Salt Lake's Stairmaster
Okay so the subtitle is slightly misleading; every hike in the Salt Lake area starts with a butt busting uphill. This hike, however, I have deemed my 'stamina measure', a title I gave it after my first attempt one week after moving to SLC. I like to claim it was a combination of moving diet (PIZZA!) and altitude but that SOB kicked my ass. Don't believe me? 30 minutes after returning home from our jaunt up the mountain I had acute IBS and spent the next few hours curled around a toilet counting the tiles on the bathroom floor. A horrifically humbling experience.
The combination of proximity to my Sugar House abode, challenging trail, dog friendliness, and first failure all made the decision for me; this would be the hike that I do once a week to gauge my altitude acclimation and general badassarry. This post is from attempt two.
Plug Neff's Canyon into your iPhone (I know you have one) and you'll hit the trailhead. The parking lot accomodates plenty of cars and gives you a stunning view of the canyon. The first .7ish* miles are on a wide and gravely dirt road with little to no coverage. After that the trail veers to the left and offers a brief moment of flatness and shade. Don't get comfortable, this is where the real fun begins.
If you didn't bring any water you're probably getting that white paste buildup in the corners of your mouth by now. If you did I suggest saving a fair amount for yourself. 1.5 miles up there is a small creek that the dogs, if you brought them, can take a sip at. Prepare yourself for some unstable footing over the next half mile as you zig zag thru trees and up, always up, towards the falls which would be my resting place for today.
About halfway in, I'll call it 1.8 miles from the trailhead, there is a much more inviting waterfall where I collapsed onto a rock and watched the dogs happily lap up the running water. This was as far as I made it for trip #2 in Neff's Canyon, and yes I am counting it as my second because I did in fact walk this route previously and while I would love to just block out the memory of my first attempt I learned a great deal from that experience. When a hike gets the best of me I try to learn from it, and boy did I learn something from punishing myself, and my plumbing, to reach the top. Tonight I made it back with enough energy to stress eat a bag of popcorn while watching the season finale of Game of Thrones.
I love this trail for dogs because there are evenly spaced water access points for hydration and a lack of steep drop offs that make my matronly heart skip beats. This would be a great trail for shy pups who like to avoid the crowds and is only ten minutes from the densely populated Tanner Park. The total milage for today was around 3.6 miles which means the pups probably completed closer to 8. I received many thanks in the form of wagging tails and comatose slumber that evening.
*You'll see a lot of 'ish' in my writing. When I'm hiking I am doing my very best to enjoy my surroundings and trying extremely hard not to trip or pass out from fatigue so I don't keep a detailed record of mile marks, etc. I'm making a concerted effort for both of those things to become more natural to me, but for now please understand that I may be .1-1 miles off my guesstimate.
Miles: 3.6 total
Time: 43 minutes up, 30 minutes back
People Seen: 3
Dogs: Off Leash