For the second hike of our family camping trip to Fishlake National Forest, Bradley joined me on a trek to the summit of Mount Marvine. At 4.1 miles, this hike was a little shorter than the previous day’s hike to Mount Terrill. However, the 1,100′ elevation gain and rugged terrain made this hike at least twice as difficult. The road leading to UM Pass, where we began hiking, was much rougher than it was in 2011 when I drove a Ford Taurus up it. This time it was rough even in the F-250, and probably not passable by a passenger car. We first hiked along a logging road where it was easy-going. There were wild raspberries everywhere through this section of forest that had been logged. As we walked, we frequently snagged raspberries off the bushes and popped them into our mouths. It didn’t take long to reach the end of the logging road where the going got rough. We reached the base of the talus slope on the east side of the summit ridge and began following it south, with a lot of boulder hopping and bushwhacking.
We passed below the high point of Mount Marvine and continued south for a few hundred yards before turning west and beginning the climb to the summit ridge. The first two-thirds of the climb was relatively easy, but the upper portion was covered in loose rock that made for a slow, careful scramble. Reaching a saddle along the summit ridge, we were hit with a spectacular view off the other side. We turned north and followed along the base of some low cliffs until we rounded the northern tip of the summit ridge. We found a weakness on the northeast side of the ridge that we were able to climb to attain the summit. There we found a mailbox containing several different registers, the oldest dating to 1963 and placed by the Sierra Club. From the summit we could see Fish Lake, the Henry Mountains, Mount Terrill, and even the stand of aspen where Traci and Michael were holding down camp. I felt elated at having made it there, diminished only a little by the knowledge that we were just at the halfway point of the hike.
Bradley and I dropped off the summit ridge and reversed the circuitous route we’d taken to get there. The return hike, although mostly downhill, wasn’t any easier than the ascent had been. We still had to contend with boulders that threatened to shift and cause a twisted ankle or broken arm from trying to catch a fall. I felt a rush of relief at reaching the logging road. We stopped a few times to pick and eat more raspberries, and I filled a small plastic bag with them to bring to Traci and Michael.
Back at camp, we all decided that we were ready to head home the following day. I’d originally planned on hiking one more summit–Hilgard Mountain–but Terrill and Marvine had been enough and we were all ready to return to civilization. I had noticed some mouse droppings in my truck the day before and I figured I needed to do something about it, so that evening I built a makeshift mouse trap. It consisted of a bucket with a few inches of water in the bottom, and a bungee cord stretched across the top supporting an aluminum can covered in peanut butter. The premise is that a mouse jumps from the edge of the bucket onto the can, which rolls and drops the mouse into the water. The depth of the water prevents the mouse from reaching the bottom of the bucket and jumping out. We enjoyed s’mores again that evening–actually, just roasted marshmallows sandwiched between chewy chocolate chip cookies. On Saturday morning I checked the mouse trap and found six of the critters dead inside. My family packed up camp while I cleaned every surface inside the truck with bleach, and then we hit the road by 11:00AM. At the summit of UT-72 we stopped for lunch while a brief but heavy rain storm passed over. We watched the storm roll out over Cathedral Valley before moving again. I actually quite enjoyed cutting the trip a day short. Having a day to recover from the trip before returning to work on Monday was worth missing out on Hilgard.