Snowshoeing AF Canyon

steve

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Dec 11, 2013
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My dog, Fender, and I headed up AF Canyon to do some snowshoeing today. Please excuse the poor photos, I'm no pro, and all I had was my cell phone. My goal was to hike from the Pine Hollow trailhead to the summit (via the singletrack) and to return via the road.

We started out at Pine hollow around 1:30. I planned on eating lunch on the trail and it was my motivation to keep going further without a break. We passed a father with 3 kids snowshoeing, a couple road bikers, and one other guy with his dog. Apart from that, we had the place to ourselves.



I started out with the yak trax and didn't put my snowshoes on for a good mile or so. I realized that even though I had traction, I needed a bigger footprint to distribute my weight better. It felt like I was walking in a dry riverbed. So I put the snowshoes on for the rest of the trip and I made much quicker time. I was starting to overhead, so I shed my midlayer and just wore my merino wool long sleeve top baselayer. I stayed plenty warm in just that.

After 1.5 miles, we arrived at the first meadow above pine hollow trailhead.



If I remember correctly, going to the right connects to salamander flats and eventually connects to the road. We went left, to connect with trail 157 .5 miles later. Trail 157 is part of the Great Western Trail (aka the Ridge Trail).

Sure enough, we came to the second meadow where it connects to trail 157. Going to the right takes you to the summit, and going to the left takes you towards Pole Line Pass (probably still a good 9 miles away).





Across the meadow is this interesting looking structure. I remembered it from a mountain biking trip up there a few months ago.



I decided this would be a good place to stop and have lunch. I know that alcohol stoves don't do too well in the cold temps, but it was pretty warm, and i insulate it from whatever its resting on.





The soup was stale and nasty, but it was warm. I didn't feel like it gave me much energy, so I wolfed down a frozen cliff bar before leaving the tipi.



I think this would be a really cool area to camp at night, provided you get above the meadow a bit.

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steve

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From there we got on trail 157 and headed towards the summit. It got colder as we climbed, and I threw my midlayer back on. As we were climbed in elevation, the fog lifted and we were rewarded with some great views of the mountains around us.






Looking towards the summit, still about .5 mi to go.




We finally made it to the summit trailhead. I figure we had gone about 3 miles to this point.




 

steve

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From there we headed down the road. The road was actually over 4 miles, which surprised me. I figured it'd be a straight shot, but it turned out that the trails were much straigher.



The road only had about 3-4" of snow on it, so every now and then my snowshoes would strike the pavement below. We saw 3 snowmobiles, then nobody else 'till we got back to the truck 2 hours later.



All of a sudden, the clouds parted and the tip of Box Elder Peak poked through. It's too bad there wasn't anyone around with a great camera who knew what they were doing with it. This scene lasted about 10 seconds before the clouds covered it again. It was pretty awesome to see.



Next time I do this loop, I'll take trail 159 down. It connects the summit parking lot to salamander flatt, which later connects to timpanookie parking lot. That's a cool trail for next time.





From there, we made our way down to the car right as it was getting dark. My hot cocoa was still warm in my hydro flask, and it was a nice treat to come back to. When I checked my GPS, it said we did 7.3 miles in about 4 hours, and we climbed 1600 feet. Probably slow for most people, but that's the most I've snowshoed in one day, and my legs are going to be feelign it tomorrow. I'm glad my stove worked out so well, and I think I'm ready to do a snowshoeing overnighter up there. I can't wait to get back.
 

steve

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It didn't feel slow to me at the time, but it wasn't exactly fast.
 

Arctic Ian

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Dec 3, 2013
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Looks like a nice day out. When I`m snowshoeing I walk slower than you did :) Strange to see the photos of the Tipi. We have a lot of them round here, the Sami (Laplanders) use them when following their raindeer heards. Two seperate cultures using the same idea...
 

steve

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Very cool. How do they use them? Do they just carry the canvas part with them and throw them over the poles when they get there?
 

Arctic Ian

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Very cool. How do they use them? Do they just carry the canvas part with them and throw them over the poles when they get there?
Yes thats right.They just carry 1 set of canvas and skins for the floor and use the same shelters year after year. Guess they`re experts at long distance backpacking.
 

steve

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very cool. I wonder if this tipi is used for that, or if it's just for decoration.
 

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
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In the foothills above Pleasant Grove (Utah) I've found a few of these in the summer. The ones I found looked lived in. They had tarps over them and a few personal items. I also found a large water tank half buried in the ground. It's pure speculation on my part, but I think someone is growing pot and the Tipi is for the "caretaker."

Love the pictures, I'm more inspired to get out and try some snow shoeing.
 

baltocharlie

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Dec 21, 2012
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Snow trip, very nice. Some of your trails are roads, some snow mobile but some seem to be 'groomed' hiking trails??? Are the trails made by snow shoeing?? Hikers?
 

steve

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Dec 11, 2013
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American fork canyon has tons of single track trails that hikers and snoeshoers hike. The forest service doesn't groom any of them. They're dirt singletrack trails in the summer. In the winter, enough people hike then that they're well defined and easy to see.
 
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