This is something of a follow-up or companion piece to my recent post, Toward White Pine Lake. These are some of my favorite photos from this particular visit. I hope you’ll enjoy them, too….
And the last one with a human stuck in there for perspective’s sake…don’t know who you are, but thanks for being there….
I spent several hours hiking the trails and mountainsides of Little Cottonwood Canyon this past Sunday…and was amazed at the sights that greeted me with nearly every turn of the trail…. I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into my corner of paradise, courtesy of the Wasatch Mountains, just east of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
No longer the guardian of the Wood…he is returning to the earth…from whence he came….
I had only seen one person on the trail so far…and that was a couple of miles back, give or take…continuing upward on a new trail…looking around…so much to see…so much that was new…lots of mining history in the area…looking for tailing piles and boarded up mines…looking and listening…entered bear-country a couple of weekends ago and was mildly concerned at the thick trees and shadows…wide open spaces with nothing but…me and all of that wild…what a beautiful place…and then I heard a snort from nearby…nearby being relative, of course, as everything was essentially near, and if I heard it, it must be a bit closer than just somewhere out there in the canyon…as I was looking around, a dark spot moved on the hillside and snorted again….
I am aware of the less-than-pleasant disposition that moose are reported to have, so I stopped and watched and looked around for more, and seeing no others, proceeded to get my camera prepared for quick shots before the creature disappeared into the woods. Aside from an occasional snort and glance in my direction, this guy kept grazing up the hillside…while I slowly crept further up the trail that was parallel to the direction he was moving…trying to gain a better angle for the shot. I don’t carry a tripod with me when out in the woods, so the bit of blur is a result of the length of zoom and not-quite settled heart-beat after ascending the trail….
Standing behind a couple of pine or fir trees, shooting through an opening…waiting for him to turn and look in my direction again….
This post literally picks up the trail where the earlier post, Broads Fork – Part I, left off. You can click on the highlighted name of the post to go back to it if you’d like to see where we are in reference to it…. I took this photo standing next to the beaver pond that those two people were walking past in photo #8 of the last post…looking toward the west where we now see both of the Twin Peaks….
This is another backward perspective from the middle of a scree trail…we’re actually going the opposite direction, still heading toward the cirque at the end of the trail…maybe this photo is supposed to be after the next two, but I’m not sure…maybe, though….
You might remember this one…but now it has a wider/larger view of the mountainside beneath the loving cloud….
This is where we make the final ascent into the cirque at the end of the trail. Given that it’s the first week of July and it’s been rather warm down in the valley, I’m not too sure about walking across the remaining snow…don’t know how deep it goes…don’t know what’s under it if I fall through…so I went to the right of the snow field, up over the rocks….
…and found that the trail kept going up, up, up…. I discovered on my way down, by talking with a couple of people you shall see shortly, that the trail would have eventually taken me up to the saddle between Sunrise Peak and the western slope of the Twin Peaks.
But this is where I stopped, you can see my backpack in the lower right corner of the above photograph. You can also see the ascending trail in lighter rocks…. I didn’t research the hike the week before, as I usually do when going on a new trail. I had actually looked into it about a year or so ago when one of my sons and I went up to Lake Blanche (and two other lakes nearby), which is situated in the canyon to the east of Broads Fork and has it’s trailhead on the opposite end of the same parking lot as Broads Fork’s. So I already knew where the trailhead was located and knew that I’d be hiking for a bit more than four miles up into the mountains…but had forgotten most of the rest of what I had read over the intervening year. If I had remembered the rest of what I had read, I would have known that I could have hiked a bit further, switchback by switchback, up to that saddle, and then went up to either Sunrise Peak or to the western summit of Twin Peaks. But I was hiking alone and wouldn’t have attempted that on this trip anyway…so it doesn’t really matter that I had forgotten….
This is another shot, below, that I’ve provided for perspective’s sake…that’s actually a 57yo mother and her 25yo son crossing the snow field, with mom behind the son. I had turned around again to see my back-trail and noticed them at the top left of the snow field…and it took me a few long seconds to get the camera set enough to zoom in and capture them before they left the white background of the snow…so please forgive the uneven shot with the top of the peak missing….
