Sorry I’ve taken 100 years to update this blog but it’s been a busy Fall! I’ve definitely had plenty of adventures so let’s get going!
First up is my journey with Braden and my Ollie boy up Box Elder Peak! We went sometime in the early Fall/ late summer (thinking the last week in August or so) while it was still pretty warm out.
Here’s some background info before I get into the nitty gritty:
Trail is roughly 3.5 miles there and 3.5 back
Elevation gain is 4,300 feet and there’s a bit of up and down involved. In other words… it is mostly just constant up hill until you reach the end and you feel like you’ve never climbed anything so steep.
The trail starts at the entrance to Granite Flat Campground up past Tibble Fork Reservoire in AF Canyon. You start out essentially in the trees with beautiful pines and aspen groves. AND you don’t see a soul pretty much the whole time you’re hiking, even on a SUNDAY!
Ollie LOVED chasing the birds and squirrels. He about chased one up a tree but unfortunately I was too slow to get my camera out to capture him hopping around it.
After a bit you come to a stream and just past that are some gorgeous views below. It was actually pretty hot when we started out so we enjoyed cooling off in the stream. (again I was too late to capture Ollie laying down in it)
And side note: Here’s a picture of the saddle bags I got for Ollie on long hikes. This way he can carry his own poop bags, his own water bowl, and his own water! All in all it works great especially considering how cheap it was, my only complaint was that the bags Velcro onto a harness and then there’s just one clip in the center, If Ollie wasn’t such an adventurous dog it wouldn’t be an issue… but unfortunately he was chasing everything through the brush and I was worried we’d loose it a couple of times. It is a sturdy bag otherwise and held up even with all the roughness Ollie wore on it. It’s made by outward Hound and costs like 1/4 of what a ruffwear bag costs and you can find it easily on Amazon.
After the stream you’ll come to this gorgeous overlook that is a slight left fork in the trail. We almsot completely missed it but Ollie veered off and we followed him over! Thank goodness for adventurous doggies! 🙂 You could side a bunch of peaks around you plus a valley with the cliche “river running through” Everything was sooo green! I loved it!
We took quite a few pictures here! I just couldn’t get enough! After that it as quite a bit of uphill trudging.
Finally you start feeling like you’ve climbed a bit and you can see the backside of Timp way off in the distance. I personally really love this view of Timp which you can also see from the hike to Silver Lake.
The next bit of interesting scenery is not pictured just yet (I took our pictures on the way back here) but it a big boulder field with amazing views of Timp and your destination of Box Elder peak! You follow it and start climbing up to the South Ridge which was GORGEOUS! Almost worth it just to hike up to there. In the pictures above the trail behind me actually leads to an unnamed peak to the south (or that’s what I’ve read at least) and is supposed to be a really pleasant hike from the south ridge.. think I’ll try that next lol. And the picture just above is our destination in the background! Ollie found sooo many wild turkeys up here on this ridge and had an absolute blast chasing them and running through the wild flowers! Heads up if your dog tends to take off chasing things… prob not the hike you want to take them on unless you want to leash them. We didn’t see too many deer or moose but I have no doubt they were there!
You follow the south ridge south for a bit and then dip down before starting the final ascent. (which really blows when you look up and see how far you have to go up) And then you start… the climb. Since I was literally pulling myself up using branches at places and otherwise dying on the way up… You’ll have to excuse me and accept my pictures in the order I took them… on the way down.
Finally we made it! It SUCKED. that last little bit… seriously worst and hardest hike I think I’ve ever done but my Ollie boy was a champ and did an amazing job! While I did expect this hike to be challenging (which is why I left my Monty boy at home) it was MUCH MUCH more harder than I expected. Be warned when the other guides advice the use of hiking poles… I seriously suggest them as well! The hike to the peak and back down it would’ve been made a ton easier had we brought some.
The view was awesome! (even though I’ll be honest the view down into the valley was not so great… there was so much smoke and smog in the air you couldn’t really see down that side) which is why I have no pictures. but the view down into the nature side was awesome!
Also be warned there’s about 3ish false summits before you actually reach the peak.. It really does suck that bad.
We started this hike around 2 in the afternoon. MUCHHH too late. As soon as we got up we were turning around to go down since we knew the night would catch up and we wanted to at least be past the boulder field by the time it was dark.
In the picture below you can check out the moon! It took us about 8 hours round trip (which I thought it would only take 6 hours since I can do Timp in 8 and that’s way longer) so we ended up hiking for over an hour in the pitch black! That… also sucked. Seriously felt like getting back was never going to end.
In the picture above you can see just how steep this trail was…. Can you see the trail? Of course you can’t! It’s basically non existent as you follow faded foot prints and ridges trying to summit.
To the left and below are roughly the same area and closer to the beginning of summiting. Once you get above that tree line you’re maybe .25 to 1/3 of the way up the final ascent.
And finally the last pictures we go in the beautiful twilight hour! In the picture directly above you see Timp again way off in the distance and Box Elder peak. And ya you climb up and then down and then climb up that ridge you can see on the right.
Easily the most challenging hike I’ve done so far but I’m sure I’ll do it again and next time bring poles! Seriously… we were scooting our way
down some of those trails 😛 Plus I still have remnants of a blood blister under my big toe nail thanks to the steep decline. Hikers be warned: THIS IS A STRENUOUS HIKE!