Happy Birthday to you…happy birthday to you…happy birthday dear You-Know-Who-You-Are…happy birthday to yooooooooooou….
Sundial Peak is the iconic backdrop for Lake Blanche, one of the Sister Lakes located at the end of one of the tributary canyons/drainages that extend south from Big Cottonwood Canyon, one of the three major canyons in the Wasatch Mountains that provide the eastern boundary for metropolitan Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. I suppose I said all of that to say…here it is…. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do….
This is the final post in a series in which I have shared my hike up into Days Fork Canyon, another of the tributary canyons that extend off of Big Cottonwood Canyon, just east of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. I’m not sure what this large piece of iron might have been during the mine’s operation, but it remains with us in its multiple pieces, somehow resembling a face-plate for a piece of machinery…brought west from Bridgeport, Massachusetts, in whatever year. I have Googled “iron works Massachusetts” and have found a bit of information, but nothing with “Roberts” in a company’s name…so who knows what this is or might have been.
Another hiker has made a stack of remnant bricks atop the machinery, telling those who follow that this is part of the trail….
The hillside has begun to slide and cover the hoist…and the mine is slowly swallowing one of the remaining boilers….
I like the rich colors of earth and rust and the greening of Life that wants to take back what is hers…with a touch of pink on the Indian Paintbrush nearby….
I don’t know the proper name of this petalled piece of cog-ware, but we can see its former function in the third photo below this one…as it appears to have a twin on the left side of the hoist that is also pictured above.
It’s pretty up-close, too….
Empty boilers that have seen more productive days….
The trail continues to the left of the area shown in these photos. It goes for another quarter of a mile or so into the terminus of the Fork…a sort of bowl-shaped dead-end that is littered with rocks and trees…and has some other mining tailing-piles up on the surrounding hills.
This is the last picture I took of the area, below, as the clouds that had been moving in my direction all morning had started to sprinkle and then rain. I think it might have been just as well, though, because as I ventured further above the remaining snow and onto the lower portion, and then to the right on that slope you see in almost the dead center of the photograph, I had a feeling of sadness come over me and rather lost the desire to take any more photos.
I think the melancholy was due to witnessing the remaining damage that had been caused by our forebears’ attempts at industry…bare hillsides that must have been pristine and thriving forests before their arrival. I don’t know how long the mining operations continued in the area after the burning of the Eclipse Mine in 1888, but if they were to have stopped immediately after that incident, this area would have had/has had approximately 124 years to recover. Yes, we can see that Nature has begun to reclaim what is hers by slowly swallowing the boilers and with the hillside sliding down to envelope the hoist, but it seems like it’s going to take quite a long time before we can no longer see traces of ourselves out there. We have the ability to obliterate forests in a couple of years…but they will take hundreds more to return on their own.
If you’d like to visit the two earlier posts, Days Fork – I and Days Fork – II, just click on their highlighted names to do so. Thank you for stopping-by and spending a bit of time with me. I hope you’ve enjoyed the hike….
Three levels of falls down Bells Canyon Stream…along a favored trail that goes up, up, up into the mountains. The first photograph was taken in the middle of June, 2012….
And the second shot, with a slightly different perspective, is from near the end of August, 2012…about nine weeks later….
Liberty Park is located in one of the downtown neighborhoods of Salt Lake City, Utah. If you’ve been visiting this blog for any length of time, you will have seen various photos of geese and gulls and ducks and squirrels and huge Cottonwood trees and fallen leaves and…other sundry things.
The park was established in 1883 and is on an 80-acre plot of land that used to be owned by Brigham Young. It has a lake with two islands, seasonal amusement rides, tennis and basketball courts, a greenhouse, horse-shoe pits, and various picnic/barbecue areas with nearby playground equipment for the little ones. Liberty Park is also home to the historic Isaac Chase Mill, the Tracy Aviary, and the Chase Home Museum of Utah Folk Arts. If you’d like to read more about Liberty Park, please click on the highlighted name to follow a link to Wikipedia’s article.
My little one has wanted to ride the boats on Liberty Park’s pond for quite some time now. He has visited the park multiple times over our nearly two years here in Salt Lake City, but those occasions were often on busy and crowded Saturday mornings or during seasons when the boats were not available. I suppose I could say that my little one took to the canoe like ducks/geese take to water…. It was his first time in a canoe and he conducted himself like an old pro….
