Sunday, October 01, 2017

Hiking: White Pine

White Baldy with the White Pine dam visible in the foreground
My hike Saturday was amazing. It's always great just being in the mountains. I really wanted to go with someone this time and when my brother Mike called me the night before and told me he had the stomach flu, I almost decided not to go. We had planned on hiking Deseret Peak, and I definitely wasn't wanting to do that one again by myself after doing it last year. I had given Mike the choice and that's what he chose, but now that he wasn't going, I wanted to do something a little shorter and a little closer. I chose White Pine because a lot of people have been posting pics of that hike on some of the hiking pages and I hadn't been there since I was about fourteen. Red Pine and White Pine are in adjacent canyons and my dad had taken us kids and some of our friends up to Red Pine, and then we climbed the ridge to the east and went down White Pine. They both begin at the same trailhead.

So I thought it was about time I went back there. Spotty foul weather was predicted, so I went prepared for the worst. The trailhead is up Little Cottonwood Canyon, just a bit past the Tanner Flat camping area. The turnoff comes up right after a blind corner and I missed it like I have several times. I saw it though and went up the road to where I could make a U-turn and headed back. The sign at the trailhead says that White Pine is four miles, but I have seen various trip reports saying that the mileage is wrong and that it's a bit more than that--more like about nine miles round trip. I started  hiking at 7:36 and it was lightly sprinkling. I kept my camera in my pack in a zip lock bag. I took a picture that I posted on Facebook with my phone. After a while the rain stopped so I took out the camera and took some shots, but then the rain started again so I tucked it inside my rain jacket which I was wearing. I probably looked like a guy with a tumor on my chest, but I didn't want to ruin my camera, nor did I yet want to put it in my pack.
Familiar stream at the location where the trail splits, one going
to Red Pine, one going to White pine.

It was kind of dark and drizzly on the early part of the trail.

View into the northern side of Little Cottonwood Canyon


When I got to about 9400 feet, the drizzling rain turned into snow, and at 9800 feet it was coming down hard. By the time I got to 9900, it was practically a white out.

Looking down. Up ahead of me, the snow was coming down so
fiercely that I had to put my camera away.
I looked at my GPS and it showed that the dam was just a quarter mile to the right, but the trail I was on was going left, away from the dam, and it looked like it went a long ways that direction. In the blinding snow I couldn't see any place where it switched back and headed toward the lake, so I began thinking I had missed a turn off and I was on the wrong trail. I didn't want to end up at Snowbird! There had been a guy who had basically played leap frog with me on the upper portion of the trail and he was now ahead of me, but I couldn't see him anywhere because the snow was so thick, and what was worse, I couldn't see his footprints in the fresh snow on the trail. So I decided that he had taken the right trail---the one I must have missed--and that further confirmed to me that I needed to go back and find the fork.

So that's what I did. But there was no fork. I got down a ways and the snow had lightened up a bit and I could see the guy I was looking for walking across the dam. At that point, I was too tired to go back up and get to the lake. On my way back down I was just taking my time. My hands had gotten cold--my right one a bit numb--so I put on my gloves (someone on one of the forums had wished they had gloves, so I had thrown them in my pack, just in case). I had a very hard time getting them on my cold, wet hands though. Kind of like taking wet clothes off--assistance would be my preferred choice.

Even as winter approaches, the fall offers great spots of beauty.

Since the snow finally stopped as I dropped in elevation and the rain did too, it got warmer, and I took the gloves back off. I had my camera out and was taking some pictures of the peaks when the guy from the dam passed me going down. He told me that the lake wasn't really that pretty and that I didn't miss much and that Red Pine was far more picturesque. He also told me that I could have cut across, and saved that long switchback, but at the time with all the snow, I wasn't sure where the dam was. Not until I was a bit lower and looked up and saw him up there and I was too tired to go back up, let alone climb up the chutes I'd have to climb if I cut across without taking the trail.
These flowers were still hanging on at over 8700 feet.

