When it’s colder and conditions are muddy, it’s best to plan simple hikes that can still be fun and keep you in shape for when the hiking is better. For me, I've been doing some small ones these last few weeks but didn’t have much time to write them up, so here’s a little bit about each.
Dry Creek Canyon
This is an easy canyon to get to and even a short hike will get you great views. When I went it was slippery, icy, or muddy on almost the entire trail so we didn’t go very far. But even with a short hike we were able to get above the nasty winter inversion that traps all the air pollution in the valleys. It felt nice to be able to breathe again.
Battle Creek Canyon
I did this one very quickly and a rapid hike to the waterfall was a great replacement for my usual thirty minute run that’s part of my exercise program. The trail was snowy and slippery at some points but with good shoes and good footing, I didn't have any trouble and was pretty much jogging the entire way back down. This is a popular spot and was crowded on a late Saturday afternoon, but that didn’t make the great views, waterfall, or sunset any less enjoyable.
Powell Slough and Provo Airport Dike
I recently got a new app that lists many of the birding places in Utah, so I was excited to see what the Powell Slough might have to offer. Unfortunately, it’s not much of a place to explore beyond one little mound that rises above the cattails and swampy ground. I could have gone further with mud boots but it didn’t seem like there would be much more to find that I couldn’t find faster and see easier elsewhere, but I did spot several Kestrels in the area.
Since the first place didn’t have much, I spent the rest of the afternoon at the Provo Airport Dike. While the birds were pretty typical, I had the amazing experience of finding a wild river otter. Unfortunately the otter slipped away too fast for me to get a picture, but it was a very big one that was about three feet long.
Even if you can only go to your usual local places, you’ll never know what you might find on any given day. There’s always something new to discover when outdoors.