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Memorial Hill

I originally planned to try and give another shot to finding Wolf Creek Peak up in the Uintas this day, but there was a threat for thunderstorms so instead I thought I would try some easy summits in Midway, UT.  The first on the list was Memorial Hill.  This couldn't possibly be easier to find, as it just sticks up out of the valley right in the middle of farmland.  This is actually a war memorial, and you can drive to the top, although the entrance was closed when I arrived.

To walk up the road would have taken a bit of time, as it circles around the hill a few times on the way to the top.  Fortunately, I eventually saw a trail that cut straight up, crossing the road multiple times on the way to the "peak".

After reading the various plaques and memorials, I ate my now thawed leftover froozen MacDonalds cheeseburger and headed back down to my car to find Burgi Hill, which was just down the road.

Mansion Hill. Madison, WI

When you work graveyard shifts, you typically don't feel the need to exert a whole lot during the day.  This is exemplified by my latest conquest on Mansion Hill.  Fast food burger, summit right on the street.  *sigh*, how the mighty have fallen..

Smoky Hill. Rozellville, WI

Needing a bit of relaxation from my latest work-induced excursion, I hit the interwebs in search of some new terrain.  A short drive over to Smokey Hill Rd followed by a quick hike up Smoky Hill (note the spelling difference) was to provide just that.  

Ironically, as I made the turn into the trailhead, I received a message from a fellow summit cheeseburger aficionado.  His message contained a picture of Mount Rainier, as he was travelling to Seattle - the picture below clearly shows that he was the one missing out.  

Seriously, What a beaut!

Is this really a summit?

On my way home from conquering Racetrack Benchmark, I decided to try and knock off a couple of summits in Park City, but the first one I tried was inside a gated community not accessible to me in my dusty car. I think you can get there by hiking up from a public park at the base, but that is an actual hike and I was not up to it at this point.  Another time.

However, according to the maps, Parleys Summit was as yet uncheeseburgered, and more or less right off the highway, so I thought I would give that a try, even though I was suspicious that this was really a summit.  As I approached the location indicated on the maps, I became even more suspicious, as you could literally see higher points nearby in all four directions.  But, bogus as it seemed, I decided to give it a shot.  

The summit, at least as it is shown on the map, is actually on someone's private property.

However, if you walk a bit further down the road there is some sort of trailhead, for mountain bikers mostly I think.  I was able to climb up a steep hill and clamber through the brush to get to a clearing with what seemed to be the high point without encountering any No Trespassing Signs or angry landed gentry with shotguns.   This was clearly not the wilderness, what with the sounds of traffic on nearby Highway 80, but I ate my cheeseburger anyway (shown perched on the sign), and I'm calling it a success.

Racetrack Benchmark

This was a great hike I'd recommend to anyone. Not too hard to get to the trailhead and great views all around. According to my guide, it was supposed to be about 6 miles roundtrip, but I finished in 2 hours, including summit wandering and cheeseburger consumption, so it must have been shorter than that. To get to the trailhead, I took a left on Co-op Creek Road (FR 082) about 1.3 miles east of the Strawberry Reservoir entrance and the Forest Service information booth on Highway 40. This is a pretty good gravel road, which I drove for about 7 miles up into the hills. Around a bend, there was a turnoff for FR 245, but it was clear that my Honda would not be suitable for that road.  So I parked on the side of the road and hiked, which is kind of the point anyway. You could take an ATV literally practically all the way to the summit, and there may be some people who do that, but they weren't around this morning.

About a mile up the road, which was steadily uphill through aspens with occasional panoramic views, I spotted 3 dogs in the road ahead of me. It seemed a bit strange to have 3 unattended dogs out like that early in the morning, but the mystery was resolved when I realized that they were actually bears. As soon as they saw me, all 3 instantly climbed trees next to the road. They accomplished this so quickly that I can now definatively confirm that climbing a tree is not a good way get away from a bear.  Two of them were clearly cubs, and the 3rd was a bit bigger, but no so much bigger that I was sure it was the mom. So, this made me more than a little nervous and certainly convinced me that it was not a good idea to get close enough to document this encounter with my crappy cell phone camera. I gave them a wide berth by stumbling through the forest on the other side of the road, keeping my eyes out for a larger version, which did not materialize.

There wasn't really a clear trail to the completely treeless summit from where I was approaching, but I managed to stumble up the steep slopes without losing my footing. The cairn on the top has a register, which was started in 2009. It is not particularly close to the benchmark.

I did enjoy my day old McDonalds cheeseburger, despite the scowl on my face in this picture. The look of frustration comes from having trouble figuring out how to take my own picture, while trying to get the view of Strawberry Reservoir in the frame.  Which I failed to accomplish.

