Archive for July, 2013

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Cedar Valley Morning

Cedar Valley morning, Utah


the unsent letter…again….

I wanted you to know that I love you.

I wanted you to know that I still love you.

I wanted you to know that, even with everything that has happened between us, and even not between us, but between those others who we loved or love, that I still love you.

I wanted you to know that there is a piece of my life that is missing because you aren’t a part of it like you used to be.

I wanted you to know that even when my words have been infrequent or nonexistent, my heart still speaks; it still loves you and misses you.

I wanted you to know that even when you’re gone, I will still love you.

I wanted you to know that I will still love you when I’m gone, whenever and however that might happen, or whatever that might mean.

I wanted you to know that even though you’re gone, I still love you.

I wanted you to know that I haven’t taken you for granted.

I wanted you to know that I haven’t been uninterested in you and your life just because I haven’t asked you questions about you and your life…I was giving you space.

I wanted you to know that the others still ask about you, still think about you, still wonder about you.

I wanted you to know that it’s not too late.

I wanted you to know that I’m sorry that I wasn’t what you needed me to be when you needed me to be different than I was.

I wanted you to know that I’m sorry I didn’t grow or change fast enough to make the difference that you needed me to make.

I wanted you to know that I was there when you thought I wasn’t, but I didn’t know how to make myself more known to you.

I wanted you to know that my anger was really sadness…or shame, but I didn’t know how to express it as such.

I wanted you to know that when I seemed to be distant and unconcerned, I was really hiding inside myself because I was hurting, too.

I wanted you to know that I never meant to hurt you…even though it appears that I didn’t try hard enough in meaning to not hurt you.

I wanted you to know that there were times that I was selfish and wasn’t thinking about you and others, and I’m sorry for being that way.

I wanted you to know that I know the past cannot be undone and that some things cannot be fixed.

I wanted you to know that I’m sorry that I hurt you when I did what I did.

I wanted you to know that I’m sorry that I hurt you when I said what I said and wrote what I wrote.

I wanted you to know that I will understand if you can’t forgive me, if you don’t forgive me, if you won’t forgive me.

I wanted you to know that I still love you.

I wanted you to know that what you did to the others hurts me, too, and I don’t know what to do about it.

I wanted you to know that regardless of the decisions you made yesterday, or last week, or last month, or last year, I still love you.

I wanted you to know that regardless of the decisions you make right now, or tomorrow, I will still love you.

I wanted you to know that I’m sorry I didn’t protect you when I should have.

I wanted you to know that I’m sorry I didn’t speak-up for you when I should have.

I wanted you to know that I don’t expect you to be like everyone else; I love you for who you are.

I wanted you to know that I don’t like the distance that exists between us, the obstacles of time and place and not-talking and isolation that have grown like fences and rivers and mountains and dotted lines on maps…like boundaries that split and divide us.

I wanted you to know that I love you, still.

***This is a Favorite Re-post from May, 2010.


Toward the Saddle…

The most prominent peak of the Wasatch Mountains that form the eastern geographical boundary of the greater Salt Lake Valley is actually a set of peaks named “Twin Peaks.”  There is only a two-foot difference in their elevation and they lie in a somewhat east/west orientation and are often referred to with the designations of “East Twin” and “West Twin.”  Located about 100 yards apart, the peaks measure 11,330 and 11,328 feet respectively, east and west, and rise approximately 7,000 feet from the valley floor.

You might remember a photo similar to the one below in my post “It’s great to be alive in the West” from March of this year.  When I made this photo, I was located about 4-5 miles south of the front, or western face of the mountain, so we can only actually see the west peak from this view.

Twin Peaks from the south in March

The peaks are often referred to as the Broads Fork Twin Peaks, as this is the most common approach to the peaks…and the below photo shows what they look like from Broads Fork.  You might remember similar photos from my two posts on the area last summer.  The saddle is located in the deepest part of the ridge-line toward the left of the image…which is still a bit of a hike from the beaver pond.

Broads Fork Twin Peaks morning reflection

This is Sunrise Peak to the left and the southern edge of the west Twin Peak to the right…with the saddle right there in the middle.

Trail to the saddle

And this photo below is right about where I ended my foray into the area last year…it should be photo #8 in the post, “Broads Fork – Part II.”  Actually, I think I was a little further up the trail last year…about where you can see the people…to the right of the left-leaning stick, just down from the mass of trees…just left of the middle of the image.

Trail to the saddle with backpack

There’s a man and woman toward the bottom of the below photo…the woman is wearing the neon green shirt and turquoise shorts…we’ll see them again later….

