Sunday, October 16, 2016

Hiking: The Prince of Wales Mine

Last week I had the opportunity to do some hiking up Little Cottonwood Canyon in Utah's Wasatch Mountains. My destination was to be the Prince of Wales mine up in Grizzly Gulch. I had never done this particular trail before and a lot of the write-ups on it had said that the trailhead is across from the Alta Guard Station. I got up to Alta just after 8:00 and it was light enough to see. I looked around for the Guard Station and could see it nowhere, though there was a parking area and the truck that had been ahead of me on the way up had parked in it. I drove further up the canyon, but soon got to where the pavement ended and the road continued on to Albion Basin. Before the pavement ended, I turned around and drove slowly through the parking lot where the other vehicle had parked, looking for a trail going up. There ended up being one, quite close to the other vehicle. The parking lot is actually just a little east of Alta's Snowpine Lodge.
As I got out, I still wasn't sure I was in the right place, and the sign for the trail, which wasn't actually visible from the parking lot, did nothing to increase my confidence that I was on the right trail. It said nothing about either the Prince of Wales mine, or Grizzly Gulch.
The sign is a few feet off the road and says nothing about Grizzly Gulch or the Prince of Wales mine.
I went up the trail about 30 feet and stood there, trying to figure it out for a few seconds. Several cars then drove into the parking lot and I decided to wait and ask someone if they knew if it was the right trail to where I wanted to go. My patience was rewarded a couple of minutes later when two women hiked past me and I asked them if they knew and they confirmed that I was on the right trail. They said that they were trying to get a head start on the rest of their group and they were all headed to a different location from the one I was heading to.
Early morning view from the lower portion of the trail.
I saw this doe looking interested in the early shadows
The trees were just plain BEAUTIFUL!

And the views were FABULOUS!
The morning was beautiful for a mid-October day. It was a bit different from most of the hikes I've taken in the Wasatch Range because the mining activity was so prevalent, and indications of it were everywhere, from mine dumps, to old rusty equipment, to the remnants of old buildings. A couple of mine dumps converged with the trail going right between them. I called this part of the trail, the cleavage, and you can see why in the pictures.
The cleavage
Not far past "the cleavage" the trail headed upward and I could see someone ahead of me moving slow. It got rocky, and I caught up with the woman. She was clearly at least 70, and I walked with her over the rocky part, which lasted maybe 200 feet. She said she had gotten a big head start from her hiking group because she hiked so slow, and that she wasn't going to the mine that day, but taking another fork. She knew the area very well and told me that up ahead the trail would split she'd show me which way to go. She also told me about a short spur off the trail to the mine that led to an overlook of Honeycomb Canyon, which is part of the Solitude ski resort. When we made it to the fork, I told her I admired her for still being up there and that I hoped to be still hiking these trails when I was sixty like her. She then introduced herself as Eleanor. I told her my name. And it's true that I admire her and hope to be hiking well past eighty myself. I'm sure me and whoever I'm with at that time will be hiking just as slow as Eleanor, and to tell you the truth, I hope Eleanor is still hiking by then.
One of the old abandoned buildings.

There was plenty of mining activity in the area.
Eleanor had told me to stay high and to not take any of he lower forks in the trail because that would bring me out beneath the mine. I stayed high at one place and that ended up being the spur trail that led to the view of Honeycomb Canyon. That spur is just about 100 yards from the mine, I found out later, and is well worth the effort of taking as it's very short--maybe two hundred feet from where it takes off from the main trail.
Great views abounded.

You can see why Eleanor said to stay high. It would be a steep climb up if you ended up too low.
The trail to view Solitude goes to the right of these rocks. 

Solitude's Honeycomb Canyon. If you look really hard, you can see one of the ski lift buildings
 in the middle of the photo.
The faint trail to the Solitude overlook is here, going up to the right. To the left is the mine..
The mine itself consists of two grated shafts and some old equipment. There is room to get under the grates and into the mine shafts if someone really wanted to. I didn't. I took some pics of the shafts, the equipment, and the views, which were awesome. The mine itself is at over 10,000 feet in elevation, so you can see quite a distance.

I couldn't resist doing some experimental photography with the old mining equipment.
After a while, I began retracing my steps. When I got to the rocky portion where I had met Eleanor, I wanted to take a picture of the spot to post here. I began taking out my camera and slipped on some loose gravel on the slippery rocks, losing my balance, and slamming my camera onto a rock. I lost the battery cover and the camera wouldn't turn on. I spent ten minutes searching for the cover, but was unable to find it.
The rocky place where my camera got banged up. I had to order a new one and it cost me twenty bucks.
Luckily, it was just the camera that got hurt, and not me.
I took a picture of the spot with my phone and continued downward, disappointed in the loss of my camera. Somewhere on the lower portion, I passed a group of people. I didn't really look at them and I found out later that one of them was my cousin, Melanie. So funny that neither one of us knew.
As I approached the bottom, the sun lit up the quakies with a brilliant yellow orange and I had to take some pics. They weren't as good or as detailed as what I would have gotten with my Canon T2i, but they turned out pretty nice. In all the hike took me about four hours, and that was with a lot of stopping for pics etc.

