Trip #4 Attempt: WHERE EAGLES DARE…searching for Pioneer Timber Slide….


This is the title of one of Clint Eastwood’s great movies.

 The weather is a bit questionable but will attempt  to do it on Friday & Saturday, August 1st & 2nd.

ATTEMPT #1 MADE:  Scroll down for photo/essay

NOTE: See at the end of this post, Who Google Search categorizes me with?

Friday, July 25th- KEEPING IN SHAPE on Y-MT- Eagle Pass-Maple Flats-Exploring Pioneer Timber Slide down to Provo foothills
I’ll hit the OK button to begin, & at crucial trail points

 I first attempted what was supposed to be an overnight backpack leaving on July 23rd and intending to be exploring for remnants of the little known “Pioneer timber slide” above Provo, Utah on PIONEER DAY.

The problem was that I had too many errands to run and so didn’t leave the Y-Mountain Trailhead until 2:30 PM when the temperature there was 104 degrees F.  So it quickly got real tough for this old guy.
Looking up WHERE EAGLES DARE on Eagle Pass… the way that is the name of a Clint Eastwood movie..

There were a few on the trail….very few….this mom and her overheated daughter sliding down the trail…without a smile on their sweaty faces….

This gal doggedly kept going ahead of me……

As I turned to admire what the pioneers had done to Utah Valley, I began feeling a  bit light headed…..spotting mirages down in Provo….and as I proceeded up the trail began to feel like I didn’t weigh anything….my body struggling up the trail and my spirit continually separating a bit floating behind!

The sun flowers glared a warning at me….saying, 

“Hey you dummy, get smart!”

So I let wisdom take over and I “chickened out” and headed down the mountain. There would be another day….even for this old guy…..and for sure going early would be better.

Two days later, July 25th I awoke at 6:00 AM and by 8:00 was on the trail in the SHADE.

 My Smart phone told me it was 61 degrees in Provo….43 degrees cooler!

There were many on the trail…..the smart ones coming down already, almost beating the sun.

A few were on the top of the Y enjoying the awesome view. 

A whole herd followed me, in fact I deduced that there were 3 or 4 mothers accompanied by their kids……

 ….one big brother helping little sister…

…and all having a great time seeing what the pioneers had started…and what the Brigham Young Academy in I 1875 was developing into!

I continued up the trail towards Eagle Pass….picture from a previous trip in the Fall as is the shot below of Rocky Mountain sheep above the Y.

This trip the prevalent wildlife seemed to just be frequent lizards.

Here we see a Google Earth view of the hike from the SPOT Tracker website showing the high point of the trip……and below the expanded view of the area……

….to  Rock Canyon on the north…..
….and from Eagle Pass zooming in on the BYU sports complex:  Track & Field on the left, the Marriott Center for basket ball, the Larry H. Miller Baseball Field, and the LaVell Edwards Football Stadium…WOW…AM I EXCITED ABOUT THE UPCOMING FOOTBALL SEASON!.

Looking down in a Fall photograph we see an old trail that must have been from the pioneers, and it continues up the ravine of Slide Canyon.  Was it also a timber slide pathway?  I show more of this at the end of this report.  
My research has turned up very little, just mentions of the “timber slide,”  but no details.  One of my reports of the failed attempt has already got me on the Google list concerning timber slides. 

Now looking up Slide Canyon, and as we will see a series of passageways through rough  points that has me calling the area up to the first meadow  the “Eagle Pass area.”  

 From the first “passage” the trail continues towards the 2nd……
….. with the arrow pointing at it from where the next couple of pictures will be taken.

Looking back to the 1st….and then zooming in on it. 

Now looking up the 3rd after which we eventually come to the first meadow.

And of course there just had to be a GOLDEN EAGLE!

We are almost to the first meadow and seeing the north side of Maple Mountain where I’ve got more than one buck… the “good old days!”  
…….like when working at Provo Steel & Supply in 1955 hearing that some of the guys were going up there deer hunting the next morning, I got off work around 4:00 quickly prepared my pack, hiked all the way up high above Slide Canyon and Maple Flats, and threw down my sleeping bag on a deer trail  with a good view of what would come up from below.

Still in my sleeping bag the next morning I saw the guys way down in the canyon beginning to come up the mountain.  Soon the deer paraded in front of me.  Still in my sleeping bag I rolled over, shot the biggest buck, then got dressed, packed up, gutted the buck and started the drag….saying hi to the guys along the way (they hated me for a while!), and continued down the switch-backing  trail through Eagle Pass  area, over the Y and down, all done in a matter of maybe 18 hours.  I can’t even imagine today how I ever did that….. the mountain must have been smaller back then! 
Then we come to the 1st meadow that also brings back fond memories:

One deer hunt there was snow on the mountain, but after work or school  I high-tailed it up here  and in this meadow with a bit of snow on it  threw down my air mattress and sleeping bag and covered myself with my poncho. During the long, cold night I heard deer snorting all around me–wondering if I wouldn’t get stomped on,  and tried to move to see as there was a good moon, but the poncho  was frozen and the crackling had the herd thunder off.

