I know winter has fled most of the country for another several months, but it seems that we didn’t have much of one here in the desert…yes, we did have snow on the distant mountains, but they were…distant…and refreshing only to sight and possibility.
So…as we’re on the 27th Day of March and it’s already up to 94 degrees here in Phoenix, I thought I’d share an image from the past holiday season when I was visiting my kids in Salt Lake City. That’s Mount Olympus on the left and the rest of the Salt Lake Valley’s Wasatch Mountains follow on southward.
These aren’t necessarily from the archives proper, but the photos are from a little while ago. August of last year found me visiting my Utah kids and then visiting the mountains and canyons south and east of Salt Lake City. You might remember that I lived there for a few years…a few years ago now…and that I spent most weekends hiking in those nearby Wasatch Mountains.
Of the many hikes that I took while living in Utah, I never went to the lakes that I am presenting in this post. They are situated in the conjoined space at the far eastern end of Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. In fact, one can walk up to the lakes from the Big Cottonwood side, at the Brighton ski resort, and continue on the trail back down to the Alta ski resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon, or vice versa.
I didn’t visit the lakes for the precise reason that I described above…their proximity to potentially great quantities of people. To give a small example of how many people one might encounter there, let me say that there were five vehicles, including mine, when I arrived in the parking lot at 5:55 am, and over 50 when I returned to my truck at 10:30 am…and that was on a Monday morning in the middle of summer. When I lived there, I hiked on weekend mornings…so I avoided the place…in hopes of avoiding the above mentioned “great quantities of people.”
I didn’t study a map of the mountains before leaving for the hike, so I was a little surprised that I would encounter Dog Lake on the near approach to Lake Mary. The little body of water in the second photo is Dog Lake. There is another Dog Lake in Millcreek Canyon, just north of Big Cottonwood Canyon…and back when I used to study my mountain map of the area, I knew of both of these Dog Lakes…but had forgotten about this one. You might remember a black and white rendition of the above photo….
The photo below is from the close approach to Lake Mary…just a little ways further into the mountains from Dog Lake. As you can see the concrete wall in this image, you can tell that this is actually a reservoir, not a true lake.
Not that it matters much, what we call it…especially when we get up to the mountain-reflecting body of water and look out over it….
I had a sense of being home again when I was out on the trail heading up to the lakes…off in the mountains…very few people around…the smells of mountain earth, forest, flowers, grasses, and maybe even the water…all of it flooding my head…rejuvenating the muscle-memories and the actual physical sense of “being” in those surroundings.
I would have to confess then, too, that my body also knew it was only visiting, that it had been existing in the desert at maybe 1,200 feet in elevation…and that it was now hiking from over 8,700 feet up to 9,200 feet…and I felt that difference in my lack of wind and the need to “pull over” every now and then to catch my breath…heart pounding as it was rejoicing….
You can see the top of the reservoir wall in the below image.
There were three or four people sitting around Lake Mary and their voices carried loudly over the water and in the thinner air, so I made my few photographs and then headed back up the trail…up a little further to Lake Martha.
The bluebells were in a huge clump, almost like a grove, actually, if that’s possible…a rather large swath of near boggy forest floor that was covered in great, dark green leaves of some familiar plant whose name I didn’t know…with pink sparks of Indian paintbrush…and then almost purple gray smudges of what became bluebells as I got closer.
Life in passing…in waiting…in anticipation….
Between Lakes Martha and Catherine, there is a something like a minor cirque on the south side of the trail…it rather resembled an amphitheater…an almost bowl-like depression in the ground like some huge something had reached down and scooped out a chunk of earth and then littered the ground with grass and wildflowers and pine cones and rock litter from the hills above….
I sat in the grass and flowers for several minutes with my elbows propped on my knees, making photo after photo of the flowers…with my head and heart lost in the present and the past and wanting to stay there…right there…for fucking ever.
