You might remember some earlier posts about Red Pine Lake…or Upper Red Pine Lake…but these images are from my first visit to the lakes when they were under snow. If you’d like to view the images from those earlier posts, you can scroll to the bottom of the page and find the Categories widget toward the right…and then click on Red Pine Lake. You’ll see photos from the Red Pine Lakes that I made in September and October of the past two years.
As I was gazing out over the lake, checking-out the mountains, and glorying in all that was around me, I noticed a couple of cross-country or back-country skiers heading across the lake. While this isn’t something that I would enjoy doing, crossing the frozen lake, I admired that they were out there partaking in the winter wonder that we find living near the mountains of northern Utah. This first image is the southern half of the lake. The upper Red Pine lakes are situated up and to the left of this image.
The below image is the northern half of the lake. There is a bit of a dam or retaining wall in the clear area to the immediate right of the large clump of trees…it is essentially in the middle of the image. The lake is a natural depression in the terrain and catches water from the seasonal rains and snow melt. There is also an inlet on the south end that catches the drainage from the upper lakes. While I do not know any of the specifics of the dam’s construction, I would imagine that it was built in the early 1900s as a means of preserving and releasing quantities of water for use in the metropolitan area down the canyon…as that was the reason other mountain lakes in the area were dammed.
The track that I took to the lake climbed the ridge to the east of the lake…the skiers took the lower approach, which is the one that I’ve taken on my earlier visits. The snow was quite deep and I didn’t have my snow-shoes, so I was just following the track laid by other skiers and hikers…but I would occasionally break through the compressed snow and find myself beyond my knees in the cold white stuff.
I didn’t stay to watch the skiers until they were completely out of my line of sight, but I did catch them as they continued their climb up the side of the mountain for a bit….
Part of the wonder in being out there in the mountains like this, regardless of the season, is the realization of how absolutely tiny we are as individual humans in the great expanse of our world. I know this is only a small representation of our relative size to the rest of the physical world, but I think it captures the notion very well.
My older son and I were hiking in Millcreek Canyon the other day, marveling in the winter wonderland and giving our new snow-shoes a test-drive.
After taking the above photo, a man on cross-country skis came up the trail behind us and entered into the area that I had used to frame the photo….
I had noticed the little opening in the canopy of trees up the trail and was hoping to capture an image that had eluded me a couple of months earlier when hiking on a beautifully golden, Fall trail in another canyon.
Ever since I had seen Andy Hooker’s photograph of a woman passing an open garden gate, I had been looking for an opportunity to capture a similar image….
…and here it is, below…my rendition of the woman silhouetted against the opening of the garden gate…the man on cross-country skis passing through the snowy canopy of trees along Millcreek Canyon’s stream….
Thank you, Andy….
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.