Next morning I continued up the trail and then traversed back around the mountain seen in the previous photos.  There was a thick crust on the snow and I was making all kinds of racket….but rather than scare off a buck, it got him curious and all of a sudden I noticed 20 yards ahead of me a buck sort of squatting down with his front legs flared out to look under branches to see what was making so much noise.  I dropped to my knee and with one shot dropped him right on the spot….another long drag proceeded and again we ate that winter….healthy “grass fed”  venison!

 The vegetation under the quaking aspens was lush….to say the least.

I had continued up from the meadows to see if I couldn’t find signs of pioneer timber operations, and soon came to a junction….that was almost missed.  The trail to the left is the Y-Mountain summit trail.  

To the right,  almost hidden by the vegetation, is the main trail to Slate Canyon and up to the Squaw Peak Road, and bushwhacking to Provo Peak.

The lush vegetation often had the trail totally hidden as it tunneled under the green.

There was an old logging road that traversed around the mountain that I used years ago, but it was so hidden by vegetation that there was no point in trying to photograph it,  but here is the map of the area, showing my SPOT Track where after resting I headed back down as I was almost out of water.

There I hit the SPOT Tracker OK button….and soon it lit up sending the signal to the satellite to trigger 10 emails sent to my friends, saying:  

Message:Trip #4 Fighting to keep in shape - exploring Pioneer Timber Slide from Maple Flats down to Provo foothills

 A midst the vegetation is STINGING NETTLE,  so watch out!

Back down to the meadows...and looking back we see the ridge that comes off the back of Y-Mountain.  It was up there where my oldest son, David, got his first buck, in thick fog,with my Browning lever action .243 I loaned him.  He dragged him down to the highest house on the Provo foothills and called me to give him a ride.

 Looking up towards Maple Flats, I began looking for the trail.  I had to find water soon, or head back.  I  just couldn’t remember where the trail took off and failed finding it.  In my youth I would have just went bushwhacking and got there, but…..the mountain had grown bigger in 30-35 years.

The spring was up there somewhere,  I since learned from my brother, Marlo, who had been up here in recent years, that on his last trip the spring was dry.  I had brought a gallon of water, but was almost out, so headed back to civilization

Since,  I did a Google Earth and Topographical map study with images that follow showing what I'm still determined to find and explore....IN A COUPLE OF DAYS.

 On my last hunt up there I got to Maple Flats that had spotty snow, and set up a bivouac camp.  There was abundant straw from the tall grass and I made a thick mat of it and laid  down my  sleeping bag under the stars.  
At around 11:00 PM I was shocked to a sitting position by reverberating echos off Maple Mountain of a howling pack of coyotes that seemed to  surround me!  There was a good moon, so I just laid my .243 Browning across my waist and laid back down..  The trail was just 10 yards below me.  Soon I heard them coming by, sat up and squeezed off a shot at a  big shadow that trailed last.  There was a yelp….and then I heard him struggling,  circling around me…and he stopped.
Soon the howling returned echoing off the mountains, but a much subdued, quieter, and sort of lorn-full chorus.  Apparently there would be an opportunity for another male to take over the pack.

In the morning I found him 30 yards from my camp, and in the process of skinning him out, David showed up to see how I had done. The mounted coyote was with me down in Guatemala for nearly 20 years.  Now, no room for him in my tiny Cabin A trailer, so he's  on my son Nephi's wall.

Had great memories on my hike!

What is ahead of me this week?

In a couple of days I'll leave even earlier and head back up there with more water, and tough energy supplements and see if I can't get the task accomplished.  Following are Google Earth views showing what I'm looking for.

Below  in shadows it's  hard or impossible to see...just a little top right.

It begins to appear faintly as we proceed down the mountain.

It becomes very distinct again.

 Further down it disappears again  on Google Earth.

This view taken in the Fall of 2012 it is seen quite distinctly near the foot of the mountain approximately in the vicinity seen below on Google Earth..

 It ends in this vicinity along Provo’s foothills.

Below is an enlargement of the beginning up near Maple Flats of the slide pathway area.

  It shows some roadways, or ditch-like structures that need to be explored.

Likewise there is another pathway coming out of large trees to the northwest of the end of the Maple Flats trail as seen below in dead center.These would be descending into the steep ravine.

They are seen in the middle top of this image
and enlarged below.

They go down the ravine, disappear in shadows and rough areas, and then reappear in the lower section as seen below.

I’m likely biting off much more than I can chew….and hope some young archaeologist will take up the interest.  It would be a fascinating study for someone–in the meantime I’ll be considered the expert on Google Search…see what I mean below.

I headed back towards the valley with less than 20 oz. of water left.  Between the Y and the Trailhead, some hikers first congratulated me for being a good backpacker, but apparently I looked pretty bad so they offered me some needed  water and kindly gave me 3 slurps from their water bottle.   On arriving at the car I didn't have intentions of trying it again.....but after a couple of days I'm determined to give it one more try.

I'll post the SPOT Tracker link and when that attempt will be, on Thursday, July 31st .

But what am I  associated with?

So, my activities place me squarely in the 

…..but before you laugh too much about my life…..remember that ….
“The Kingdom of heaven is for those who become like little children!”

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