Wood Camp Ski/Snowshoe, 12 February 2017
Seven of us took the Wood Camp trail: Dave W., Jane, Kathy, Nikolai, Stephanie, Sean, and Dave P. (leader). Dave W. and Dave P. were on cross-country skis and the others were on snowshoes. We were able to drive up the snowy access road to the trailhead, but we had to use a shovel to dig tires out of ruts so we could turn around and park.
It was a clear, calm, and sunny day. The snow was very hard after rain earlier in the week and a hard freeze the night before our trip, although there was a dusting of fresh snow on top. We found that we could easily travel anywhere on the hard snow, and this was easier than following the trail which had frozen with deep "post hole" tracks (caused by people walking on the snow while it was soft). We stopped at the junction with the west fork where we could see missing and broken trees from the 1986 avalanche: https://utahavalanchecenter.org/avalanches/18324.
We continued up the north fork to the Jardine Juniper sign that directs hikers to the east across the streambed. We were surprised to see running water, since this usually does not occur here until later in the spring. We left the trail here to go up the west side to avoid the water crossing. After about 1/3 mile Stephanie found a nice spot with a log to sit on for lunch in the sun. Kathy shared cookies and Dave W. probed the snow depth at 39 inches.
On the way back we hailed a group on the regular trail across the valley, and they said they waded across the stream without taking off their snowshoes. Everyone had an easy time on the way back, although the skiers were challenged by the fast snow. We were concerned about getting the vehicles back on the highway, but it was not a problem despite five parked vehicles partially blocking our egress.
Thanks to Dave P. for the narrative and photos and Dave W. for photos and the GPS work.
Editors note: You can read the Herald Journal article about our trip, Fun, friends, forest: Cache Hikers provides outdoor learning opportunities