Butterfield Peaks (Butterfield Canyon)

Posted: 29th October 2010 by Jonathan Wood in Hiking
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MICROspikes

MICROspikes

Today, I decided to redo the same hike I did two weeks ago, but with a few twists. For starters, this time there was nearly a foot of snow on the ground in places. I also decided to take a slightly different route up the main slope, which would involve some steeper slopes. I enjoy hiking this area but won’t be able to through the Winter months. Not only will the snow be too deep, but the entire canyon will soon be closed for Winter.

Steep Slope

Steep Slope

After walking to the end of the dirt road, I found a dead deer lying in the stream. It was a little strange as it seems it may have only been dead for a few hours. Or maybe it had been dead for a couple of days but was well preserved from the colder weather. I kept expecting it to take a breath or something. I don’t know that much about deers. It’s eyes seemed cloudy as though it was an old dear, yet it’s antlers seemed very small. So I really don’t have any idea about its age. Either way, there was no obvious sign of injury.

Looking Down

Looking Down

From there, I basically headed straight East (instead of South-East as I had gone last time). Initially, this took me up a stream, which didn’t have a lot of water in it. Although there was a fair amount of snow around, you could still see brightly colored green moss on many of the rocks. It wasn’t too far before there was no visible water in the stream at all.┬áThe dry stream continued up for a while. In a few places, it was a pretty difficult climb as there were rocky areas without many places to grab onto, and they were also covered in snow. Eventually, I reached the end of this stretch of the hike and entered a “bowl” area with around 10″ of snow.

From the bowl, it became very steep up to the peak. The route I had chosen was a more direct route to the top and involved some of the steepest slopes in the area. I didn’t think snowshoes were needed; however, I did bring my MICROspikes. It was at this point I decided to put them on. That seemed to be a good call. It allowed me to get good traction going up the steeper slopes. Even with the snow, it seemed like I had better traction at times than I would have hiking in the Summer.

Nearby Peaks

Nearby Peaks

However, the slope continued to get even steeper for a while and, at one point, I felt a little precarious. I was fine when I had bushes or trees to grab onto. But on the steepest slopes, it seemed like I might not be able to stop if I started slipping down the hill. Fortunately, other than a few small slips, I continued up without problems, even if I went at a slower pace.

On the Peak

On the Peak

Eventually, the slope began to ease off as I neared the peak. I’m not sure why I enjoy these steeper sections but I do. I don’t enjoy worrying about slipping down, but I do enjoy a good workout in a relatively short amount of time.

The Trail Back Down

The Trail Back Down

It was quite windy on the peak. However, the winds were out of the South. And while it only reached about 64 degrees today, was cloudy, and I didn’t think to bring an outer shell, it really wasn’t too cold. A hint of sun pierced the clouds and it seemed like a nice place to be at the time.

To avoid trying to navigate down the slope I’d just climbed, I took the main trail down the mountain. It took me about two hours to reach the peak. I spent about three hours total on the mountain.


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