Friday, October 15, 2010

Sara's Visit-Day Three: Red Rock and Snowbird

Swedish pancakes for breakfast (Thanks IKEA frozen food aisle!) and we were off to explore again, this time with blindingly blue sky overhead. Bernie and I had just discovered the "red rock" area north east of our house, and of course wanted to let Sara apply her artistic photographic skills to the scenes.

The area is accessed via a rest stop, and it only took a few moments for us to begin frame up pictures...everywhere!
Such subtle colors after the autumn forest scenes, yet the scenes were beautiful in their own way.
One of Utah's controversial road side crosses: A few years ago crosses were placed near places where peace officers (police, highway patrol, sheriffs) had lost their lives in the performance of their duties.
This cross has information about such a person; it is bit unsettling to read about how he was shot, but it does make one remember that yes, these officers do put their lives at risk every day.
Well, wouldn't you know it; some atheist complained because some of the crosses are on public land.
Can't have that...establishing a religion and all...
They will all have to be taken down.
Here's the nutty part: Montana has a similar memorializing program, yet the government is letting those crosses stay because they are smaller.
(So exactly how big does a cross have to be to "establish" a religion???)
Personally, if I had been asked, I would have suggested a neutral shape for the memorializing of fallen officers on public land, simply because I think a cross suggests where someone is buried.
We hadn't realized that there was a two lane highway closer to the red rock walls. B. and I will definitely be seeking access to that road soon.

Can't wait to take pictures of this scene in snow.
Last year I had a blog header of this view, with rainbow like stripes of fall color.
I think we were either too late or two early to catch the red bands.
We will have to try taking another look this weekend.
(It is only about 20 minutes from our house...just a nice short drive to take for the fun of it.)
Then off to a higher plane...Snowbird at the end of Little Cottonwood Canyon.
The last time I was here with Vicki and Doc this meadow was green and had a rainbow of wildflowers blooming.
The high clouds tickled the mountain tops around us, and caused ever changing shadows upon the dappled colors.
Sara just couldn't stop smiling!
We all couldn't stop smiling, and really, we didn't even try to stop!
Sara and Bernie knew each other back in 1973-1976, when they both attended the same small Bible college in San Diego, and visited Israel as part of a school related tour back in 1974.
I was attending college in Oregon at the time, and didn't really get to know Sara very well before she left the school and married.
We both had our first children the same San Diego, but didn't know it at the time.
It wasn't until a few years ago when Sara retired and began to blog that she re-discovered us, because I had noted that I like Messianic music.
That showed up in a search, and she recognized us. We began to get to know each other through our blogs, (and our cat's blogs).
Bernie had been out of town during Sara's first visit to SLC last December; their "class reunion" after some 33 years was quite fun!
Such views...
Aspen gold flaming the mountainside: Um..we will be here taking pictures for awhile....
Group shot via a camera exchange with two young ladies up enjoying the scenery.
Horrible Bernie to the girl taking our picture: Yes, my "sister wives...say, how about you, are you married?
Sara and I should have "Gibbs" slapped him!

Snowbird resort and hotels as we seen as we came down on the ski lift chairs.

I forgot to mention that it was Octoberfest time at Snowbird. Before we took the tram up the mountain we had a Bratwurst and sauerkraut lunch while listening to a German band and watching folks in full German costume dancing about. There was yodeling, and the long alpenhorns, and it was announced that at 3:30 the horns would be taken up to the mountain top for an open air concert.

Sigh. Sara's plane left at 3...maybe we can hear them next year.

How is it that the horns are played in the mountains every fall and yet I have missed hearing them each year?

Eventually it was time to go. As we walked back to our car, we passed Snowbird's fishing pond that is for children only.
Look closely at the tip of the reflected tall fir tree and you will see a shadowy trout.
Bernie says it is really funny to see kids fishing with plastic toy rod hook up the enormous planted trout!
And so our time with Sara drew to a close.
We had planned to take a jaunt through the Temple Square Gardens on the way to the airport. Shock: all the flowering plants had been torn out; the flower beds were just bare dirt awaiting the next round of seasonal planting.
Well, that settled it for me.
Sara will just have to make a trip out next spring to see the Temple Grounds in full bloom.
I don't think not seeing them this time made any difference at all.
It is awfully hard to top the fall colors and scenes that we saw in a 50 hour visit!
(Favorite memory: Sara and I singing an impromptu chorus of "How Great Thou Art" up in the Timpanogos forest!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sara's Visit Day Two: Timpanogas National Forest

It was a "just us girls" day. We lingered over breakfast, still hoping for a clearing sky as promised by the weather service. It stayed gray, so I packed a thermos of hot maple tea, cheese, cookies and assorted nuts, jackets and gloves, sent Sara to the empty house across the street to pick some tree ripened apples, and we were on our way.
I love going to Timpanogas; the jetting mountainsides provide wonderful backdrops for the seasonal changes below.

