Archive for August, 2013

Also found in Yorkshire, England…?

I was visiting one of my favorite bloggers from the United Kingdom, James at Walking with a smacked Pentax, and noticed some very familiar flowers in one of his photos…one of his photos taken in Yorkshire…in northern England.  Take a look at the flowers in the third photo of this post and tell me if they don’t look just like the ones pictured below….

Dr Seuss Flowers at Bells Canyon Upper Reservoir

I don’t know the proper name of the little guys, as I’ve had no luck finding them in my wildflower resources yet, but I refer to them as “Dr Seuss flowers” because they remind me of the flowers in the movie, Horton Hears a Who!  I realize they’re not the same color as the flowers in the movie, but seeing a huge field of them quickly brought the movie to my mind.

Dr Seuss Flowers again at Bells Canyon Upper Reservoir

Anyway…it appears that James’ flowers from Yorkshire are the same (or at least incredibly similar) as the ones I have found along the shore of Bells Canyon Upper Reservoir here in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, USA…at approximately 9,400 feet in elevation…where they spend the winters buried beneath 6-10 feet of snow, if not more.  In the below photo, the flowers are the bits of brown that are scattered among the green, just beneath and to the right of the two large, two-toned tree stumps toward the left of the image.

Bells Canyon Upper Reservoir August 2013

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Colorado Columbine….

Quite possibly my favorite flower ever…ever…

Colorado Columbine


Lake Florence in the Morning

You might remember the lake from last year when I did the posts on the Sister Lakes of the Wasatch Mountains.  You can click on “Sister Lakes – Lake Florence” to learn more about this lake.  The earlier post also has links to the other Sister Lakes if you’re interested in the more complete history of the area.

Lake Florence in the morning


Lake Desolation from above….

You saw the mountainside flower garden just below the other side of the ridge here…and the image below is what you can see when you look down the ridge in the opposite direction.  From approximately 9,600 feet in elevation, you can see out through Millcreek Canyon, clear across the Salt Lake Valley, and visualize the open pit mine on the eastern face of the Oquirrh Mountains…the western geographical boundary of the Valley….

Lake Desolation from above


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on the edge

Granite mountain and pine/fir trees


Cardiff Fork…middle….

I suppose this is right about where we left off at the end of the other post, “Cardiff Fork…beginning….”  You can see my son standing on the remaining basement wall of the bunkhouse where the miners used to live and sleep.  That bit of a brown line near the stumps or logs in the foreground of the image, the part that looks something like a saw-dust trail, is actually a decomposing tree that is headed back into the ground.

Cardiff Fork remains of miners' bunkhouse

We found about a half-dozen established camping areas throughout our hike in the largely privately-owned canyon of Cardiff Fork.  This was something very unusual, given that all of the other hiking locations in the canyons of our local Wasatch Mountains are essentially wilderness areas and the most we might find is a recently used fire-ring.  My son is examining a metal arrowhead that he found laying atop the stump/post next to him.  It seems the landowners have put quite a bit of work into having a nice place to sit and cook for their camping/hunting excursions.

Cardiff Fork Private Property campsite

The below photo is looking further, or deeper into the fork…

Cardiff Fork Mountain backdrop

…and this next photo is looking back at the trail from somewhere near the base of the trees in the above image.

Cardiff Fork meadow

I would imagine that the hole was larger when the mine was being worked, but it seems to have been filled-in a bit, either naturally or intentionally, over the years since it was in operation.  There was a bit of a cool and wetly metallic breeze coming out of the ground here….

Cardiff Fork mine - Keep Out

The boiler and bit of a foundation with re-bar sticking up from the ground is all that remains of the Baby McKee mine.

Cardiff Fork hillside boiler

I’m not sure why, but it was kind of neat walking across these huge slabs of rock on the hillside.  I’ve not encountered anything like them in the dozens of other locations I’ve hiked here in the Wasatch….

Cardiff Fork mountain slab

It’s fascinating to contemplate the geological forces that must have combined to cause the canyon to appear as it does today…such mind-boggling power coming from inside the earth.

Cardiff Fork distant figure

We were nearing the end of the Cardiff Fork canyon at this point.  You can see that there’s a bit of a bowl up there above the wormy line of trees near the upper center of the photo.  We actually headed up the slope on the left side of the rock slabs toward the right of the image…our goal being to make it to the top, or right side of the line of trees and then to look down into the bowl or cirque.  We imagined that there might be another mine up there, although there were no roads leading up to it…so maybe there was no mine.

Cardiff Fork cirque from afar

My son and I couldn’t see it from the vantage point where I made the above photo, but if you’ll look at that darker spot of rock just down from nearly the very center of the line of trees in the photo, that’s where we found the shaft and broken rock structure that are in the next two photos.

Cardiff Fork grated shaft

Cardiff Fork hillside stone structure remains

Stay tuned for the next and final post in the Cardiff Fork series.


water birds

I mentioned in an earlier post how my little one and I went fishing at Scofield Reservoir, about 100 miles south and east of Salt Lake City…and how we didn’t come home with any fish.  We did come home with some photos of birds that we had never seen, though.  Below is a Western Grebe, not to be confused with a Craig’s Grebe.  The most significant difference, to my novice birder’s eye, is that the black hood goes below the eyes on the Western Grebe and remains above the eyes on the Craig’s Grebe.

Western Grebe at Scofield Reservoir Utah

The next two photos are of Sandhill Cranes….  It was unusual to see such large birds walking near a lake/reservoir way up in the Mountain West area of Utah.  I have read that our region is along the migratory routes of many types of birds, but just hadn’t seen much of anything that fit the definition of such birds yet.

Sandhill Cranes and young near Scofield Reservoir Utah

One of the sources that helped me identify the birds showed photos of large gray birds with the red forehead, so I thought I was wrong about their name, but then they also showed other photos similar to these guys, indicating that the migratory cranes are usually scruffier and brown, while still keeping their red forehead.

Sandhill Cranes near Scofield Reservoir Utah

And lastly, here’s an American White Pelican…way the hell out in the mountains and hundreds of miles away from any ocean.  The link states that they breed on lakes throughout the northern Great Plains and in the mountain west, but winter along the coast.  I guess they can pretty much go wherever they want to.  I thought it was nice to find them where we did.  There appeared to be a huge flock of the large birds waaaay off in the distance, but this one was the closest I could capture for a clear photo.

Pelican at Scofield Reservoir Utah


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Morning Aspen


Antelope Island beyond Grandeur Peak

When hiking in the Wasatch Mountains, depending upon one’s elevation, one can see past the mountaintops and into the beyond…and in this case, out into the Great Salt Lake…where one can discern the familiar silhouette image of Antelope Island…approximately 30 miles to the north and west.

I made this image from the mountainside in Bowman Fork, one of the tributary drainages that run south from Millcreek Canyon…just east of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

Antelope Island beyond Grandeur Peak


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Take heed, Icarus….

Tiny fly over sunflower