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Bells Canyon Reservoir and Lower Falls

I have stood in this exact same spot, on a bench mind you, overlooking the Bells Canyon lower reservoir so many times that I cannot begin to number them from memory.

…and I have walked this trail in all seasons, heading toward the lower and upper falls, and even toward the upper reservoir another couple of miles up into the mountains.

If you look closely, in the above and below photographs, you can see a tiny splash of white that is brighter than the rocks below and to the left of it…that white splash is what I perceive to be the lower falls…something that I have observed from several miles down the road, and even as far away as the back balcony of my children’s home in West Jordan on the other side of the Salt Lake Valley.  Some might suggest that it is the upper falls, but there are no singular monstrous rocks beneath the upper ones, only the lower ones, where I and my hiking companion sons have rested and snacked after admiring the falls face to face.

Below is a favorite spot along the Bells Canyon stream…another special place that I have photographed multiple times…with snow on the banks and perched like cones or caps on top of the rocks with the water barely trickling among them, or with the rich greens of spring and summer when the water was crashing or running over the tiers of rocks like a flood.

It’s always such a pleasure to stand back and watch as someone beholds the falls for the first time…to see the delight in their eyes, and to watch the slight grin grow into a full-on smile as they are slowly christened with the over-spray and mist….

My daughter shared with me that someone had slipped into the falls a couple of weeks earlier while attempting to jump over the stream that led into them…and of the near futile efforts to locate and recover the body from under the logs where it was eventually found…a rescuer saw a flash of color in the crush of water that didn’t belong in the middle of it all…the red or yellow or blue jacket that was still on the the body….

In the last 100 yards or so climbing up to the falls, more than 30 hikers passed us on their way down the trail…and fortunately, there was only one other person up there when my daughter and I arrived…another quiet individual who we only glimpsed once or twice as we cherished the amazing wonderfulness that surrounded us.

The above photo is from near the spot above the falls where the individual likely attempted to jump across the stream.  I have sat there in the past with at least one of my sons…admiring the view and the crush of the melted snow that thundered over the falls…while having a snack of a crisp apple and “Indulgent” trail mix.

My daughter and I continued up the trail to the upper falls (to be shared in a later post)…but this is what it looked like, in the above photo, facing back up the canyon on our return trip down to the reservoir….

And lastly, an afternoon view of the Bells Canyon lower reservoir….  It used to take me 15 minutes to drive to the trailhead for the trail that leads to the reservoir…now it takes more than 10 hours….

Portal….

On the trail to Lake Blanche and the other Sister Lakes in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah.  An image to take one away…to another place and time…another existence or life, even…so it might seem.

Thistle…in isolation

The day had been long and filled with the concerns and wonders of traveling from the desert to that mountain place…stiff legs wanted to stretch…confined body wanted release…and the heart wanted to burst with joy at returning to a place that had been branded as “home” in its core.

Sundial Peak and Lake Blanche….

One could probably say that I’ve been guilty of overdoing things with my posts on Lake Blanche and Sundial Peak, so I’ll keep this one to a bare minimum and only post one photo from my most recent trip…although it’s been more than three years since I have been able to make the hike up there, so I should probably lay it on thick and post something like 20 or more photos….  Anyway, here’s the postcard image with the little people included so you can appreciate the grandness of the place….

If you’re relatively new to the blog, you can start here in viewing other posts on the lake and it’s surrounding area…or you can scroll down a little bit past this post, find the “Search” widgit, and enter “Lake Blanche” or “Sundial Peak” into that feature to be presented with a veritable list of options for seeing more of the place.

Wild thing….

The “Plan” for yesterday was to locate myself up in the mountains along a four-plus mile trail that led to one of my favorite Wasatch Mountain lakes, but the weather forecast suggested a 60-80% chance of snow and rain up there…and I did not bring any wet-weather-appropriate hiking gear with me from the desert…so I instead went and had lunch with an old friend…and then stopped off at the Jordan River Walkway on my way back to the house.  I know that I have shared images and commentary from/about the Jordan River when I was living here in the Salt Lake Valley, so some of you might be familiar with it already in a general sense.  If not, you can click on the highlighted and hyperlinked words above to visit the Jordan River Commission’s official website for more information.

While I did manage to make more than a few images of a couple of storks, a flotilla of juvenile ducks, bridge crossings, and river-scapes with mountain backgrounds, I also happened upon the above scene.  I had spied a small path in the wild grasses that appeared to lead from the walkway down to the river’s edge and was preparing to follow it so I might gain a closer vantage point/perspective…until I noticed this feral cat that had stopped in the middle of it.  The little creature was not startled or alarmed at my presence and didn’t move for what was probably only a minute or two…long enough for me to capture four or five images.  Anyway, there it is…nearly enveloped in a beautiful canopy of Russian Olive trees and other vegetation along the Jordan River.

Thistle and fence posts…in black and white

Another image made from outside of the Cougar Park Nature Preserve in West Jordan, Utah…facing west with the near-setting sun lighting the rails and providing shadow-forms for the posts.  The evening’s walk provided an array of subject matter for photography, so I had to return to the house to retrieve my camera.  I have been out of the habit of taking it with me on my infrequent walks through my Arizona neighborhood, but found it to be a welcome companion again as I ventured out into another sweet, Utah evening.

Mountains, clouds, and fence-line…

The Wasatch Mountains as viewed from outside of the Cougar Park Nature Preserve, West Jordan, Utah…close to an acre of undeveloped land that has been allowed to remain in its natural state…and which happens to be the home of burrowing owls.  Humans are invited to visit the preserve and follow the meandering trail…but only during the months of October through February….

Desert light….

By far, I have found it best to be on these desert trails shortly after sunrise, or within the first hour thereafter….

…the light is more pleasant and provides for greater character in the subjects found along the way.

Two Sundays ago found me hiking south on the Black Canyon Trail from the Bumble Bee trailhead.  I have hiked this stretch of the trail once before…on a sweetly cloudy day in July of last year.

I didn’t go as far with this present hike, as the day’s heat was growing more oppressive and casting something of an ugly hue on everything that caught my eye.

I didn’t get out hiking in the earlier part of Spring, and have therefore missed the rich greenness that all of these wild grasses and flowers must have added to the area.

I love the pearl-like clusters of the creosote or grease-wood bushes…especially when the morning light is behind them.

The desert, overall, wasn’t especially attractive on this particular morning, but when I stopped along the trail to look more closely, I found plenty to admire.

All of these images are from the first two and a half hours heading out on the trail.

And in the photo below, a glance skyward brings a reminder of what can happen if one tarries too long…..