Franklin Basin Moonlight
Ski/Snowshoe, January 26, 2013
Led by Dave and Jane, ten Cache Hikers participated in a
night-time excursion to Franklin Basin. Dave and Monika
used cross-country skis, and Alex, Rick, Joe, Jeanne, Jane, Alexi,
Stephanie and Anna were on snowshoes. Several others had
expressed interest in joining us, probably because the Cache
Valley Visitors Bureau featured our trip as part of the Logan
Winterfest 2013, but their plans changed and we ended up
with only one more person than last year. We met at 6:00
p.m. in Logan, but it was after 7:00 by the time we got to the
Franklin Basin Winter Trailhead, donned our skis, snowshoes and
headlamps, and headed out into the night.
The full moon was not directly visible at first, but a bright spot
in the clouds revealed its location and enough light filtered
through to make headlight use "optional". We began our trip by
following the groomed snowmobile trail, but after 1/4 mile most of
us left the trail for a meandering route along the Logan
River. After a mile of slow progress through heavy, deep,
soft snow, we returned to the groomed trail for easier travel past
Steam Mill Canyon, Hells Kitchen Canyon and Beaver Spring.
Then we turned east, back off the trail, to our destination near
Jane had taken the faster route along the groomed trail, so she
was able to make final preparations by the time the rest of the
group arrived. We arranged ourselves on a snow bench
encircling the cheery fire that Jane had started and shared
snacks, including "Moon Pies" that Dave brought along for the
occasion. Holes in the clouds provided glimpses of the full
moon as we enjoyed pleasant conversation and marveled at the
wonder of the night. At 38 degrees F, it was surprisingly
warm, especially after weeks of sub-zero and single-digit
temperatures in the valley below.
Eventually the fire burned down, the ashes and firepan were soaked
and bagged, and we headed back out. The groomed trail had
just enough downhill slope to facilitate a speedy "kick and glide"
for the skiers, but the snowshoers weren't far behind. We
arrived back in Logan about 11:30 p.m., a little later than
anticipated. The next morning a major snowstorm hit Cache
Valley - we would have been forced to cancel our trip if the
weather had arrived a half-day sooner.
Working our way through quaking aspen trees near the river
Enjoying the fire
The full moon peeking through a hole in the clouds
We traveled a total of 3.6 miles, with 270 feet elevation
You can also look at our route using Google Earth or the various map and aerial views of Google Maps.