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First Steps in the First Wilderness Part 8: January

Monday, January 20th, 2020: First Steps in the First Wilderness, Trips.

Above 8,000′, the snow was too deep to hike my favorite trails. And my 4wd was in the shop so I couldn’t drive muddy and/or icy roads to most of the other trailheads. After trying and failing to drive an unfamiliar backroad an hour from home, I was forced to fall back on a low-elevation trail into a popular canyon, a trail much shorter than I usually hike on a Sunday.

But it was worth it! I’d forgotten how beautiful the landscape is from this trail. The side canyons had rushing water, and the main creek was raging with snowmelt.

After reaching the canyon bottom trail, working my way up along the raging creek, and fighting my way through clouds of leafhoppers that rose from trailside shrubs in the few sunny patches, I was finally stopped when the trail ended in an impassable rockslide. None of these trails has been maintained since the 2012 wildfire.

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