So I hiked about 7-8 miles, didn't quite make it to the lake, but felt the thin line of how close you can get to danger if you aren't prepared for the conditions. Thankfully I was. I had watched earlier as a couple went up the trail before me, probably to Red Pine because I never saw them coming down, and the guy was dressed in shorts and they both had light jackets.

Anyway, it was a great adventure and I learned some things and had a great time. What more could I ask (well, other than having someone else along)?
Happy Trails!

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Hiking: Bald Mountain and Fehr Lake

This past Tuesday I wanted to get out, get hiking and try some fishing. Mostly, I wanted to get into the Uintas as I hadn't had the chance to go there yet this year. I had debated which lake I wanted to hike to in order to fish, and I kind of wanted to try somewhere new. Then I decided to hike to the top of Bald Mountain, a relatively short hike, and come back down, then hike to one of the lakes off the same trailhead that goes to the top of Baldy.
I had told my wife that I'd be back at around 4:00, so I had to keep that in mind as I was figuring things out. I driven out of the gas station parking lot in Taylorsville at around 6:20 and it was just shy of two hours drive time by the time I got there. I had stopped to go through the McDonald's drive thru at Park City, and to pick up a fishing license, some worms, and some Power Bait at the grocery store in Kamas. I didn't need to pick up a pass at any of the kiosks or whatever you call them along the Mirror Lake Highway, as my pass that I had purchased the day before, when my wife and I took a drive up there, was still good.
Saw these deer on the drive up. Just did a drive by experiment with my zoom.
As I began hiking, I started thinking that maybe I should've brought the short-sleeve shirt instead of the long-sleeve, because I was working up a sweat. And I had not been up at altitude like that all year--Bald Mountain Pass clocks in at over 10,700 feet, and the trailhead itself is just a bit lower than the pass. My legs were fine from all the stair climbers I've been doing, but I found myself lightheaded as I tried to adjust to the thinner air.
There was only one other car in the parking area when I began, which was quite a change from the day before, which was Labor Day. That day, there was wall to wall people all through the Mirror Lake highway area. In fact, on Monday we had got caught in bumper to bumper traffic coming back from our ride--people from the Uintas, and likely Strawberry Reservoir and other areas too. Tuesday was completely different and back to nearly normal levels of people, though there were still a few campers and motor homes belonging to people who probably wanted to stay up for a few more calmer days.
As I began my ascent, I could tell it was going to be a low visibility day due to the smoke from all the fires that had accumulated amongst the peaks. At that point I was not aware of the Weber Canyon fire, and thought that most of the smoke was blowing in from other states.
It's quite a slope, both to the right and left as you go up the trail.
I kept it slow to better adjust to the altitude and took a lot of pics along the way.
This is about where the woman who had climbed it 100 times passed me.
One woman passed me on the way up and then, just as I neared the top, she passed me on her way down. We stopped and chatted for a few, and I found out that this was about her 100th time climbing this particular peak. I had just heard a couple of weeks ago about a retired mail carrier who had hiked to the top of Mt. Timpanogos more than 900 times. It made me wonder. I mean, there are so many different trails to take, why do one particular trail that many times? But to each his or her own. I have hiked several of the trails in the Wasatch around five times and Mt. Olympus maybe ten times. That would be my personal record. The most times I've hiked any one particular peak. And I don't necessarily see me doing Oly again. So many trails, so little time!
After talking to that person, I got up to the top and hung around for a while, finding the exact top with my GPS (this mountain tops out at 11,943 feet) and then going to various points to see the 360 degree view.
Looking to the southeast. That's Mirror Lake directly below.

A little to the northwest is the Notch.

Another view of Mirror Lake and Highway 150

To the west. Among those lakes are Trial and others.