There is a story in one of the religious texts or holy books that details an incident where the people’s god tells their leader to speak to a particular stone and it will bring forth water…the leader was angry with the people for being disobedient, so he struck the stone instead…and it still brought forth water…but he had to pay the consequences later by not being allowed to enter into the land that the god had promised to his people…. I think of this story whenever I see water coming out of the ground like this…sometimes I see it seeping directly out of a hillside and forming a tiny little stream that flows down that hill until it reaches another and larger stream…other times I have seen larger streams, again, seeping out of a hillside. This is the first time, though, that I have seen such a stream flowing directly out of the mostly flat ground…and appearing almost to come out of a rock. When I examined the spring more closely, I found that the water was not seeping from the rock field above it…the ground above the spring was not waterlogged…there was no water flowing from the rocks above, nor seeping or flowing down from the large snow field seen above…so either the snow is melting and draining into a natural cistern below all of those rocks and then pouring out of this spring, or this is a true spring with water flowing up from the ground…at over 8,500 ft in elevation. I don’t know which it is and I suppose it doesn’t really matter for our purposes here…but I thought it was rather fascinating…and beautiful….
These next two photographs are especially for Allen from New Hampshire Garden Solutions…another blog friend who knows and loves wildflowers…. I want to say that the flowers in the first photo are Pygmyflower Rock Jasmine, because that’s what the flowers looks like, even though the stem and the rest of the plant don’t….
…and we have a definite match with this second one…it’s called a Green Gentian, or Monument Plant…the coloring rather looks like a lizard’s skin to me…but maybe that just means that I lived in the desert for too long….
And now a final “Thank You” to the gentleman hiker who caught my camera before it hit the ground as he was changing the camera’s position from landscape to portrait orientation for this last shot….
I would guess that there is some historical significance to the name, but I haven’t been able to identify it yet…but Broads Fork itself is located about four miles into Big Cottonwood Canyon, which is just south and east of Salt Lake City, and is one of the three or four main canyons that lead into the Wasatch Mountain front that is the eastern border for the Salt Lake Valley. The trail is reported to be just over four and a half miles in length from the parking lot to the cirque, or bowl-shaped meadow at the end, and gains just over 2,000 feet in elevation.
I’m not sure of the exact length of this portion of the trail, but it starts out as something resembling a logging trail and then turns into a single track that winds through very thick brush that is often waist to shoulder high….
I haven’t been able to identify these flowers in any of the sources I have at hand, but they look like a variation of hops to me….
UPDATE: While I was out hiking yesterday, Sunday July 15, I met Knick Knickerbocker from the Wasatch Mountain Club and gave him one of my blog cards. He emailed me this morning after reading this post to tell me that these flowers are called Mountain Horsemint…and the taxonomic name is something like Agastache urticifolia…if anyone wanted to know that. Thank you again, Knick.
This was the first view of what the on-line literature calls the “lower meadow” in Broads Fork. After climbing through old-growth pine forest and then a thick stand of aspen and the brush that I mentioned above, the trail makes a sharp turn around a rise in the terrain and this panorama is suddenly in front of you…it is so unexpected…breath-taking, jaw-dropping, however you want to describe it.
This is the view looking to the left of the above meadow….
The trail proceeds through the meadow and immediately into a stand of aspen and pines, again with the thick brush on each side…slowly climbing higher and higher as it makes its way out of this lower meadow and on toward the upper meadow.
When I’m hiking, especially when I’m on a trail for the first time, I frequently stop and turn around to take a look at the trail coming from the opposite direction…it helps with orientation on the way back if I will be taking the same route. It’s amazing sometimes to see what’s behind you as you come out of the woods, arrive at the top of a ridge, or otherwise gain a dramatically different view of your surroundings than you had only moments before…. This is the view I encountered upon leaving the thick aspen that covers the side of the bowl where the lower meadow is situated. I stood on the rise in the trail as it makes its entry into the upper meadow and turned around….
