The day had been long and filled with the concerns and wonders of traveling from the desert to that mountain place…stiff legs wanted to stretch…confined body wanted release…and the heart wanted to burst with joy at returning to a place that had been branded as “home” in its core.
One could probably say that I’ve been guilty of overdoing things with my posts on Lake Blanche and Sundial Peak, so I’ll keep this one to a bare minimum and only post one photo from my most recent trip…although it’s been more than three years since I have been able to make the hike up there, so I should probably lay it on thick and post something like 20 or more photos…. Anyway, here’s the postcard image with the little people included so you can appreciate the grandness of the place….
If you’re relatively new to the blog, you can start here in viewing other posts on the lake and it’s surrounding area…or you can scroll down a little bit past this post, find the “Search” widgit, and enter “Lake Blanche” or “Sundial Peak” into that feature to be presented with a veritable list of options for seeing more of the place.
The “Plan” for yesterday was to locate myself up in the mountains along a four-plus mile trail that led to one of my favorite Wasatch Mountain lakes, but the weather forecast suggested a 60-80% chance of snow and rain up there…and I did not bring any wet-weather-appropriate hiking gear with me from the desert…so I instead went and had lunch with an old friend…and then stopped off at the Jordan River Walkway on my way back to the house. I know that I have shared images and commentary from/about the Jordan River when I was living here in the Salt Lake Valley, so some of you might be familiar with it already in a general sense. If not, you can click on the highlighted and hyperlinked words above to visit the Jordan River Commission’s official website for more information.
While I did manage to make more than a few images of a couple of storks, a flotilla of juvenile ducks, bridge crossings, and river-scapes with mountain backgrounds, I also happened upon the above scene. I had spied a small path in the wild grasses that appeared to lead from the walkway down to the river’s edge and was preparing to follow it so I might gain a closer vantage point/perspective…until I noticed this feral cat that had stopped in the middle of it. The little creature was not startled or alarmed at my presence and didn’t move for what was probably only a minute or two…long enough for me to capture four or five images. Anyway, there it is…nearly enveloped in a beautiful canopy of Russian Olive trees and other vegetation along the Jordan River.
Another image made from outside of the Cougar Park Nature Preserve in West Jordan, Utah…facing west with the near-setting sun lighting the rails and providing shadow-forms for the posts. The evening’s walk provided an array of subject matter for photography, so I had to return to the house to retrieve my camera. I have been out of the habit of taking it with me on my infrequent walks through my Arizona neighborhood, but found it to be a welcome companion again as I ventured out into another sweet, Utah evening.
The Wasatch Mountains as viewed from outside of the Cougar Park Nature Preserve, West Jordan, Utah…close to an acre of undeveloped land that has been allowed to remain in its natural state…and which happens to be the home of burrowing owls. Humans are invited to visit the preserve and follow the meandering trail…but only during the months of October through February….
By far, I have found it best to be on these desert trails shortly after sunrise, or within the first hour thereafter….
…the light is more pleasant and provides for greater character in the subjects found along the way.
Two Sundays ago found me hiking south on the Black Canyon Trail from the Bumble Bee trailhead. I have hiked this stretch of the trail once before…on a sweetly cloudy day in July of last year.
I didn’t go as far with this present hike, as the day’s heat was growing more oppressive and casting something of an ugly hue on everything that caught my eye.
I didn’t get out hiking in the earlier part of Spring, and have therefore missed the rich greenness that all of these wild grasses and flowers must have added to the area.
I love the pearl-like clusters of the creosote or grease-wood bushes…especially when the morning light is behind them.
The desert, overall, wasn’t especially attractive on this particular morning, but when I stopped along the trail to look more closely, I found plenty to admire.
And in the photo below, a glance skyward brings a reminder of what can happen if one tarries too long…..
This second installment begins where the first one ended, right at the Fremont Saddle…the geographic/landscape feature that appeared to be a resting and turning-around point for many hikers. That was my impression, anyway, as there were a few people who walked out to the lone Pinon Pine in the distance, and many fewer people who actually went down the trail that eventually led to the base of Weaver’s Needle in the background…and swarms and tons of them at the saddle and back down on the first half of the trail as I made my return trek.
This second image is the view to the left of Weaver’s needle, made from the same location as the one above….
There is actually quite a gulf of rock-filled space between that lone pine and the southern edge of the base of Weaver’s Needle, even though some of the following images offer a view that appears somewhat contrary to what I just stated.
If you can return to the first image above, find the two people, and then travel in your mind in a sort of quarter or third of a circle off to your right, you will come to the location where I made the below image…it’s looking somewhat off to the southeast…over a further expanse of rocky and bouldered desert that contains dozens of other trails.
Crazy waves of mountain tops and yucca stalks….
Approaching Weaver’s Needle now, coming from the southeast where the above image was made…with a somewhat serpentine trail drawing us closer. You can see two people on the trail….
And below, facing somewhat northeast over the rocks and mountains of the Superstitions. I shared this image in a black and white rendering a few weeks ago….
It appears that we’re getting really close now….
Don’t forget to look down…and pay attention to what’s there….
Final yards up to the lone Pinon Pine…a feature that is discussed on-line as another favorite destination and turn-around spot. I encountered a man and woman (and their dog) who appeared to have spent the night under the pine…and were packing to leave as the other hikers and I arrived…rested, lingered, and then departed to continue our respective journeys.
This is the view from the ledge just down and to the left/west of the pine tree…there is quite a bit of space between the tree and the Needle…..
More to follow….
As some of you might recall, I recently returned to Salt Lake City for my first visit since leaving there almost three years ago. You might also recall that when I did live there, I frequented Liberty Park numerous times…it was a favorite destination for my lunch-time walks and Saturday morning drive-abouts.
Liberty Park was such a favorite place of mine that I even dedicated a separate “Category” to it because I made so many photographs there that I later featured here on the blog.
After having lived in the desert for over 20 years, before moving to Salt Lake City, it was nearly mind-bogglingly amazing (to me) to see trees of such stature…of such age…and in the Spring and Summer, so marvelously adorned with millions (?) of leaves that provided such excellent shade.
My return visit to the park found me staring skyward again, very likely looking like a tourist…again…amazed…and in awe….
I believe that I have shared this link in at least one other post on Liberty Park, but here it is again for those of you who might be interested in the park and its amenities…click here….
And if you’re interested in the trees themselves, you can click here to read a very small narrative about their presence in the park.
And lastly, you can click here to be taken to a continuous scroll of all of the posts that I have shared on Liberty Park, as found by clicking on the “Liberty Park” category at the far bottom right corner of this page. Coincidentally, the first post is from six years ago next week…April 9, 2011…..
Thanks for visiting….