The need to get outChristmas and New Year's had slid by. So had all the bowl games and I was really feeling the itch to get outdoors and do a hike of some kind. Its true that I have skiis and snowshoes sitting in the garage and enjoy both sports but what I wanted was a good old fashioned hike of some sort. I had been eyeing some peaks in the western desert and set my eyes on Grassy Mtn since MikerHiker had recently done that one and had posted some attractive pics on flicker about his visit on January 8th. Hmmmm, that was looking like the one to do but would Mike be willing to repeat it so soon? It wouldn't hurt to ask so I put out the question to Mike and he was more than willing to go out there again and Kadee wanted to join the fun as well which made for a threesome, the same threesome that had done Stansbury Island's highpoint back in late November. Why Grassy you might ask? Well, Grassy Mountain is one of Utah's top 100 prominence peaks and that made it very attractive to me plus it wouldn't have so much snow on it that we'd need snowshoes. It ranked #88 on that list and since one of my goals since moving to Utah was to visit the top of as many as I could, it would do double duty for not only being a nice winter hike but would check one of the top 100 off that list that I was pursuing.
I met Mike and Kadee at the Lakeview exit just off of I-80 and we caravaned from there. Of course, it was a cold day, below 32 all day long as it turned out and about 16 degrees at the time we met at the exit. The key thing was that there was no wind but that created another problem that we faced as soon as we got off of I-80, fog. The fog just kept getting worse as we headed north towards where we'd turn off for Grassy but the going was made easy for me since Mike knew the way and I just followed his tail lights most of the way. It was great when we gained enough elevation to pop out of the fog and that is always such a great feeling to have vision, clear clear vision. Once we were out of the fog, Grassy Mountain was right in front of us and I continued to follow Mike as he made his way to where we'd park and
start the hike from.
We started from just off the road on the northeast side of the mountain and could see our route all the way up. Mike had just been out here ten days before and he commented that some of the snow that had been present when he was here prior had melted away. Since this is a desert peak, not a lot of snow really falls to begin with but when it does, it really dresses the mountains up and beautifies them (my opinion of course). No matter, we were going to get into the snow about half way up our intended route anyway but it was never deep enough to require snowshoes.
We proceeded to head up the ridge that was in front of us and it then hooked into another ridgeline further up the mountain and while it got steep in a couple places, it never got much beyond a class one effort. From where we parked to the summit, it was right around 3 miles round trip and our elevation gain was close to 1400 feet. It was fun to do this hike with Mike and Kadee and on the summit we enjoyed seeing Mike's signature in the register just ten days previous. You really have to love these desert peaks to do them again so close together and you can bet that Mike does. He has been all over these mountains and knows them very very well so it was nice to have a "guide" along on this one.
On top of the summit, there is a fairly large cairn and the remnants of a
triangulation survey station. The views we had were interesting, particularly to the east as the fog covered everything but the mountain ranges that stuck up above it. Mike and I looked over toward Desert Peak in the Newfoundland range and made a commitment that we'd try and get that one as soon as we could in 2009. We did fulfill that wish at a later date.
Our descent was uneventful and I found a glove that I had lost on the way up so that was a good thing. I always seem to lose a glove when I carry them, and it is always the one for the right hand so I have several sets of left handed gloves in my collection. Of course the glove I found was the one for my right hand so that continued the tradition I guess.
Utah is a very diverse state and while most of the residents and visitors spend their time in the Wasatch or Uinta ranges, there are a lot of interesting peaks awaiting in the west Utah desert areas. I for one am one of those people who can't get enough of Utah and the desert peaks interest me as much as the more alpine ones do.