Reid's Peak

Large cairn on top. The actual high point is where I am taking the picture.
After eating my second breakfast, I headed back down. On the way, I met a couple of people from New Zealand who were camping nearby and enjoyed my visit with them. before I even got to the trailhead, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to hike into even the nearest lake along the other fork of the trail. This trail eventually leads to the Notch, and one can do a point to point hike if you start here and end up at the Crystal Lake trailhead, or start at that trailhead and end up at the Bald Mountain parking area. I certainly want to do that one some day. I have hiked from the Crystal Lake trailhead over the Notch and down to Ibantik Lake and that is a fabulous hike.
Anyway, I had spotted a lake on my map on top that was only about a half mile from the main highway, and I drove down the highway to the parking area, then hiked into Fehr Lake. I figured I had about an hour and a half to fish in order to get home by the time I had told my wife.
Fehr Lake is a Beautiful little lake.




Can you find the guitar in this image?

There are other lakes further back in. As I said--there are so many hikes, and I love Timp and all, but could never see me doing it even 100 times--just too darn many other places to see. One of these days, I'll get back on that trail and see the other lakes that were further in.
Views along the trail to Fehr Lake
Since I had an hour and a half, I just decided that my best course of action in catching fish was to try something for 20 minutes, and if there were no bites, to try something else. I first used worms. After all, I had stopped and bought them in Kamas, so I figured I'd better give them a try. Nothing. The Power Bait was next--rainbow with sparkles. Again, nothing. I decided to try a fly with a bubble. I used a brown scud and a fish took it, right after it hit the water. I reeled it in. If I had my backpacking stove with me, I would have cooked and eaten it on the spot, but I didn't, so I let it go. I let nearly everything go when I fish as it's rare for me to have my stove along, and I never take them home.
I tried the scud a few more casts, but got nothing. I figure that the fish hit it on that one cast because it was still basically dry and they were feeding on the surface, but after that first cast, it was waterlogged and sunk. Something to think about for the future. I should take my fly rod next time and that stuff that makes flies float.
I switched to spinners and caught nothing except an empty plastic cup that some uncaring person had thrown down, either in the lake, or on the land and then it had blown in. Either way, I didn't like it.
You can stop leaving your trash in the mountains at any time. I won't complain.
The trail back out afforded me a great view of the peak I had summited earlier that day.
Bald Mountain
I knew I would be back to climb it a fourth time some day---probably in my golden years--and then stopping in the forest below for a picnic or something. One thing I knew for sure--I would never run out of places to hike, for the first time, or for the seventh. And it's always a new adventure.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Rod Stewart: Have I Told You Lately That I Love You

Written by Van Morrison and recorded by Rod Stewart, Have I Told You Lately That I Love You is simply one of the greatest love songs ever. Not only because it's highly romantic as a love song, but because it also is widely interpreted as a song about Van Morrison's relationship with God. I like listening to it in both lights--as a love song to a woman---and also as a praise to God. I hope you like this as much as I do.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Cultural appropriation: a different view

