Posts tagged “Big Cottonwood Canyon Utah

Desolation Trail Memories

I can’t assume that it’s a body memory, as my body only made this particular venture once, exactly two years ago this weekend, although I had been on various parts of the trail several times over the years, but this occasion, this hike, has been floating around in my mind for the past few weeks and I decided to take a look at the photos again.  I won’t present an entire gallery or series of images as I did after taking the hike, but I will share a couple of photographs that I find to be particularly appealing and representative of the beauty of the region.

Desolation Trail Wildflowers 2013

The above image is but a fragment of what must have been acres and acres of wildflowers that were covering the south and western facing slope of Mount Raymond.  When I was sitting in the saddle of the mountains in the below image, the deeper cup shaped spot to the left of the highest points (the Twin Peaks), one week later, I could still visualize the yellow blanket of wonderfulness that I was standing beside as I made these two photos…even though I was probably six or more miles away.

Broads Fork Twin Peaks over Desolation Trail wildflowers

Thank you for visiting and sharing some sweet memories with me….

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sometimes we need this….

OK, maybe it’s just me…sometimes I need this…like an ache or a hunger, a yearning, a desire, a want…yes, a want…a place where we can ask questions of the ether and the answers come to us in the whisper of a breeze or in the light ticking of aspen leaves against their fellows, tiny golden hands clapping so softly that we might imagine hearing them in a dream…or they come to us in the peace that the intensely enormous awesomeness of it all confers on us by simply being there….

You might remember the image, as I’m sure I shared it after my hike.  This is Mineral Fork in October, 2011…one of the tributary canyons that extend south from Big Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah…just south and east of Salt Lake City.

Mineral Fork Trail in Fall Glory, October 2011


Toward Lake Blanche in November

My older son and I made our first snow-hike of the season a few Sundays ago…we made the familiar trek up the canyon to Lake Blanche.  I know I’ve shared many photos of the area over the past couple of years, but there is a timeless beauty to be captured and appreciated up there, so it’s difficult to get tired of the views and the sheer wonderfulness that Nature has to offer to those who will endure the hike up into the mountains to partake of the feast.  You can click on any of the images to be taken to a slide show where you might see them in a larger format.


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“Chipmunks” in Days Fork

I should have investigated the little guys before just throwing a common name at them, but these are actually Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrels, Spermophilus lateralus.  They do look very similar to Chipmunks, but they are lacking stripes on their faces, so they’re not.  A special thank you to my friend who raised the question.  🙂

Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel in Days Fork Utah


Colorado Columbine….

Quite possibly my favorite flower ever…ever…

Colorado Columbine


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.


Dromedary Peak…twice…..

This is an early-June, 2013 photograph of one of the iconic mountains that provide a backdrop to the Sister Lakes in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah.  Found at the terminus of the drainage or tributary canyon, Mill B South, it is a frequent site and common reference when trying to orient one’s self while hiking in this area of Big Cottonwood Canyon.  If you’d like to see other images of Dromedary Peak, you can scroll to the bottom of the page and type its name in the search widget to be provided with a list of other posts that contain photos from other seasons.

Dromedary Peak reflection


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a presence

Single hiker in Mineral Fork Cirque


Twin Peaks from afar…in September

A few months ago, I hiked up Porter Fork from its trail-head in Millcreek Canyon, essentially did the loop or horseshoe-shaped trail around Mt. Raymond, and then went down Bowman Fork back to its trail-head in Millcreek Canyon.  Near the base of Mt. Raymond, which is technically on the north side of Big Cottonwood Canyon and faces south, you can see into the other drainages or tributary canyons that lie perpendicular and head in a southerly direction from Big Cottonwood Canyon, which runs east and west; I hope all of that makes sense.  At any rate, you can see Twin Peaks (11,330/11,328 ft) near the top center of this image…the drainage that is down and slightly to the left of the peaks is Broads Fork…and if you take the ridge-line to the left, you might notice Dromedary Peak (11,107 ft) as the last prominence…which you might remember is just above and to the right/west of Lake Blanche and the other Sister Lakes…and lie in the drainage called, Mill B South.  When I’m out hiking, I always find it fascinating to encounter new views or perspectives of the places I’ve visited in the mountains and canyons…such wonderful and beautiful places…..

To see more images of Twin Peaks, Broads Fork, Dromedary Peak, and Lake Blanche, you can scroll down and utilize the “Search” feature near the end of the page to locate several posts about those subjects.

Twin Peaks from afar in September


Sundial Peak in Winter

You might remember Sundial Peak from various posts over the summer…and into the fall…possibly from the one dedicated specifically to Lake Blanche, one of the Sister Lakes located at the end of the drainage, Mill B South, up in Big Cottonwood Canyon…tucked away in the Wasatch Mountains…just south and east of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA….  It took twice as long to get there with the deep, deep snow…even with snow-shoes…but, oh, what a reward at the end…..

Sundial Peak in Winter