WasatchWill

Jul 3, 2017

Daddy-Daughter Backpacking: Rock Canyon and...Stewart Falls?

Rock Canyon is a beautiful canyon whose trailhead is only about 2 miles away so it serves as another convenient place to pull off a quick overnighter.  Ellory's daddy-daughter trip turned into an unintended three day trip spanned over 2 weeks.  Details on that later in the post....Ellory was actually the first of my three daughters I took backpacking this year.  Like Willow, I took Ellory up Rock Canyon with the same intent to summit Squaw Peak but that ultimately turned into a hike up to Stewart Falls the following week instead.
Day 1
Tuesday - June 13, 2017

Due to the heat of the summer, Ellory and I didn't get started on the trail until later in the evening.

Cascade in lower Rock Canyon

Squaw Peak Close-up

Rock Canyon monoliths

Ellory pauses for a picture

Above the mouth of the canyon

I was originally thinking we'd hike up a couple miles up the canyon to set up camp in particular area I had in mind, but dusk was settling in quick and Ellory was already getting tired sooner than I had expected.  So, only about a half mile up, we settled into another site I knew of.  Having just bought a brand new budget friendly camping hammock, Ellory had opted for us to take hammocks over a tent.  We found the best space we could within the site to hang them up.  It was actually the same space Willow and I went on to camp in the following week.

We had a quick little fire (this was a couple weeks before the fire ban that is in place now was declared) and then settled into our hammocks for the rest of the evening.

Campfire

Fireside selfie



Day 2
Wednesday - June 14, 2017

I woke up before the sun and spent a few minutes down at the creek taking some photos.

Rock Canyon Creek

Rock Canyon Creek

Rock Canyon Creek

Rock Canyon Creek

Rock Canyon Creek

Once Ellory was up, at first, it looked like everything was all well and fine and we'd be gearing up to hike up Squaw Peak, but those plans quickly faded away as Ellory expressed she wasn't feeling well.  And indeed, she wasn't.  She couldn't even stomach any breakfast.  So we packed up everything and hiked back down to the car to get her home for some better rest.  This trip would be continued later on...

Waking up

Our hammocks

Heading down - Ellory trying to make the most of it


Day 3
Thursday - July 29, 2017

Having cut our Rock Canyon-Squaw Peak trip short a couple weeks prior due to Ellory not feeling well, I gave Ellory the choice between hiking up to Squaw Peak as I had taken Willow the week before, or to hike to nearby popular waterfall known as Stewart Falls.  She chose the falls.

When we got the trailhead, we were greeted by some butterflies.  As expected, the trailhead contained several cars, despite being earlier in the morning on a weekday.  Being one of the more popular hikes in the area, we knew there'd be crowds to share the trail with.

White Admiral Butterfly

Heading up trail

Pausing for a view of Sundance ski runs and up into Big Provo Cirque (just out of frame)

Moth (Speyeria egleis utahensis?)

After about a mile and a half, Ellory got to lay here eyes on Stewart Falls for her first time...through the trees.

Stewart Falls through the trees

Soon the falls appeared in full view as the trail began to descend down to their base.

Closing in on the falls

Before switching back down to the bottom of the falls, we paused at the nice little overlook for them for a couple pictures.

Ellory and Stewart Falls

Stewart Selfie

We then moved on down to the bottom of the falls.  Crowds were thicker down around the falls with the addition of other hikers who came up a different trail from Sundance.  We were lucky enough to catch a moment where we could snag a couple of pictures without anyone else in the background.

Ellory near the bottom of the falls

Ellory was impressed and was happy with her choice.  We didn't linger long as now Ellory was excited for her turn to have lunch and ice cream with me.  So back up and over the trail to the trailhead we went.  Our favorite sections besides the falls were some stretches that took us through the shade of aspens with thick ferns growing beneath them and a section through some tall conifers featuring wild roses beneath them.

Heading back up trail

Aspens and ferns

Wild Rose

Almost back to the trailhead

Ornate Checkered Beetle on Sticky Purple Geranium

Roberts Horn

Back at the car, we buckled up and set off for the anticipated finale of lunch and 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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