I think this is so sad and stupid. A group of freakishly politically correct people on the left are accusing others in every walk of life of cultural appropriation. That is, if you do not come from a particular ethnic group, you have no business depicting in any way the attributes of another ethnic group. For example, if you are a white American of European descent, you have no business owning a Mexican restaurant. This insipid reasoning has condemned artists for depicting lynchings in the south and other subject matter that depicts the oppression suffered by black people in America—even though those artists were sympathetic to the plight of black America. The cultural appropriation groupies have also forced Kooks Burritos in Portland to shut down because it was owned by two white women.
Let's look a bit at history to see a few more examples of cultural appropriation and what should be done about it.
Exhibit A: The Beatles. In the sixties, the Beatles made a trip to India to visit with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. They began around that time to experiment with Indian instruments and recorded several songs, written largely by George Harrison. Those songs include Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, I Am the Walrus, and Norwegian Wood. They made a lot of money off those songs. Later Elton John did a cover version of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Both the Beatles and Elton (by default) are guilty of cultural misappropriation. They need to stop profiting off the backs of the peasants of India. They also borrowed from black performers, like Chuck Berry. All of those songs, need to be stricken from the record.
Exhibit B: Harper Lee. Lee, a white woman, of course wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the most important books of the civil rights era. Of course, she had no business writing this book, not being black. It should be torn out of every library and erased from every Kindle.
Exhibit C: Soccer. Soccer or football was invented in England some say, others say in China. It's pretty clear that soccer as we know it had it's beginnings in Scotland. Sorry, Brazil. You have culturally appropriated soccer. Time to stop playing it and go back to whatever traditional sports are played there.
Exhibit D: Omar Sharif. Sharif was an Egyptian, but in his most famous role he played a Russian. Why couldn't they have gotten a real Russian to play that role? Doctor Zhivago needs to be relegated to the trash heap of history.
As you can see, the politically correct cultural appropriation crowd are blatantly ridiculous. Cafe Rio, though not started by Mexicans, employs thousands of people, many of them Latinos. Should such a place be closed down because they culturally appropriated recipes? There are thousands more examples of businesses that borrowed thoughts and ideas from some another culture. Should these all be closed down in an effort to ensure cultural purity? If so, it sounds vaguely familiar. I think there was another culture, prominent in the 20th century that advocated cultural purity. Do we really want to go down that road?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Love Me Over Again: A Don Williams Classic

Back in 1980, the voice of "the Gentle Giant", Don Williams was heard frequently on the country radio stations. He actually had quite a few big hits, such as Some Broken Hearts Never Mend. Good Ole Boys Like Me, and many more. This classic, Love Me Over Again is one of his best. I'm posting two versions, because I can't find a live video of him singing it, except when he's older--and the recording is a little hard to hear. Anyway, here's the earlier recording and a later live recording. Enjoy!



Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Care for the caregivers

In writing on this subject, I run the risk of sounding like I'm complaining. And yet, I feel the need to open the eyes of people to situations they may have under their very noses, within their own family circle or conclave of friends.
Among the vast throngs of people existing on this planet, there is a group of people, scattered across the globe, who are called “caregivers” or “care partners”. I heard the latter terminology used by Jennifer Brush and Kerry Mills, authors of a book called I Care:  A Handbook for Care Partners of People with Dementia. That being said, caregivers or care partners, whichever terminology you prefer, involve a wide range of people caring for others with a wide range of challenges.The challenges may be mental disorders, such as Alzheimers or other forms of dementia, or those for whom care is given may have physical challenges for which the causes are myriad. In my case, I am caring for my wife Ann, who seven years ago, was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sjogrens Disease, and Fibromyalgia. Those of us who are caregivers do not think of ourselves as angels or saints, or anything of the kind. Personally, I am an ogre on a frequent basis. Most of us are just people thrust into a situation they never wanted to deal with, but who are doing the best they can. In most cases we are barely hanging in there.
For the past few months of this year—since January actually—Ann has been in some extreme difficulty, which has required much more of my time. Before that, she was able to get out of the house on her own, make her own meals, and pretty much take care of herself. Since January, she is debilitated to the point where she cannot shower without help, often requires assistance when using the bathroom, cannot stand long enough to get her own meals, and cannot drive herself anywhere. As you can imagine, this has put a huge burden on me to help her with those things.
Since I am not old enough to be retired, I work a forty-plus (usually in the non-Christmas time of year it's around 45) hour week at the U.S. Postal Service as a letter carrier. Our daughter Rebecca, and her husband Justin, along with their four children live in our home. Justin works outside the home, and has a heavy schedule both at work, and doing things for his LDS church calling. There is a level of dysfunctionality within their family and while I'm at work, Ann receives sporadic care. I make sure she is fed breakfast before I leave, and I put her lunch in a small cooler. When I come home, I get dinner ready—or pick it up somewhere—it has become harder and harder for me to have the desire or energy to actually make dinner—and then spend the remainder of most nights at home with her. She has been home watching something on television all day, or sometimes reading, and is bored. I then become the entertainment by playing board games several nights a week, or watching something with her.
While I love spending time with Ann, there are certain chores that need to be done, such as lawn mowing, weeding, and even stuff inside the house like washing walls, scrubbing floors, and cleaning bathrooms. Going to the store for needed groceries becomes a challenge because there is a certain amount of guilt placed on me when I hear Ann's words, “you're leaving me again?” Even going to lunch with a friend or attending church meetings are filled with guilt trips for desertion. All of these chores and activities get postponed or not done at all because of Ann's need for companionship. Busywork, such as contacting my medical insurance for forms, or getting reimbursed by my Flexible Spending Account get pushed aside so that I can meet Ann's immediate needs. I believe these things are common among caregivers and that I am not alone.
I have the added challenge of the other family members who live in my house not totally functioning, and I end up having to clean more (and other great challenges) because of that than I would were they to move out. However, Ann is insistent that they remain with us until she can care for herself, despite their limited contribution. If they were fully functioning, they would be a great help, instead of an extra burden, which I would welcome, wholeheartedly.
One of my personal challenges and one that is common to caregivers, is caregiver burnout. It takes a lot out of a person to care for another constantly. Breaks are needed. Those of us who appear to be “handling” it well, are often not doing as well as we should, or even could be. I am strong. Very strong. I make it a point to not whine and I try to put a positive spin on things. I blog excitedly about my adventures, and I use my sense of humor frequently. To outsiders, or even sometimes close friends and family members, this can look like I'm doing okay, so no need to help. The stark reality is though, that us caregivers desperately need those close to us to step in, often without being asked, and lend a hand.
When Ann first came home from the hospital in January, some of the people from the church I attend offered to help. At that time, I turned it down, largely because I was embarassed that we even needed it considering we had family living with us who were able-bodied and should be shouldering the load. Nobody from outside really knows how dysfunctional our household is, and it's actually not easy to explain to people. I am reminded of these words from the book of James: “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” (James 2:15-16)
In the past, I have used hiking and other activities to get myself a break from the caregiving. This year, because Ann took a turn for the worse, I have been able to get out far less than in the past. I have been afraid to schedule anything with anyone because of the times when I've had to call and cancel because Ann's needs were acute at the time the activity was supposed to take place. I think these kinds of things are common to other caregivers as well. Yet we caregivers need to take care of ourselves if we are to continue taking care of our loved ones. One thing I've been able to do on a fairly consistent basis is get to the gym. I go on my way home from work. I think stopping home first would keep me from going back out. What I could really use is a few days away from things, just to rejuvenate. I just don't see that happening. What would really be a blessing would be for Ann to get well enough that she could do many things for herself again. I think that will happen some day, but it's a slow process.
Another thing that caregivers are often challenged with is companionship. In many cases it becomes one-sided. One can give, and one cannot. It isn't the fault of the one being cared for, but it is a reality for many and hard to deal with. I have no idea what the solution is, but just being mindful of that challenge is a big help.
So my plea is for those who love the caregivers and those they care for to be aware of what's happening, not just visibly, but behind the scenes as well. And take some time from your busy lives to pitch in for a day or two a month. You will be blessing the lives of others, and the Lord will bless you for it.
One thing I think I have going for me that perhaps many other caregivers don't is that I always believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel—even if I can't currently see it, I know it's there. And I know that God is helping me endure and survive, and eventually wear the victor's crown.

Now, I hope that looked more like explaining than complaining. All you folks have an amazing day!