I would highly recommend this hike, even for children, though parents would need to be careful with them around the shafts.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Road trip to Bear Lake

Wednesday, Ann and I took a drive up to Bear Lake. It was wild, because the freeway was backed up for a few miles before Perry, and we found out later, closed down to one lane. That will do it. Thankfully, from the point where it closed down to one lane, it was only about half a mile to our exit. We were going for a variety of reasons, to see fall colors, to get out of the house, and to have an enjoyable time together. Thankfully all three happened.
The most scenic part of the trip was the area between Logan and Garden City, though the small towns and Logan itself were arrayed in hues of reds, yellows, and oranges that were simply amazing. Bear Lake itself was amazingly blue.
We noticed this tree in Logan on the way there and had to stop on the way back to take the pic.

One thing we noticed, was that the town of Garden City seems to pretty much close down. I wonder when the cut off is. Maybe Labor Day. Anyway, we only found one of the several drive-ins open and that's where we ordered lunch.

The Logan River
After lunch we headed back, snapped the pictures we'd promised ourselves we take on the way back, and continued on, stopping for gas and a restroom break before fighting the rush hour traffic the rest of the way home. It was a great adventure!

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Praying for the nation

Today, my pastor, Dr. Bryan Hurlbutt, gave a very timely sermon, considering what is happening in our country. He's been going through 1 Timothy and today, his sermon was on the first seven verses of chapter two. Here is the passage:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. (ESV)

Notice that in the first four verses it says, "I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." Bryan went on to explain that as tempting as it is, we should stop slamming all of the political candidates and instead pray for them as they have all been created in God's image and it isn't too late to help them get saved. He made this comment: "Prayer is our primary and common participation in the good of government", then went on to make the points that 1) We need to talk to God more than others about the candidates and politicians, 2) We need to see the candidates as people before we see them as policy makers--which I do, but I commonly see the most recent ones as evil people, 3) We need to keep our prayers informed theologically and by personal piety, and 4) We need to pray with regard to the role of government in God's economy.
He went on to expound on each of these and I cannot do that part justice. Of course, though, all of this struck a chord with me because I have thought of it as my personal duty and responsibility to do my part to bring down the evil ones by virtue of spreading the word as much as possible, and I know that I haven't talked to God about it as much as I have talked to others.
So that part, with regard the the current political climate and the current two major choices of candidates is the timely part. And I find that I need to seriously examine the kind of rhetoric I use, and the kind of flamethrower I've become. A large part of the sermon was about the importance prayer should take in a Christian's life. Bryan also made these observations: 1) Prayer is a tool that helps you acknowledge God's sovereign care, 2) Out of that, you process and accept the fact that you are dependent, 3) you begin to see Him as sovereign and begin self-assessment, and begin to talk it out with Him, and 4) there  begins to be some realignment in your life with the desires of God.
He made several other points that I deem worth of mention, but here is the one I'll leave you with. He said, "Have a running conversation with God that keeps getting interrupted by people throughout the day, rather that a running conversation with people and every once in a while talking with God."

I see that I have some priorities to work on.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Hiking "The Notch" in the Uintas was a blast!

I got up early not really sure where I was going, only knowing that it would be from the Crystal Lake trailhead in the Uintas. I left home at around 5:37, having wanted to leave at 5:30. A problem ocurred in that my daughter's van had a light on inside, so I went back inside to find her keys, and then had to figure out how to turn off the lights--thus a few extra minutes.
As I headed down 47th South toward the freeway entrance, I got in the right lane. They have been doing road construction, building new on ramps for the past several months and they had actually placed the I-215 entrance sign in the road after the entrance, so I passed it. I was a bit ticked, because I was either going to do some elaborate turning around (I would have to do two U-turns because  the northbound ramp on the east side of the freeway was still totally closed), or I was going to have to drive all the way down to get on the freeway at I-15. Then I thought of a third alternative. I could drive down to 35th and get on there.
I was behind, but on the road, so all was good. About half way up Parley's Canyon I felt an urgent need to empty my bladder. I was hungry too, and so I thought I could wait until I got to the McDonald's at Kimball Junction (the Park City exit), then go in and get a couple of burritos and use their restroom. I got out at McDonald's, desperate by then, only to find their doors locked. I have no idea when they open their indoor seating, but it wasn't at six. I went through the drive through, ordered my burritos, and spied a gas station across the street. Taking another few minutes to use the restroom at the gas station, I finally got back on the road.
Between the exit from the freeway to Kamas I watched as the guy in front of me slammed on his brakes, and saw several shadows pass in front of him. Deer! It brought back memories of the times I had nearly hit one, and the time when my friend Dave Zobell did hit one over by Strawberry when we left on our after high school graduation trip. The guy ahead of me slowed up after that, and I didn't blame him. For years after that high school trip ended abruptly, I drove overly cautious in the dark when I was in deer crossing territory.
I finally made it to Kamas, and made sure that my camera was available. Numerous times I had been caught empty-handed when a huge deer or moose was crossing the road. I wanted to be prepared. There were a lot of cattle along the road and signs warning about them. I kept the speed lower than the speed limit and avoided the large blotches of manure--which reminded me of another trip to Colorado years previously when we had ended up following a large group of cows down the road on which they'd been herded. You've seen four-wheel drive vehicles that have been out having fun, coated in mud, right? Yeah, that's what happened with the manure.
Despite the cows, the views were spectacular
In a little over two hours from my starting time, I was up at the trailhead.
The Trial Lake turnoff road, that goes to the campground and Crystal Lake trailhead
There are several trails that begin in that parking lot. I had decided on the drive up that I would hike up to Wall Lake, which is only a mile from the parking lot, and then see what time I had left to do anything else. I had told Ann prior to leaving that my main goal was to have an outing and the hike was secondary, and that I wanted to take a lot of pictures.
The weather was partly cloudy and cold. I started out with my down coat on, and that worked just great for the first hour. All the small ponds were frozen over and several of the lakes I passed had a bit of ice in places around the edges. I didn't see any flowing streams, they were frozen too, but had thawed by the time I got back down.
In my case the best pics are taken when being ready, and getting lucky.
I took several pictures of the morning sky and then got lucky with a really good one. My last outing I had the settings wrong on my camera and couldn't tell because the sun was too bright too see the screen and be able to tell just what I was getting. This time, I got several really good shots, at least, I think I did.