I will say that the summit is very nice, but not to be gross, it does appear to be largely made up of animal droppings. All different sizes, shapes and ages of animal droppings. I could have used one of those field guides to scat. I have no idea where all of this comes from, as I only caught a brief glimpse of a single deer or mountain goat staring at me from a distance at one point. Maybe late at night, the summit is wall to wall with various rodents, deer, mountain goats and bears, all partying and relieving themselves.

The trip back was uneventful. I did keep my eyes peeled for more bears, but none were sighted. On the way back to Heber I stopped at the Forest Service station and picked up a bunch of maps, in the hopes that this would enhance my navigational skills on future jaunts.

Mount Zion. Ironwood, MI

There's nothing quite like a quickie in the Upper Peninsula.  

Two mintues up, 2 mintues down.  Delicious in between.  

Mount Nemo

<!--[if gte mso 9]> 0 0 0 <![endif]--><!--StartFragment--> This second of the two peaks near Milton, Ontario is more well known to the locals, so it is justified as a legitimate peak.  

Again, this is part of the Bruce Trail and again it goes to a high point along the Niagara Escarpment, hallmarked by green moss covered rocks and deep crevices.  The Niagara Escarpment goes all the way from New York through Ontario to Michigan and Wisconsin. 

The summit, Mount Nemo, was marked with a very old metal post, but in contrast to the American USGS markers, there were no markings on this post.  Another gourmet cheeseburger fest overlooking fields of corn and cows.

Ontario Summits

<!--[if gte mso 9]> 0 0 0 <![endif]--><!--StartFragment-->

While visiting my Mom and sister in Milton, Ontario near Toronto, I thought I should conquer at least one Cheeseburger summit.  It seems that the Summitcheeseburger list of summits in Canada doesn’t include some of the more obvious summits as seen by the locals.  But there are two summits near Milton that are listed on the Summitcheeseburger website and were doable in a morning, so off we set—my sister Tam (Canadian Cheddar), her dog, Zeeka (Igetthewholething,really?), and I.

This “peak” is accessed from Twiss Road and is just off the Bruce Trail, which is a through trail from southern Ontario to northern Ontario.  We had to bushwack a bit, but got to the top of the escarpment, part of the famous Niagara Escarpment, that looked like the highest point around, and seemed to be in the correct place on the map.  A wonderful breakfast of gourmet cheeseburgers with all the fixin’s including fresh baked buns for me, Canadian Cheddar and Igetthewholething,really?. 

On the way back down we encountered a beautiful frog.  I was tempted to give it a kiss to see if a handsome prince would appear, but no…<!--EndFragment-->

Bald Knoll

Having failed in my search for Red Creek Mountain, I decided to try for Bald Knoll.  However, the recurring pattern of my getting lost continued.  I never found the trailhead identified in my guide, and none of the local residents was the least bit helpful.  This individual was completely unresponsive.  In fact, he/she was barely willing to stop grazing long enough to move out of the road.

Eventually, I did find a place to park near what appeared to be some sort of summit with a mysterious structure on top, and I figured why not give it a shot.  What's the worst that could happen?  So I set off down another overgrown road which seemed to be heading in the right direction, and this soon transitioned from a level stroll into a rather steep ascent.  I am totally mystified what vehicle could actually drive up a track this steep, but since I was walking, that's not really my problem.  As I came over the top, I was confronted with this subtle clue that I had, in fact, successfully located Bald Knoll.

So, following the consumption of my last cheeseburger, I noted the clouding skies and decided it was time to get out of Dodge. The road continued over the summit and went down the other side of the knoll, but I scrambled down the way I came and made it back to my car in time to get off of the dirt roads before the rain turned them to mud.  

Further adventures on Forest Service Road 54 - Currant Creek Peak

Once again I set off into the beautiful Uinta area accessible off of Forest Service Road 054 to Mill Hollow.  And once again, I quickly became befuddled by the less than comprehensively signed network of dirt and gravel roads crisscrossing the area.  Despite my confusion, I miraculously found the trailhead for Currant Creek Peak just before giving up, parked in a vacant campsite area and set off down an overgrown road.  The route to the summit was less than obvious, but the location of the actual peak was clear, since there is a communications structure on the top.  

This hike started off a little bit like a cattle drive, as a small herd of cows was ahead of me on the road at first.  

Fortunately, the cows did not follow me all the way to the summit, which was kind of a relief since it could have been a bit akward when I got to the cheeseburger consumption.  The hike involved a fair amount of just trudging through the vegetation in an effort to go upward.  But it worked out just fine, and it didn't take that long to get to the summit, with an excellent view.

From here I went off in search of Red Creek Mountain.  At one point I thought I had found the summit with this enormous pile of stones, but alas, this was not it.  Apparently, someone felt it would just be useful to make this big pile in the middle of nowwhere.    

I eventually gave up on Red Creek Mountain, but after getting home and consulting Google satellite imagery in more detail I now realize that I probably just didn't drive far enough.  Another day, maybe after I get a better map (or learn how to read the ones I have already).