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.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Mt. Olympus a great September hike

Since I have been up to the top of Mt. Olympus numerous times, and I think that each one is likely my last, I have now been up there in a variety of seasons, from spring to fall. The hike itself is about a 6.6 mile round trip, most of it very steep. It's not for the out of shape, although I have seen some fairly out of shape looking people on the trail. I'm fairly certain that they didn't make it to the top. This particular hike, my brother Mike, and his son Lawson accompanied me. I was the oldest and since I really have no desire to blast off speed records to the top of mountains any more (when I was in my teens I made it to the top of this particular mountain once in 1:30), I brought up the rear. Mostly out of necessity as my legs felt tired from the getgo.
We started early and the Oquirrh mountains looked sleepy in the distance.

The nearby peaks of the Wasatch were just catching the early rays of the sun as we began our ascent.
It was beautiful with fall colors, mostly from the maples, in abundance.
This is why we planted a Big Tooth Maple in our yard.

Mike and Lawson. Much of the trail was filled with color.
The hike itself was fairly routine with us struggling up the steep parts of the trail, then finally making it to the saddle, and then beginning the last stretch, which is basically climbing rocks until you get there--about 500 vertical feet.

I actually had to adjust my camera because the whiteness reflecting off of these guy's skin caused it to think the flash was on.
The last stretch always throws me as to how challenging it actually is finding hand and foot holds, and much of the rock has been worn smooth by the vast numbers of people who make their way to the top each year. There were a lot of people up there yesterday, and I could imagine how that many people climbing on those rocks would eventually make them smooth. Anyway, the smoothness of the rocks makes them slick and even with good hiking shoes, there are some places where I just slid. It's a place where caution is necessary as slipping could cause some painful injuries. I slipped on the way down and came close to blowing out my knee when my foot got pinned up underneath my rear end in the sliding action. I have never had a better quad stretch, btw.
The colors off the edge on the way down were spectacular. This pic
doesn't really do them justice.
When we got done, Mike told me that he was feeling more sore and exhausted than he had when we'd gone up the Jacob's Ladder route on Lone Peak. I suggested that he had selective memory and had forgotten just how tough that hike was.
All in all it was a great hike, and I think I've done Oly enough times. I kind of prefer now to hike meandering trails rather than trails that head straight up. I'm thinking if  I can swing it, that I might just make one more trip into the Uintas this year for one of those trails that's a bit less brutal.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Why sitting for the Star Spangled Banner is simply a poor way to protest

I pity people like football player Colin Kaepernick. They protest and they do not know why. They choose to sit for a national anthem that wildly encourages freedom and courage. The words of the Star Spangled Banner are the epitome of what everyone who loves liberty should be enthusiastically supporting. So too with the United States flag.

True, there has been oppression, racism, and other evil things happen in America. That is the very reason people with any kind of common sense should support the ideals represented by the national anthem. It isn't the words of this song that people should be protesting, but those corrupt and evil individuals who try to undo the very principles espoused in the song.

This is why Kaepernick and others who have and will protest in the same manner as him are dead wrong. If you love liberty, march on those who will take it from you. If you hate racism, parade around in front of those who promote racist ideas. Scream and carry signs to your heart's content against those who are truly evil and repugnant when it comes to those kinds of things.

It is governments who are corrupt, and individuals in power who fund them who are truly evil. Protest them by any means possible. Rage against the right targets. Your sitting for the national anthem only draws the ire of those who know what freedom means and cost of defending it.

Last of all, those who want to protest should learn history and not protest blindly. Drawing attention to yourselves, if it is the wrong kind of attention, isn't helpful in combating the injustices that you would like to combat. Know your facts, know your enemy, and fight them tooth and nail once you do, but don't sit for a song that promotes the very ideals you are fighting for. That my friends, is simply stupid.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Baby I'm a Want You - Classic Bread

I think right around 1970 was when I first remember listening to popular rock music for the first time. And Baby I'm a Want You by Bread, is likely the first ever love song I remember hearing--that is, other than a few Elvis tunes my parents would listen to on variety shows. Bread was the band that led the slow dances at my junior high. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Hiking: Deseret Peak