The Canada Geese (Canadian Geese?) are year-round visitors/residents of Liberty Park. I have seen and heard them in every month of the year and have watched as their little ones follow them about the pond in Spring and early Summer. I’ve never seen their nests out in the more public areas of the park, so I would guess that they are on this sunflower-adorned island. The only way to reach this island is by boat, but I don’t think it’s an encouraged activity…and since people rent the boats for only 20 minutes per ride, I don’t know that too many of them would want to park the boats just to explore the little island.
The island looks like a perfect nesting ground for the geese and ducks, and maybe even the gulls that frequent the pond.
There was one canoe and three paddle-boats available…my little one went straight to the canoe. After we grabbed a bite to eat at the concession stand, we went back out on a paddle-boat like the one in the below photo. It might seem that there was a bit of traffic on the lake, but it wasn’t really too bad. We had actually steered closer to the geese so I could attempt to get some close-up shots of them.
I’m not sure what type of bird/duck this one is…probably not an Egret…but it was the first time I have seen such a creature at the park. After I got home and was processing the photographs, I couldn’t help but think that it looked like this guy was leading the other birds in song…. Ok…maybe not….
This is the bridge to the other island in Liberty Park’s pond. The island has a large gazebo, planters/flower-beds, huge Cottonwood trees, and nice park benches.
When we had finished our paddle-boat ride (a bit after this last photo) and had walked less than 20 yards away from the dock, my little one asked when we would be able to come back and ride the boats again. It was nice that he had such a good time. The stuff of memories….
This photo picks-up exactly where we left of in the earlier post, Days Fork I…the image is only slightly different, providing just a touch of another perspective…anyway, here we are, heading toward the mine near the end of the road/trail…and we are enjoying the journey…because that’s what it’s all about….
I think I turned around and looked behind me more on this hike than I have on most others. This is the only trail that I’ve been on in the Wasatch Mountain canyons that border Salt Lake City where I’ve seen a sign warning that this was BEAR COUNTRY. The sign was posted in the Spruce’s Campground area where the Days Fork trail actually starts. So it was a little freaky for a bit of the hike, especially walking on the trail that skirted the woods…and then went into the meadow…and then skirted the woods again. I was trying to imagine where I would be more likely to see one…would it be in the open meadow, on the mostly clear hillside, similar to where I saw the moose in Cardiff Fork…or would it be in the thicker pine woods…? I mentioned all of that to say that this is a shot of my back-trail. The tree in the immediate right foreground is the same smaller tree that you saw in the above photo, just to the left of center.
And the beautifully textured bark in this photo is from the tree that you can see to the left of the trail in the above picture….
This almost looks like some of the red rocks that one can see in Kanab, Utah…or in Bryce Canyon and Zion National Forest in the southern part of our state. If you’d like to see some beautiful photographs of those last two areas, stop-by for a visit with Kerry Liebowitz at his Lightscapes Nature Photography Blog. He just completed a series of his twelve-day photo-excursion to southern Utah and northern Nevada…stunning photography. The below photo is my version of a red-rock canyon wall…but from the inside of a decaying tree stump….
Indian Paintbrush flowers come in at least two varieties here in our Utah mountains…this wide-petalled version and another with more spikey petals. I’ve noticed the spikey version at higher altitudes than the other…. Wikipedia says that there are around 200 species of the flower, ranging from Alaska down to the Andes Mountains in South America, as well as in northern Asia and Siberia….
I want to say that this is a White Pine laying in a bed of Lupine, but I could be wrong on both counts…. Whatever they are, they struck me as beautiful…and notice the “baby” pine tree tucked against the side of the downed tree…more of that fascinating circle-of-life stuff.
I would say that this was essentially the first sign of the mine after I rounded a bend and came up the hill a bit…. You can see the pile of tailings there in the middle of the photo. It’s my understanding that all of that dirt and rock came out of the mountain, shovel-full piled upon shovel-full and after a bit, it became a platform upon which the men worked as they dug their mine…or in this case, dug a shaft a couple of hundred feet down to a tunnel that had already been dug into the area from the other side of the ridge.
Remains of something…maybe just a retaining wall to prevent the earth from spilling back down onto the now almost non-existent road.
