Hiking Adam’s Canyon

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After a successful morning at the REI garage sale, where I scored a sweet pair of Vibram toe shoes for half price, I was set on trying them out on some real man-terrain.  Colton, Miara, and Bree wanted to go and do something interesting and preferably wet due to the heat, so we settled on Adam’s Canyon in Layton, Utah.

After feeling a little bad since we hadn’t made it the previous week to hike the canyon with my sister, we piled into my car and made our way up north on highway 89, somewhat unsure of where we were going.

We missed the turnoff the first time (rather, we were unsure of where the turn was and were pretty much just guessing at where the trailhead began), but after some degree of exploration, found the trailhead.

The beginning of the hike was completely unglamorous and, if I do say so, unpleasant.  We trudged along under a hot desert sun through thick sand as we wove our way up the steep switchbacks before entering the canyon.  There was little brush and some small scrub oak – none of which was protecting us from the very direct sun.  From the high foothills,  we couldn’t help but notice how well our little valley is organized – even spotting some lines of trees that reminded us of Tuscany bordering what few agricultural fields could be seen form our vantage point.

After following the hot, sandy trail for a short while, (with only a bit of grumbling) we dropped into the canyon.  We felt a palpable relief from the dry air as the beautiful pines took place of the scrubby oak that sprawls across south facing slopes along Wasatch Front’s hillsides.  Between the large trees and nearby river, the temperature was cool and I was once again comfortable.  I have always loved the forest, feeling more at home there than pretty much anywhere else in nature.

We wound our way up the rocky canyon, sometimes climbing over large sections of rock jutting from the hillside when we could no longer follow the trail.  It seems that we were somewhat distracted as we hiked and chatted.  We kept losing the trail time and time again as we meandered our way up the canyon.  It shouldn’t have been a difficult trail to follow!

We hadn’t even covered a full mile when we finally converged onto the river and began picking our way up the rocks past small cascades en route to the top of the canyon.  My toe shoes performed splendidly.  Having my toes free to move independently provided some serious benefits since I was able to grab rocks with my toes and my feet were able to flex to the contours of any obstacles.  I was even able to run through the river without any problems – sharp rocks and all.  These are my new choice of footware for technical hiking.

Reaching the top of the canyon, we were greeted with what ever picture of Adam’s Canyon highlights – a surprisingly large 40 foot waterfall.  The day was still blisteringly hot, so we had a good old time trying to brave the cold and convince ourselves to stand under the pummeling waterfall which all but paralyzed us with its frigid water.  The jarring cold was nothing but welcome after a hot hour of hiking.

After killing quite a bit of time at the waterfall, we decided to head back.  Bree and I had a dinner appointment with some of our friends in the neighborhood, and didn’t want to be late.

The hike back, however, proved somewhat difficult.  Distracted by the conversation once again, we quickly lost the trail and ended up wandering off onto what appeared to be a game trail.  Seriously – we have never had this issue before.  I don’t know how we could have spaced something so vital as where the trail turned.  It took a lot of time to figure out where we were and to retrace our steps.  After crossing the river several times, picking our way through thick brush dotted with wild berries, and making our way up steep, eroded embankments all in search of the trail, we finally found it.  It was by then a fairly short hike out with only one sprained ankle and we were back in the car.

Our little detour cost us precious time and we absolutely raced home to get cleaned up for dinner.  We were only 10 minutes late to our appointment!

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