An Opportunity to Finish the Sidney Peaks Trail and A Most Interesting and Surprising Encounter
Abby and I had hiked half the Sidney Peaks Trail last September but were turned back by a flock of sheep grazing. Abbs is a herding dog so a flock of sheep is irresistible for her, hence we had to return the way we came. This time there were no sheep and so the three of us were able to continue unmolested to the meadows beyond the cinder cones of the Sidney Peaks. As we walked the trail began turning back towards the rim which overlooks the Parowan Valley. We stepped off trail and were treated to a fantastic view of yellow aspens, green fir trees, red sandstone, and blue waters of Yankee Reservoir thousands of feet below and craggy volcanic rock where we stood at the rim.
We continued on to the junction with FR 048 and the trailheads for Bunker Creek and the Spruce Trails. Here we were milling about enjoying the views of the valley to the north and the meadows to the south when we met a man returning to his car. Much to our surprise he said that he and his friend were highlining and would we like to join? Walking on a suspended two inch rope is way above my paygrade but we followed him to where he was set up and met his friend Charlie who was about to attempt his second ever highline. We watched with awe and chatted with them while he gave it a go. I of course took plenty of photos. When it was Haical’s turn he pretty gracefully stood up and made his way across the 60-foot line while Charlie – who’s a professional photographer that takes amazing outdoor photos – recorded his feat. We hung out with them for about an hour and a half before we realized it was already mid-afternoon and we needed to begin hiking back. It was so inspiring to meet two people who are so interesting and are living so passionately; I won’t delve into what I know about their biographies but we I do want to mention my excellent conversation with Haical about his video project and link to it because it’s awesome. Finally, we were stoked to learn that Charlie plays in Fiyah Rootz, a reggae band based in Hurricane that would be performing the following weekend at the Zion Canyon Music Festival – which we had been planning on attending anyway.
On our return we took a short side trip to hike up one of the peaks from which we could see the firs, aspens, and meadows on the rolling Markangut plateau to the south. However, we mostly just enjoyed the walk through the spruce, fir, and meadows as we ascended back to the trailhead at 11,000 feet.