In his book, The Lady in the Ore Bucket, author Charles L. Keller tells us that mining activities were conducted in Days Fork for many years. He also mentions that the “best-known remnant from those days is the remains of the Eclipse Mine” (p. 205)…the rusted contraptions of what-not that we can see in the following photos. While there was something about all of this that I found (and still find) incredibly fascinating and interesting, I still had the thoughts going through my head about why it was all still out there…. It struck me as being analogous to “space junk,” all of our left-over pioneer, trail-blazing garbage that we just didn’t want to drag back home with us. But then I kept taking pictures, and kept walking around, kept getting eye-ball-close to the tangible remains of a history that helped make the place what it is today. Keller said that the mine operated from late 1877 until early 1888 when it was reported to have burned to the ground…nothing remained but what you see in the photos of this and the next post, along with some huge timbers and cord-wood that managed to return to the earth in one fashion or another.
I understand that these are the remains of the hoist motor that lowered lumber and supplies down into the tunnels that connected with those of the Flagstaff Mine that was being operated on the other side of the ridge that you can see in the background. Within a couple of years of this mine’s discovery and subsequent addition to the other mine’s tunnel complex, about 10 tons of ore were being extracted from this mine per day…none of it came up this shaft and out through Days Fork, but it was extracted from this mine.
Below is another view of the hoist motor (probably/maybe?), one of the three remaining boilers, and some miscellaneous pipe.
More to follow….
The earlier two posts, On the wall, and On the wall, too, were taken 13 months after this picture. This one is from July, 2011…after a winter/spring with record snowfall in our Wasatch Mountains…and the two earlier photographs were from August, 2012…after a winter/spring with much less snow.
Just for fun, I found this website that maintains snowfall records for Alta, Utah (at the end of Little Cottonwood Canyon, at 8,530 ft elevation)…which is just over the ridge and up the road a couple of miles from where this picture was taken at Lake Lillian, at approximately 8,900 feet elevation, in Big Cottonwood Canyon. The snow season of November, 2010 to April, 2011 had 723.5 inches of the white stuff and the snow season of November, 2011 to April, 2012 had 390.5 inches. I guess that explains why there was still so much snow on the mountains in July, 2011, as opposed to no snow at the same location this year.
The wall-walker in this photo is Son #2…it was Son #3 in the two earlier posts.
Ferris-wheel at Lagoon Amusement Park, Farmington, Utah…sweet summer day….
Big Cottonwood Canyon is one of the three major canyons in the Wasatch Mountain range that creates a beautiful and natural eastern boundary for the greater Salt Lake City metropolitan area. The early years of pioneer settlement saw the canyons being ravaged for their lumber…stands of pristine forest with pine and fir trees that had diameters between three and four feet across were taken down to build houses, supply wood for stoves and furnaces, and for developing industry.
As the years passed, and as the political climate of the Salt Lake area changed, exploitation of the canyon’s natural resources continued in the form of mining for precious metals. The early 1860s saw numerous individuals and companies filing claims with the local courts so they could dig into the mountainsides and remove what they might…often packing the ore down their constructed roadways with wagons and mule-carts, and later with narrow-gauge railcars, depending on their location. The pretty flower shown below is a Sticky Geranium.
If you looked at a map of the area’s canyons today, you would be able to identify gulches, tributary canyons, and various forks in the mountains by the names of people who had filed either mining or lumber claims in the particular areas…or had built a road into the woods and charged a toll for each wagon load of lumber…or who had been the “first” (Anglo?) to explore particular peaks or ridges…or had been a mine superintendant…or…. Albion Basin, near Alta, at the end of Little Cottonwood Canyon, received its name from the Albion Mining Company; Alexander Basin in Millcreek Canyon was named after a man and his sons who harvested trees from a particular slope…and Days Fork was likely named after one of the Mormon settlers who filed a mining claim in the area. Day was a common name among the pioneers, but it is not known which particular one filed the claim in this tributary canyon of Big Cottonwood Canyon proper.
Those blurred and brownish cone-looking things in the below photo are Western Coneflowers…they’re part of the Sunflower family.