People heading up....

We can still see the woman and her neon clothing in the below image…just down a little and over to the right of the huge rock that is a little ways below the horizon…if it’s hard to find her, keep the rock and where the woman should be in the center third of the photo….  She’s there….

People almost gone

About one-third of the way up the slope, I was wondering if I was crazy…wondering if I really needed to keep going upwards…so I found a flat stone for a seat and turned around while I had another drink and an apple…….wondering…..

Turn around and look toward the east

If you noticed the yellow hue to the side of the highest peak toward the left of the above image, here’s a closer look at it…from miles away, literally, you can see the color of thousands (and millions?) of sunflowers that covered Mt. Raymond…some of which I have already featured here.

Mt Raymond's yellow mantle

One can only sit on the side of a mountain for so long eating an apple and having a drink before one has to decide whether to keep climbing up or to head back down to the truck…so I turned and looked up again…and up again…and figured “What the hell,” and kept climbing…one step at a time…this isn’t a race, right…….?  And you can tell that we’re looking UP, right?  There’s a bit of a trickle of water in that darker spot…down and to the right of the big rock that is now on the horizon….

Closer to the saddle

How many of you have been to a gym or fitness center and tried their “Stair Master?”  We’re still looking UP in the below photo….

Still going upward

Remember the man and woman from the earlier photos?  I had asked them if there was a clear trail to the top…the woman said “yes” and the man said “no.”  He said there’s no trail, but “you’ll know where to go.”  It seemed that I needed to head toward that bit of a notch in the rock between the middle and left spots of snow….

Headed toward the notch

In the notch now and still moving upward…hanging-on to cracks in the side of the rock, scrambling on hands and feet….

Going up the notch

Looking toward the right of the notch…the lighter peak is the west twin….

Looking right from the notch at western Twin

…and after another bit of a scramble and a climb, I’m sitting on the saddle…

Sitting on the saddle

Wow!  Looking toward the south, I see the southern ridges of Little Cottonwood Canyon….

Looking south from the saddle

…looking toward the west I can see out over the Salt Lake Valley….  Those are the Oquirrh Mountains out there, the western geographical boundary…and that lighter-colored, damnable open-pit mine is toward the right edge of the mountains.

Looking out over Salt Lake valley

Back south again at the Pfefferhorn on the left…

Pfefferhorn and ridge

and the Lone Peak ridge….

Lone Peak Ridge

…and now a self-portrait looking toward the east again…with that beaver pond from the earlier photo…a little bit above the tip of my boot…waaaay down there.

Self portrait looking east

You can see the woman in her neon-colored clothing and her hiking companion near the top of the lower peak, down in the right-hand corner of the below image…rather tiny….  They were actually coming back DOWN from being up on Twin Peaks…already coming down and I just made it to the saddle……

West Twin with people on right

After the slippery and slow climb back down from the saddle, it was nice to make it to the spring again…such clean and cold and refreshing water.  I refilled my two empty bottles and headed on my way.

Back at the spring, safe and sound

One last look at Broads Fork Twin Peaks before climbing a small, final rise and then hiking down the remaining three miles of trail back to the truck.  If you’d like to read more about Twin Peaks and the various ways one can reach the summits, you can click right here to be taken to Summit Post, one of the leading web-sites for climbing and hiking enthusiasts…not just for Utah, but for all over the world….

Final look at Broads Fork Twin Peaks

If you’d like to see where Broads Fork and the Twin Peaks are located on the map I recently shared on the blog, click here, and then find the second yellow pin up from the bottom of the map in the first image…it’s just to the left of center in the photo…and then it happens to be the only yellow pin, also near the bottom, on the second photo.  Also, as a reminder to help with orientation/direction, the view of the map is looking eastward up the canyons…so the right side of the map is toward the south, the left is toward the north, and behind you (not on the map) is toward the west.

Thank you, yet again, for spending a bit of your time with me…for accompanying me on another hike into the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.


Fields (mountainside) of gold (yellow)…..

Yellow wildflowers on mountainside

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Mountainside of sunflowers


to have a slanted view…

…is not necessarily a bad thing.  My son and I had just completed the half circle trail around the base of Mt Raymond, the prominence toward the right of the image, and were making our way down Bowman Fork and back into Millcreek Canyon.  The slope where you can see my son walking is down from another mountain feature that has been named “Gobbler’s Knob” because of the wild turkeys that used to be found in the area.

