Murray Farm Moonlight Ski/Snowshoe, 27 February, 2021

Twelve people met on this cold winter night to enjoy a moonlit tour.  Eight met at our usual Smith's location and four more joined us at the trailhead (the new trailhead with plenty of parking and open restrooms were appreciated). 

The moon appeared over the Bear River Range as we approached the Murray Farm trailhead. At first It was partially obscured by low clouds in the east, but before long the bright, full moon was fully visible.  The group started out about 7:50 after donning skis and snowshoes.  Several participants were a bit short on equipment (a night trip like this was obviously a new experience for them), but Dave and Jane were able to share headlamps, batteries, warm gloves and a warm hat, extra items we
brought for just such a situation.

The night travelers followed a clockwise path around the large meadow at the bottom of Narrow Canyon.  The moonlight was so bright on the snow that we dimmed our headlamps, switched them to night-vision-preserving red mode (you can see the red glow in the photographs) or turned the lights completely off, as desired.  After 3/4 mile breaking trail through maple trees along the south side of the meadow with the moon at our back, we turned around and headed down through the open meadow.  Here we enjoyed a great view of the full moon, now in front of us.  We also were able to identify some of the brighter constellations and stars, like Orion, Ursa Major, Cassiopeia and Polaris. 

Upon reaching the east end of the meadow, two snowshoers decided to go back to the trailhead and their vehicle, while the rest climbed up the trail to the northwest to the top of a gravel embankment, a geologic feature created by currents in old Lake Bonneville.  Continuing on to the north end of the embankment, we arrived at a spot previously prepared by Dave and Jane.  There was a semi-circular snow bench for sitting and a snow pedestal to support a fire.  Dave dug up wood and a fire pan he had cached in the snow and soon had a nice blaze going.  Lynne shared cookie and pretzel treats and Dave passed around "moon and star cookies" to celebrate the event. A snowshoer warmed her cold feet by the fire, and Jane helped out by lending an extra pair of socks. 

After about an hour, Dave allowed the fire to die down and people started back toward the trailhead.  Brent stayed to help as Dave soaked the embers and bagged everything for the return trip.  Everyone had returned to the trailhead by 10:45, although several stayed to chat despite the 13
ยบF temperature!

Trip Summary:
  • Participants:  Dave W. (leader), Maggie and Rachel on skis, Brent, Lynne, Jane, Yushan, Ophelia, Kaylee, Jamie, Megan and Doug on snowshoes
  • Drove 12 miles to the Murray Farm Trailhead west of Wellsville on 800 South
  • Started on the trail about 7:50, enjoyed the fire from 9:20 - 10:20, back at the trailhead by 10:45
  • Clear skies with a full moon, a gentle breeze, and temperatures in the teens
  • Traveled about 2.4 miles with 450 feet of ascent

Thanks to Dave W. for the narrative, photos and GPS data, and Jane and Ophelia for photos.

Looking east from the Trailhead as the full moon appeared over the Bear River Range
Meadow view
A moonlit meadow at the base of Narrow Canyon
Ascending from Narrow Canyon toward Wide Canyon
Dave and Jane had prepared a place to sit and enjoy a fire while looking over Cache Valley
Warming up cold toes
Looking over over Cache Valley before starting back down
Heading back down
Our GPS track shows about 2.4 miles and 470 feet of ascent and descent.
You can look at our route using Google Earth or download our GPS file.