Steam Mill, 1 October, 2023
Eight Cache Hikers met at the usual Smith’s Marketplace rendezvous at 8 am. It had rained the night before, was sprinkling a bit in the morning, and had further rain forecast, so everyone came suitably attired. We carpooled in two vehicles to the Franklin Basin turnoff and up the bumpy road to park just south of the horse camp. To miss the log stream crossing, Dave W. led us a bit further east to walk over a buried culvert and rejoin the main trail.
The trail up was wet but fine. The temperature was cool and pleasant for a little uphill work. We added layers against the cool breeze as we got into the open beside Steam Mill creek. We successfully negotiated the remaining three stream crossings. Noon lunch was at the boiler remains. We sat on a comfortable log under sheltering conifers, which was the perfect spot to gear up as the weather closed in with hail and rain. We decided to skip the lake and head back down the trail. The downhill route was muddier but fine. We took the north arm of the lower loop to emerge near the horse camp and crossed the stream at the usual spot. It rained long enough on the way back to test gear and compare choices, but ended in blue skies and sunshine.
The aspens have donned their brilliant colors -- mainly yellow but some stretches of red and orange. Only a few hardy flowers remain, including one fleabane, one yellow goldeneye, and one checkermallow. We encountered only one horse rider, a trail runner, and a USU zoology student group heading to the lake to find salamanders. Back at the vehicles, another horse rider updated us on their fall cattle roundup.
to Teresa for the narrative and photos, Brent, Jane
and Ralph for photos, and Dave W. for photos and GPS