The Wasatch team got together for a camping trip at the Strawberry River near Heber. Watch the fun!
Near-naked trees and chilling temps can only mean one thing: ‘tis the season to load up on food and shrug off your guilt. The United States has even dedicated a holiday for you to stuff your belly and build up extra “layers” for the winter months. However, Thanksgiving suggests a four-day weekend, which tempts many outdoor adventurists to ditch family dinners and escape into nature. Lucky for you, we’ve found ways to bring Thanksgiving to the wilderness, so you can binge eat and give thanks for this beautiful world while being surrounded by it.
THANKSGIVING HOBO DINNER
10 turkey cutlets
2 cans of gravy
1 bag of frozen green beans and carrots
1 package of cranberries
Pour an inch-layer of gravy on the bottom. Place the turkey cutlet on top. Sprinkle frozen green beans and carrots over the turkey. Top with more gravy and a handful of cranberries. Wrap up and place in the fire. Repeat.
Cook time: 20 minutes
Tip: Don’t use all the gravy in food prep. You’ll want some to pour over after the meal is cooked.
POTATOES AU TINFOIL
1 can of cream of chicken/mushroom soup
2 lbs. of small yellow potatoes
1 bag of shredded cheese
Salt and pepper
Spread a layer of soup on the bottom. Cut the potatoes into thin slices and place 3-4 potatoes, worth on top. Slice onion and add. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle a handful of cheese, seal, and place in fire. Repeat.
Cook time: 30 minutes
Tip: Potatoes often take the longest to cook, but the thinner you cut them, the quicker they soften.
MOM’S SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
3 medium-sized sweet potatoes
1 cup of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of marshmallows
4 sheets of graham crackers
Chocolate bars (optional)
Dice the sweet potatoes and toss onto the tinfoil with cubed butter and brown sugar. Wrap up and place in the fire. After you pull the food out, open and place marshmallows, graham crackers and, if desired, chocolate, onto the steaming potatoes.
Cook time: 20 minutes
Tip: Try to keep the brown sugar toward the center of the potatoes or it will quickly burn.
1 cup of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of butter
¾ cup of rolled oats
Cut the core out of the apple. Dice butter and place a few cubes inside the hole, along with brown sugar, cinnamon, and rolled oats. Wrap in tinfoil and toss in the fire.
Cook time: 15 minutes
Almost all of these recipes received thumbs up and smiles from the Wasatch crew on a staff camping trip. Enjoy!
Feature photo by Kiffer Creveling
Camping — one of the most fun, and easiest, activities in the great outdoors. While escaping civilization, sitting around the campfire is inevitably how you’ll end the day. What you want from your fire is completely dependent on how you build it. Fires need two key ingredients: oxygen and fuel. When you first construct your campfire, you will need tinder — small twigs, sticks, pine needles, sagebrush, and paper. This will go on the bottom of the fire to initially get the kindling ignited. The next layer of your campfire is kindling, or small branches and twigs as well as parts of a log that you have chopped down with a hatchet. The last layer of a fire is the fuel (or logs) which take the longest to ignite. There are three main types of campfires: tipis, lean-tos, and log-cabins. Each campfire type has its own purpose.
When it is cold out and you need immediate heat, the best fire type is the tipi. The kindling is stuck into the ground and forms a single point in a radial direction resembling a Native American tipi. Inside the tipi is the tinder which you will ignite. The kindling will catch fire after the tinder has ignited and then you add logs to the fire to keep the flames roaring.
When it is windy out, the best design is a lean-to. This differs from a tipi in the sense that a large log is placed upwind to act as a wind break. The kindling is then placed by leaning on the support log and the ground. The tinder is placed inside the wind-protected area. Again, light the tinder and the kindling will ignite shortly. Keep placing fuel on the fire by leaning the logs on the wind break.
When you need to cook dinner at your campsite, go for a log cabin. The log cabin uses a rectangular shape with logs stacked parallel to one another by laying logs across from one another. The final result will be a small log cabin. Inside the log cabin you will construct a small tipi where the tinder will ignite the kindling and then will progress outwards to light the fuel. The log cabin needs to be large enough to support cookware.
