Hiking Stewart Falls

Ethan’s brother in law, Scott, stayed with us few days last weekend while he attended a conference at UVU. So while he was here, we figured we’d do something adventurous.

We decided to hike Stewart Falls. I’ve hiked it before, and it’s a pretty easy hike with a fantastic payoff: there’s a gorgeous waterfall at the top of the hike. We figured it wouldn’t take too much time or energy, so we put on shorts and T-shirts and headed up the mountain.

When we parked the car at the base of the trail, we realized that the elevation was a little higher than we thought. The mountain was fairly covered in snow. After a false start through crusty snow, however, we found a trail that some people had traveled earlier that day, and we decided to give it a try. It wasn’t too difficult: although it was snowy, it was pleasantly warm, and we were all glad to be wearing shorts. And the snow was hard enough to walk on top of.

The problems began when one of us suddenly broke through that hard crust on top of the snow. Scott fell a few inches into the snow. We all laughed. Then I suddenly sunk in to my shin and had to pull myself out. We all laughed. We kept walking, and suddenly Ethan sunk in nearly to his waist. We took pictures (and then helped him out).

Halfway up the mountain, we reached a hard-packed opening of dirty snow. There were no trees – or at least, no trees standing. There had been an avalanche over the winter, and the “opening” in the trees was simply an area where all the trees were horizontal, ripped out by the roots or broken, lying among the debris. It was awesome. And while we rested, some other hikers found the trail again for us. Thank you, random strangers.

The waterfall was about another forty minutes up the mountain, and it was beautiful. It cut a hole right through the snow, and at times the creek was running under a snow tunnel. Ethan refilled his water bottle from the mountain spring, and felt incredibly manly drinking mountain water. (I tasted it. It was good, but it kind of tasted like rocks. Go figure.)

Going down the mountain never takes as long as climbing. For one thing, it’s downhill. For another thing, you know where you’re going. And you go especially fast when the only girl in your party really has to pee and refuses to take this opportunity to learn to go in the woods. (Maybe I’m just a wuss, but I really don’t like the idea. Especially in the snow.) It took us two or three hours to get up the mountain, and about forty minutes to come down. I’d say we shaved off some time.

And some skin, as well. Have you ever fallen through hard, crusted snow? We all had some good scratches by the time we got back. ♦

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