We stopped at Sawmill picnic ground and walked a bit after our long 45 minute drive.
Sara stopped and stared at the scenery overhead.

Doesn't see look like she was born for this seasonal scene with her red hair and green jacket?

We both wondered at the gaping hole on one mountainside. Sara asked if this area was near an earthquake fault line (only us Southern Californians would ponder that possibility.)

The answer: Yes.

It must have been quite a day when that house sized chunk of rock took a tumble.

As we drove higher, the color change became more pronounced.
The vistas became grander.
The road through the forest has lots of hairpin turns. Trail heads are marked, but not always immediately apparent when coming around a bend. I pulled over quickly when I spotted this trail, parked and we entered into an aspen grove via a semi-muddy narrow path.

It was utterly silent except the occasional sound of aspen quake. We saw a few moose tracks, but none were frolicking that morning.

The road through the forest is a narrow two lane affair with only occasional wide spots to allow parking.

Coming upon scenes like this resulted in me making a fast pull over, then the car doors would fly open and our cameras were switched on and raised as quickly as possible.

Then we stood still and took it all in.
Took another angle, then another and another...

Looking for the perfect photo composition: I think I found it with this shot.

What at a distance plants that appeared to be small brush were actually quite large trees.

Some clustered in rainbow-like color phases.

I had never seen color shaded acorns before. Aren't they usually just green, then butternut colored?
Apparently not.

A sign announcing that Cascade Springs was a mere seven miles up one way had me considering my options. It appeared to be down a roadway that lead through rather uncolorful topography. On the other hand....I had never seen Cascade Springs before.

What the heck...we had all days to explore the area.

I am so glad we did. The springs were amazing. An entire area of small waterfalls tumbling from one meadow like area to another, underground springs and snow melt combined to make streamlets wander swiftly through the land layers.

The colorful leaves added to the water's beauty.

The area had lots of vibrant red color changed leaves. Sara and I took lots of these kinds of pictures.

Interpretive signage informed me that the water was slightly warmer than normally be expected as the spring was being fed from two miles below the earth's surface. I had to find out for myself; a dip of my fingers proved that while the water wasn't warm it was definitely not as cold as the air around us. many beautiful sights all in one place.

The park service had built paths through and over the springs. I didn't hesitate to ask a photographer to shoot a picture of us two.
This was what the river looked like behind and below us from the bridge.

Walk, see, stop, shoot a picture....repeat.

After the Springs we headed back towards Mt. Timpanogas, where the view was the most amazing.

Focus on the fall colors...the red grove, or the golden aspen, or focus on the mountain with the wonderful snow etched stripes?

How to best frame the is SUCH a blessing to have the modern camera that lets me take as many shots as I want.

Then a turn to the left and there is another whole scene to consider.

Mountain snow lined stripes, trees in color banded stripes....I love it when the trees line up by color like that!
The mountain top clouds were being cloaked with misty veils; and each glance at them had me shooting yet another picture as the light and the shadows changed.
See the yellow aspen grove on the right? That give a good perspective to how large this mountain really was. The snow bed is there year around, and some say it is actually a glacier field.

Distant vistas white with snow, close up berries, equally white. Isn't it amazing how many colors berries come in?
Wouldn't white berries like these be wonderful in a bridal bouquet?

"Fall comes down from the mountain"
Sometimes it looks like fall comes down from the mountain via a winding path!
Where did all this color hide on top of the mountain before?
Did it seep out from the bottom edge of the rocky cliffs?
Or did the summer flowers melt into colors and run down the hillside?

In Provo Canyon we took another look at Bridal Veil Falls....
Wondered at the how it could be that the rocky layers could suddenly tip up at one point....

And I shot a picture of the Sara whose smile told me that she had had a most satisfying day!
(We drove home at around four...and upon seeing IKEA on the side of the freeway, Sara revealed that she had yet to visit my favorite store. Well that neglectful attitude was swiftly remedied: we swung in, shared a plate of Swedish meatballs and lingonberry sauce, mash potatoes and lingonberry soda and took a gander at all the colorful store products.
We had laughed together in the forest as we sipped our tea and munched our cookies while driving through the forest. Uber fit bikers huffed and puffed as they challenged themselves to bike up the steep hills; we knew we were having a lot more fun than they were.
We may not be cover girls for Women's Fitness magazine, but I think we really did have more fun doing the trip our way, cookies and Swedish meatball included!)