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…..

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17 responses

  1. Pretty grand vistas . . . had you not mentioned the person, they would have easily been lost in the expansive view.

    July 4, 2013 at 8:49 am

    • Yes, quite grand, Emilio…and the picture was intentional with the person down there in the corner…just to demonstrate perspective…..

      July 4, 2013 at 4:12 pm

  2. There is no feeling like sharing the raw physical beauty of our vast landscapes…Thank you for the photos.

    July 4, 2013 at 9:57 am

    • It is incredible being out there, Charlie…as you know well. You’re welcome for the photos….and thank you, too, for being here.

      July 4, 2013 at 4:13 pm

  3. Such a magnificent landscape, superbly photographed Scott!

    July 4, 2013 at 11:28 am

    • It surely is magnificent, Adrian….and thank you. 🙂

      July 4, 2013 at 4:14 pm

  4. Seems to be getting kind of crowded on those trails. Couldn’t find the artifact…. to be honest, I’m not sure I found the trail! 😀

    July 4, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    • Oh, this was by far the least populated trail so far this year…we only passed two people, saw a handful more off in the distance…and encountered only a couple more as we approached the end near the trailhead. Yeah, I saw that the artifact was rather hidden in the digital blur of the distance, so the next post starts with it…and then two photos to help define the trail….

      July 4, 2013 at 4:11 pm

  5. Oh boy, what a vista, and you’ll soon have to buy some more pins……I envy you those real mountains. Have a great 4th, Scott.

    July 4, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    • Thank you, thank you, John…I do have another box of pins sitting in the desk drawer just waiting….. And I do love those mountains, too…so happy that I can share them with you here. Thank you for the holiday wishes, also.

      July 4, 2013 at 4:02 pm

  6. A very beautiful set. I enjoyed each and every picture, and felt as if I was traveling with you as a ghost… after the fact, of course.

    July 4, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    • Thank you very much, Shimon…I’m glad you could be there with me.

      July 4, 2013 at 4:15 pm

  7. Beautiful country Scott! Easy to see why you return there.

    July 4, 2013 at 9:15 pm

  8. What a beautiful hikes you make…. and where is the photo of the map with all the pins? 😉

    July 5, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    • Coming soon…. 😉

      July 5, 2013 at 9:27 pm

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