Trip Report: Bells Canyon to the Upper Reservoir

Bells Canyon to the Upper Reservoir
By Jeff Munger
SNOWSHOE 05/07/2016 MOD+

Trip Report
Bells Canyon Upper Reservoir
Hike / Snowshoe
May 07, 2016
Julie Kilgore, Leader
Report by: Jeff Munger
Photos by: Kelly Kirkham and Jeff Munger

With the rains that preceded the scheduled Beatout hike it did look as if the trip would surely be canceled. Julie sent out the Friday night email indicating that she was planning on meeting in the morning at the scheduled time of 5:45 am. At that time, we would look at the weather forecast and make the call on the spot. She said she wanted to go, rain or shine, as preparation for her trip with the Club to Iceland in the upcoming week. The five others who joined Julie Kilgore that morning were Jim Kucera, Kelly Kirkham, Greg Barton, Chris Hart, and I.

When we met at Granite Trailhead the forecast was calling for rain and thunderstorms starting at around 9:30 am. We decided to start from where we were and see how far we could get up the Bells Canyon trail before they hit.

We started up the canyon ready for whatever came our way. The lower canyon was wet and very green from all the rain. With a steady pace, we soon reached the turnoff to the lower falls. After a brief pause, we continued on. The choice was made to take the less-traveled winter route. Before we knew it, we had crossed the fern forest, the upper campsite, and were on to the hard packed snow. We followed the ridge upward, and soon after, Jim donned his snowshoes. He demonstrated how much faster and easier they made travel on the steep, ice-crusted snow, so we all joined him. With only one slight detour to slow us down, we arrived at the Upper Reservoir and paused to eat and reassess the weather conditions. The clouds were rolling in. A vote was taken, and it was decided that we would head back.

We had a relaxing lunch on the dam, and a casual walk around the reservoir, then down we went. After passing out of the snow-packed area, we came across a lone hiker whom we invited to join us. Julie led us down the faint trail to where it joined the regular summer trail. The upper waterfall was spectacular. Around the time we passed the lower waterfall, the precipitation began, along with a bit of thunder. As the rain continued, we were relieved that we had made the right call.

We arrived at the cars refreshed by the rain, invigorated by the workout, and content to have enjoyed another rewarding day together in the mountains.

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