Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Memories of Switzerland

This past Saturday was just beautiful, and we decided to head up to Alta, about a 20 minute drive from Jeff's house, and go for a hike.

Just looking around from the side of the road was delightful.

It brought back fond memories of hiking with B. two summers ago in Switzerland. The area looks so much like Switzerland that visiting Swiss exclaim it looks just like home.

I totally concur with that observation.

(Visit SLC! Just like Switzerland without the long flight and high prices!)

Just starting on the trail I was already seeing new wildflowers.

( I still need an identification guide, but I did learn that the name of the interesting flowers from a few posts ago was called Green Gentian. I saw Blue Gentian in Switzerland...)

The cross of snow in the crook of the mountain was neat to see. Bernie is dreaming of when these mountains will be solid white and he will once again ski down them.

Check out that greedy bee.
(B. had his epi pen with him so we didn't worry about the bees.)

Another new wildflower, with a furry throat.

The flowers looking down into a small stream: Sweet!

I was getting into the flowers..

Then I noticed the rocks. There was this smooth slab with interesting lines etched across the grain. I wondered what made the marks. I found myself stroking the rock over and over again, enjoying the cool yet strong sensation.
The satin smooth rock face fragmenting in squares, bit by bit for how long?

I was really rubber necking as we hiked along: flowers, rocks, sky, view...

The rock's colors and patterns made me recall the question on how to best catalogue visual textures on rocks and landscape. Would I need to document percentage of black, white and orange in this photography? Or would it be more important to document the spacing between the dots? It seems unimportant unless you are taking visual records that needs to be retrieved later by specific criteria.

I thought the rock was pretty, so I took the shot and decided I would not worry about cataloging it for now.

I have tried and tried to decide which was this picture should go.
The flowers really were facing down though.
Our hike was only about a mile and a half long, no big deal, except that it was mostly going straight up a mountain side.
We passed several people coming down; they all were smiling and saying that the climb was totally worth it.

This is what was at the trail's top. Cecret Lake! What a surprise to me!

(And how maddening not to be able to find out if it is a historical misspelling of the word 'secret" or if it was named after someone named Cecret. I've been trying to find out....)

The water in the glacial pond was rather low, judging from the deep shoreline.

The water was the kind of crystal clear that you always hope lakes will be.

Bernie was looking for something in the water...

I was looking at Bernie. He looked so natural, so happy...

Oh here's one. Here's what B. was looking for! A salamander!

I had never seen a salamander before. I couldn't believe how they looked down in the water.

They looked like tiny dragons, about the size of a large cucumber.

The more I looked, the more of them I saw. Can you believe these pictures are taken from above the water surface? The salamanders are about a foot or two under the water.

Ahhh......perfect place for a little nap.
(Yes, he did catch a salamander too, but let it go before I could take a picture.)

The reflections..the rocks...no wonder why people love to take this hike.

I just could not believe leave the house, drive 20 minutes, and be here in about an hour later.

A natural bonsai tree.

Textures everywhere. My friend Gail told me that fallen trees stay intact for centuries due to the dry cool climate, so unlike Houston where trees would decompose in a few years.

I wonder how long this tree stump has been here beside the lake?

Looking back down to where we began our hike in the Albion basin.

Back to rock pictures. Stripes!

Daisies lined the path. Funny how we took the same trail up and down, yet it looked totally different on the way back down. I didn't remember the daisies on the way up. (Probably because I was gasping for air...)

Then we hike through the forest and the basin. A little of last Monday's snow was still in the north facing forest grove. Bernie christened me with the season's first snowball.

How fun to be in the warm sunshine one moment, and in the shady cool the next.

A pink version of Indian Paint Brush. Or at least that's what it looked like to me!
Have I mentioned how much I am LOVING IT here???
B. and I thought back to our hike in Switzerland, where we sat on a bench, enjoyed the mountain view, and talked about our dream of living somewhere where we could take such walks/hikes regularly.
At the time we didn't know how soon that would be possible, or even where it might be.
We marvelled: Our Switzerland daydreams have become a reality.
And we've only been here three weeks...there's still so much to see!


Laura said...

Very nice post momma...sounds like you just might be having fun or something...
Loves you

Lovella said...

Jill, I think that mountain air is agreeing with you . .you look so youthful in the picture with B. . .he looks great as well.
The scenery is so gorgeous .. thank you for the invite. . I did take note of that invite. . I'll cash it in once you get settled. . pretty polite of me. .
smirk ..
oh.. and the salamandar made me smile. We were playing with the grands wooden blocks and then noted there was no animal on the N block. . we racked our brains and I came up with newt . . .newt they said? I said. . yes from the salmandar family. . I said. .then I googled it and yes there it was. .

Vicki said...

I am so envious!! That is beautiful! I simply have not made enough trips to the western half of the US. I must return...I must...and I've got to include Utah on the next trip.

running wildly said...

Wow. I marvel at your photos yet again. How wondrous!!!!
And I smiled at the salamander photos because I used to catch those all the time as a child. They were gross.....but awesome.

Anonymous said...

What a great picture of you and B - you both look so happy! I'm so glad you're enjoying your new state - and no wonder, it's beautiful.
It reminds me of when my husband and I moved from Ontario to BC with our young girls, over 22 years ago now. Every single weekend, we were out and about exploring some new place in BC!
Lori T

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful blog. I felt I was sharing it with you. Your pictures are beautiful and it is so good to see the smiles you both are wearing. I think this has turned out to be a good move for you both. Now a continued prayer that the Houston house sells soon. Hope you are able to find a temporary place that suits, both of you and the cats, soon. You are in our thoughts. Love, mom S.

Sara said...

Jill, Bernie is not the only one looking so happy, natural and relaxed. Both of you do.

The salamanders, however, well, I've never seen one before. What funny little spiky things they have on the backs of their heads. Like little dinosaurs.

Like Vicki, I'm a bit envious of your wonderful new location.

Islandsparrow said...

What a lovely place!! I was in Switzerland about 29 years ago - Dh and I went to L'Abri. I absolutely loved Switzerland - it was stunning!

The water in that lake is lovely and clear.

It does sound like you're having lots of fun!

amyletinsky said...

Are you trying to woo me over there? If so, you're doing a good job. =)