Here’s an infrequent ”people picture” offered to demonstrate scale…. It’s rather difficult to feel significant or important out here…the notions of “Self” and “Me” seem to disolve somewhere between the first few steps on the trail…. This photo was taken near that rise in the trail mentioned above, but a little further down and facing into the second meadow, and with a nearly full view of the rest of the fork or gulch.
And this is a wider view that encompasses more of the area to the right of the location in the above photograph…I understand the peak in the middle to be Sunrise Peak, the one on the left to be Dromedary Peak, and the one in the upper right of the photo to be the western peak of the Twin Peaks set. The western summit has been measured at 11,330 ft and the eastern summit at 11,328 ft in elevation. These peaks are reported to be the tallest of the Wasatch Mountains that border Salt Lake City.
More to follow…in Broads Fork – Park II.
I still think it’s odd to have Sea Gulls flying about…in the middle of the mountain-west…but I guess they enjoy living in proximity to The Great Salt Lake…. They also seem to enjoy hanging-out at the pond in Liberty Park. My friend Gunta has an affinity for Sea Gulls and frequently shares photographs of them in her blog “Movin’ On.” If you haven’t yet walked the sandy beaches of Gunta’s Oregon coastline, I heartily recommend a visit…beautiful sea-scapes, sea-lions, seals, and many other Pacific Northwest wonders…including Sea Gulls….
I don’t know how this particular specimen compares, or is related to the gulls that Gunta finds out on her pacific coast, but I think he’s kind of cute…I wonder if she’ll recognize him….
This is the last segment of wildflower photos from my hike from Millcreek Canyon, over the Lambs Canyon Pass, and down to Lambs Canyon. To see the first two posts, click here and here…and, as always, thank you for visiting.
…picking-up where we left-off in “One hike…and 23 wildflowers…part one“….
To be continued one more time….
I had seen their sign on the way up the trail, huge hoof-prints, huge droppings, and bits of long, black, coarse hair…but not much else…no sounds, anyway. It was hard to tell how old the marks and droppings were, but I kept looking to the sides of the trail for a bit…and then gradually didn’t think more about them. I have seen their sign on other hikes and have only seen them once before…a solitary cow standing in the middle of the early morning trail…. On my return trip back down the trail, a couple of other hikers were stopped ahead of me, had their cameras out, and were pointing up the slope…all we could see was the female…laying there all large and sleepy in the woods. I crept up the slope a couple of steps as the other hikers tucked their cameras away and started down the trail again. As I kept zooming-in and taking increasingly closer shots, it seemed that I could see another ear flicker in the woods behind the cow. The brush was too dense to see more than an outline of the other moose, so I tried to quietly head down the slope and over to the one side where I could see another access that might give me a better vantage point to see who else was back there. Well…the couple of drops of Native American blood that I have remaining from my ancestors waaaay back did nothing to help me sneak-up on the creature that was hiding back there. The bull moose heard me and slowly got up and started ambling through the brush, once or twice turning to look in my direction. Again, the brush was thick and I only managed two non-blurry pictures that give a good indication as to what he looked like…with his antler buds starting to protrude from his forehead.
Hmm…I’m not aware of any legends or folk-lore from the early pioneers that involve crops being saved by squirrels or anything like that…no Miracle of the Squirrels…but I was lacking a particularly creative title for these photos, so I borrowed the earlier one from the sea-gulls…I don’t think they’ll mind…and I hope you won’t either.
I rounded a corner in Liberty Park on my lunch-time walk yesterday and heard this guy scolding someone, or otherwise chatting up a storm. As I stood there and snapped a dozen or so photos, it became clear that it was scolding…and it was directed at me. You can tell through the photos that the squirrel’s curiosity was piqued…and then his patience began to wane…resulting in the last photo where he was looking downright threateningly at me…insisting in his squirrel fashion that I desist with the photo-taking and continue onward with my walk…. “You only have so much time for your walk, right? So get on with it…!”
Winter doesn’t seem to have been too harsh for this little guy….
“Aren’t you done yet? You said ‘just one more’ before you took the last one?”
“Ok, that was fun…now go away!”