Mt Raymond from Bowman Fork Trail


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in pleasant company

Utah Sunflowers, maybe?


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almost done

Salt Lake City sunset


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Big Cottonwood Canyon from Baker’s Pass

Wasatch Mountains and Clouds


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In dreaming, I saw a dark valley….

Dark Valley of Mineral Fork


mountainside flower garden

On top of the world, so to speak, is where I found this natural garden…that is the crest or ridge-line along the top of a chain of mountains…and the flowers grow in profusion on the east-facing down-slope.  If you’d like to know where this is, exactly, go back to the map that I posted recently, find the yellow and pink pins toward the top of the map, follow the arcing white ridge down and to the left of the yellow pin until you come to the next pink pin….these flowers are literally right above that pink pin on the white ridge…or just down the other side, precisely.

Mountainside flower garden


…is still a rose….

A rose…by any other name….

pink rose close-up


Mineral Fork in June…part two….

Here we are again, picking up where we left-off at the end of the other post, Mineral Fork in June…part one….  This is the mining artifact that we couldn’t really see at the end of the trail in the next to last photo of the other post…and this is also the location where I was standing when looking down upon the person and trail in the very last photo of the previous post.

Mineral Fork Johnson Regulator Mine artifacts

And another “people shot” below to help add some perspective to the grandness of the location….

Mineral Fork human perspective

The below photo shows the trail in August of last year, 2012…taken at essentially the same location…so you can see how much of it is covered with snow in the above photo.

Mineral Fork trail August 2012

This is my first sighting of a mountain goat out in the wild, ever.  I’ve heard and read that they were in the area….and are usually found very high in the more rocky aspects of the Wasatch Mountains….  This one happened to be waaaaaay up on the side of the cirque, or bowl, at the end of the fork/valley….and I was waaaaaay down on the trail, so this is the best photo that  I could get…but you can still tell what it is…right?

Mountain Goat in Mineral Fork

Below, my son is sitting on a rock about 50-75 yards down from the head-water, or origin, of the stream that runs the entire length of Mineral Fork and joins Big Cottonwood Stream at the other end, roughly four miles away.  Imagine walking about that distance back up into the bowl that is behind him and listening to water running under the rocks….  It was quite loud…almost rushing, as it passed beneath the scree and finally made its way out from under the rock and became a recognizable stream…..and Holy Buddha, that was some cold water!

Mineral Fork stream headwater

And here I am on a rock in the middle of the nascent stream…loving my little spot in the mountains…..

Scott at Mineral Fork stream

My son and I followed this lower switchback trail up to the higher switchbacks (that you can see in the earlier post), but went off trail and followed the stream through its windings and droppings in elevation back down to a a similar location on the opposite side of the canyon…which affords us this distant look at the trail as it begins to climb upward.  These prominent switchbacks cause this trail to be referred to as the “zigzag trail” in various literature on the area…and can be seen clearly from the mountain ridges several miles to the north.

Mineral Fork early switchbacks from afar

Here’s another view of the zigzag trail, below, that I’ve provided to help with scale and proportion again….  Can you see the two people highlighted against the snow…slightly below and to the left of the center of the photo?

Mineral Fork people perspective against the snow

This is the eastern ridge of Mineral Fork…facing south…and illuminated with the full brightness of the afternoon sun.

Mineral Fork eastern ridge

And this is a final look at Mineral Fork…looking backwards, though, toward its beginning at Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Mineral Fork mountain vista

If you’d like to see a visual reference to where Mineral Fork is situated in Big Cottonwood Canyon itself, you can click on this link to be taken to my last post that includes a map of the area….find the central spine of mountains in the approximate middle of the map and then find the second purple pin up from the bottom of the image.

As always, thank you for being here, for spending a bit of your time with me…I hope you’ve enjoyed exploring another section of the Wasatch Mountains, just east of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.


Addendum to – “Mineral Fork in June…part one….”

In reference to my mentioning (in this earlier post) the map above my desk at work with variously colored pins denoting the number of times I’ve hiked particular trails, Yvonne asked “…where is the photo of the map with all the pins?”

Well here it is, Yvonne…with a second photo of a close-up.  If you can zoom-in close enough to see the names, you’ll notice Millcreek Canyon is the one toward the left, Big Cottonwood Canyon in the middle heading toward the yellow and pink pins closer toward the top of the map, and then Little Cottonwood Canyon towards the right.  The more open area at the far right of the map, near the glare and the single pink and yellow pins, is American Fork Canyon…which is in Utah County, south of the Salt Lake Valley proper.