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Lagoon: where memories were made

The other day, I happened to catch part of a documentary on Utah's Lagoon amusement park's history. The show involved historical facts about the place that were new to me. As they showed photos from the past though, it brought back many memories for me and the times I spent there as a youth. I haven't been there in many years--since my kids were young--but there was a time...
My earliest memories of Lagoon were of our church group gatherings that we had there. Nearly as ancient in the history of my time spent there, was when I won the Pinewood Derby in my Cub Scout Pack and had the opportunity to race my car against all the other number ones in the state of Utah. Although I had rocked everyone in my pack, I got creamed at Lagoon. I think they gave everyone who didn't win a fourth place ribbon.  I still have that car, tucked away in a box.
I remember they used to have some spinning things that you dumped paint into and made some cool looking pictures. That was somewhere along the midway.
They had that huge "million gallon pool" I swam in that a few times. There was always a lot of things to do there. I used to love the Wild Mouse and the Roller Coaster, and the train that took you past all the wild animals.
There was the time that I went with our neighbors, the Howells, to Lagoon and they forgot one of their kids and we had to go back and find him. He was in the office, eating an ice cream cone that some kind person had given him. That was in the days before cell phones.
I remember the huge area with picnic tables and going there and eating Kentucky Fried Chicken and lots of other things.
Then there were the school trips. I remember going in 9th grade, and I think one other time with my classmates. It was fun.
Over the years I remember how weird it was in the Fun House, how we got out once in the Terror Ride, inside the building, not where you're supposed to get out--and how one of my friends got sick after riding the Hammer or whatever it was. I didn't laugh. There were some rides that I just didn't feel well after riding. The Tilt-O-Whirl was on that list. I remember a guy trying to guess our occupations. He said I was a welder, but in reality, I worked at an ice cream restaurant (Farrell's) at the time. Of course, I got a lot of nicks and scrapes scooping ice cream, so I can see how my hand's may have looked like welder's hands.
Such a fun place was bound to become a place to take dates. I remember doing that too. As a teenager, I perfected the basketball shooting arcade game, and the game where you knocked down Coke cans with bean bags. I won a few stuffed animals and gave them all away. Pioneer Village had become part of Lagoon by my teenage years and they had one of those Old West photo places--where you dress up like a cowboy, or pioneer woman, etc. It's funny--that's all I remember about Pioneer Village, because I had my picture taken there with a date or two.
The last time I went to Lagoon was when my kids were young--sometime in the 90s. Lagoona Beach water park had replaced the "million gallon pool" by then and I think we spent more time in the water park then we did riding rides, or playing games along the midway. By then, the prices had risen dramatically and I pretty much decided that unless I was going with someone who would really enjoy it--Ann didn't enjoy the rides all that much--it wasn't worth it to me to pay the big bucks to get in. I could go to water parks without having to do the rides somewhere else, like Raging Waters or something.
I bet that if I went there now, there have been a lot of changes made since the last time I went. But I also think a lot of it would be the same. Hey, do they still have those paddle boats? That's what inquiring minds really want to know.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Hiking and Four-wheeling: Timpanogos/Sagebrush Flats

