I visited an old friend when I was in Salt Lake City a couple of months ago…
You might remember it from the first posting here…
There is something particularly alluring about the bridge and its location…something that makes me want to return again and again….
Five and a half years have passed since I made the first photograph on a sweet April morning in Salt Lake City, Utah. Dense river-side vegetation and seriously overhanging limbs prevented me from gaining even a similar perspective of that earlier image…so this is what it looks from the other side.
The camera-phone six hundred and some miles away clicked in my daughter’s hand…fingers poked a message into the screen, and the image was transported across digital waves of something/nothingness and caused a small vibration from my phone…and I found it, many hours later, a tiny treasure…full of meaning and memories…of little ones cuddling on my lap, whispered words of “Papa’s mountains,” and the feel of a trail underfoot…images cascading in flashes of recall…sounds of water crashing or quietly rolling down the canyon…a scent of warm summer pine and wildflower…or the comforting wood-smoke on an icy morning while snow crunched underfoot….
I have crossed that bridge dozens of times…under the thick canopy of spring and summer fullness in the trees above, while the heady aroma of the mountains blew light or strong down the canyon….or atop a foot or more of snow piled high and reassuring, while I stood or knelt and made images of Christmas-tree-like reflections in the ice and snow rimmed stream…and then gone home to little one’s arms around my neck…”Did you have a nice hike, Papa…?”
*Iphound treasure courtesy of K. Brill, 8/31/16, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Salt Lake City, Utah.
I made this photo while on the way to Red Pine Lake near the end of December, 2013. You can click here to see a strikingly different image of the same location that I made in September, 2012. If you cross this bridge and follow the trail to its end, you will find yourself near the three alpine lakes of Maybird Gulch. I have only made the trip once in my three years here in the Wasatch…a short foray into the area that found me hopping unsteadily from one treacherously snow-covered boulder to another around the lower lake. It was rather nerve wracking and I haven’t been back…but I will get there again in the warmer months when the green mountains are more suited to exploration.
This is a rather mid-town view of another bridge that goes over the Jordan River…the waterway that spans the entire Salt Lake Valley…coming north from Utah Lake in Utah County, by Provo and Orem…slicing through the more than fifty miles of its course and emptying into the Great Salt Lake at the far northwestern end of the city. I’ve mentioned before that there is a walkway that parallels the river for much of the way…a nice inner-city refuge for the individual seeking some quiet time closer to nature, but not away and out in the mountains. There is a golf course off to the left and neighborhoods to the right and directly ahead in the image. If you like photos of bridges, you can go to the bottom of the page and click on the Categories widget and find the selection for Bridges…which will provide a rolling page of all the posts I’ve provided over the years that contain bridges….
Found on the pedestrian bridge….
Some might say that we’ve been wrought with a fierce hand that’s guided by an unkind heart…or maybe one that doesn’t care, doesn’t know how to, just gives us a life, kicks us from the womb of our beginning, suckles us on a raw tit and then dumps us out the door as soon as our legs can hold us. We can’t be blind, or we’ll die from sundry things, so we learn to look where things mightn’t be normally, we learn with knocks and scrapings how to get along, to grab what we can and hope it will be good enough for a while. In time there’s a longing that holds us, that draws us toward things that others pass-by, that others see, per chance, and think nothing of…but it’s those things that give us a yearning for a kindly pursuit, a craving to know what might be…and so our life goes, driven by an unseen thing that could consume us if we’d let it, if we’d loose the things that bind it to within a natural limit of how it might be. And sometimes there’s naught within us to hold it…and we go about with a frightening urgency, seeking some definition for our unfettered minds, seeking something to give them form, to harness our desires, to make them ride on a certain rail, to progress in a certain direction….and sometimes we don’t find it, don’t find that thing that renders our efforts meaningful…don’t find that thing that consumes us, that drives us into a future that is ours to make and hold…and we keep seeking.
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….
The moment’s rain fell in soft drops on the light gray earth, each tiny globe of water making a slightly larger wet crater in the dirt of time that had filtered and sifted from mountain streams and into the great rivers and lake on the western horizon. Men had brought it in by the truck-full to build the bank on which they sat…on which they sat and deep into the waning light as dragon flies and mud swallows dipped and lunged across the water’s upper edge, seeking a dusking meal against the long night….
Mama’s gonna wonder where I’m at, you know….
Ever since you’ve been grown enough to leave the yard, Mama’s known that you’ve been with me. You ain’t never been nowhere else.
Then why are you saying she’s gonna wonder where you’re at?
Cause she’ll still wonder.
Well, she’ll find out when she normally does, then, won’t she?
A fish jumped in the darkling water, making ripples spread into the long grass and reeds along the shore, tiny water molecule waves carrying the gray dust that slid and fell from the bank beneath bare feet and sneakers pushing and moving stones and sticks out of the way for legs to stretch into their powdery nests. The fish caught nothing in his flight and swam further downstream, gliding with the gentle current, fish eyes looking up from the sides of his fish head, looking for something that wasn’t there now that the sun was gone and gone and brightening someone else’s day.