Photo by Kiffer Creveling
We were a motley bunch. Between the five of us we had one broken (and un-casted) wrist, three wetsuit-less fools, and one amateur who had never done so much as a rappel before. I knew the risk was high, and despite my most tremendous efforts, I could not shake the doubt that crept into my dazing mind. A wrong turn, a bad hold, a slipped foot — SCREECH! We stopped. Out the front window I could see the headlights illuminating “Wildcat Canyon Trailhead.” We had arrived; we were at the entrance to the Subway.
Immediately the doubt drained away only to be replenished by a surge of adrenaline and excitement. As we placed our first steps on the trail the freezing morning air bit at our bare legs, but with each step I couldn’t help but think of all the hurried research I had done the night before and the men who has first set foot on this remote route.
Crossing over the slick rock and continuing to descend toward the beginning of the canyon, I did not once think of a lack of wilderness. In fact, had it not been for our guidebook we almost certainly never would have found the canyon at all. Even with the book our directions sounded like something out of “Treasure Island“: “continue fifteen feet across the slick rock until you pass over a large, fallen Ponderosa Pine tree.” There was no shortage of “where to now” questions.
Many wrong turns later and we finally were standing at the bottom of the first descent. In front of us was a small trickle of a creek. Little did I know, I would come to fear its icy grasps. Progressing further, we came upon the only possible spot you could really go the wrong way once you enter the canyon. Putting our 90 years of combined knowledge together, we spent a careful fifteen minutes checking directions against compasses and logic. We agreed, the trail had to be left.
An hour later we returned to the junction soaked, freezing, and grumpy. We went the wrong way. If you find yourself at the bottom of the canyon facing your first T-intersection, DO NOT GO left. There is nothing but despair and aggravation hiding around that bend.
On the right track, we began to hit a rhythm. The rappels were handled with ease by all able-bodied participants, and for the hindered, we set up an ATC. The swims, however, were much worse. Without a wetsuit, the water was stingingly cold. Submerging fully meant succumbing to a cold-induced headache comparable only to drinking a liquid nitrogen milkshake.
The day before, picking up our permits at the ranger station, they warned us of this. Our permit was even highlighted and underlined in the section where it details wetsuits as “mandatory but not required.” I thought this confusing, and already surpassing my budget for the trip, opted to not invest the $30 for a rental wetsuit. Standing on the other side of the 15-foot swim, slowly regaining brain function, I very much regretted not spending the $30.
The deeper into the canyon we got, the better I felt. The water had not warmed at all, but the sun was high enough to at least provide the illusion of heat. Incredible features appeared before us.
We traversed through slots just narrow enough to brush your shoulders on, rappelled down waterfalls, swam through crystal clear potholes, and even stepped thigh deep into quicksand. It was a true adventure.
As it is, though, all good things come to an end. Taking our classic picture at the actual subway part of the Subway, we said our last goodbyes and started the rather normal, and comparably boring, hike back to the trailhead.
Approaching the car a few hours later I looked around at our group. If we were motley before, we were decrepit now. Full of sand, covered in blisters, soaked to the bone, and smelling absolutely rancid we stood there with the giddiest, most ridiculous smiles on our faces. It took no words to communicate what we all felt. That was gnarly, but we all knew we’d be back to tackle it again as soon as we got the chance.
Follow Our Lead
Trailhead: The trail starts at Wildcat Canyon Trailhead (which appears on Google Maps if typed in) and ends at Left Fork Trailhead (also map-able). If you have two cars it is a good idea to leave one down at Left Fork and shuttle up to Wildcat Canyon. They are on the same road and only about a twenty-minute drive apart.
Trail: The beginning of the trail is very confusing and requires route finding. You can purchase detailed guides in Springdale or Zion itself. It would be impossible to make it into the canyon without one of these. Once in the canyon, there is only one possible place to get lost, otherwise it is a relatively straight shot through. After exiting the canyon, it gets a little more confusing. Follow the river for a good distance until eventually cutting off to the right and scrambling almost straight over the side wall of the canyon.