I knew I had a hike coming up this week, but I hadn't yet decided where to go. I wanted to go somewhere that I'd never been before. These days, since I am a caregiver for my wife, where I go and how long I stay is pretty much dependent on her. Once she and I talked about how long she felt comfortable with me being gone today, I decided that I wanted to go to Sagebrush Flats, up near Mt. Timpanogos. The thing is though, I had no idea what it was called, so I jumped onto the Facebook page "Hike the Wasatch" and started asking questions. It didn't take long before the good folks there had me up and running.
I found out that the name of the place I wanted to go was "Sagebrush Flats" and the name of the mountain I could see in front of Mt. Timpanogos was "Mahogany Mountain". I also found out that there are at least three ways to get there. There are two trails (that were mentioned) that begin at the base of the mountain, and there's also a road that goes into Sagebrush Flats. I decided to take the road, thinking that once I got there, there would be some hiking that I could do. There were two reasons I chose the road instead of hiking the entire distance.
The first reason was that with my limited time today, that sounded like the most effective way to use it. The second reason was that my owner's manual says that I need to drive my 4runner in four-wheel drive for ten miles once a month. Since my time hasn't permitted me to go four-wheeling often enough to meet the suggested amount in the owner's manual--and since I love four-wheeling nearly as much as I love hiking, that was enough to sway me into using the road. I figured that I could always come back and hike up the trail some other day. Although I didn't really need my four-wheel drive, except for one mud puddle where I would have gotten stuck in two-wheel drive, high clearance is a must on this road. As it was, it turned out nearly perfect.
The road begins up American Fork Canyon. You pass Timpanogos Cave National Monument, then pass the turnoff to Tibble Fork, and continue on up the Alpine Loop Road to the turnoff for Timpooneke Campground. As you continue up the campground road,  you will pass the parking lot for the trailhead to the top of Timpanogos. This one is appropriately named Timpooneke Trailhead as opposed to the other popular trailhead at Aspen Grove.
Once past the trailhead you continue on up the paved road which soon becomes dirt. Well, dirt, rock, and since it had been raining nearly all night, mud and mud puddles! These are some of my favorite places in my 4runner. On the way in, I drive through the puddles somewhat cautiously, but on the way out, once I have driven through them safely, I hit the gas hard. If you have never done it, I suggest it. Make sure you close the windows--or leave them open on whomever you'd like to soak!
Part of every expedition I go on is scouting for future outings and on this trip I found plenty of camping, hiking, and picnic opportunities.
After about five or so miles on this road, a left fork headed toward Utah Valley, and the right fork, headed straight toward Mahogany Mountain. I took the right fork as it looked like my hiking for the day was going to be up onto the mountain in front of me. The road ended in a loop with a trail heading off to the west. I took the trail and headed up. At that point, the trail was pretty much heading straight up, with no switchbacks. I had to stop and rest frequently, and the views of the surrounding land were amazing. Low clouds hung around the peaks, and I could see down into Utah Valley on one side, and Salt Lake Valley on the other. Wildflowers were in abundance.



Continuing up the trail, I noticed very quickly that there was no way I was going to stay dry. The undergrowth was soaking wet from the rain that had fallen overnight--the rain that looked like it could come back any minute. My shoes and socks were soaked through in the first five minutes of hiking, and once I got into the higher grasses and brush, my shorts became soaked as well.
The trail tops out on a little knob with incredible views before plummeting downward into another part of the flats, and then up again through quakies until it reaches the ridgeline. At least, I think that's where it goes. As I entered the part of the trail that went through the quakies, the underbrush got higher, and I realized that I soon would be soaked from head to toe if  I continued much further. Looking at my watch and noting the time, I thought that there would be no way to make it to the top, or even the ridge before I'd have to turn around anyway, so instead of getting soaked with no hope of getting to a place with any better views, I headed back down.


Looking northwest toward Salt Lake County

About halfway back the rain started again. lightly at first, so I left my rain jacket in my pack. The closer I got to the trailhead, the harder it began to rain. I stuck my camera under my arm a bit and decided I could make it the last quarter mile without having to put it in the plastic bag that I always carry for that purpose inside my pack.


When I got back to the vehicle, I decided that I'd like to drive down the other fork in the road for about five minutes or so, but on the way back to the fork I spotted a female moose and two calves. I couldn't get close to them (and didn't really want to because mama mooses can be dangerous) and I had left the big zoom lens at home, so I took the best shot I could with the equipment I had.
Mama moose and two babies.
After that,  I drove down the other fork a ways, including through a thrilling mud puddle, before deciding that I would one day come back and follow that road all the way. I turned around and drove back down, hitting the puddles along the way, a smile on my face.
The cliffs of "Timp" shrouded in clouds
Thankfully the mud puddles were more water than dirt.
The adventure was over, but once again, it had left me with more places to go and more things to find out. I would be back some day, but until then, there were so many places to explore, that I knew I would never run out.
One thing I'm always on the lookout for is a nice picnic area.


This is Make Out Rock. No further info provided.