I have spent some time over the years in Utah's Stansbury Range, but never had I hiked to the top of the highest mountain in it. Deseret Peak towers at 11,035 and is the highest point in Tooele County. It had been on my bucket list, but I had never done it. Yesterday seemed like the right time, so I did it.
The trail begins at the far end of the Loop Campground in South Willow Canyon. After doing the hike, I personally divide it up into three sections. The lower section winds its way up through an evergreen and aspen forest. It is mostly in the shade. The second section begins when you get to a large meadow area. This meadow area continues until up the canyon until you are nearly to the top of the canyon and has a lot of loose, gravel-like rock on it. It wasn't that bad going up, but coming down was killer on this loose rock. This second section ends when you top out on the saddle above the canyon. From that point you can see into Skull Valley to the west. The last section starts here, because the base of Deseret Peak is to your right.

The early morning sunlight was spectacular on the surrounding peaks.
My day began great. The temps were supposed to be high, summer giving one final push to show us who's boss, so I was glad to get up in the mountains. As I made my way up the first section, I was grateful for the shade. I had started at 7:15, and it was nearly 9:00 before I got into the sun. I saw a doe and a Mormon cricket along the trail during this section, and I spent a lot of time taking pictures of both the wildlife (deer, birds, and insects), and scenery on this hike. 

I noticed that most of the wild flowers had died off and much of the plant life was beginning to change color. As I crossed the stream bed of South Willow Creek, it was dry, unlike how it had been when I had been on this trail earlier in the summer. That time, I had turned back because the streak was raging and I didn't want to chance falling in and ruining my camera or phone. About fifteen minutes after crossing the stream bed, I made it to the meadow area. I imagined how green it must have been earlier in the year, and promised myself that I would return sometime to see it.
After crossing the South Willow Creek streambed, you come to a fork in the trail

This Mormon cricket was about three inches long

Topping out on the saddle I was amazed with the views. It was here that I stopped and talked with my Maker, much of it in gratitude for his grace in my life. That's one nice thing about hiking alone is that you can talk to God (if you so desire) to your heart's content. The views were just majestic. I continued on up the last part. I was a little tired, but invigorated. I had seen the last of the wild flowers at about 8500 feet and was surprised to see more after 10,000 feet, but there they were. I also had a large hawk cruise past me along that part of the trail and it was beautiful!
This sign post was at the saddle. The wind was blowing so hard here I had to take off my hat to keep from losing it.

The Antelope Canyon trailhead must be in Skull Valley somewhere. It looked intriguing.

View looking northeast from the saddle.

I spotted this katydid on the final approach to the peak
As I neared the top, I noticed that the trail went right on up, with no scrambling. So this hike, would be suitable for nearly anyone who was in good enough shape to make it, without any worries of having to use your hands to help climb.

Once on top, I took in the amazing 360 degree view. To the southeast, there was something going on at the Tooele Army Depot. They were setting off some charges and I could hear them up there, and see the puffs of smoke in the valley floor.
Explosions in the valle
There were stunning views of Skull Valley, and the nearby peaks and I thought that it would be even more spectacular if the forest fires in the surrounding states and in Utah were out and the haze was gone.

This was another trail coming up to the top from another direction. I told myself that I would one day follow it.
There was a geocache on top, in an ammo can. It was out in the open. There was another container of notes beside it.
I took the time to put an entry in the pages inside the ammo can.
I then ate lunch, took a few pics, and then just sat there. So often I am so involved in trying to get good pictures, that I fail to actually take in the events that are happening. For this reason, I make it a point now to put the camera away and just spend a few minutes absorbing what I'm seeing.

After about 30-40 minutes, I headed down. When I got to the saddle and started down the middle portion I noticed how tough that loose rock was to negotiate going downhill. By the time the next hour was over, my toes were really feeling it. I finally tightened the laces on my shoes as much as possible and that seemed to help a great deal.
Looking back up toward the saddle. All the yellow is fall coloring, not flowers.

See the bird in the middle of this pic? I still don't know what kind it is.

I made it back to the 4runner at 2:20. It had taken me seven hours, but I had spent a lot of time taking pics (I took 132 shots during the day) and dawdling. I'm pretty sure I could have shaved at least an hour off that time easily.

It was a great hike and one that you should consider doing sometime if you like hiking.
This butterfly paused just long enough for me to get a shot.