Permits: Because of its popularity, only a few permits are given out each day for the Subway hike. You can either apply for a regular permit (which must be done three months in advance and costs $5 for the application) or a last minute drawing (which must be applied for a week in advance and is very, very hard to get, also $5). If you’re lucky enough to get a permit, you must go to a ranger station the day before to pick it up and pay the additional fee (anywhere from $15-$25 depending on the size of your group). (https://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/subwaypermits.htm)
Additional: If it is not the middle of summer, or if you are prone to getting cold, you need a wetsuit. The hike is far less grueling and more enjoyable with one. Making the naive mistake to tough it out was idiotic and potentially very dangerous. Do not attempt to do this hike later than August without one. In addition, a 60-foot rope is critical. You will not complete the hike without it. If you are nervous about the hand over hand rappelling, then bring a harness and ATC as well. A dry bag to keep a change of clothes in is also advisable.
Photo courtesy of Reeves Coursey
The moon has always been an object of fascination for humans and has long been explored in science, literature, and art. Whether you’re an astronomer, a romantic, or just enjoy looking at the night sky, make sure you look up tonight and tomorrow. The anticipated “super moon” will be the biggest, brightest, and closest to earth than it has been since 1948. The next time the moon comes this close to Earth will be November of 2034.
A super moon is when the moon is full as it makes its closest pass to Earth. The point at which the moon is closest to Earth is known as perigee. At perigee, the moon can be as much as 14 percent closer to Earth than when the moon is farthest from it, according to NASA. The full moon will appear larger in diameter and because it is larger, shines approximately 30 percent more moonlight onto the Earth. That’s a lot of extra moonlight. As a bonus to an already spectacular astronomical evening, if you’re lucky, you may be able to see the Geminid meteor shower dotting the night sky.
If you’re wondering when and where to catch a front row seat of the cosmos, here’s what you need to know: the moon will be at its fullest at 6:52 am MST (Mountain Standard Time). So get up early, or stay up late, to see the moon in all its glory. Here are some of the best spots to take advantage of the lunar views this Monday.
Emigration Canyon —
Emigration Canyon has many great pull-out spots along the road so you can observe the night sky. Just a few miles up the canyon and you are above the haze and light pollution from the valley. If you have a telescope, it will be a great place to set up. Remember to bring a blanket and warm clothing as it can get chilly at night in the canyon.
Big or Little Cottonwood Canyon —
Drive up the canyons and park near one of the ski resorts to really escape light glow from the city. The air is cooler and crisper, making it easier to see astronomical phenomena. Plus, the backdrop of the mountains is incredible for photos or simply viewing.
Antelope Island —
About a two-hour drive from Salt Lake City, Antelope Island State Park offers the ability to camp overnight, allowing for uninterrupted viewing time. The Ogden Astronomical Society also hosts star parties regularly. Check their website here for more information on any upcoming events.
Photo by Kiffer Creveling
Walking into your home to find the door ripped off its hinges, broken glass covering the floor, and some of your valuables missing would be tragic. For climbers, this was the feeling as they walked up to their favorite bouldering routes in Little Cottonwood Canyon last week.
On Oct. 30, Jimmy Keithley, a local climber, and his children walked up to a project they were working on to find holds smashed off of famous bouldering routes like Twisted [V4] and Lance’s Dihedral [V6]. Ten total boulders were damaged, affecting 20 boulder problems up Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Julia Geisler, executive director of Salt Lake Climber’s Alliance, said vandalism in climbing areas is a recurring problem, and it is becoming more frequent.
“This is part of a greater problem that is happening in Little Cottonwood. Vandalism in general is really high,” she said. “There’s tons of graffiti, trash, and fire rings that we’re constantly cleaning up.”
While these crimes are common, Geisler said this is the first known act of deliberately tampering with bouldering holds. These rocks were likely damaged by a crow bar or hammer.
Geisler and the SLCA do not know who damaged the climbing holds, but they say this does not reflect the normal behavior of climbers, who tend to care for the places they climb.
While changed forever, these climbs are still doable. Some have found these climbs to be even easier. Other vandalism, such as graffiti, makes damage irreversible because the graffiti ruins the friction needed to grip the rock.
That’s why the alliance rallies over 350 climbers to complete 1,000 hours of volunteer work during their Adopt a Crag events, picking up trash and cleaning graffiti off their rocks.
