the northwest as i approach the trail up the south side of Mount Wire

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Mount Wire dead ahead

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Some Mountain Mahoganies up top

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The trail heads right up the ridge of the knob straight ahead

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Approaching the knob

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The knob

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Some aster still blooming along the trail

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A look back down into the valley. You can still make out the teepee down below.

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Mountain Mahogany time

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A little rocky section along the ridge

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View south along the Wasatch Front

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These two passed me like I was standing still. The dog's name was Gunner.

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A little over halfway to the top, and I'm sucking wind. Typical. :)

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First good look into Emigration Canyon

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The old airplane beacon on the summit finally comes into view

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Some deer scat just below the summit

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Geeze, like herding cats @Rockskipper. One of these dogs came and sat on my lap while I was trying to eat a snack. I saw a total of
57 hound dogs/pooches on this hike.

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Once I got to the top of Wire, it clouded up and would stay that way for the rest of the day

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My snack on the top of wire

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Black Mountain Ridge to the north, along with Grandview Peak in the far distance located on the north ridge of City Creek Canyon

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Looking towards Mount Van Cott, which is about 800 feet shorter than Wire. Antelope Island in the far distance

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My gear for the day

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Leaving the Mount Wire summit after my break, three hours and twenty eight minutes into my hike.

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My favorite Mountain Mahogany in the whole wide world.

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Van Cott straight ahead

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The Red Butte Ridge and George's Hollow below which I will be following back down to pick up the Shoreline Trail again

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The trail through George's Hollow

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A slight touch of red still holding on

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Still making my way down George's Hollow

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Fall colors of the Oregon Grape

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The foothills do have some steep sections to them as this shot looks down George's Hollow and
out into the valley

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Just following the ridge down to the Shoreline Trail at this point with the University of Utah below

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A view back up George's Hollow

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Back on the Shoreline Trail and heading north towards Red Butte Gardens. I will be making my way around the east side of the
Gardens before dropping down into Red Butte Canyon

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A look up towards Peak 5773

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On the backside (east) of the Natural History Museum

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Trail sign for the trail that I will take to make my way around Red Butte Gardens

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heading east up Soldiers Hollow, with Red Butte above

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Mount Van Cott comes back into view

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The old Quarry House on the Gardens grounds

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I really wanted to lie down on this bench and take a nap. :)

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The nature trail with Van Cott in the distance

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A look up at the north side of Red Butte as I drop down into Red Butte Canyon

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More asters in bloom

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heading down into the canyon

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A rose bush's fall colors

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Red Butte Creek

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No trespassing beyond this point

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Fall colors are dwindling at the bottom of the canyon

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Five and a half hours in and I'm starting the climb up Mount Van Cott

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Here we go. You can't make out the top yet from this vantage point

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Looking up at the ridge to the east of Van Cott

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I had a nice chat with these two bow hunters coming off of Van Cott

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A nice look back across Red Butte Canyon at Red Butte as I gain a little bit of elevation

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Common Storksbill leaves changing to red along the trail

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And some storksbill blooming still

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The summit of Van Cott above. Unfortunately the trail heads west and then turns back northeast up the ridge to gain the summit

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Heading northeast towards the summit

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Trip time as I reached the summit

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Looking back south towards Mount Wire where I was three hours earlier

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A zoomed in shot with the airplane beacon visible

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One can see some of Red Butte Resevroir from the summit of Mount Van Cott

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Go Aggies! :D Enjoying a break and some snacks on Mount Van Cott.

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Oh my! A fifteen round heavyweight fight between Scatman and the Sweat Snap Swish Gatorade.
Who is your money on?

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59 degrees up top with a good wind blowing

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The way home as I drop down off the north side of Van Cott - my usual route.

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The Black Mountain Ridge

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And the valley below

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More blooming Rabbit Brush with Van Cott above

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Looking down into Dry Canyon

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The fall colors of sumac along the trail

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Life Flight taking of from the University Hospital. I was kind of hoping that they would come pick me up.