The eventual goal of this and the next two posts is to share my hike up the three-plus mountain miles that lead to the Days Fork mine near the canyon’s terminus; I could just share the pictures of the abandoned mine site, but as with many other pursuits in life, it’s not so much the destination that counts, as it is the journey that takes us there…. I’m told that the brownish, chewed-off branches or sticks that you can see in the photo below are actually young willow trees…a favorite snack/meal of the moose who wander the area.
For those of you who are interested, the trail is reported to be three and a half miles in length and gains 2,000 feet in elevation from start to finish, ending at 9,400 feet. I had hoped to capture interesting images of the rocks that you can see in the above trail…but ended-up with the below image of one part blurred rock, one part not-blurred rock, and one part beautiful water-droplets-on-grass-blades from the previous evening’s rain.
The historical information I mentioned above can be found in The Lady in the Ore Bucket, by Charles L. Keller…a retired engineer and an avocational historian who still leads hiking excursions into the local canyons…at more than 80 years of age….
I am still struck by the beautiful examples of the circle-of-life that I find on my canyon and mountainside hikes…like the sapling that is growing next to the broken trunk of an ancient tree that is slowly returning to the earth…its minerals nourishing the new tree that will take his place in the forest landscape, providing food and shelter for the small animal life and recycling life-sustaining elements that will be used again and again by his forest neighbors.
The above flower is a Colorado Columbine…a weighty name that evokes memories of a horrible event in our modern history of America…. I often find the flower standing alone, or with only a couple of blossoms on a single plant…making me wonder how it got there and why there are no others around it. I understand seed dispersal through winds and bird/animal droppings, but it still strikes me as strange that there aren’t more together, or at least nearby, when I find one or two of these alluring and beautiful flowers.
I believe the flowers below are Mountain Daisies…although, some of the pictures I’ve found of flowers with that name show varieties with wider and fewer petals…and others with white and yellow petals…so I’m not absolutely certain…but they do look like daisies, and I did find them on a mountain…so they’re Mountain Daisies anyway…. 🙂
You can see the large white patches of Cow Parsnip in the mountain meadow shown below…beautiful umbellifers that can grow to several feet in height after particularly wet winters and springs. Can you imagine standing there on the trail with me…absolutely nobody else around for at least a couple of miles…or more…? A slight breeze stirs the pine branches overhead…causes a ripple in the wild grass and flowers in the meadow…and brings the scent of wet forest mulch, like a natural perfume rising from the earth itself….
More to follow….
It’s probably not supposed to end, really, for if it did, what would that mean for humanity, what would that mean for all those people whose livelihoods depend on the shitty things that happen? My optimism wanes, at times, and even with a slant toward realism, I can’t help but hold the cynical view that things just suck sometimes, and with a “sometimes” that seems to occur with much more frequency than it did in days of yore.
The beautiful spring rains brought running rivers and streams and the natural greening hues to our desert city and surrounding areas. The wildflowers were in full bloom and were sustained for weeks and months by frequent rains and storms that were a bit unusual for our particular geography here in the desert southwest. And now the weeks and months have continued on their wheel and we are dead into the second week of summer. The sun is up and out earlier, and its heat is still felt deep into the night and early mornings. The wildflowers and weeds that were so beautiful and green a couple months ago have now gone the way of memories, but still stand in their brown and dried-out husks and broken-off stems along the streets, vacant lots, and river beds where they once flourished. The city-scapes that were transformed in the spring-time have removed themselves back into their desert hues and the denizens are now wilted way-farers who traverse the city streets and then seek the shaded parking spaces when they arrive at their destinations.
When the sun goes down, more people come out. The streets have more slow driving vehicles and more slow walking neighbors and passers-through, and they are hot and restless. Tempers that might have been slow to rise are now quick and furious. In some parts of town, the only air-conditioning to be found is in the corner convenience store and grocery store lobbies. Many homes only have the aged “swamp-coolers” that blow moist and warm air and only provide mild comfort…so people move to the out of doors, with beer in hand, and become part of the night…and part of the night commander’s duty report, as either suspect or victim. In addition to the normal or “run-of-the-mill” shootings, armed-robberies, home-invasions, and coyote infested drop-houses that routinely fill and occupy the commander’s report, we also had the following:
West City Precinct – Traffic Fatality. On a certain Sunday, at approximately 2152 hours, an adult female was driving her Mustang westbound on Timothy Road approaching 82nd Avenue. There were a total of six individuals in the vehicle; they were all juveniles except the driver. The adult driver apparently lost control of the car and collided with a large palm tree. A witness stated that he saw two pick-up trucks racing westbound and forced the Mustang into the median where it collided with the palm tree. Four of the passengers were ejected from the vehicle, including a two year-old. The adult driver and a 14 year-old juvenile were pronounced dead at the scene; the two-year-old child was in critical condition, and the remaining passengers were transported by Fire personnel to St. Josephus Hospital. Vehicular Crimes detectives responded and took disposition.