Map of Wasatch Mountain hiking trails

You can see the new purple pin for Mineral Fork…indicating three or more hikes to that location.  The pin should actually be placed at about the fourth to last dash in that black dotted line, as that is approximately where the cirque is located…with only a tiny portion of a very faint trail remaining up to the top of the ridge…which happens to actually come down into the next drainage by the Sister Lakes of Blanche, Florence, and Lillian, where you see the next purple pin….  With the map right there at my desk, it’s hard to concentrate on work sometimes…planning my next hike….

close-up of map with pins


…celebration….

Fireworks are legal in Utah…and people are allowed to shoot them off three days before the holiday and three days afterwards…and if the Fourth of July isn’t enough, the locals have another state holiday called “Pioneer Day” that falls on July 24th…with more fireworks three days before and after…and it sounds like Beirut…or a deep-summer Friday night on the south side of Phoenix happening all over again in my backyard…..

Street-level fireworks


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…by any other name….

black rose


Mineral Fork in June…part one….

In the grand scheme of things, I’ve not lived near the trails and canyons of the Wasatch Mountains for very long…but it seems that I have lived here long enough to hike on some of the trails more than a few times now.  I have a map above my desk at work and I place a colored pin at the terminus of each hike I’ve made over the last few years…a yellow pin for a place that I’ve been only once, pink for the second time, and purple for three or more times.  I’m thinking about a red pin for places that I’ve been ten or more times, but so far, I have only one place that I could use it and have simply not gotten around to actually doing so yet.

Mineral Fork - looking down the valley

At any rate, this hike into Mineral Fork allowed me to place a purple pin on my map…it was my third venture into the area, this tributary canyon or drainage that runs south from Big Cottonwood Canyon.  My first adventure was in the fall of 2011 and it was crazy beautiful with the changing colors of the aspen and other deciduous trees and bushes.  You can view some of the photos from that trip by clicking here.  Did you notice the person in the below photo…?  He’s about 2/3 of the way up the trail from where it comes out of the shadow…and a little bit before the trail turns sharply back to the left at that first switchback….

Mineral Fork early switchbacks

My second trip into Mineral Fork was in August of last year and I didn’t do much of a post on it, just shared some images of the wildflowers, which you can see here.

Mineral Fork looking back

On those first two hikes, I traveled alone and stopped often to marvel at the mass of nature that surrounded me…and stopped to take some photos so that I would have proof of my journeys and something to share with my family and friends who didn’t accompany me out and into the canyons.  My older son joined me on this most recent trip…and aside from the utility of having a constant human-sized reference to add perspective to some of my photos, it was nice to have a companion join me in seeing the area for his first time…which caused me to see and notice things that I hadn’t seen on my other adventures.

Wasatch Mine in Mineral Fork

Even though we made the hike during the third week of June, we still encountered the lingering mountain snow on the trails.  The switchback trail is usually wide enough for two people to walk side by side….

Mineral Fork snowy switchbacks in the cirque

…but as you can see in the next two photos, we were often down to only a single track of exposed rock….

Mineral Fork snow covered switchback trail

…and at a couple of points along the way, we actually had to make new tracks into the crusted and melting snow so that we could continue down the trail.  If you zoom-in a bit on the below photo, you might be able to see an artifact of the abandoned Regulator-Johnson mine at the far end of the trail……or maybe not….

Mineral Fork approaching the terminus

The view from the last photo is looking toward the north-east from the end of the trail…the cone of rock to the right of the image is Kessler Peak, and the mountains off in the distance is the northern ridge or slope of Big Cottonwood Canyon…and there’s another person in the below photo, as well…he’s sitting on a rock on the left side of the trail, just above the snow at the bottom of the image.

Mineral Fork looking down from the terminus

Stay tuned for the second part….coming soon…..


late in the season of poppies….

Poppies 1

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Poppies 2

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Poppies 3

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Poppies 4


Dromedary Peak…twice…..

This is an early-June, 2013 photograph of one of the iconic mountains that provide a backdrop to the Sister Lakes in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah.  Found at the terminus of the drainage or tributary canyon, Mill B South, it is a frequent site and common reference when trying to orient one’s self while hiking in this area of Big Cottonwood Canyon.  If you’d like to see other images of Dromedary Peak, you can scroll to the bottom of the page and type its name in the search widget to be provided with a list of other posts that contain photos from other seasons.

Dromedary Peak reflection


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wild rose and horse mint

Wild Rose and Horse Mint from Cardiff Fork, Utah