Walking the Ridge (Butterfield Canyon)

Posted: 15th January 2011 by Jonathan Wood in Snowshoeing
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Nothing major today. Just took the dog yet again to Butterfield Canyon.

Still a fair amount of snow on the ground, although with the “balmy” weather actually rising into the mid-30s lately,  the snow was showing signs of melting. As a result, the snow was a little wetter and heavier than it has been, even though there wasn’t much sun.

While the total elevation gain today was less than 1,500 feet, the total ascent along the ridge was about1,700 feet. In addition, I ended up walking about six miles. In the Summer, that would be a somewhat mild hike. But the heavier snow gave me a good workout along some sections.

There were other sections where I was able to follow along a snowmobile track, which took a lot less energy than walking in untouched snow. We saw a number of deer. We also saw tracks from deer, coyotes, rabbits, and mice.

Near the top of the hike, I came on a small sign with some photos and text. It was apparently a memorial for a 21-year-old who apparently died in 2008 in a “work related accident”. There’s a ranch close by with many horses and I sometimes see riders along this ridge. The text said the memorial had been placed at the last place the author had rode together with the young man who had died.

We walked for about two hours before stopping for a snack on top of a hill. On the way back down, I descended down to the main canyon road. I spent around 3 hours and 15 minutes on the mountain.

I really love this area but I’m starting to miss the warmer weather.

I finally purchase a GPS system and it was delivered just hours before the hike. I was able to get it up and running and used it to track today’s hike. (In the past, I’ve been going into Google maps and manually drawing lines along the trails, which doesn’t work in heavily wooded areas.)

This is the first GPS system I’ve owned. It’s an “upper end” model and I’ll probably do a Gear Review about it in the near future. For the most part, using it is pretty straight forward. However, there’s still a few issues I ran into, mostly related to importing the data from the unit and into applications like Google maps. I’ll need to work those issues out.

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