Monday, July 28, 2008

NewComers Article

The Herald Jounral sent a reporter to the 1 year anniversary meet and greet for Logan NewComers. Here's the article.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Out of the Wilderness

There's an article in The Economist about the decline in visitors to US National Parks. They give several reasons including competition from cities for tourism and conservationists attempts to reduce impacts on local ecology. The point of the article seems to be that if conservationist manage to thwart all efforts to upgrade park infrastructure (e.g. nicer hotel accomodations and new campsites), Americans will stop going and eventually stop supporting the parks through taxes.

I'm not sure where the right balance lies between protecting the parks and providing access and amenities that make them more enjoyable for more people. I recently noticed for the first time on a hike up Card Canyon that fire roads provide pretty good access for ATVs and 4WD vehicles in the Cache National Forest. One the one hand, it kind of takes away from the hike when you're left in the dust of a dirt bike and realize you aren't as remote as you thought you were. On the other hand, I realized that if my dad made it out in June/July, I would be able to take him into meadows of wildflowers.

BTW, the Card Canyon Hike was on in late June. The Mountain Bluebells were at their peak. On the east side of the loop, we walked through waist high stands of them. The east side trail was also a bit overgrown, but still easy to follow. At the pond (misquito pool), just make sure to walk left toward a dead tree that currently has a pink marker flag.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Richards Hollow

I went on a hike at Richard Hollow with Cache Hikers yesterday. It's a 5.5 mi hike listed as moderate. I can see doing it as a mountain bike ride. There are some sections near the beginning that look pretty tough, but most of the trail looks pretty approachable. We did run into several people on motor bikes.

Richard's Hollow starts out from Left Hand Fork in Black Smith Fork Canyon. It goes through a fairly deep canyon before coming out into meadows. There's a nice waterfall near the beginning. You canget to the bottom of it by taking a short steep side trail.

We didn't make it to the top of the trail. We decided to stop for lunch and turn around near a series of Beaver pools. It was very serene. I had no idea that Beavers could have such an impact. There were a series of pools one after another that were quite large.

There were lots of wildflowers blooming. I had bought a field guide for the purpose of identifying them. I hoped that there would be a single comprehensive field guide that would have most of the flowers I was looking for. But I don't think there is such a book. Luckily, the Cache Hikers I was with yesterday were a great resource. They made the hike an enjoyable educational field trip.

I thought the most exciting wildflower find was the Sego Lily, near the trailhead, but we didn't see notice it until we were on our return. There were several on a sunny east facing slope.

List of wildflowers we saw (I didn't take the pictures in the links)

  • aster - purple daisy-like
  • monkey flower - yellow
  • mountain bluebells - these are the ones that are waist
  • flax
  • sticky geranium - pink, five radically symmetrical petals, maple like leaves
  • wild white geranium - look just like the sticky geranium, except white.
  • white columbine
  • indian paint brush - bright red at top of plant, very distinctive
  • scarlet gilia - red tubular flowers on an elongated stem
  • horsemint -
  • yarrow - clustes of tiny white flowers with fern like leaves
  • woodland star - white, dsitinctive shaped petal, I thought it looked like a snowflake
  • wild sweet pea -
  • cow parsnip - clusters of tiny white flowers look similar to yarrow, but the leaves are very different
  • larkspur - purple, also called delphinium
  • western salsify - I had been assuming that the giant dandilion puffs around here were from giant dandiloins, but they're from salsify

Friday, July 11, 2008

Black Pearl Fortune

There's a new chinese restaurant in town. This is pretty exciting because general consensus has been that Logan has no good chinese. I'm not quite ready to give the Black Pearl a full thumbs up. I thought the egg drop soup was a little weird, but the sesame chicken was decent (deep fried anything should be easy to nail though). I could just be skeptical of all local chinese now. They definitely were quick in putting my order together. I called them when I was on 200 N and main and they had my order ready to go by the time I got there (2095 N Main).

The best part was the genuine fortune cookie. How long has it been since you got a fortune cookie that actually risked making a claim about the future? Mine did. It read: "You deserve respect and you'll have it one day." That's good stuff.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hiking in Cache Valley: Resources

Cache Valley Hikers: A local group that meets from spring through fall to do various hikes, mostly in Logan Canyon and on the weekends. They post their upcoming events on the Logan Library Events Calendar.

NewComers: Has a hiking interest group.

Trail Guides
There is no comprehensive resource for hikes or trails in the area. Cache Trails by Jim Sinclair is the closest. It is not avialable for sale online, but is in local outdoor stores. I have the 2004 edition (rev 2006). I haven't seen any newer versions. A 1994 edition is posted online. It lists Jim Wood as the author, but has a similar structure and the same publisher. There are notable differences between the two, so it's worth looking at both. The online version focuses more on the trails and provides notes on how to put them together. The book focuses more on recommended hikes and frequently joins several trails together, sometimes piecing them together with fire roads.
The Logan Ranger Station is working on a list of local hikes, but it doesn't include much descriptive information. It does give information about what type of access is allowed (horses, bikes, ATVs, etc) and the seasons that the trail is open. The visitor's bureau lists some city hikes that aren't elsewhere.

In DC/Arlington, there were only a couple of "hiking" trails within half an hour of the city. So I'm used to driving over an hour for a good hike. Most of the hiking information above is geared toward hikes right in the Logan area. If someone was looking to explore futher there are trails available off Hwy 36 between Preston and Montpelier, ID. This area has Cache National Forest signs, but there US Forest Service map online shows the boundary at the UT/ID border. Cache Trails shows some trails into the Idaho border including Danish Pass and Sink Hollow. In any case, the proximity of the Logan Canyon hikes makes it tempting to stay local.