I haven’t really done much hiking this summer or fall. For some reason the motivation just hasn’t been there. And, between all my work travel and starting school again, it will probably get worse. But, I’m doing my best to get in a hike each week, and I am now finally catching up on posting pictures and reports.
What better way to incent yourself to burn a few hundred calories with a hike than the promise of beer at the end of it. Pairing a moderate hike with an afternoon at the Snowbird Oktoberfest was the perfect approach. So, Col, MPK, his friend Grant and I all headed up Little Cottonwood Canyon to hike to Hidden Peak and celebrate with tasty beer.
I chose the Peruvian Gulch hike, as on paper it seemed like a nice, mellow trek to get me back into the swing of things. It was actually more intense than I thought it would be…a bit steep in parts, but always on well marked and well worn trail. Well, except for the part where we turned off into a meadow and ended up out of bounds in the restoration area. Shhhhh.
We started up the trail at a brisk pace, enjoying the afternoon sunshine and warm temps and taking in the start of the fall color season. As the trail got steeper, I got slower, which is usually the case. Huffing and puffing, I made sure to take a lot of photo breaks as an excuse to catch my breath. All the while we could hear MPK’s internal “OFF TASK” monologue. Someday he’ll learn it’s never fast to hike with me.
The colors were just starting to turn. The contrast against the still green trees, meadows and all the wildflowers was really stunning. As I’ll post in a later entry, the colors just got more intense over the next couple weeks.
The plan was to take the Peruvian Gulch trail all the way up to Hidden Peak, then ride the Snowbird Aerial Tram down to enjoy the Oktoberfest hoopla. Nearing the top, we decided to walk through the tunnel connecting Peruvian Gulch to Mineral Basin, as I’d never had the chance to check it out. The tunnel was open and lit and very cold inside. It’s crazy to think it’s carved through the mountain. During ski season a moving sidewalk of sorts is available to shuttle skiers between the two sides. From the Mineral Basin side, we headed up the back of the mountain to the tram station at Hidden Peak.
I’m not a fan of heights. I’m even less a fan of riding in containers hanging from cables thousands of feet above sheer drop offs and valleys. I’d ridden the tram once before, and knew I didn’t like it. But, with the promise of beer and good food at the bottom, I got on board and closed my eyes for the entire ride down.
We spent the next couple hours drinking beer, enjoying good food and laughing at the fun music. In a haze, I also hit an ATM that only dispenses $50 bills and went on a shopping spree at the Kuhl truck. So much for restraint. We headed back to the cars just as the skies opened and the rain started falling. As we were leaving, a double rainbow appeared above the canyon, celebrating MPK’s people and their entry into the Salt Lake Valley. It was moving.
Here is the photoset for this hike: Hidden Peak hike – October 2011
Directions – Park in Area 4 of the Snowbird Resort. Cross the service road bridge and take the dirt service road heading west toward the Aerial Tram station. The Peruvian Gulch Trail starts from the road and its start is well marked.