Tony Grove to Bunchgrass hike,  October 13, 2012 

Eight hikers came on this traditional end-of-season hike; Dave W. (the leader), Jane, Dave P., Jim, Anne, Ryan, Denis and Gordon.  We usually enjoy bright fall colors on this hike
, but this year most of the fall leaves had already dropped and our hunter orange attire was the most colorful feature of the day. 

It took more than an hour to set up the car shuttle, drive to Tony Grove and don our orange clothing, so we did not start hiking until about 9:15.  Low clouds and a light mist accompanied the 2-hour hike to our lunch spot at White Pine Lake (we were pleased to see that several damaged trail signs here had recently been repaired).There were lots of people along this section of the trail - about 24 men and boys straggled out in several groups after camping overnight at White Pine Lake, a group of 10 lightly-equipped USU students hurried past us, and four horsemen arrived at White Pine Lake to round up stray cattle.

The rain became more intense and trail mud stuck to the bottom of our boots as we hiked down White Pine Creek.  Here, we saw fresh marks across the trail where beavers had been dragging trees across the sagebrush meadow and down to the water.  The light, misty rain returned for the final two miles down Bunchgrass creek (we enjoyed more fall color in this lower-elevation portion).   After arriving at the Bunchgrass parking area about 4:30, Denis took the other drivers back to Tony Grove so they could retrieve their cars for the return trip to Logan.

The anticipated fall colors were lacking, the weather was cool and wet and the trail was muddy, but we still enjoyed the hike.  Next year, we may plan this trip for a week or two earlier, with a possible end at Franklin Basin, for a change.  The general elk hunting season is going on, but it was hardly a factor.  Twice we heard distance gunshots, and we only saw three hunters during the entire hike - and this was during the last 1/2 mile.  This route took us over portions of three different trails:  The Mount Naomi Peak National Recreation Trail, 0.3 miles, the White Pine Lake Trail, 3.8 miles, and the the White Pine - Bunchgrass Canyon Trail, 7.2 miles.  Our GPS track shows 11.3 miles total distance with 1000 feet of climbing. 

Leaving Tony Grove
Leaving Tony Grove under a low cloud cover and a light mist

White Pine Lake trail
On the White Pine Lake trail

Lunch at Whtie Pine Lake
Lunch at White Pine Lake

Hiking out in the rain
Hiking out in heavier rain

Bunchgrass aspens
Colorful aspen trees in lower Bunchgrass

GPS track
The trip totaled 11.3 miles with 1000 feet of elevation gain