Neff’s Canyon (Mill Creek Canyon)

Posted: 22nd January 2011 by Jonathan Wood in Snowshoeing
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Although a small storm moved through the valley last night, I was encouraged to see sunshine when I got up this morning. It’s been a while since it was sunny during my weekly hike.

Optimistically, I grabbed my MICROspikes and headed to Neff’s Canyon. Hoping for packed trails, I left my snowshoes at home!

Well, it turns out there wasn’t much sunshine. As soon as I started heading towards the Wasatch mountains, I could see dark clouds looming above them. And, in fact, it started snowing during my hike and kept snowing until I was almost back at the car.

As far as the trail being packed, it was for the most part. The MICROspikes do great on packed snow and ice, even with an inch or so of powder on top, and that’s what the conditions were for most of the hike.

However, as I neared the meadow, the amount of powder kept increasing. The last stretch gets pretty steep and the MICROspikes don’t provide much traction when there’s nothing solid to grab onto. Because of that, and also because the hikes is fairly steep, I got a great workout today.

At the meadow, I walked to the Salt Lake overlook in about a foot and a half of powder–there were no signs of previous tracks anywhere around there. By this time, the snow was really coming down and it was hard to see anything. A breeze was coming over the overlook and it got quite cold so I moved back down into the meadow to have a snack.

As I started down, the snow began to ease off and I could even see some areas of blue sky over the valley.

This is the second hike using my Oregon 450 GPS unit to log my hike (see map). However, while the batteries showed full strength when I started out, about 3/4 of the way up, it was down to one bar. I played with the unit a little and discovered I can use considerably less power if I let the screen shut off as I hike.

After making the change, I was surprised to see it continued to log my hike all the way to the top and almost all the way back down. The missing part of the hike was not a problem and I’ll be sure and keep the screen off on my next hike.

The total hike was just over five miles with about a 2,325-foot gain in altitude. I spent around 2 hours and 45 minutes on the mountain. Neff’s Canyon is always a good workout, but without snowshoes in the powder near the meadow, I definitely worked up a sweat.

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