Sunday, July 02, 2017

Hiking: Desolation Lake

This past Thursday was the perfect day for a hike. I am glad that I have a rotating day off that allows me to hike without a lot of other people. It's a great blessing really. This time I decided to go to Desolation Lake, an approximately 7.8 mile hike. I had done this hike once before, when my two sons were much younger and I was too, although, I had been up this trail part way several times since then. One of the times had been on snow shoes with a group of friends.
I got off to a later start than I normally like. I began hiking at 7:41 AM, the sun already well up. Still the air was cool at first and I found out once again that my stair climber portion of my workout program was paying dividends. The first couple of miles, up to where the trail splits and the left fork goes to Dog Lake (.6 more miles from there) and the right goes to Desolation Lake (1.9 more miles), went easily for me. I generally get passed by some of the younger folk, and nearly every time by an old “billy goat” a gray-haired guy in his seventies. Since I never saw the billy goat, I started thinking that maybe I'm personally moving into billy goat status myself. I'm not even in my sixties yet, but eventually you've got to consider  with pride that the older you get and keep having adventures, the more billy-goat-like you become. I admire those older people who can hike like billy goats. I got passed later by a trail runner, and that's it for people passing me. It's not that I was hiking fast, it's that with less people, there are going to be less people who hike faster—simple arithmetic.
As I meandered up the trail, at first, the sounds of vehicles on the Big Cottonwood Canyon Road could be plainly heard below. As time went on, however, the sound dissipated and eventually vanished as I moved deeper into the canyon and higher in elevation.

Flowers adorned the path, still not in full splendor, but about ready to break forth in mid-summer radiance. A gentle breeze pushed the fragrant scent of the evergreens toward me. The sound that had been cars below, became birds now, and Tiger Swallowtail butterflies and others flitted here and there.
I enjoyed just looking at the trees and lush plant life, sure signs of an abundant water year, and the views of the surrounding peaks were fabulous.

By the time I got to the lake, my stair climber preparation had worn off and I was getting tired.  It had taken me about two hours and twenty minutes from trailhead to lake, and that included stopping to take a lot of pictures. I left the trail at the lake to get up higher and see what I could see, maybe get some better photos of the lake.
Coming back down and circling the lake, I found the spot, under snow, where my sons and I had stopped to skip rocks across the surface of the lake years ago.
Where the furthest left snow patch is, that's where we once skipped rocks.
There had been some perfect rocks for skipping back then, but since the area was under a couple of feet of snow, those rocks were nowhere to be found. Thankfully, I had picked up a nice rock on the other side of the lake and I got as close as I could to the place where we had thrown them before and let it fly. I guess I have an old goat shoulder now too, and hadn't warmed up properly—it hurt to throw. I thought that maybe I'd do better if I had done some spring training...

As I rounded the lake and got to where the trail split off and  went to the north east, up to the ridge, a mountain biker came roaring down the trail. I wasn't on the trail that time, but all the mountain bikers I had seen that day had been courteous and had been watching out for hikers.
I was reminded that I was very close to a very large population of people and that we all can enjoy our various activities in the mountains. For example, I saw no one having a picnic, but there were many nice areas to lay out a blanket and have some food if one were so inclined. There are always many things to do in the mountains.

I sat down then and took a few more pics, ate some of my snacks and then headed back down the trail. On the way down, I took more shots. That's what it's like, hiking with me. This time, I was trying to get some of the butterflies in flight. Most of them wouldn't land, so getting a still shot was going to be tough. I noticed that the Tiger Swallowtails were meeting members of the opposite sex and then disappearing. Probably to a butterfly motel room somewhere.
There's a butterfly in flight here somewhere.

I finally found one that stood still for a moment and caught this pic.
Finally I got back to the parking area, my heart and mind elevated and refreshed—my spirit renewed. As always, the adventure ended too soon, but I knew there would be another one, and I couldn't wait.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Story of My Life - Neil Diamond

Every so often a song comes along that touches my heart deeply. The Story of My Life by Neil Diamond is one such song. I have always loved this song. I believe it is Diamond's greatest song, and is probably in my top ten of all love songs. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Reposting this because Facebook won't

I don't know what it is. Does Facebook have a filter for the word "God" now?  I tried posting this article several times and it kept saying "try again later", but then when I liked a couple of things it worked just fine. Anyway this is an interesting article I found in the Deseret News this morning called, "How Some Christians Find God in Bryce Canyon and Other National Parks".

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Ribbon in Your Hair- Tim O'Brien

I always like introducing people to this very talented singer song-writer. Tim O'Brien is well-known among bluegrass/folk fans, but a lot of people have never heard of him. The song The Ribbon in Your Hair is a wonderful tribute to true love. Here are the complete lyrics to the song.

