Sweaty Slogging up the Steep Sawmill

Ugly

Life really is better Here
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Sure, I have already posted about this place in early summer. However, this report is for fall.
https://backcountrypost.com/threads/big-willow-2014.4321/#post-51040

After several days of looking at this while driving home, and this especially the night before. The siren of sawmill was calling my name.
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My love hate with this torturous trail (named Sawmill) is more love than hate. In the first 3 miles you gain over 3300 feet. Given that there are a couple more or less level spots and a little bit of downhill, it is a great way to quickly start sweating and hate your current life choices. Then once the first part is over, you can just love it all as the primrose grabs at your legs, the pine and willow fill your lungs, beauty fills your eyes, a smile spreads, and you just keep on climbing.

We took off right after work, maybe a little early, on Monday and made the short drive. Mount Jordan and Lone Peak always look so great in fall colors, and shrouded in some clouds they looked fantastic. Wilderado was on the radio as I pulled into the trailhead. We had a bit of daylight to work with, but knew we would come down in the dark.

It sprinkled on us a bit as we climbed, but I was soaked with something else. You get valley views quickly at that rate.
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This pic is not a joke, there are a couple stretches like this. Climbing to the sky.
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After a short break on the turn up Little Willow, we kept climbing. Light danced around us and across the steep canyon.
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A couple of trail shots, as the shadows lengthened a bit and the colors reminded me a bit more of my autumns in Quebec and Philly.
Also, still climbing, in case you were keeping track or couldn't tell.
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Lone Peak is hidden up just beyond what you can see.
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A sign for all you sign loving friends. There are some nice cascades that way, but we climbed on. Intent on our upwards trajectory.
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Just more and more color. I cannot say enough that orange and green are my favorite colors.
Some parts of this trail, if you run down you feel like the horse on The Man From Snowy River... those who are old enough, you know exactly what I am saying and can hear that song in your head. HAHA
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One of the most magical portions of the hike has no pictures. It was too shadowy and dark, but there is this north slope section of pines as you drop in towards a couple of cascading springs. We chewed through that part, stopped for water, and then started.... Yep, climbing again. Evening was trying to give way by now, and we were moving slower than if I were actually fit.
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We did stop and climb up on a house sized boulder for what turned into a long diversion. Even took our instagram shots before pushing off this massive dead pine log with a crash. I will spare you the actual shot of my sweaty back, and skip ahead to farther into the hike. Just remember for instagram the made up hashtag is #hikingwithuglyisnotugly
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Insert your own colors here:
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and some detail.
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Then we eventually climbed out of the pines and after a short bit of hiking we puckered out. I have puckered out here before, and I think most people do, as the trail use indicates, but it sure is beautiful.
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Wait, what was that? It had started sprinkling again from a misty cloud overhead and the warm sun on our backs. There was something in that last shot.
Just Friday I had been sitting there on the backside of Timp singing a punk cover of a song, what was that?
Oh yeah, Rainbow Connection.
Serendipitous.
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We climbed a bit more. The big triangular piece of rock is called the Guardian. She is represented a lot in several of the remaining shots. I am fascinated by her. The goal in my mind had been to get up above her. Like I said though, the warm light and colors, and fact that after all this ascending I was puckered out... well, we only did about a quarter mile, when we should have done three quarters, or maybe more.

We were moving slow, I waited for the sun to punch holes through the clouds.
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And was rewarded.
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The lighting was actually really hard. So bright and warm.
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The sun started to set.
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Beautiful. Surreal.
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She was always there, sometimes just peeking out.
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Again, insert your colors here.
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Or you can see she was a bit candy corn. At least that is the image my friend used.
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When the sun finally set there was a little bit of color while we ate a snack. Then it was down in the gathering dark. We ended up with one working headlight between us, but some clouds and the city lights helped.
All the "front side" hikes in the Salt Lake valley are steep, sometimes slippery, dusty slogs, but some are more rewarding than others.
 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
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Good way to get your heart beating. Great photos and a great trip! Love the candy corn imagery.
 

Dave

Broadcaster, formerly "ashergrey"
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May 5, 2012
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Lovely colors, seems all the climbing was well worth the effort.
 

Ugly

Life really is better Here
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Thanks all. Fall is near the top of the best four seasons...
Seems snowshoeing may be happening soon. I am in Denver now in the misty rain that is almost snow, but luckily I got to see a tiny window of cloud open up over RMNP to see the new snow mixed with the last of the fall colors from above on the flight in.
 

Titans

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Thanks all. Fall is near the top of the best four seasons...
Seems snowshoeing may be happening soon. I am in Denver now in the misty rain that is almost snow, but luckily I got to see a tiny window of cloud open up over RMNP to see the new snow mixed with the last of the fall colors from above on the flight in.


In Denver now....? Don't you just love that view towards the mountains? I'm surprised, just looked up the forecast and it looks cool and very cloudy all week. That's very unusual for this time of year.
 

Ugly

Life really is better Here
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In Denver now....? Don't you just love that view towards the mountains? I'm surprised, just looked up the forecast and it looks cool and very cloudy all week. That's very unusual for this time of year.

I even brought my actual hiking shoes and was going to ditch my coworker and head up somewhere. Maybe tomorrow evening, but it just may not happen this trip. Tonight just had to suffer through sushi and some bay scallops instead ;) . Now back to work.
 

Titans

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I even brought my actual hiking shoes and was going to ditch my coworker and head up somewhere. Maybe tomorrow evening, but it just may not happen this trip. Tonight just had to suffer through sushi and some bay scallops instead ;) . Now back to work.

Nice....! Maybe next time: Roxborough State Park, trail up to Carpenter Peak (great views) or South Valley Park close to Ken Caryl / Littleton (shorter walk, but great views). South of Denver in Lonetree: Bluffs Regional Park- nice walk up on the bluff with sweeping views over the mountains.
 
Last edited:

Ugly

Life really is better Here
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Joined
Apr 20, 2013
Messages
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Nice....! Maybe next time: Roxborough State Park, trail up to Carpenter Peak (great views) or South Valley Park close to Ken Caryl / Littleton (shorter walk, but great views). South of Denver in Lonetree: Bluffs Regional Park- nice walk up on the bluff with sweeping views over the mountains.
I will add these to the list. I was down by Ken Caryl a couple of trips ago. Supposed some snow tonight, and I fly out in the afternoon. But I will be back.
 

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