WasatchWill

Jun 23, 2017

Daddy-Daughter Backpacking to Horse Flat

Each year I strive to take each of my kids who are old enough and able enough out on a backpacking trip for some one-on-one time, adventuring and experiencing the beauty of nature together.  On this trip, I took my youngest daughter, Raylee, out for an easy mile into an area called Horse Flat.
Day 1
Tuesday - June 20, 2017

After a day of tending to stuff around the house, I gathered up our gear and set off for the backside (east side) of Mount Timpangogos with Raylee.  There we parked at the Summit Trailhead along the Alpine Scenic Loop and began our hike up into Horse Flat.

Trail sign

Usually I prefer to take my kids on trails and into areas I'm already familiar with, especially when backpacking, but with this trip, it'd be a first time for both of us to experience this trail and the area it cuts through.  Knowing it was short with little elevation gain up into the flat, I was confident it wouldn't present any problems for either of us.

On the trail to Horse Flat

When we had arrived at the trailhead, a very aggressive storm system had just passed over the area, and once again, it paid off to get on the trail much later than our original plan.  The trail was very wet from that with some squishy mud in a place or two, but nothing too bad.

Small meadow along trail to Horse Flat

Having started out on the trail at about 8:30 pm, we arrived at Horse Flat by about 9 pm with just enough daylight left to set up camp before it got very dark.  Thankfully, it was night before Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year.

Arriving in Horse Flat

With camp set up, we had ourselves a late dinner with some Mountain House mac & cheese and retired to bed.


Day 2
Wednesday - June 21, 2017

Waking up, the view from my hammock was nothing short of beautiful.

Morning view

Having recently bought a very budget-friendly camping hammock system with sewn in bug net and tarp, I now have two complete camping hammocks ready for bugs or rain.  With that, I can now give my kids a choice between taking hammocks or a tent.  Raylee chose hammocks.  And it had worked out perfectly with finding 3 trees with which I was able to hang our hammocks right next to each other.

Our campsite

Another view across Horse Flat from our camp

After a quick breakfast, we gathered some essentials into a summit pack and left our camp behind for a short but somewhat steep one mile hike up to a spot known as Primrose Cirque Overlook.

Raylee on trail leaving camp

We took our time, keeping our eyes open for any wildlife we might be lucky to see and generally enjoying the sights along the way.

Squirrel

Raylee on trail to Primrose Cirque Overlook

Soon enough, we crested the ridge that overlooks Primrose Cirque where were were treated to a spectacular view of a concoction of green slopes, rocky cliffs, snow, and lots of waterfalls from all the on going run-off.  From the overlook, we could also see the summit of Mount Timpanogos.

Cresting the ridge at Primrose Cirque Overlook

Primrose Cirque

Lots of waterfalls

Close-up of Primrose Cirque

Close-up of Mount Timpanogos summit with summit shack

Raylee and myself atop Primrose Cirque Overlook

Silly selfie

Views to the southwest also afforded us a look out at at Provo Peak and its neighbors with Sundance Ski Resort below.

Looking west from Primrose Cirque Overlook

Provo Peak and neighbors

Flowers were also plentiful along the top of the ridge overlooking the cirque.

Indian Paintbrush

Bluebells

Once back down in a meadow that sat between the Horse Flat meadow and the overlook, we briefly spurted down another trail from a junction there that took us down to a nice, ice cold spring piped into a horse trough.  We each had ourselves a nice drink, and as expected, it was delightfully refreshing.  Other springs seeped out of the hillsides throughout the meadow.

Horse trough

Drinking from the spring

Moths (Speyeria)

Once back at camp, we packed up and headed down the trail through Horse Flat and on back to the trailhead.

Horse Flat

Heading back to the trailhead

Back at the trailhead, Raylee was delighted to see more butterflies fluttering around.

Swallowtail butterfly

Being lunch time, we splurged for some burgers and ice cream on the way back home.

A well deserved lunch

And some well-deserved ice cream

Video

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About Will

Will Will lives at the footsteps of Utah's famed Wasatch Mountains. He enjoys hiking, camping, backpacking, sports, running, vegetable gardening, nature, food, photography, art, and spending time with his wife and kids.

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