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Beirdneau Peak, 4 August, 2019

Ten rugged hikers took on the strenuous Beirdneau loop: Dan, Susan, Teresa, Maggie, Denis, Tawnya, Taylor, Dave W, Deanna, and Dave P (leader). After dropping a car at the Preston Valley TH, we continued up the rough Green Canyon road to the Green Canyon TH. We started hiking at about 9 and had a shady and cool stroll through the canyon-bottom forest. We were greeted at the wilderness boundary by a small snake that apparently lives at the base of the sign. At that point the trail leaves the forest and goes up through sunny brush, which made for a hot climb to the “upper spring” where we used the cold water to cool off. The climbing continued, but with patches of shady forest and a bit of a breeze. The old sign marking the short-cut to the Beirdneau ridge was still visible and this route had been used by horses recently, making it easier to follow. We had a shady lunch in the saddle and Dave W used rocks to set up another old trail sign that had fallen.

During lunch we began to realize that we were only about 1/3 the way around the loop and we were facing a long afternoon. The last time we hiked this loop in 2016 we arrived back at Smiths at 6:45. This was much later than advertised this time (5:00 due to a planning oversight). Fortunately no one had critical appointments and we did have cell coverage to communicate the situation. We tried to speed up the hike a little, but given the hot humid conditions, the up-and-down along the ridge, the faint trail that we lost for a while, and the beautiful views and wildflowers, we finally got to Beirdneau Peak about 3:30. At that point some hikers were pretty exhausted and we still had about 4 miles to go. We hurried down, which is too bad in a way because there were still plenty of interesting natural features like grouse, butterflies, and a stone arch to appreciate. We finally got back to Smiths at about 8:00—definitely a long, strenuous hike.

Trip Summary:

  • Participants:  Dan, Susan, Teresa, Maggie, Denis, Tawnya, Taylor, Dave W, Deanna, and Dave P (leader)
  • Drove 6.5 miles to the Preston Valley Trailhead in Green Canyon, then another 2 miles to the Green Canyon Trailhead
  • Started hiking about 9:00, lunch on the Beirdneau Ridge about 12:30, Beirdneau Peak about 3:30. The last hikers arrived at Preston Valley Trailhead about 7:40 and Logan at 8:00.
  • Hot and humid, with clear skies and an occasional light breeze
  • 11.5 miles with 3500 feet of ascent and 4000 feet of descent

Thanks to Dave P. for the narrative and photos, Tawnya and Susan for photos and Dave W. for photos and GPS data..

Ready to start hiking at the Green Canyon Trailhead
The Wilderness boundary, with a snake at the bottom of the sign
Hiking in upper Green Canyon The old sign on the Beirdneau ridge had fallen down
Lunch on the Beirdneau ridge
Looking down Wood Camp Hollow from the ridge
Finding the route
On Beirdneau Peak
A plaque honoring Nehemia Wood Beirdneau at the peak Hiking on the ridge
Indian Paintbrush on Beirdneau Peak Milkweed and butterfly
Wild hollyhock (AKA "maple mallow") Yarrow
Fleabane daisy Showy goldeneye
Sego lily with insect pollinators Mountain beebalm (AKA "coyote mint")
Buckwheat on Beirdneau Peak Phacelia on the ridge
Aster Owlsclover on Beirdneau Peak
Larkspur Horsemint
Nuttall's sheepmoth on the ridge Nuttall's sheepmoth, mating
An arch near Beirdneau Peak
Our GPS track shows about 11.5 miles with 3500 feet of ascent and 4000 feet of descent

You can look at our route using Google Earth or download our GPS file.