“This is your land. It’s here for all of us to enjoy,” Geisler said. “Make an effort to come out and clean up.” Geisler also suggests that people report vandalism whenever they see it.
This weekend, Salt Lake Climber’s Alliance will host a graffiti removal project. They will meet at the Little Cottonwood Canyon Park and Ride at 9 a.m. on Saturday. All are welcome to attend.
Bouldering Routes affected:
Standard Overhang (V3), Isabelle’s (V5), Superfly (V8), Barfly (V8), Pro Series (V11), Baldy (V5), Smiley Right (V4), Mr. Smiley (V6), Butt Trumpet (V8), Twisted (V4), Copperhead(V10), Lance’s Dihedral (V6), Hug (V8), All Thumbs (V10), and Cronin’s Slab (V2), among others.
Photo courtesy of Tommy Chandler
Corrected from: Geisler and other members of the Salt Lake Climber’s Alliance want everyone to know that this was not a climber who damaged these rocks. They are still not sure who did it, but they assume the crime was committed by an unstable individual.
The phrase “rollercoaster of emotions” doesn’t take on its full meaning until you arrive at an entirely disappointing location for your much anticipated backcountry trip. The high of bubbly excitement you felt just mere hours ago in the car is replaced by a soddy gray feeling of overwhelming apathy. Sometimes, planning a good outing seems to take more effort than the trip itself, and always looming is the possibility that you picked a cruddy spot. Well, be liberated! These few resources are sure to drastically improve the quality and location of your next adventure.
Google Maps and Google Earth
If properly utilized this tool can be so much more than just your route to the nearest Chipotle. Improved 3-D landscaping and satellite imaging allows you to virtually put yourself in the location before you go. This is a good first filter for potential spots. If the mountain is too steep or river too wide you’ll know right away. Terrain viewing fleshes out the bare bones that most maps provide. Instead of seeing a stack of contour lines squished together you’ll be able to mentally picture the steep slide into the canyon or brutal scramble up to the ridge.
The website Topozone specializes in one thing: maps. They pull from the United States Geological Survey to get free topographic maps of the entire country. Just search a location and a slew of maps will pop up for download or print. This gives you a more quantitative look at your selected adventure area as well as a physical copy to take with you.
Once you discover a potential spot, SummitPost will fill in the rest. This site specializes in the logistics of getting you from your couch to tent. They have elevations, distances, suggested routes, hazards, difficulties and every other manner of technical information that may be needed for your trip. Multiple links to different maps are also listed on each location’s page.
Wasatch Mag Online
On our website we have all our stories sorted by season. Whatever the time of year or type of adventure, we likely have a guide to get you started in the right direction. Whether you want to climb the Pfeifferhorn or find the best sledding spots in Salt Lake, we have you covered.
The ideal way to use these resources is from most general to most specific. Check out Wasatch Mag online to find a location that seems appealing, use Google Maps to verify your feelings about it, look at SummitPost to get details about routes and an overview of the difficulty, and then finish by printing maps from Topozone. All that’s left is packing your car, grabbing a friend, and heading for the mountains.
Chronicle Archive Photo
Have you ever seen that mountain that seems to sit inside the Great Salt Lake? Ever wondered what it is? Antelope Island, a sagebrush and bison-covered chunk of 42 square miles plopped in the middle of Utah’s biggest lake. Conveniently, it’s only two hours north of the U and a great place to explore different terrain on your mountain bike.
Each of the trails have varying levels of difficulty. Split Rock Loop (five miles) and White Rock Loop (6.4 miles) are both on the western end of the island near the bison corral. The popular Split Rock Loop descends very quickly towards Split Rock near the west shore. Once there, continue on the trail up the mountain to the historical horse corral. White Rook Loop is a nice warm-up that will get the blood flowing in your legs. You will definitely want to do this ride first on the island. If you continue south on the island, do the Elephant Head Spur or Split Rock Loop. On the east side of the island is the Mountain View Trail — an 11.8 mile one-way trail which goes along the edge of the shore from north to south, all the while featuring a backdrop of the Wasatch Front.
The trail to the highest point on Antelope Island, Frary Peak, does not allow cyclists due to the difficulty of the trail, but you can hike to the top if you desire. The east side of the island is still in the development process of mountain biking trails.