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Antelope Bitterbrush leaves turning their fall yellow.

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I just love the golden grass of the foothills

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Another look up Dry Canyon, this time in the afternoon

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Not sure what this flower is, but I thought it was pretty. I'll need to see if I can look it up.

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More sumac

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Back on the bike path that leads back to my neighborhood

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A shed for tools and such at the local community garden

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I didn't need to go to the foothills to see wildlife. :) A couple of deer in a yard on 10th Avenue, just one block north of my house

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Hello.

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I see ya.

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Home sweet home

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Greeted at the front door by the best "Tent Tester" in the world - Juniper, or as I affectionately call her "June-bug."

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Total time: 8 hours and 29 minutes

The End
 
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So, was that you climbing the airplane tower in that shot?

Remember the movie Smoke Signals and how the guy's always saying in a sort of irritating voice, "But Victor, what about your dad?"

Cue that same voice: "But Scatman, what about your kilt?"
 
Love it! There's a bit of terrain you covered in lower Red Butte C that I've never visited, didn't realize it was legal, very cool. That's some fortitude to go all the way down to the shoreline trail and then back up Van Cott. But I already knew you were a glutton for punishment.
 
So, was that you climbing the airplane tower in that shot?

Remember the movie Smoke Signals and how the guy's always saying in a sort of irritating voice, "But Victor, what about your dad?"

Cue that same voice: "But Scatman, what about your kilt?"

No, that's not me climbing the beacon. I've done it plenty of times in the past, but there was a line of people wanting to go up there while I was taking a break.

You know, I thought about wearing a kilt that morning. It was a warm 58 at 7:30 am here in Salt Lake. I think they forecast a high of 68 degrees. When I was heading up Mount Wire, the sun was beating down on me and I thought to myself, "You should have worn one of your kilts." But by the time I got to the top of Wire, the sun had gone behind the clouds for good, and the wind was blowing pretty good on the summit, enough so that I got a little chilled while eating my energy bar and petting all the dogs, so I was glad that I made the decision to leave the kilt at home. I don't think it ever got to 68, but maybe it did down in the valley at some point.
 
Love it! There's a bit of terrain you covered in lower Red Butte C that I've never visited, didn't realize it was legal, very cool. That's some fortitude to go all the way down to the shoreline trail and then back up Van Cott. But I already knew you were a glutton for punishment.

I had never been back there before either @regehr. I really wasn't sure if I might have to do a bit of bushwhacking to get down to the trail up Van Cott. It is pretty straight forward though. Once you get to that nature trail signpost, you have two options: one, head down towards the history museum, or second, up the hill paralleling the fence of the gardens. The trail goes up and over a hill and then drops down into the canyon, spitting you out right near the locked gate, and just across the road from the trail up the southeast side of Van Cott.
 
57 dogs? Thats real environmentally friendly ......... Ill bet everyone of them had dog poop bags. NOT
 
57 dogs? Thats real environmentally friendly ......... Ill bet everyone of them had dog poop bags. NOT

I didn't count the poop bags. :) I did see a couple filled bags just sitting by the trail though. :( That calculates out to just over four dogs per mile, though I didn't see a single one on Van Cott. And the only two people I saw on Van Cott were the deer hunters.
 
I didn't count the poop bags. :) I did see a couple filled bags just sitting by the trail though. :( That calculates out to just over four dogs per mile, though I didn't see a single one on Van Cott. And the only two people I saw on Van Cott were the deer hunters.
something else we should mention is the absolutely lovely trail heading up from Mt Van Cott towards Little Black Mtn. it really doesn't get a lot of traffic. it used to be nonexistent past a certain point but. now there's sort of a vague use trail almost the whole way. it's one of my favorites and hasn't seen the explosion of use that has turned Big Beacon into a bit of a zoo at times
 
I didn't count the poop bags. :) I did see a couple filled bags just sitting by the trail though. :( That calculates out to just over four dogs per mile, though I didn't see a single one on Van Cott. And the only two people I saw on Van Cott were the deer hunters.
Lol ... So now poop and plastic bags stacked around ... Guess there is a poop patrol that comes and picks it up.? Sad.
 
