Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bowman to Porter Fork

I had to get the dogs out yesterday. I've been working more, and feeling like I needed to get out, and the dogs have been very patient with me. So we headed up Bowman Fork in Millcreek Canyon, with the intent of either going across to Alexander Basin and down the road, or around the south face of Raymond and down Porter fork.

But the snows were looking deep on the north face of Alexander cut-off trail, so I decided to bag that route. I've had bad luck in the past trying to get across the snow fields on the north ridge of Gobbler's. So we pressed on to Butler Pass, on the east ridge of Mt. Raymond.

It is, indeed my favorite peak. It stands so majestic over Big Cottonwood and Millcreek. Equally visible from both canyons, and like a sentry on the west ridge of the Crest. Different from all sides, like the different moods you can go through on a long day on the trail.

So I got to Butler Pass and was looking across Mill A Basin, and it looked like there was still a lot of snow up there. The pitch can be very intimidating at times, I'm sure it's at least 30 degrees in places, but I said, "Aw, screw it..." and we kept going across the basin, around the south side of Raymond, with beautiful views of the Stairs Gulch and the Salt Lake Twins...

Hit the snow field at the top of Porter Fork, and thought, "Hmmm... this might be a little challenging." Would have been nice to have an ice axe and something more than trail running shoes on my feet at that point; but to carry those things for only 10% of the total trail being covered in snow seemed a little silly. Then Franklin took a slide. He had turned around on the snowfield to check on me and slipped. Spun off a rock and started to slide into a log with branches sticking out. Scared the crap out of me. I sent the dogs on ahead of me and encouraged them to keep moving. I was alright. Just cold hands and ankles.

Wow, it's a long way down Porter Fork, is all I could think to myself. Moseyed down the trail for another hour, hit Yellow Jacket Gulch, the short-cut through the woods that links the bottom of Porter and Bowman, and back to the car. Beautiful 4 hour tour.

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