Monday, October 25, 2010

Autumn With Scattered Winter

Monday morning, 7:20 am. My cell phone had snowflakes on the homepage screen!

Whoo HOO!

Time to race up Mill Creek Canyon (again!) to see the fall colors highlighted with SNOW!!

During the night between our Sunday evening trip to Mill Creek and my Monday morning trek, 86 mph winds had torn through the area, stripping a lot of color from the trees.
What little color remained was muted beneath the morning snowfall.
Yesterday's colorful leaf lined roads had switched to a subdued look.
Aspen in snow is always a huge photographic draw. I wasn't the only photographer focusing on the outgoing color.

This rock structure above Porter Fork should look familiar by now.

I posted it surrounded by green brush during Sara's visit two and a half weeks ago, and again surrounded by flaming red color change, and now this.

So many changes in only 18 days!

This trip up the canyon I was dressed for work; all my pictures had to be taken near the roadway. Not that that was so bad; I still shot off 117 pictures in less than 90 minutes.
Some views just blow me away. The snowy stripes on the mountainside remind me that this area was once flat until the Wasatch quake changed everything a millennium ago.
On Saturday and Sunday I took a picture of this same bridge carpeted in yellow leaves. It looked inviting then, and still looks inviting now...with the proper kind of snow shoes!
I did mention the 86 mph winds right? Freshly fallen tree branches testified it was a serious wind storm.
Yet with all that wind, the gentle snow fall that followed cuddled the tender remaining leaves in stillness.
Why does one tree hold all its color while the other lost all of theirs in the storm?
Bernie lived in Chicago for a year when he was 18. He remembers gorgeous fall colors but tells me the color change was a one color event. Here the leaves are varied in color, shape and color change timing. When it happens that several species change at once the results are spectacular!
I had to revisit the stone bridge that I photographed over and over again on Saturday.

Some of the brighter colors are gone, but the white snow on the black branches are equally appealing.

(If you look at yesterday's collage, you will see this bridge scene veiled with vibrant orange leaves)

I can't imagine that it got warm enough to melt the snowfall and then froze again, but the icicles say differently.
Late today we are to have a much heavier snow storm. I suppose all the colors will be buried, and access to even these scenes will be difficult.

The pinkish hues of the leafless branches will be lost beneath the snow. Do you agree that my schedule was correctly re-arranged so I could dash to the Canyon to capture such scenes?

(Sometimes I imagine that these scenes would have faint flavors if I were to lick them...a touch of raspberry, tangerine maybe...)

The upper canyon was already gated closed; snow shoe and cross country skiing will soon be the only way to explore the upper stream beds.
Another scene I photographed on Saturday at Church Fork Picnic grounds; a streamlet was coming down the mountainside to the left of the main stream in that picture. It sure looks different now!

Bernie's "pin up" picture was taken beneath these trees.

I wanted to climb up those stairs again so badly, but knew that it was unwise to attempt without proper shoes. My flat rubber soled loafers offered no gripage at all.
I walked carefully over the fallen leaves.

Dodged snow clumps that splatted me as I walked.

Had to remember to look where I was going instead of just gaping at the scenes around me.

Hauntingly beautiful reds amidst the white and black.
I really did have to be careful. While on Saturday and Sunday I took a care not to slip on rain damped leaves, now the danger had intensified: the colorful leaf carpet was now covered with a half inch of ice which in turned had been embellished with tiny snow pellets atop.

So, so pretty. So treacherous. I had my phone on me, but wondered how I would describe where I was if I were to take a tumble. I chose each step quite carefully.

For the most part I was all alone. I dreamed of what it would be like to build a huge fire in the picnic area, slip into my long down jacket, hat and gloves and just stay for the day.

Winter melodies played in my head; especially the lilting song "The Snowman".

There won't be enough snow to build a snowman here until tomorrow; even then the task will be quite impossible as Utah produces such powdery dry snow that making a such a form is nearly impossible. It is just about like trying to make a snowman using baby powder talc or flour.

The upright growth of the fir trees are quite helpful when orienting a photo.
But check out the bush at the upper end of this outcropping. Defying gravity is possible?
A bend in the road that on Saturday was a glorious scene of flame colored glory. Now the flames are being beaten back...I feel so sorry for everyone who didn't take the time to make the drive up the six mile long canyon to see all the fall colors this year.

Isn't the outcropping interesting? Isn't the orderly fir tree rows interesting. It may be a natural growth as far as I know.)

Of course there is still color to be scene close to the mouth of the canyon, and color is really just getting started on the valley floor. Every drive to the city is a new experience as trees burst in to color overnight.

The drama of color competing with the drama of geology and snow...who would you say is the winner?

(Answer: Anyone who gets to see it!)

A peek to the valley floor and the snow covered mountains to the north.
I'll be photographing this scene again come mid winter.
Can you blame me for wanting to come back to Mill Creek Canyon again and again?
Especially since this scene is only about two miles from my house?
So tell me: what was you favorite picture?
Have you ever had snow on the fall colors where you live?


Vicki said...

Aw, now, don't make me choose my favorite photo! That's so not fair! :)

Of course, we've never had snow on Fall colors here, simply because we don't typically get Fall colors. We have had snow flurries twice in my 12-plus years of living in Florida. Now, in KY, the Fall colors were usually gone by the end of October/early November, and the earliest snow I remember was the second week of November, so it's possible we had snow on Fall colors, but I don't remember it.

I'm with you, Jill. I'd be in Mill Creek Canyon every opportunity I had, but since I can't go with you in person, you're committed now to taking me along this way! :)

ellen b. said...

Oh my what a difference an evening can bring! Amazing...
I think we might be in for it this winter :0)

Sara said...

It just gets better and better there where you live!

Marg said...

What a great choice...all I know is that after eating at the DQ off the interstate, I just loved looking at those mountains always imagining what they looked like in the winter time and here you gave me the best glimpse of all. Absolutely beautiful Jill.
This is the best time of year.

Vee said...

So glad you asked! #6 is my favorite, but it was a tough choice. What spectacular beauty! Great photography, Jill!