Go Scatman! and go Aggies!
That is a nice Saturday stroll.
I sat and enjoyed some of that sunrise on Saturday. Then I promptly raked up some of the aspen leaves in my backyard to the middle of my lawn only for them all to blow away before I got back to them. I guess that saved me having to use a bag.
Probably with a kilt and an umbrella you could have jumped up into the wind and kited over to the next ridge? and if that did not work then the helicopter probably would have come for you. :thinking:
 
something else we should mention is the absolutely lovely trail heading up from Mt Van Cott towards Little Black Mtn. it really doesn't get a lot of traffic. it used to be nonexistent past a certain point but. now there's sort of a vague use trail almost the whole way. it's one of my favorites and hasn't seen the explosion of use that has turned Big Beacon into a bit of a zoo at times

I agree, that is a great place to hike. I always called it the Van Cott Ridge, but I'm sure it has some other local name that I do not know. I saw some elk along that ridge years ago. It's been two years since I last hiked along there. Maybe before the snow flies I will head back up there.
 
Go Scatman! and go Aggies!
That is a nice Saturday stroll.
I sat and enjoyed some of that sunrise on Saturday. Then I promptly raked up some of the aspen leaves in my backyard to the middle of my lawn only for them all to blow away before I got back to them. I guess that saved me having to use a bag.
Probably with a kilt and an umbrella you could have jumped up into the wind and kited over to the next ridge? and if that did not work then the helicopter probably would have come for you. :thinking:

I raked some of my yard yesterday. I've got a nasty Chinese elm across my alleyway that won't lose its leaves for another two or three weeks, which means that I'll have to rake again.

I bet the kilt and the umbrella could have cut my overall trip time in half! :)
 
Just had the visual of Scat, kilt and umbrella soaring over the Ridgeline....
 
Well done @scatman , you’re staying in shape! Thanks for posting the photos of the common storksbill’s green/red leaves, never figured out what those are called. Your tent tester looks very content, waiting for your return. It looks a little cool up in SL, ever thought about coming down to the desert to hike?

By the way I was thinking of you the other evening! I had a big “ @scatman e-bike moment” the other night, when a couple arrived late at camp while we were stargazing and flashed up our entire campsite with a bazillion bright bulbs on their truck.
 
If I'm in shape @Titans , then why am I still sore three days later? :)

I guess the desert rat hasn't bitten me yet. I tend to spend almost all of my vacation time in grizzly country, where I feel most at home. I did do a few day hikes on two separate trips to Zion about 33 and 35 years ago, and I have been to the swell a couple of times, which amounts to a very limited sample size I am afraid. Maybe when I retire I can find some time to start exploring desert locals some more. Oh, I am tentatively planning a trip to New Mexico to do some backpacking in the Gila or Aldo Leopold Wilderness next spring, though I'm not sure if that meets "hiking in the desert criteria."

I'm glad others have e-bike moments too. I saw a bunch more e-bikes when I biffed it at the top of City Creek last week. I'm trying to coexist. :D
 
Maybe you will be less sore, if you consume more beer after your hikes? I’m hopeful you will catch the desert bug at some point! Hopefully we can spend more time in grizzly country in the future. 2020 was supposed to be the big year for that, but that didn’t exactly pan out!
 
Scatman, enjoyed your trip report. Thanks. Now do heartily know what you are saying in not being a desert rat. I thoroughly enjoy Southern Utah's canyon Country, but further south in the real deserts somehow do get to me it seems anymore. I am now here in St. George. Found a spot to winter. But the deserts so get to me now after being in the lush Wyoming Wilds like the Thorofare and the very very lush Pacific Northwest. Am sooooo enjoying the sun and warmth with no snow and cold, but do miss the land up north. And when spring comes, am really looking forward to heading back north.

Again Thanks for your wonderful trip report with all of the photos.
 
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