The last eleven miles of the trip to Sycamore Canyon were on a dirt road that started out good and ended up bad…clouds of dust rolled up behind me in the morning light, making a hazy contrail that faded and ran in the rear-view mirror…eight miles to go and I almost didn’t stop….seven miles to go and I couldn’t not-stop. They stretched that far, first thin and then full. I got out of the truck and was surprised at the coolness of the air…and the light perfume that rode on its tiniest breezes. There was a fresh sweetness everywhere…literally surrounding me on this high-desert plain.
Here is yet another of El Mac’s murals that one can find in Phoenix. You can see some of his other work in City Paint Phoenix 3, 6, 7, and City Paint 4 and 17 in Salt Lake City….and you can get to those other posts by scrolling to the bottom right corner of this page and clicking on Street Art – Graffiti under the Categories widget. This particular mural is located on the south and street-facing side of Love and Hate Tattoo and Piercing, located at 322 West McDowell Road. You can click on their highlighted name to be taken to their webpage…if you’re interested.
It’s been almost a full year since I drove away from the Salt Lake City area to return to my former and current home in Phoenix, Arizona. During this year, I have longed for a return to “my mountains” and the canyons and trails that occupied so many of my weekends when I lived there….and while I haven’t actually made the drive or taken a flight to make it back up there yet, I have visited it often in my mind and through the medium of the hundreds and thousands of images that I made while I was there.
I just made a rough count of my photo library, and if it’s anywhere near correct, I went on hikes or exploratory excursions into the Wasatch Mountains at least 140 times during my 3.75 years of living in the Salt Lake area. I forgot (I don’t know how!!) my camera on one occasion, but it was with me on the other 99.21% of those hikes. And, of those 140 ventures into the mountains and canyons in my “back-yard,” I visited Little Cottonwood Canyon at least 27 times…sometimes hiking only the first half, other times just the second half, sometimes hiking to a specific spot on the winter stream to capture images of the magical ice patterns and formations, and on other occasions hiking from one end to the other and then exploring further into the area beyond what was considered part of the formal trail…further away from the tracks and traces of people, into what we might consider the “wilderness,” both figuratively and literally, as certain areas of this section of the Wasatch Mountains had been designated official Wilderness Areas by the federal government.
The western-most trail-head to Little Cottonwood Trail is located at the eastern-most end of the parking-lot for the Temple Quarry nature trail….and it was roughly a 15 minute drive from my home…. I visited the canyon during all seasons, as you can see from the three galleries…Spring and Summer in the first, Fall in the second, and magical Winter in the third.
Having lived in the urban desert of Arizona for more than 20 years before moving to Utah, it was amazing and wonderful to my mountain-loving soul to find myself is such an environment…every vista made my heart soar…and near every glance around made me want to capture its image for safekeeping against a day when I might not be able to view it again. And…it was a thrill to bring those photographs back home and look at them again on the computer…and then share them with you here on the blog….so you might recognize some, or many of these images.
And finally, the beauty and magic of Winter in the Wasatch Mountains…Little Cottonwood Canyon viewed from afar and from very close. While it was often incredibly cold, I enjoyed being out and in the canyon at this time of year. It was so captivating visually, that even with freezing fingers, I stayed out there for several hours at a time, slowly walking the trail, perching precariously over the ice-cold stream, and climbing over boulders in the forest and in some portions of the winter dry stream-bed (most of the water being captured upstream to be piped into town for drinking water).
While this post is for everyone to enjoy, I brought these images together specifically for one of my dear blog friends, George Weaver, at She Kept a Parrot and The Fuzzy Foto. Ever since George and I stumbled across each other’s blogs, shortly after I moved to Utah almost five years ago, she has been a constant blog companion, following me on hikes through the mountains and canyons, and admiring the treasures of photos that I brought home to share. At first, she said the mountains looked fearsome, but she came to love them and looked forward to seeing them week after week. George came to especially enjoy Little Cottonwood Canyon…and we have agreed that if we were ever to meet in the Hereafter, it was going to be on the trail in this little piece of mountain heaven.
Thank you for your encouragement and companionship, George….sending you peaceful thoughts and a warm embrace.
You might remember that in the last City Paint post about the mermaid knitting her tail, I mentioned another mural about Native American/Pacific Islander myths being melded into one vision, or something like that….well, this is that mural. I didn’t to into much detail about it in the earlier post, but the owner of the building told me that this mural represents the joining of myths from these two cultures…or the one people trying to understand or view the other through that other’s totem or spirit animal. You can see by the alignment of figures, from left to right, that the Pacific Islander is looking toward the right…through the Native American’s spirit animal, the wolf, to his own spirit animal, the whale…and the Native American on the far right is looking through the whale to his own animal on the far left. That’s what I understood, anyway…and I hope it’s a fair representation in word of what the artist meant to portray when he explained it to the building owner….or what I understood the building owner to say about what the artist said…….hmm…..
If you will click on the first image in this first gallery, you’ll see the mural entire…the next four images are segments of the mural when viewed from left to right.
The second gallery contains isolation shots of what I thought were some of the more interesting portions of the mural….
And lastly, these are some angled shots that give yet another perspective….to what I think is a fascinating and remarkable bit of building art. If you’re new to the gallery presentation of the images, you can click on any photo to be taken to a slide-show presentation of the images where you can view them in a larger format.