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Peter Sinks Hike, August 17, 2014

Six Cache Hikers, Dave P., Jane, Denis, Alexi, Fan, and the leader, Dave W., met for a hike to Peter Sinks, a location of record cold temperatures. We drove three cars up Logan Canyon, left one at the West Hodges trailhead (near the USU Forestry Camp) and drove the remaining vehicles to the Beaver Junction Winter Trailhead. We walked across US 89 and a short distance to the Stump Hollow Trailhead to begin our hike.

Some time in the past the old jeep road up Stump Hollow had been closed. A series of berms were bulldozed into it to impede vehicles and a trail was constructed for non-motorized travel. Like most current users, however, we followed the old road instead. Trail users have blocked the new trail with logs to encourage continued use of the old road (I think the mountain bikers like jumping the berms). Insect traps and bark sampling along this section were evidence of bark beetle research.

We enjoyed views of peaks from Beaver Mountain to Mt. Elmer as we climbed. At mile three of our hike we reached the top of Stump Hollow, where we took a short rest break among the mountain mahogany trees. After another 1 1/2 miles the hikers reached the north edge of Peter Sinks, where a rocky outcropping provided a great view of the sinks and a good spot for lunch.

We did not observe a temperature drop as we descended into the sink, probably because any cool air would have been blown out by the light breeze. Air temperatures were significantly cooler in the shelter of a nearby sinkhole, but this may have been due to cold air venting from below. No trees grow in the sink because of the cold winter temperatures. In fact, the treeline is inverted here, with trees above, shrubby krummholtz along the edge and a treeless bottom.

After climbing out of the sink we descended a steep and rocky 1 1/2 miles on the Turkey Trail. After a mile on the Little Bear Trail we came to a junction with the Worm Fence Trail. Here, for the first time, our route departed from the Great Western Trail system as we turned downhill to the West Hodges Trailhead. We loaded into our car and drove up the canyon to get our other vehicles at the Beaver Junction, then back to Logan.

Trip Summary:

  • Started hiking about 9:30, arrived at Peter Sinks about noon and back to Logan by 4:30
  • Clear, sunny skies, light breezes and moderate temperatures
  • 10.8 miles hiking
  • 1700 feet elevation gain and 2400 feet of descent

For more information about Peter Sinks:

For more information about the Great Western Trail:

Thanks to Dave W. for the narrative and GPS work, with photos by Jane, Dave P. and Dave W.

Trailhead photo

Heading toward Peter Sinks via the Stump Hollow Trail

Beetle tree

Bark beetle research activity

Resting

Taking a rest along the way

Lunch view

Peter Sinks extended south from our lunch spot

Warm temp

74 degrees above the sinkhole

Cool temp

25-30 degrees cooler down in the sinkhole

North view

The "inverted" treeline - treeless down in the sink, with shrubby krummholz around the edge and trees above - you can see the rocky outcrop where we ate lunch at the far (north) end of the sinks

Lupine

Lupine

Owlsclover

Yellow owlsclover

Rockmat

Tufted rockmat at our lunch spot

Aster

Hoary aster

 

GWT

Much of our route followed the Great Western Trail

 

BeaverPond

An active beaver pond near the end of our route

GPS map

Our GPS track showed 10.8 miles with 1700 feet of "up" elevation and 2400 feet descending


You can also look at our route using Google Earth or the various map and aerial views of Google Maps