Murray Farm Moonlight Excursion, 15 January, 2022

Seven hardy Cache Hikers gathered at the Murray Farm Trailhead for a cold excursion by moonlight (t
he 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.  

Trip Summary:
  • Seven participants:  Tina, Ophelia, Jane, Tawnya, Brent, Lynne, and Dave W. (leader)
  • Drove 12 miles to the Murray Farm Trailhead
  • Started out about 6:40, "lunch" from 8:35 to 9:35, back at the trailhead about 10:00
  • Temperatures in the low 20s, clear skies and a nearly full moon above, foggy below, with icy snow conditions
  • Traveled 2.4 miles with a total of about 500 feet of ascent.

Note:  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. 

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

At the Murray Farm Trailhead
Moon trees
Moon and trees
Meadow view
Traveling down the Narrow Canyon meadow (red headlamps help preserve night vision)
Foggy view
Looking south over the Narrow Canyon meadow as the fog moved in
Trail Moon
Heading toward the fog at the bottom of the meaow
A nearly-full moon above Murray's Hill
Enjoying snacks and a fire on the bench between Narrow Canyon and Wide Canyon
Looking west from the bench between Narrow Canyon and Wide Canyon
Mountain lion tracks in the snow (photo taken the previous day)
A foggy Cache Valley
Our GPS track shows about 2.4 miles with about 500 feet of ascent.
You can look at our route using Google Earth or download our GPS file.