Because of the excess of insects, pack bug repellent and go in early spring or late fall when the insect level is decreasing.
Once you make your way to the island, bison will welcome you. William Glassman and John Dooly introduced bison to the island in the late 1800s. Today, there are nearly 700 bison that call Antelope Island home. Depending on the time you head out to ride your bike, you’ll come across these muscular, car-sized beasts grazing in the fields.
To get there, head north on I-15 and take the Antelope Island Dr. exit in Syracuse. Before crossing Farmington Bay, stop at the ranger station and pay the $10 entrance fee. Head west along the Davis County causeway, the only road accessible to the island.
The Great Salt Lake: the largest lake in the Great Basin, the namesake of Salt Lake City, and the body of water everyone ignores just northwest of town. In the summer, the lake reeks of rotting brine shrimp carcasses. In the winter it just sits there, frigid, while everyone is preoccupied with the more enticing skiing nearby. Sketchy chemical plants and refineries appear to drain into the reservoir. Plus, it’s really salty — five times saltier than the ocean.
Perfect conditions for a swim.
It seems like very few people from Utah have swum in the Salt Lake and/or have no desire to. I embarked on a personal quest for answers as to why this is the case. I approached some friends and asked if they had been in the lake before, receiving looks of confusion in return. Swimming in the lake was heresy to them; the in-staters had never even considered it. When I asked if they wanted to join me in my baptismal dip to find out what we could be missing, I was greeted with a more alarmed reaction of repulsion: “You’re going to swim in the Salt Lake?! That cesspool? Ew!” These responses only ignited my fire to give it a try. After this investigation, the only real option that remained to understand why it seems nobody swims in the Salt Lake was to jump in it myself. The only never-before-swam-in-the-Salt-Lake Utahn willing to come along was Wasatch editor Carolyn Webber. We headed out to Great Salt Lake State Park in the afternoon on a Thursday after class.
Arriving at the beach, we were initially discouraged by the sand reeking of a sulfuric scent and the refinery smokestack towering above acting as a likely suspect. But we pushed on, and the lake itself wasn’t too smelly. The only possible gross deterrents were the expected foam and a few live brine shrimp.
Finally on the shore, it was the moment of truth. We tested the water for temperature (not bad!) and went for it, sprinting in and going all the way under. The first words from Webber were, “Don’t open your eyes! It’s salty!” That about summed up the experience: salty. The novel fact that you can float without any effort because of the salt content held true. The water tasted significantly more salty than the ocean. The salt burned a scrape of mine as the online guides said it would. After getting out and drying off with a towel, a layer of salt remained behind.
However, this saltiness was secondary to the tranquillity of the lake. There were no waves and the flat lake extended for miles. This unique beauty was easier to appreciate while actually soaking in the water, altogether surprisingly close to an ocean-swimming experience.
So, swimming in the Salt Lake: pass or fail? We rate it as a pass. Just make sure you bring some lotion.
Photo by Chris Hammock
Eighteen thousand acres on the Great Salt Lake of underrated, adventure-filled territory — that’s Farmington Bay. Whether you’re bird watching, mountain biking, kayaking, or hiking, this wildlife sanctuary is a must-see. Watch baby ducks take their first flight in September or snowshoe along a frozen trail in February. Although the open water is too salty for fish, it is home to invertebrates such as brine shrimp and brine flies, which serve as a feast for migratory birds in the fall.
There are two main loops to hike — a short one and a long one. Both loops offer opportunities to view wildlife at every corner and a rarely seen view of the Wasatch mountain range. The short loop is a little over six miles along a flat dirt road that is closed off to cars. The big loop is about 10 miles through the marshlands of the bay area. Both loops are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily from the beginning of August to the end of February. The short loop is closed from the beginning of March to the end of July to allow for bird nesting. Only certain parts of the bay are open year-round, so it is important to check online to see if any changes have been made. The bay is also open to recreational use such as kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. Floating along the Salt Lake, you’ll get views you can’t get anywhere else. Plus, the vast size makes you feel as if you could paddle forever.
If you end up here during the beginning of August and September, bug spray is a must. In the winter, dress warmly because it can get windy.