Murray Farm Moonlight Excursion, 15 January, 2022
Seven hardy Cache Hikers gathered at the Murray Farm Trailhead for a cold excursion by moonlight (the moon was high and bright overhead although it would not be "full" for another three days). Ophelia, Tina, Dave W. and Jane drove from Logan while Tawnya, Brent and Lynne arrived at the trailhead from the Brigham City area. Fortunately, the fog that filled most of Cache Valley began to thin as we was neared the trailhead. Snow conditions were so icy that most any footwear would work - Dave used cross-country skis, Tanya used trail crampons, and the others used snowshoes.
We headed up through the trees along the south side of Narrow Canyon and returned down through the meadow before climbing up to the bench between Narrow Canyon and Wide Canyon (the map below shows our route). Along the way we stopped a few times to adjust equipment and to admire the moonlit scene around us. The fog seemed to follow us as we traveled up canyon but fortunately it receded by the time we returned through the meadow. With the bright moonlight and snowy terrain we were able to see with headlamps dimmed or switched to "red" or "off".
It was a steep climb up to the bench between Narrow Canyon and Wide Canyon (actually, an "embankment" created by Lake Bonneville). About 9:30 we reached the destination that was prepared for us, a snow bench for sitting around a fire while snacking on Dave's Moon Pies and Brent's Hill Billy Hand Pies. We could see the moon and stars overhead, we could see across the valley to the mountains of the Bear River Range, but we could not see Cache Valley below us as it was hidden under a veil of fog. (We also could see the remnants of day-old mountain lion tracks in the snow behind us). After about an hour we decided it was time to head back. The fire was doused with snow and water and the remnants were bagged and packed out. We carefully descended the icy trail to the trailhead, then drove home in the fog.
Recent weather conditions impacted this trip.
Two weeks prior there was a good snowfall and cold
temperatures. Since then, temperatures rose to
above freezing and it rained, then temperatures
dropped and an inversion set in, causing the snow to
freeze and air pollution to increase. The day
before our event the air cleared (otherwise we would
not have made a fire), but cold temperatures and icy
snow persisted and the valley filled with fog.
to Dave W. for the narrative and GPS data and Dave W.
and Tawnya and Ophelia for photos.