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Hiking Utah
Tribune Reporters
By Nate Carlisle, Jason Bergreen, Erin Alberty and Brett Prettyman

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The stove at the Bigwater Yurt in Millcreek Canyon.
Yurt Check-In

My husband and I did an overnight at the Big Water Yurt in Millcreek Canyon the other week, and I noticed things had changed in the two years since I last was there.

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The furniture has been updated — it's more attractive, and there now are four beds instead of six. However, the bunks are wider and more comfortable for two people. A new end table and a chair have joined the bench, picnic table and hutch. The old hurricane lantern is gone.

Also, a mouse had moved into the ladies' bathroom. I named it Anchovy.

Of course, none of those changes is as significant as the new lottery system to award nights at the popular yurt. This season Salt Lake County ended the annual phone race for reservations (hopeful guests used to call the parks office one fall morning when reservations opened up, and then hit redial again and again and again until the line was no longer busy). Without the chance to mobilize a full group to bombard the switchboard on Yurt Day, my husband and I got a single Thursday night in late March.

The snow was lame this year, but it's still a great winter camping trip and a nice 4.5 mile hike (one-way).

What's at the yurt:

  • wood burning stove (instructions on the bulletin board inside the yurt)
  • axe & hatchet
  • wood for the stove
  • snow shovel
  • fire irons
  • toilet paper
  • some towels
  • clothesline and pins, plus hooks
  • some pots, including one saucepan with a hole, a large pot for melting snow and a rusty cast-iron kettle
  • bottle opener
  • propane floor lamp
  • foam sleep pads on the bunks (7 good, one ratty).

A lot of stuff had accumulated from other guests by March, but I don't know if it's always up there — powdered coffee creamer, some soup (thanks!), matches, a newspaper, chemical fire-starters, some camp stove fuel and ink pens.

I hope to give you another update next year!

— Erin Alberty

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