Friday, April 5, 2013
THOROUGHFARE CANYON HIKE
As I mentioned in my last post, on Easter we decided to go on a family hike. My in-laws live very close to the Colorado National Monument, and my mother in law is a hiking fool, so we thought it would be fun to get out and see nature. The weather that day was absolutely gorgeous and honestly, it would have been a crime to stay inside.
At around 2:00 we headed out for the hike. The temperature that day was high sixties - which we thought would be perfect for the hike. My husband had taken a hiking class when he was attending Mesa State College and he wanted to do the Thoroughfare Canyon Hike. He thought it would be a good beginner hike (unlike the hike to the Y last year, which pretty much spoiled our desire to hike for the rest of the spring, summer and fall). He said it there wasn't a big elevation gain and that for the most part we would be walking in a dry river bed.
Sounded good to me!
The hike starts at the Devil's Kitchen trail head just inside the monument's east entrance. The entire Thoroughfare Canyon trail is 8.5 miles each way. We had decided that we would hike to the first designated point on trail, which was called the lower pool. It was about a two mile round trip hike.
As we started to hike we realized that although the ambient temperature wasn't too bad, the sun was just beating down on us and it was definitely going to be hotter than we originally anticipated. We were well prepared with water, hats, etc. but, UGH, we were all really hoping for a nice, cool, Spring hike. DESERT LIFE!!!
As we moved through the trail we stopped and checked out caves, talked about the cryptobiotic soil (which apparently isn't a calamity to step on in Colorado), sang trail songs (Ella and I made up our own trail song, singing about the heat, the hidden mountain lions, our hiking poles - you name it, we sang about it). We tried to ignore the heat and the fact that the trail was pretty rocky. In fact in some parts of the trail we were really scrambling over very rocky terrain. Nonetheless, we all loved it.
When we finally arrived at the lower pool, it was a nice little oasis and we were all ready for a break - or so I thought. The girls noticed stairs on the path that went up a pretty steep slope to get to the next section of the trail. They begged and begged to climb it. I had NO intention of climbing up all those steps. My mother-in-law, ever the trooper, volunteered to take the girls up. Away they went while Chris and I enjoyed the shade and cool breeze at the pool.
After about 30 minutes the girls and my MIL hadn't returned. Chris told me he thought they had hiked to the next waterfall...which was a whopping .8 miles from where we were over very rocky terrain. I told him I thought they were just hiking to the top of the stairs. Anyway, after another 10 minutes we decided that we were going to hike up the stairs - the ones I had NO intention of climbing - and see what was going on. That hike up the stairs turned into another 1/2 mile of hiking before we found them. I have to admit, I was miffed.
Once we were all back together we started back out of the canyon. It had cooled off quite a bit, which we were all really grateful for as we were all running low on water. It took us about an hour to hike back out (again, very rocky terrain). When we got to the parking lot at the trail head little Ella ran over and kissed the asphalt - yes, she inherited my flair for the dramatic!
All in all we had be gone for 3.5 hours!!! We all had a great time, and are definitely looking forward to more hikes over the next several months!
One thing I did want to mention - this was my second time out with my hiking poles. Chris bought them for me last year for Mother's Day. I am not super skilled at using them yet, but there were a couple of times when we were going up some pretty steep inclines that I could REALLY feel them working for me. Also, using the poles improves the calorie burn or the hike. I am really loving them and looking forward to using them more this "hiking season".
If you are have any recommendations for beginner level hikes in Utah, especially in the Salt Lake Area, please let me know!!
Tomorrow is weigh in!!! STAY TUNED!
P.S. I know that I look fairly hideous in the pics above - I mean, my hair dresser has got to be dying over how crazy my hair looks! HEY, it's the windblown, hiking look! I call it desert chic!