First Attempt Thurston Peak
A few months ago I set a goal for myself to climb all of the highest peaks in each of Utah’s counties and to start logging all of my hikes. I was excited about this hike because it was the first on my list.
This much-anticipated trip began about 5:00 a.m. when I left my house to meet Smith and his Grandpa Kit in Bountiful for a hike to Thurston Peak. Dr. Smith amiably offered to drive the remainder of the way to the trailhead which is located at the base of Francis Peak (41.02716, -111.8378840).
The ingress was up Farmington Canyon during which time we had some great conversation to get to know each other better. Smith is a former student of mine, and this was the first time I met his grandpa, Dr. Kit Smith. We arrived at the trailhead at approximately 7:00 a.m.
The weather and time of day were excellent for a hike in the mountains. Our first objective was to climb Francis Peak to get to the trail leading to Thurston Peak. Had I done my homework more thoroughly, I would have realized there was an easier route. However, the views of the valleys from that vantage point were spectacular!
After navigating a steep slope down the northeast side of the peak to a roadway that would take us in the right direction, I decided to “stash” my backpack. It seems I was not as close to being in shape as I thought I was.
Having traveled about two-thirds of the way we decided to stop for lunch. During that time, Dr. Smith suggested that we turn back because we didn’t have enough water to continue safely and probably because he sensed I was close to running out of energy to complete the climb. I don’t know why I was so exhausted… last summer I could have easily completed this hike. I’ve been working out this past winter but probably consumed more doughnuts than what was good for me. Also, maybe a checkup is in order?
The hike back was indeed a struggle for me. However, Smith and his grandpa were patient and very helpful for which I am grateful. Smith borrowed my camera and took some great photos which I have included in a gallery below.
Finally, we got back to the vehicle and began our egress down Farmington Canyon. Unfortunately for us, an airplane had crashed at the mouth of the canyon and the road was closed. So, we had to turn around and travel back up the canyon and take an alternate route which took us to Skyline Drive and over into Bountiful.
Even though this expedition was exhausting for me, all in all, I had a good time and gleaned a lot of information for my next attempt at “bagging” Thurston Peak. Also, Smith and Kit were great company and hiking companions!
Map of Ingress/Egress Route
Note: Map functions better in full-screen mode; particularly on computers with less than 8GB of memory.
Date of Trip: 07/01/2016
People in Party: Smith Alley, Dr. Kit Smith, and Mark Carlson.
Activity: Road trip in a car/truck and moderate hiking.
Beginning and Destination Points: Spanish Fork, UT to Thurston Peak, UT.
Total Trip Time: 10 hours and 36 minutes.
Total Trip Mileage: 162 miles.
Elevation High Point: 9,520
Hiking Time: 7 hours.
Hiking Distance: 6.0 miles.
Elevation Gain: 355 feet.
Miscellaneous: Had to take an alternate route back to Bountiful due to an airplane crash in Farmington Canyon. Didn’t plan trip well enough or anticipate possible anomalies related to such a hike.
Map – “Francis/Thurston Peaks” Map. GoogleMyMaps. Google.com, 2 Jul. 2016. Web. 2 Jul. 2016.
Elevation Profile – “Elevation Profile for Francis/Thurston Peaks” Elevation Profile. Profiles. GPSVisualizer.com, 2 Jul. 2016. Created 2 Jul. 2016.