The bowl of Lake Catherine from the left…
…and the right….
This little guy has a bite of my chocolate brownie Cliff’s bar in his hands….
Now heading away from the lake…
Encountering another little squirrel-person eating what he’s supposed to eat…and appearing more fit and trim for doing so….
Lake Mary from above….
Yes…my favorite flower, ever…the Colorado Columbine in its various opening stages.
Below…red, white, and blue Wasatch Mountain wildflowers.
And the trail back down from Lake Mary with its patch of near hedge-like accompaniment of yellow flowers…and the forest beyond….
Thank you for enduring the longer post…for going home again with me to my beloved Wasatch Mountains…even if it was only for a few minutes. If you enjoyed the hike even half as much as I did, I know you absolutely loved it.
Images of this nature used to be the normal fare for my spring and summer weekend hiking when I lived in Salt Lake City a few years ago…they were common enough punctuation marks in the trip narratives…highlights of color in the mountain landscapes…
…and now they are very occasional and intentional shared treasures of uncommon forays back into that used-to-be.
I don’t know the names of all of them, but when I do, I will share them, as I will here, above, with Queen Anne’s Lace, or Cow Parsnip…
…and the predominant flowers in the above image being Horsemint…a name shared with me by a fellow hiker after a chance encounter and then a follow-on comment on a post in those years ago.
Western Coneflowers above, something that I have also seen in the higher desert meadows of the Coconino National Forest just south of Flagstaff, Arizona.
The above resembles a type of gentian I have seen before, but I’m not sure how it is properly named.
A perfect Monday morning horizon above….
A trial for the newer camera…not entirely crispy, but still very clearly capturing dew drops on petals and leaves.
A richness of color for the eyes and morning crispness for the skin…and the mountain aroma of wet grasses and fragrant flowers….
I’m not sure about these, but there were tons of them on a western-facing slope as the sun was just over the mountains on the eastern side of the meadow….
Closer above and below….
And this one might be my favorite of the entire day…dew drops on Bluebells and leaves…I can still feel being there, making this particular photo, with anticipation and hope at what I would see on the computer when I brought the image home.
Life is full in that mountain environment, a feast for the senses at every turn.
And as I’ve shared previously, the Colorado Columbine, below, is my favorite flower, ever.
These were a first for me, the little purple Dr. Seuss flowers below….
And a fitting end for the post, I believe: a carpet of wildflowers with a Wasatch Mountain backdrop….
All images were made on 8-12-2019 during my very first hike from Brighton up to and from Lake Catherine.
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….
while in the salt lake valley for the family event and celebration that I mentioned in the last post, i found myself standing in a restaurant parking lot with camera facing east
i heard a young female voice to my left saying “excuse me sir…what are you taking a picture of…?
“is there a bird up there on a lamp post or something…?”
“i’m taking pictures of the mountains,” i said, “aren’t they beautiful?!”
her response….”you must not be from around here”
That might not really be a word, “reflectioning,” but I’m not too concerned about what it really might or might not be. It struck me as appropriate when I was viewing the photos I made from my fourth and most recent trip out to Antelope Island State Park, Utah. Maybe it can become a word if enough people begin and continue to use it…so go ahead and try it out, if you’d like…use it in a few sentences…try to fit it in somehow on your Christmas cards this year…it’s not trademarked or anything….
Anyway…my Utah son and I made another trek to the island this past October and I brought home these photos. If you can recall any of my other trips out there (you can find them by searching in the archives [below] of February and September of 2012, and again in February of 2014), you might notice how much lower the water level is this time.
This Wikipedia article on the Great Salt Lake addresses the fluctuating lake levels, record lows and highs…as well as many other interesting things lake-related.
There wasn’t much of a breeze, no gusting winds, and no scalding sunshine (it was sunny, but nice), so while the inversion/smog layer was out there in the distance polluting the sky, it made for nice layering effects for the captured images.
