This past Saturday I hiked with Chris and Dollie to the summit of Seeley Mountain in the Wasatch Plateau. Highway 31 was closed through Huntington Canyon due to the Trail Mountain Fire, so we had to drive the slightly longer route through Joe’s Valley. During the drive on Miller Flat Road, a helicopter flew overhead and we watched it dip some water out of Potter’s Ponds.
The hike started in Scad Valley with a mellow climb first through sagebrush and then aspen. The quakies, of course, led to us going off-trail a lot to look at carvings in the trees. Most of the carvings were relatively recent, but some were quite old from the early 1900s.
The trail joined up with an old, closed road. I’m not sure how long it’s been closed, but the road is shown on the 1923 USGS topo map of the area, so it’s close to or possibly older than a hundred years. The road was steep but, except for a couple of fallen trees down low, easy to hike along.
The road topped out in the head of Horse Canyon, and from there our route took us on another trail that went up the southwest ridge of Seeley Mountain. Although it wasn’t an official Forest Service trail, it was in pretty good shape. There were areas where the trail disappeared and we just hiked through trees or grassy areas, all of which were easy to navigate.
I was pretty shocked and elated when, about 100 feet shy of the summit, I spotted a nearly perfect arrowhead lying on the ground! I simply never expected to ever find any arrowheads at this elevation, but on my last two hikes (two weekends apart) I found one at 10,500′ and this one at 10,260′. From the summit of Seeley Mountain, the views were much the same as I’d seen from East Mountain a couple of weeks earlier. We could see some smoke from the Trail Mountain Fire, but it wasn’t as bad as in some photos I’d seen from earlier in the week. We spent some time at the summit enjoying the views and the 4G.
The hike back down went quickly. We stopped at a water trough that was empty and noticed the pipe coming from a nearby spring was disconnected in the middle. Chris reconnected it and the trough began to fill. We’d been considering a side trip up the East Mountain trail to find a geocache and look for an old sawmill site, but it was late enough in the day that we decided to skip it (plus there were burgers and beer waiting for us back at my house). Our round-trip hiking distance ended up at 5.6 miles with 1,600′ elevation gain/loss. Back at the trailhead there was a Tacoma parked near my Jeep. I didn’t recognize it at the time but it turned out that it was Scott‘s truck, which I realized when he posted a photo of my Jeep on his Instagram story later that evening. We drove home by taking Flat, Boulger, and Eccles canyons toward Scofield and then followed Highway 6 into Price. It had been a great day, which we followed up with a barbecue, drinks, and a movie.
I found out the next day that we inadvertently entered the fire closure area during the hike, but I don’t feel too bad about it. The closure went into effect on Friday, we hiked into the area on Saturday, and the closure was announced publicly on Sunday. In addition, there was fire information posted right at the trailhead but it was several days old and didn’t mention any closures. C’mon Forest Circus, get your act together.