This time, I made sure I was going late enough in the season that snow wouldn't be a problem. Let me begin at the trailhead.
There are several ways to get to Mt. Raymond. For those who don't know, Mt Raymond is located in the Wasatch Mountains, basically behind Mt. Olympus, which nearly everyone who lives along the Wasatch Front is familiar with. Anyway, it can be reached from either Millcreek Canyon, or Big Cottonwood, and I suppose from Park City if you wanted to walk that far. Many of the trails in the Wasatch are interconnected.The routes most people choose are either Bowman Fork from the Millcreek side, or Butler Fork from the Big Cottonwood side. Though I have been up to Gobblers Knob from Bowman Fork, all of my recent attempts at Mt. Raymond have been from the Butler Fork trail. This one was no exception.
The Butler Fork trail begins rather innocuously about 8 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon. After about 100 yards, there is a stream crossing and right after that, the trail gets amazingly steep. Large portions of this trail are in the 30 to 45 degree angle range, and a lot of that is early on. In fact, since I already knew this, I nearly changed my hiking plans because I have been having trouble with my legs feeling like lead lately.
The early going on the steepest section (steepest until the final ascent up Raymond's ridge) was rough, but I just took it slow and kept going, resting for a few seconds when necessary, then soldiering on. After about a half hour, I came to a fork in the trail. The right fork leads to Dog Lake, and the left fork goes to Mill A Basin. That's the way to go to get to Mt. Raymond. Soon after the fork, the trail goes up through a kind of meadowy area, with scattered clumps of quakies. The undergrowth is very lush and there are some biting flies in this area. There were wildflowers in abundance here and I especially noted the Queen Anne's Lace and made a mental note to get a picture of it on the way back.
|Queen Anne's Lace was in abundance on the lower portions of the trail.|
|Wildflowers were everywhere and this is my one "accidental" good picture of them close up.|
He kept moving toward whatever he saw. "Don't get too close," I warned him.
"There's a bear down in here, a black bear," he said. I caught a glimpse of something then and it wasn't a bear. "Oh, it's a moose," he said.
He said he'd never seen any moose along this trail I told him that I had. Then he continued on. I was left to reflect as to why he would continue moving closer, especially when he thought it was a bear. Maybe it's because he felt unafraid with me nearby in my Captain America shirt and Indiana Jones hat. I have no other answer.
As the trail joins the ridge, there is a faint un-marked trail to the left that goes to Circle All Peak, which offers a rather nice view of Big Cottonwood Canyon. A great destination for a shorter hike. I had never taken this trail, but I promised myself if I had time I'd do it on the way down. The trail isn't as steep at this point and follows the ridge for a short distance before working its way around a mountain, then up through some quakies to the saddle between Mt. Raymond and Gobblers Knob. This time I made it to the saddle in about two hours. Oddly, the runner was the only person who passed me on my way up. It's usually a fairly popular trail and I was surprised at the low number of people I saw hiking it.
|Mount Raymond as seen on the way up.|
|This little fella landed on me and I took it's picture.|
|The south side of Big Cottonwood Canyon is very prominent from the ridge. Here, you are looking toward Sun Dial Peak and the Lake Blanche area.|
|Some scenic dead trees along the route to the top.|
|Some of the best flowers were right up on the final ridge.|
About 15-20 minutes later, I was up on top, soon joined by another older man. He sat down as I did and he said, "nice of the clouds to protect us a bit from the sun."
|Cannister used for writing logs, such as "Wasatch Rebel was here - 7-22-2016" There was no pen in the thing so I didn't write that.|
I ate my lunch and eventually the guy left and I was up there myself. I took several pics with my wife's camera. It's a Nikon Coolpix S6200, and I'm not familiar with it at all. I found myself unable to take any clear close-ups of flowers, except once, by accident. I had left my trusty Canon behind because I didn't want to pack the weight. It's always a trade-off. I know how to use the Canon though, so the quality of my pics would have been a bit easier for me to control. I had figured that since I had been up this trail numerous times, I had already taken most of the pics I would take this time. Of course, it always looks different, so that was just a way to reason myself out of carrying the heavy thing.
|Just to prove I was up there.|
|I looked across the canyon and saw Cardiff Fork, a destination to add to|
my bucket list.
|Spectacular views of the Wasatch above the timberline|
|Wildflowers lined the edge of the ridge, just before I went down the face|
|The saddle between Raymond and Gobblers Knob|
|This is where I came down.|
|And from further away you can see how steep it is, but not how loose|
the rocks are beneath the vegetation.
|The meadow at the base of Mount Raymond is stunning.|
|This moose had a wound of some kind on its hind quarters.|
|Another picture of the same moose. Its companion was a little more|
I finished the hike about 45 minutes later, tired, but exhilarated. The beauty of the Wasatch never fails to amaze me. And, I had accomplished my main hiking goal of the summer--finally summiting Mount Raymond.