The rain left a smell of wet dust and nothing more as its bedtime clouds thinned and fled in the blacking sky. Stars appeared in their distance between the cobweb lattice-work of the bridge’s girders and supports and beams and ties and double rails, specks of light glimmering against the earth and her slow and silent spinning, flickers and hope, torches of wonder falling into the tucked-away recesses of ancient time and the enduring heaven of space.
We ain’t goin’ back, are we…?
That’s right, Bobbi…we ain’t goin’ back…I told him that was the last time….
He reached over to tuck a strand of straw-colored hair behind her ear, gently touched a purple-blue bruise on her cheekbone, leaned and kissed her forehead…and lingered a moment to smell her dusty, little-girl hair….
…but we’ll let Mama know we’re ok when we get where we’re going.
Where’s that gonna be?
Ain’t figured that out yet, but I think we’ll know it when we get there….
I have tried not to love this place as much as I do…
…but each time I go out, it becomes that much more difficult…
…and you may know that I lived in the desert of Arizona for more than 20 years before moving here to Salt Lake City…
…but I spent much of my childhood exploring and playing in forests similar to these…
…so it’s like returning to my origins to be in this type of environment again….
You might remember the bridge from an earlier post….
This is as beautiful with snow and ice along its banks…but in a much different way….
There are many places along the road in Millcreek Canyon where the trees envelope the road with a canopy of green….
These photos were taken the last weekend of June, which means that the canyon would be opening in a few days…and the road would be bustling with cars and motorcycles…so I relished in the quiet, hearing only my footsteps…and the stream and birds…and the slight wind in the tree-tops….
The trail alongside the stream that runs much of the length of Little Cottonwood Canyon has become a favorite hiking destination of mine since I moved to the Salt Lake City area almost two years ago. While there are things about the trail that I find to be less than wonderful (being able to hear the vehicle traffic that also goes up into the canyon, being a wide enough trail that allows for mountain-bikers to come flying around a corner with but a second’s notice, and being close enough to that same roadway and the nearby city so that idiots with cans of spray-paint can come out into the beautiful wild and tag the cement water-courses and picnic pavilion), there are more than enough awe-inspiring views and soul-fulfilling experiences to be had, that those detractors quickly fade into the background and become non-issues. It is literally a 15 minute drive from my house to the trail-head that leads to this natural wonder…and I simply cannot get there often enough.
This post is for my blog-friend, Pattu, who loves the snow…and doesn’t get to see much of it where she lives in India. You can visit Pattu’s gardening blog by clicking on the name: “Gardenerat60.”
When you stand on this bridge and face to your right, you will see a snow-covered European Mountain Ash tree with its beautiful red berries hanging over the stream –
All of these photos were taken along the stream in Little Cottonwood Canyon, which is to the south and east of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. The photos were taken after the first significant snowfall of the season, which happened to be in the first week of November of this year. If you are familiar with the trail, you might notice that the photos start near the beginning of the trail by the Mormon Temple Quarry and progress toward the end, which is beyond the power-plant ruins, approximately three miles into the canyon.
This last photo was taken at one of a few spots along the stream where the trail is significantly above and perpendicular to the stream. This vantage point allows you to see a relatively lengthy stretch of the waterway and its accompanying natural beauty. Few other locations afford such a clear and unobstructed view of the stream.
I hope you have a happy Christmas, Pattu. 🙂
Mill Creek Canyon is one of the three main natural canyons in the Wasatch Mountains that provide the eastern border of Salt Lake City, Utah.
On the First of November of each year, the parks personnel close the road at the five-mile mark in the canyon and do not plow it beyond that point. The main road then becomes a favored location for cross-country skiers to practice their skills in climbing upward for six miles or more and then racing down the smooth pathway back toward the gate.
There are also numerous trails that lead up and into and along-side the various other mini-canyons and gulches that fill the mountain area to the sides of the canyon proper.
On this particular Sunday morning and afternoon, I took the Pipeline trail for about two miles until it reached Elbow Fork, and then took the trail that leads to Mount Aire and/or Lamb’s Canyon.
I chose to go to Lamb’s Canyon pass, which was close to another two miles up and into the mountains.
Lucky for me, I had my gaiters on, because the snow quickly became six to twelve inches deep, depending on where the trail lay under trees or in clearings where there was nothing to prevent more snow from accumulating.
After I came to what I thought might have been Lamb’s Canyon pass or the ridge that was my destination (where the previous hikers and snow-shoe-ers had turned around), I continued down and along what I perceived to still be the trail that actually led to Lamb’s Canyon. I followed some large deer or elk or moose tracks for another few hundred yards…until the snow was deep enough that my knees were getting cold from the snow above my gaiters….and decided that it was time to turn around.
At any rate, it was a beautiful hike into the snow-covered forests of Mill Creek Canyon.