I would have preferred the above photo to include the top of the island in the reflection, but that was not to be had, thanks to the water level. Hmm…having just typed that, I might have been able to get it in the image if I had stood on top of my son’s car as it was parked on the causeway behind us…. I don’t think he would have appreciated that, though, as he just picked it up from the dealership that week.
This person was of a similar mind, being out there with a camera (phone?) and taking advantage of the simple marvels offered by a little trip to the island on a Saturday afternoon. All of those black specks in the image are actually birds, not dirt on the camera lens. 🙂
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.
I was driving around the Rose Park area of Salt Lake City yesterday morning looking for the access point to the Jordan River Walkway where I made this photograph a few years ago. I knew I was in the general area, but couldn’t remember exactly where it was…until I was actually leaving and returning home after having given-up the search.
It wasn’t really a sad moment, though, thinking that I would miss the occasion to photograph that bridge in the Fall, as I found myself in this wonderful location just five blocks north of where I originally wanted to go. There were no-parking signs along the street, so I parked at the Day-Riverside Library just west on 1000 North, took my time making photos from the street-bridge in both directions, and then walking a roughly half-mile loop south down to the next river-bridge and back.
Not bad for a little point-and-shoot camera….
After my daughter and I hiked to the lower falls, as featured in this post, we continued up the trail for about another hour and then arrived at the upper falls. Amid the spray and the treacherous footing on the soaked boulders and ground, it was difficult to manage another angle that would have provided a better or more clear perspective or presentation of this natural water-feature.
We stood in literal awe for several minutes, shifted our positions to gain different perspectives, stayed there again for several more minutes, and then retreated a bit into the woods that we had just come through to approach the falls.
You can still see the falling water through the trees to the right and behind my daughter in the above photo, so you can probably imagine how loud it must have been to be so close. There was a pervasive serenity, sitting there in the woods, even with the roaring of the falls as near as they were…with the crashing water on the granite boulders and then the rushing of the stream in front of us….
White patches up in the trees caught my eye….
What a refreshing spray after the steep hike to get there…melted snow…living water….
Just a little further downstream is a bridge that has been chained to the trees on both sides of the bank to prevent the rising and rushing stream from carrying it away. There is a trail that you can take off into the shoulder-high brush that will lead you in a near circular manner out and up to the area just upstream from the top of the falls…and will also eventually lead you to the upper reservoir and beyond.
If you’d like to see an image of the falls later in the season, you can click here to see what they looked like in August of 2013.
On the trail to Lake Blanche and the other Sister Lakes in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. An image to take one away…to another place and time…another existence or life, even…so it might seem.
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….
Dipping into the archives again…January 8, 2012…an uncommon beauty….
Exactly six years ago today…in another world.
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 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.
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.
Thank you for visiting and sharing some sweet memories with me….
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.
Who knew…445 East 300 South in Salt Lake City, Utah…USA…or not….
I had never planned on doing a post with these images of lone hikers, runners, or walkers doing their paces along the ridge-lines or crests of the hills that constitute the area north of Salt Lake City, Utah…but one of the images crossed the monitor as it was running through its screen-saver slide-show and the idea suddenly came to me. I had snapped the photos on what was actually my last hike in the area and I had hoped that capturing the solitary figures would give at least a minimal representation of what the scale was like out there…how we humans were so small in our surroundings…
…and how we chose in our similar mindsets to be out there alone, or with a companion who shared our thoughts or relished being out there in that grandness…that awesomeness of the outdoors with the warm sun on our bodies and the chilled air filling our lungs…and calming our spirits.
While the scenery was somewhat drab with its winter brown grass and bare trees along the way, the views were incredible and full of knowing how the hills would transform into an explosion of green in just a few months as Spring would be waking the wild grasses and scrub oak bushes…and wildflowers would be spotting the hills again and filling the breezes with their heady perfume…
That bit of blue at the top of the below photo is the southern end of The Great Salt Lake…
…and that chain of mountains to the right of the peak in the below photo are the Oquirrh Mountains, the western geographic boundary for the Salt Lake Valley.