South City Precinct – Death of Child. On another certain Sunday afternoon at 3330 West Sunvale Avenue. A family attended church and then arrived home at approximately 1430 hours…and failed to bring their two year-old daughter into the house. The child was in the car seat and remained there until 1720 hours when the father went to the vehicle to run an errand. (How do you not notice your two year-old missing for almost three hours? How do you not notice your two year-old missing for 15 minutes?) The father attempted to administer CPR and called the Fire Department. Fire personnel transported the child to St. Josephus Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Violent Crimes Bureau detectives responded for disposition.
North-East City Precinct – Shooting/Suicide. On a certain Tuesday afternoon at 1545 hours, officers responded to 521 E. Whatever Circle in reference to a shooting. The investigation revealed an adult female victim that had been shot four times by her ex-boyfriend. The victim was transported to Ron P. Buchannan Hospital in critical condition and underwent emergency surgery. No contact could be made with the suspect who remained inside the victim’s home. Patrol officers established a perimeter and the SWAT team was called-out. The K-9 units and Air Unit were already on scene. When SWAT personnel made entry into the victim’s house, they located the suspect with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Violent Crimes Bureau detectives took disposition.
West City Precinct – Domestic Violence/Officer Involved Shooting. Officers responded to a shots-fired call at 3910 W. Whichever Road. On arrival, they heard shots being fired inside the house. The initial investigation revealed the adult male suspect was involved in an argument with family members, retrieved a gun, fired several rounds while inside the house, and then exited through the front door firing at officers. Two West City Precinct officers returned fire and struck the suspect several times. The suspect was transported to St Josephus Hospital. Violent Crimes Bureau detectives and Professional Standards Bureau detectives responded for disposition.
And lastly, while it didn’t make it into the night commander’s report because it didn’t happen at night, this one is still interesting…ok, odd. One of my employees asked me if I had heard about a particular call that he had taken on 9-1-1. I hadn’t, so he told me about it and then I listened to the recording.
9-1-1, Where is the emergency?
“4321 West Why-Not Lane.” The man spoke with something like a lisp, a murmur, or some type of blurred speech.
Is this medical?
“It’s kind of…yeah.”
Do you need paramedics?
What’s going on?
“I shot my wife and children.”
When did you do this?
This is Tuesday morning. You shot your wife on Friday?
Where is your wife now?
“She’s in her office, or my office. She’s laying on the floor.”
And where are the children?
“I don’t have any children.”
Is there anybody else in the house with you?
“I’ve got a couple dogs in the house. They’re just little things, Chihuahuas; they won’t hurt anybody.”
Ok. Let me get this straight. You shot your wife on Friday, right?
And she’s dead?
Ok. And are your kids there in the house with you?
“I said I don’t have any kids. There’s just me and the dogs in the house…and my wife back there in the office.”
And the dogs…they’re ok?
“Yeah, the dogs are fine. I like them.”
You like the dogs.
“Yeah, they’re good dogs.”
And you said you might need paramedics. Are you hurt or something?
“Yeah. I shot myself in the chin.”
You shot your wife and then shot yourself in the chin?
And you did this on Friday?
What’s your name?
And you’re at 4321 West Why-Not Lane?
Ok. Where is the gun that you used to shoot your wife?
“It’s there in the office. I put it up on the desk.”
Are there any other weapons in the house?
“Oh, yeah. I’ve got a .380 and a 45 in the living room and a 22 in the kitchen.”
And where are you in the house right now?
“I’m in the living room.”
Are you going to be ok when the officers get there? We don’t want you coming to the door with a gun in your hand.
“No. I’m fine. I’ve already fucked-up my life enough. I don’t want to hurt anybody else.”
