Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nebo Loop, take 2

Earlier this summer we had attempted to drive the 32 mile long Nebo Loop, which begins about an hour southeast of where we live.
The Loop is noted as being one of the most scenic drives in Utah, and during the fall when autumn colors are at their peak, the drive is highly recommended for viewing.
Sunday afternoon we decided to make the drive down there again, confident that this time the access gate would be unlocked.

There was no fall color change to witness, but we noted various vistas that we will want to visit again in a month or so. 
Those views are pretty great even in summer green actually.
A road side sign promoted a scenic point called "Devil's Kitchen: A Mini Bryce Canyon".
The pull over area looked like the rest of the area, just forests of white fir trees, with a small asphalt path leading deeper into the tree.
About a city block in the landscape totally changed to the promised Bryce Canyon look.
A handful of people and one cheerful Brittany Spaniel stood on the platform overlooking the "kitchen", and we helped each other find the various formations that were listed on the guide sign.
The saddle horn hoodoo was directly behind the sign which caused a bit of a mystery for a moment.

So I am guessing this is where the Devil goes when he wants to mix up a batch of Devil's Food Cake?
(sorry...couldn't resist...had to say it...)
Along the path to the Kitchen.  I wondered how many people had not even noticed this beautiful tree trunk with so many colors.

There was just one little bit of aspen gold to be seen if one took a moment to look.

Black clouds that flashed with lightning topped all the long views.
At this point we had been driving the loop for about 40 minutes, stopping randomly at the various vistas and checking out various campgrounds.
I was feeling a bit peevish...and commented that aside from the long views, I wasn't seeing much of interest.
No birds too.
We speculated on why that might be.
And then...

I spotted this bird perched in a dead tree about a half a block off the side of the road.
Bernie slowed down, then backed our car up so I could get a clear shot.
Aren't those talons serious looking?

I do appreciate a bird who is willing to pose for me for awhile...
I noticed later when I enlarged the pictures that the beak had a touch of yellow at the top.
Details like that are a big help when it comes time to identify the bird.

After about three minutes the bird lifted off and flew across the road ahead of us, winging and gliding until he landed further away.

That was that...we didn't see a single other bird aside from a duck later on at Lake Payson. 

The lavender wild asters were in bloom along the roadside; a sure sign that summer is coming to a close.

At Lake Payson the storm clouds finally let loose on us.
Bernie wished to fish for a bit...

I was ready to take a ramble on the neat lake encircling path after sitting so long in the car.
As usual I was wearing my orange hiking shirt and Bernie said he enjoyed being able to visually follow me was I walked around the entire lake

The rain got pretty intense and my camera was tucked under my shirt for most of the walk but there were places along the way where the overhanging trees provided dry shelter for me.
The colors on the surrounding hillsides were not "Fall" colors; they were just bits of folage break that revealed the colorful soil beneath and browned out grasses and such.
In a couple of weeks though...the colors will be the real deal and then some.

Some of the undergrowth sported hints of color aside the path.

I am facinated by berries and all their variations.  Years ago Victoria magazine had a series of photos of berries that had been gathered on branch and used for centerpieces and wedding pieces.
The article awoke an interest in berries in me that has never left.
I had never seen a berry like this one before.

The dawdling stroll around the lake didn't take long.
I came upon Bernie toward the end; he was fishing with wet flies and wearing a rain dappled brown felt fedora.
A very attractive scene he made.
Sorry for no picture; the rain was heavy enough at that point I was unwilling to risk wetting my camera to get the shot.

By the time I made it back to our car the storm had moved on.
Lightening and thunder was to be seen and heard nearby, so Bernie gave up fishing and came back to the car too.
We both agreed that the Lake Payson campground would be a lovely place to spend some time camping soon.

The loop meandered down after the lake area.
Bernie pulled over and checked various places along the road to see where the best fishing holes might be found.
It is at times like that that I am so happy that we have found pleasure in the compatible hobbies of fly fishing and photograph.
We are so glad that our hobbies keep us both fit and happily spending time together at such little expense.

The only other true bit of fall color seen that day.
When we finally wound down the loop to a residential area, Bernie began looking for a way to connect back up with the freeway north and back to our home.

He was pretty sure we were headed north west.
The mirror compass informed us we were actually heading south east!  The clouds had obscured the sun; the loop had wiped out our sense of direction.
We heeded the compass and quickly found a way back on the freeway.
A year ago on 9-11 we had hiked up to Silver Lake and been witness to the most amazing hatch and fish ballet performed in the light of a setting sun.
We had hiked up the mountain surrounded by green, and hiked back down with color change all around us.
It was a day full of wonder for us.
This 9-11 we chose the same sort of day for our remembrance.
Some people have suggested that 9-11 should be a day of service.
Our President spent the day feeding the homeless in a soup kitchen.
I am all for service, and soup kitchen duty is a duty to be attended to regularly.
If someone was to ask how I think 9-11 should be spent, I would advise finding something in America that brings a sense of joy to your soul and engage in whatever that is on that day.
And during that time, be aware of the freedom that we all enjoy.
Pray that the freedom will stand forever.
Pray everyone in the world will one day enjoy the same sort of freedom.
Pray for the those who put their lives at risk for our freedom.
And pray that they too will soon be home and enjoying their freedom too.
9-11 will always be a day of remembrance of a horror.
For me, I chose not to dwell on the horror.
That feels like awarding attention to the attackers for their success on that one day.
As I took in the late summer beauty around me, I said a prayer for those who hate us.
And felt a sense of victory in how I spent my day.


ellen b. said...

Love the shots of the Hawk! What a beauty and your photos are so clear and crisp. The raindrops on water are really cool too. What an impressive drive and it must be spectacular in the Fall...

Anonymous said...

We loved looking at your blog. Pictures, comments and your finishing comments left us with a feeling of pleasure in being able to share your day. Thank you. Love to you both, mom and dad S.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

A beautiful post, Jill. Photos and words too. I noticed that bit of golden aspen leaves right away! I'll never forget my visit last autumn...such glory! Utah seems to be beautiful no matter what the season.

Lovella ♥ said...

I like how you chose to spend your 9/11 anniversary day. Your photos of the Hawk were so impressive. I wonder if these camp grounds around your area can be reserved or do people just take a chance to find a spot. You have so many gorgeous areas.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Thanks for taking us along on your weekend meanderings! Lovely as always...and so well documented. I'm looking forward to your fall foliage tours...coming soon, I'm sure!

Vicki said...

I could imagine walking along the lake, among the trees, and hearing the rain falling gently around you...on the leaves, the ground, the water. How soothing!

Like Sara, I spotted that bit of yellow aspen peeping through the green...definitely an attention-grabber!

The hawk looks so majestic. I'm guessing it's most likely a red-tail hawk (the most common hawk), although a couple others share the touch of yellow at the top of their horned beaks.

Oh, Jill, you should have been with me on Tuesday morning! On my way to pick up Spooky (it's a short drive through a wildlife preservation area), a bald eagle swooped across the front of my car and landed on a side road. He looked so huge and majestic, watching everything around him before taking off into the woods! No, I didn't have my camera handy...drats.

Gwendolyn said...

I so enjoyed scrolling down through your lovely pictures. And pose for you, he did - such incredible shots of the bird. I'm seeing a lot of fall colors there already!