Wall Lake. In '76 or '77 we camped just to the right of the cliffs you see on the far side.
When I got to Wall Lake, I remembered the time that I had camped there, just after Christimas in '76 or '77. I really can't remember. I was with Steve Jones, Joe Coombs, and a couple of Steve's friends, Scott Olsen and John Deford. It had been extremely cold and we had needed water and had tried blasting holes in the ice-covered lake with our shotguns that we had brought to hunt rabbits, but found out that shotguns don't work real well on ice that's a foot thick. Thankfully we had an axe. Joe ended up getting pneumonia on that trip and was coughing up blood on the trail down. He spent a bit of time in the hospital as I recall.
Looking up toward the Notch
I had some extra time when I got to Wall Lake so I decided to try for the Notch. I had been there once before, though never in winter. It got steeper and rockier, but it wasn't too bad and I made it easily in my time limit, took a few shots of the valley on the other side, and then got out of the cold wind and looked back the way I had come. No matter which direction I looked, it was all Beautiful!
Everywhere I looked...Beautiful!

Looking down on the other side of the Notch. Lovenia Lake in the foreground.

Looking back the way I had come.
I tried to  get a drink out of my water hose and it had frozen. I stuck the hose inside my jacket (I had abandoned the down coat to the recesses of my backpack as it got warmer) hoping it would thaw, and it did.
I took this pic of the trail sign on the way down.
When I got back to Wall, I saw another trail that I thought connected to the one I came up on (because I had seen one splitting off of the original trail on the way up), and it was heading down, toward Trial Lake which is near the trailhead. I decided to take it. I was up for an adventure. It ended up being longer and rockier than the trail I had come up on, and never joined that trail. I ended up at The dam at Trial Lake and I had a walk up the road to the Crystal Lake parking lot. I measured later and besides the extra length of the trail itself, my walk along the road was .9 miles. I would advise anyone camping at Trial or in the vicinity and wanting to hike to Wall, to drive up to the trailhead instead of taking the trail from the Trial Lake dam.
I like selfies better when it's not just "self".
Once I was back in the parking lot, I took my traditional selfie, and headed home. Just outside the Trial Lake turnoff was a group of people on cross-country skis with wheels. Those skis probably have a name. I don't know it. Then I took several pics of the fall colors on the trip down.
I couldn't resist this picture of the fall colors from Spring Canyon Road.
The fall colors had been hard to come by up near the Notch, but there was still this little patch hanging on.
Only one more incident ocurred and that was on the free way, when a woman tried to come into my lane. The only problem was, I was in the spot in that lane that she tried to get into. I had to slam on my brakes to keep from hitting her and likely, someone behind me had to do the same.
The moral of that story is you can be in just as much danger on the roads as you can hiking in the wilderness, and it's not nearly as fun of an adventure.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

You Take My Breath Away - Rex Smith

Some call this song cheesy. Well, so do I. But it's a good, cool, lovely cheesy. Rex Smith singing You Take My Breath Away. It's a classic. Here is the original and a more modern rendition.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Wasatch colors in full swing, but you'd better get up there soon!

It was in the plans for Ann and I to take a drive today up in the mountains to see the fall colors. Somehow, mother nature didn't quite cooperate and we got a snow storm in the tops of our beloved peaks. Of course, some of the leaves died and fell off early because of the snow, but the snow on the tops of the mountains added some extra highlights to our drive.
This was the first view we had that we thought was good enough to
take pics of. Timp with just a splash of yellow in front.

The images got nicer as we drove on.

We drove up American Fork Canyon, high up on the Alpine Loop Road, then abandoned that road and headed down past Cascade Springs to eat lunch in Heber. All in all, it was a great adventure and it couldn't have been a nicer day.

I couldn't resist wandering amongst the quakies to get this shot.

The reds are still there, but 

This is why we now have one of these--a Big Tooth Maple--in our yard.