This was a great hike I'd recommend to anyone. Not too hard to get to the trailhead and great views all around. According to my guide, it was supposed to be about 6 miles roundtrip, but I finished in 2 hours, including summit wandering and cheeseburger consumption, so it must have been shorted than that. To get to the trailhead, I took a left on Co-op Creek Road (FR 082) about 1.3 miles east of the Strawberry Reservoir entrance and the Forest Service information booth on Highway 40. This is a pretty good gravel road, which I drove for about 7 miles up into the hills. Around a bend, there was a turnoff for FR 245, but it was clear that my Honda would not be suitable for that road. So I parked on the side of the road and hiked, which is kind of the point anyway. You could take an ATV literally practically all the way to the summit, and there may be some people who do that, but they weren't around this morning.
About a mile up the road, which was steadily uphill through aspens with occasional panoramic views, I spotted 3 dogs in the road ahead of me. It seemed a bit strange to have 3 unattended dogs out like that early in the morning, but the mystery was resolved when I realized that they were actually bears. As soon as they saw me, all 3 instantly climbed trees next to the road. They accomplished this so quickly that I can now definatively confirm that climbing a tree is not a good way get away from a bear. Two of them were clearly cubs, and the 3rd was a bit bigger, but no so much bigger that I was sure it was the mom. So, this made me more than a little nervous and certainly convinced me that it was not a good idea to get close enough to document this encounter with my crappy cell phone camera. I gave them a wide berth by stumbling through the forest on the other side of the road, keeping my eyes out for a larger version, which did not materialize.
There wasn't really a clear trail to the completely treeless summit from where I was approaching, but I managed to stumble up the steep slopes without losing my footing. The cairn on the top has a register, which was started in 2009. It is not particularly close to the benchmark.
I did enjoy my day old McDonalds cheeseburger, despite the scowl on my face in this picture. The look of frustration comes from having trouble figuring out how to take my own picture, while trying to get the view of Strawberry Reservoir in the frame. Which I failed to accomplish.
I will say that the summit is very nice, but not to be gross, it does appear to be largely made up of animal droppings. All different sizes, shapes and ages of animal droppings. I could have used one of those field guides to scat. I have no idea where all of this comes from, as I only caught a brief glimpse of a single deer or mountain goat staring at me from a distance at one point. Maybe late at night, the summit is wall to wall with various rodents, deer, mountain goats and bears, all partying and relieving themselves.
The trip back was uneventful. I did keep my eyes peeled for more bears, but none were sighted. On the way back to Heber I stopped at the Forest Service station and picked up a bunch of maps, in the hopes that this would enhance my navigational skills on future jaunts.