I’m not certain, but I believe this next photo is of the drainage just east of City Creek Canyon…another grass and scrub covered bunch of hills and exposed sandy rock.
And lastly, there is a mountain-biker heading west on the trail that will take us back to the trail-head at the north end of City Creek Canyon.
Ah…the stuff of memories…I can almost smell it up there…feel the trail under my feet…yep…almost….
I’ve been traveling the streets of Phoenix for the past five months with a new eye that is open and welcoming of things that I had never noticed in my earlier years of living here. If you’ve been following this blog for at least a little while, you might know or recall that I’ve recently returned to this desert home after living in the Salt Lake City area for about four years…after having lived here in Phoenix for over 20 years…and you might remember, too, that I started a City Paint series in Phoenix that was similar to a series that I had going in Salt Lake for a couple of years. Well…this is the third post in my collection of graffiti and street art displays that I’ve discovered while driving about my new/old home.
This flower shop is located on the south-east corner of 5th Street and Roosevelt Street, just south of the center of town in an area that has become something of an art district over the last several years. From all appearances, the flower shop has closed its doors for business…the rooms were empty as I looked in from the street…and as you can tell by looking at this second image, the plaster is cracking on the wall and the paint is beginning to peel…which is understandable, given that the mural is on the west-facing wall of the building and in near constant exposure to the desert sun.
When I did a Google search of the artists (as provided by the names under the “E” in the first photo), I found that El Mac had created another image that I had seen in the past…which I had shared in another blog post almost three years ago. I featured the below photograph in In the Heart of the City and in City Paint 4 – Tucked-Away Alley-Way, and provided a third glimpse of it in the first image from City Paint 17 – Gallenson’s Gun-shop Elk Mural.
You can find these murals on El Mac’s web site at Ave Maria and Kofie and Mac…pages five and eight if you want to visit from going to his home-page. After you get to his home-page, click on the “Spraypaint” subheading…and be prepared to be amazed at what you’ll find. If you’d like to view more posts on the street art, building murals, and related graffiti that I’ve discovered in both the Salt Lake and Phoenix areas, you can scroll to the bottom of this page and click on Street Art – Graffiti under the Categories widget to see the earlier other posts.
It was probably a Sunday, because it usually was…September 23 of two years ago…hiking in the mountains of Little Cottonwood Canyon, just south and east of Salt Lake City, Utah…the Wasatch Mountains in Fall. I would say that it feels like a lifetime ago…with so many changes since then, but it was in my life…then…consistently, richly…and now it is in memories only.
I made this photo in August of 2013 on what was my third trip to the upper reservoir in Bells Canyon, just south and east of Salt Lake City, Utah…it was also my last trip to these falls and the reservoir beyond…which I didn’t know at the time…couldn’t have known at the time…. But it is and was, and that’s the way it goes. You might know that I’m living in the desert of Arizona now, again, and scenes like the one in this image are far from my experience in this new and old home of mine…they might exist, I just haven’t found them yet.
And why did I post the photo today….I don’t know…maybe a hankering or longing to be on the Wasatch trails again…thinking about where I’d be going if I was there. Anyway, aside from the nostalgia, this image (even with the blown-out water) shows some of the damnably gorgeous scenery of the Utah mountains and canyons. Enjoy….
I was visiting with Montucky at Montana Outdoors and noted that I had some images that were similar to his recently posted photographs of Skyrockets. I thought I remembered seeing some in white and pink, but could only find these in pink. They look like they could be the same flowers, but maybe they’re not…. If I’m not mistaken, the white flowers in this photo are Leafy Jacob’s Ladder.
I made this photograph in July of last year during a hike to Lake Desolation in Big Cottonwood Canyon of the Wasatch Mountains just south and east of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.