Murray Farm Moonlight Excursion, 4 March, 2023

The forecast of snow and wind meant there was little chance that we would see the moon, so the seven Cache Hikers who met at our usual spot considered our options.  The snow had started in earnest by then, but everyone still wanted to go on the night excursion.  From Logan, we drove 12 miles over unplowed roads to the unplowed Murray Farm Trailhead west of Wellsville. 

Everyone headed out on snowshoes (Dave also had skis, but he donned snowshoes to join the others).  We followed the route of the summer path, heading west through trees at the south side of the Narrow Canyon meadow as we listened to the hooting call of a Great Horned Owl. The route had been previously packed down by others, but the new snowfall meant we had to "break trail" again.  We also had to duck under a number of bent-over trees, some of which dumped loads of snow on our heads.  After 0.8 mile we turned east, through the open meadow.  There were no trees to dodge here, but so much snow had fallen that the packed track was harder to follow.  At the end of the meadow we briefly considered ascending the "bench" to the north, as we had done in previous years, but decided it would be pointless to climb to a viewpoint when there would be nothing to view!

As expected, the moon was not visible, but enough light filtered through the clouds that we could navigate through the open meadow without using our lights, if desired. Several of us used red lights to provide illumination while preserving our night vision, making a memorable scene as the line of snowshoers moved through the meadow.

Back at the trailhead, our vehicles were covered with at least 3 inches of new snow, which means snow had been falling at the rate of two inches per hour.  We enjoyed Dave's "moon cookies" before leaving the trailhead, then drove carefully back to Logan over unplowed roads.  

Trip Summary:
  • Seven participants:  Dave W (leader), Jane, Ralph, Ophelia, Eva, Bree and Claire
  • Drove 12 miles to the Murray Farm Trailhead
  • Started 6:55 p.m., back to the trailhead 8:25 p.m.
  • Heavy snow with a light breeze
  • Traveled 1.6 miles with 300 feet of ascent/descent

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

At the trailhead, illuminated only by filtered moonlight

Heavy snowfall obscures the image when using the camera's "flash" mode (above and below)

A snowy scene
Even a coarse weed like teasel can be attractive when shrouded with snow

Traveling west down the meadow - notice the falling snow illuminated by the snowshoer's headlamp
Snowshoers heading down the meadow and toward the camera
Our GPS track shows about 1.6 miles and 300 feet of ascent and descent.
You can look at our route using Google Earth or download our GPS file.