Ok. It looks like officers are in the area. Can you see any police cars outside yet?
“No. There’s nobody here yet.”
Ok. You’re sure there’s nobody else in the house with you?
“Yeah, just me and the dogs…and my wife in the office. I can see a police car out front now.”
Ok. Are you outside?
And you don’t have anything in your hand but the phone, right?
“Nope, just the phone.”
On the recording, I could hear the officer in the background telling him to put down the phone.
“Should I put down the phone now? She’s telling me to.”
Yes. Set the phone down.
My operator had told me that the man had shot his wife and children. He said that he asked the guy several times about the kids and he kept telling him that he didn’t have kids. When I listened to the call, I had to play it back three times until I could discern what the guy said in that first minute of the call. He said “I shot my wife and killed her,” not “I shot my wife and children.” The injury he caused by shooting himself in the chin made the “and killed her” sound like “and children.” He shot his wife and killed her…on Friday.
It’s hotter than shit outside and people are doing stupid things. They’re drag-racing and forcing other drivers off the road, they’re shooting at each other, killing each other…and we’re shooting or killing some of them back, and they’re forgetting their babies in the back seat of their cars…after coming home from church…where are You when we need You, sweet Jesus?
**This is a Favorite Re-post from July, 2010.
I’m sure there’s a fancy name for them somewhere, but that information eluded me in my half-hour search of the internet…so here they are anyway, just sitting there prettily along the side of the trail in Millcreek Canyon.
No longer the guardian of the Wood…he is returning to the earth…from whence he came….
There’s a sound that a pick-axe makes when it’s plunged into the earth and dragged back out again; it’s the sound of metal opening the history of our lives, slamming into our powdery souls with a thick ferocity of hefted weight and muscle and sinew and limb…a stretching of cloth and skin in the arc toward the heavens of the steel head and hardwood handle singing through the air…and the slight visceral grunt as it lands with that freighted slice and drive through soil and rock, echoes cleaving the dust and clay that is ourselves and then…
there’s a sound that a saw makes when its teeth rip through the fibers of wood and brush; it’s the sound of a serrated blade slicing into our fingers or hands, driving through the cells of meat and unto bone…fine or rusted edges of metal rending our woody flesh, tearing it neatly into pieces that we hone and fit and hammer back together into other forms that cover and shelter us against the elements and gods; we take it with our hands and break it into pieces that will warm us or feed us, sometimes with the muted, wet splaying of green wood that wouldn’t break cleanly…like joints pulled backwards against nature and form…or with the sharp echoes of cracking branches and bones that flee into time and then…
there’s a sound that a scythe makes when it passes through grass and the wheat of the field; it’s the sound of an icy razor lifted and throwing light back at the sun, of muscles on shoulders and hips swaying in a life-rhythm and a whisper through the air and a shhhhhh through the grass as cell membranes burst against the blade and green it in its passing, dust and skin and grass and stem, seed-heads swaying in the breeze of man and his motion, aloft in the sky and a shhhhhh to the ground, the echoes of sunshine and air falling on the riching earth and then…
there’s a sound that flesh makes when it tears in that moment of thrust and climb, of muscle pounding into a hallowed cave; it’s the sound of hinge-less doors opening beneath a fusing flood of life and stranded helices, recombinant forms and particles charging, of a new pulse rising in a hidden place, one cell beating and beating…becoming…that time draws forth as it rips again, that sacred fleshy vault, echoes of life and death in a moment’s strain…and then…
there’s a sound that a house makes when it no longer harbors life within; it’s the sound of a derelict wind stealing through empty window panes and hollow echoes fading into the oblivion of lost time and then, memories disappearing like vapors drawn, weak flashes in smiles and tears, images forming and fading as sunlight passes through dust motes hanging…and when the moon finds night-time corners…sliding feet on worn boards, oil from hands on banisters evaporating molecules at a time, riding the ether of ever and gone, echoes of laughter and pain, no longer anchored with heartbeats away…echoes no longer anchored with heartbeats away…and then….
***Photo used with permission by Gary D. Bolstad at Krikitarts. The photograph was taken along the side of the road somewhere in Minnesota when Gary was returning home after a vacation in the woods. I encourage you to visit Gary’s site to share in his beautiful photography that demonstrates his love and fascination with our natural world.