July 3: 7.5 miles total, 4.4 miles official trail, 1.1 miles unofficial route
The second half of Episode 6 gave us great views of Orem, Lindon, and Pleasant Grove at the base of Mt. Timpanogos. Most of this route is officially designated BST through land owned by Orem City, the Timpanogos State Wildlife Management Area, and Uinta-Wasatch Cache National Forest. Much of it was quite busy for the July 4th weekend, especially around Dry Canyon in Lindon.
The first section, from the Orem Firing Range trailhead to Dry Canyon, is a significant climb from the actual Bonneville shoreline (5100ft) up to almost 5700ft. Fortunately, we started early, so we had lots of shade. Much of this stretch was built by volunteers around 2000, a good example of the great work that regular people can do with enough motivation.
Many old-timers will remember when the Dry Canyon area (above Lindon) was popular for dirt bikes and ATVs, until the Forest Service banned motor vehicles around 2005 and worked to revegetate a lot of the old tracks. Since then, it has become popular with mountain bikers, who cut many new “social” (i.e., illegal) trails, often over the old ATV tracks. In 2019-2020, the Utah Valley Trails Alliance worked with the Forest Service to legalize and officially designate the best and most popular of these. Currently, we are in the finishing stages of recruiting volunteer trail adopters, such as local trail clubs and high school mountain biking teams, to help care for them long term. Thanks volunteers!
Amazingly, we were actually ahead of schedule when we got to Battle Creek, so we took a short detour up to the Battle Creek Falls. Dozens of families were joining us to cool off on this hot summer day. Stick your head in there, Spencer!
The last mile, at the base of the Pleasant Grove “G,” is typically a rather boring stretch along old roads through private property. Fortunately, we had a friend to keep us company. Todd Neumarker, a Pleasant Grove resident, avid mountain biker, and systems engineer (and one of the founders) of Trailforks, joined us to talk about how this very popular trails app got started, and how technology has impacted the outdoors for the worse (crowds) and the better (crowdfunding and volunteer organizations). We also got to geek out quite a bit about trails GIS data, which probably won’t get into the final cut of Episode 6.
Next up, in Episode 7, we are hoping to finish Utah County!