Strollin' on the strand one day
Back in the fall of '49
The sun was sinkin' in the west
When somethin' caught my eye
And through the dim and misty light
I saw the ribbon in your hair
As you turned around I found true love then and there

We never even met that day
Fate kept you and I apart
And though I traveled far and wide
Your vision filled my heart
Through the dark and stormy nights
Deep inside I always knew
I'd find the path that would lead me back to you

Now as I behold your bright eyes smilin' back at me
It's as if by fate's decree that we have this love to share
You only have to take my hand
To take me back in time
To the picture in my mind
The way the twilight shined
Upon the ribbon in your hair

Now our home's a holy place
Bathed in love's abiding light
It warms my heart to hear you tell me
How it feels so right
And may all lovers be like us
And never rest until they find
The lasting love that can bring true piece of mind

Now, give it a listen, and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

John Muir--never attacked by a bear

Some hikers and others spending time in the wilds have an irrational fear of bears. Sure, a bear can kill you. Absolutely they can be dangerous. But consider famed naturalist, John Muir. Muir spent much more time exploring wilderness than most, if not all of us, will spend in our lifetimes. He encountered bears on several occasions, in some instances, he feared for his life. Yet to the best of my knowledge, despite those encounters, was never attacked--even though there were far more bears back then than there are now. He did, however, have some mistaken assumptions about bears. Here's one example:

"...We found our way easily enough over the deep snow, guided by the topography, and discovered the trail on the brow of the valley just as the Bridal Veil came in sight. I didn't know that it was one of the famous falls I had read about, and calling Chilwell's attention to it I said, "See that dainty little fall over there. I should like to camp at the foot of it to see the ferns and lilies that may be there. It looks small from here, only about fifteen or twenty feet, but it may be sixty or seventy." So little did we then know of Yosemite magnitudes!
After spending eight or ten days in visiting the falls and the high points of view around the walls, making sketches, collecting flowers and ferns, etc., we decided to make the return trip by way of Wawona, then owned by Galen Clark, the Yosemite pioneer. The night before the start was made on the return trip we camped near the Bridal Veil Meadows, where, as we lay eating our suppers by the light of the camp-fire, we were visited by a brown bear. We heard him approaching by the heavy crackling of twigs. Chilwell, in alarm, after listening a while, said, "I see it! I see it! It's a bear, a grizzly! Where is the gun? You take the gun and shoot him--you can shoot best." But the gun had only a charge of birdshot in it; therefore, while the bear stood on the opposite side of the fire, at a distance of probably twenty-five or thirty feet, I hastily loaded in a lot of buckshot. The buckshot was too large to chamber and therefore it made a zigzag charge on top of the birdshot charge, the two charges occupying about half of the barrel. Thus armed, thegun held at rest pointed at the bear, we sat hushed and motionless, according to instructions from the man who sold the gun, solemnly waiting and watching, as full of fear as the musket of shot. Finally, after sniffing and whining for his supper what seemed to us a long time, the young inexperienced beast walked off. We were much afraid of his return to attack us. We did not then know that bears never attack sleeping campers, and dreading another visit we kept awake on guard most of the night."

While it isn't true that bears will "never attack sleeping campers", the fact that Muir spent so many days, weeks, months, and years in the wilderness without any kind of attack should give us comfort as we make our forays into the wilderness ourselves. Using simple caution, such as safe food handling and storage techniques in bear country, learning how to avoid making bears agitated, and going prepared for an unexpected attack will all go a long ways to a safer and more enjoyable experience. That doesn't mean you won't ever find yourself threatened by a bear. John Muir was, and ended up not being attacked--but those encounters can still occur.
In Utah's Wasatch Mountains, it's rare to even see a bear and I only know of one attack.

This bear came into our picnic site at Yosemite.
We grabbed all the food we could and threw it
in our vehicle before he got too close. Then
we made a beeline for the vehicle.

There was still a skillet and stove and a few other things we couldn't
grab on our table. The bear got them.
He bit into the box of matches, but didn't find them too tasty.
I still have this box of matches preserved in a zip lock bag.

We had cooked burgers in the pan. He pretty much licked it clean.
The bottom line is that a healthy respect for wildlife and a knowledge of their habits will help keep the rare bear encounter from becoming a life-threatening event. Learn safe techniques before you need them and you will be prepared, even if you never need to use them. And keep having the adventures. They are what make life worth living.

Monday, June 12, 2017

I like it French...

I decided to do an experiment today. I wanted something to go with our dinner of crock pot roast and baked potatoes, so I tried out a new recipe--french bread. I had never actually made french bread before, so this was an new experience. See, the way I look at it, is if you can't get away to have some experiences, like maybe Malibu or something, you've gotta make those experiences happen where they can happen. In my case it's right in my own little abode.
The bread went together pretty well, the only glitch being that the stated time for cooking was 35 minutes, and when I checked on the bread at 28 minutes, it was a little darker than I would have liked. I had rushed getting it in the oven, only letting it raise for half of the stated 30 minutes--mainly because it was getting a little later than I'd like to have dinner. That was my only critique I got from my wife Ann, who said that it needed to raise a little longer. Good thing I didn't wait too long though, because right after we finished eating, the power went off.
All in all though it was pretty tasty, and not nearly as hard to make as I would have thought.
Meet the new Bosch...same as the old Bosch (Who fans will get it.)

Rolled out and ready to go

As I said, a little dark, but still tasty

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Baby Come Back by Player--just a great song

This is one of those songs that you used to sing as a kid when you were sad. I guess you could sing it as an adult too. Just a great lost love song.