Monday, October 19, 2009

Autumn Drive/Cascade Springs

From The Archives

Somehow, with the hustle and bustle of the fall season I have always missed out on the wonderfully photogenic drives we have around here during the fall season. I finally managed to fit it in, although a bit late, it was still absolutely stunning and beautiful.

Our scenic drive started with a long drive south to the Highland/Alpine exit. There are a lot of great things to see in the Highland/Alpine area but I wanted to get up into the mountains so we passed all that and entered the canyon. Apparently we were not alone in our idea for our adventure today as a smidge up the canyon we got stuck in a traffic jam at the ranger station to pay fees. Lucky for us we had the Golden Eagle Pass which allowed us to get in free, and by pass about 10 minutes wait time. W00t. I really like this canyon. It is really one of the least molested canyons in our general vicinity. Yes there are picnic areas, and of course the trail head to Timpanogos Cave has a ranger station, but there are no houses up this canyon. It is all National Forest Land so it is much more natural than some of the other canyons. I wish I had taken more pictures on the way up because it was gorgeous, but I was really excited to see Cascade Springs and was worried about losing light so I just kept going.

This particular drive was, well scarier than most as about halfway up the road narrowed to a tiny as road with barely room for two crossing cars to pass, and huge drop offs. Landis was getting mad at the car behind us at one point and pulled over. So I took the opportunity to snap a few shots of the scenery.

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This is the tiny road I was talking about. Plus the nekkid Aspens. Almost all of which within 2 feet of the road seem to have been marked.

Quite a bit further down the scary ass road, we came across the Deer Creek lookout.

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A bit more driving and we arrive at Cascade Springs. We had picked up lunch before our drive up anticipating a chance to eat here in the scenery, only to find posted signs banning such activity. Apparently they want to preserve the pristine waters. Not a big deal, and understandable as you will see later, so we ate in the car. Now keep this in mind, there were also posted signs the whole way up, and in the parking lot that said you must display your paid pass if you stop. So we are eating and we watch a ranger come by and ticket a car who had not posted their pass. Then we see a couple come up the trail looking.. a mix between confused and pissed. And they see they have been ticketed, and proceed to confront the ranger. Really? I think they did a good job of forewarning you, dumbass.
Now to the trail.

This is a really pretty, scenic trail that is paved so it is an easy hike. Unlike Silver Lake it probably could not be traversed on a Jazzy but it is still easy. We parked at the upper parking lot which at first look on the trail seemed to be a detriment, but upon second look back was an advantage as you start at the source and see the results next. DSC_0328
Random splash of color

Awesome bent trees

The source springs. I really tried to research just how many springs feed this area and I could not locate it. I counted at least 5. But either way, this is the top of the water source, I started the trail above, and there is no water above that tree line. (this will be shocking in a moment) DSC_0338
The trail above the springs, with cute Aspens.

the first bridge. I felt a little bad here. I went to take a picture and there was a couple on the bridge. I waited patiently for a photo, saw them snap it and then moved in to take mine. Only to see they were taking more, and I probably was in their shot. Meh. The yellow trees represent the top of the springs so this is your first idea of how much the springs are pouring out.DSC_0348 DSC_0351
This is the 2nd bridge a little lower down. Here you can really see the full force of the springs. Apparently they release up to 7 million gallons per day and here it shows how evident that really is. I again felt bad as I was on the bridge trying to set my camera to take an in motion shot, and Landis, bless his heart notified me that people were waiting to cross the bridge, so unfortunately I did not capture what I wanted, but this is still pretty.

Near the bottom.

Finally was able to calibrate the camera to capture what I wanted… a little too much motion (over exposed) but still good.

I loved this area the beautiful blue pool with a stream bubbling in.

The water is so clear you can see the fish without any effort.

A pretty shot of the cascades.

We then hiked back to the car, and enjoyed more scenery. I really, really love this area. It is so fascinating to me. To think a few sprigs can release this much water is awesome, and it is so beautiful. I love it. If I could somehow manage to live here I would without any remorse.

We then proceeded down the Alpine Scenic Route towards Heber when we see this:

They were not kidding, dirt road that was pretty rough for 5 miles. It sucked donkey balls.

meh. Not particularly proud of this picture, but it shows the perdy autumn colors.

Random Covered bridge. I don’t have pictures to prove it, but I have decided that Midway was founded by the Dutch, as there was a lot of Dutch imagery around this town.

From Midway we finally found our way to Heber, and then to Park City, and home.

We finally hit familiar territory with Salt Lake.

It was a beautiful drive and I would love to do it again a little earlier next year. I also intend on hitting Timpanogos Cave during the summer one year… oui.
The Drive: 9 squirrels out of 10 because, well there were scary parts, and un paved parts.

This is the general path we followed. It was cool coming back into the valley and seeing all the peaks we drove around.

Cascade Springs: 10 Squirrels out of 10. The first to achieve a perfect score. It is beautiful, and fascinating. I have never seen such an awesome force of water emitting from springs. Even though it is a DRIVE and it is pretty crowded, it is absolutely amazing. Best local nature spot yet.

Normally I add a quick how to get there but I think my map covers it nicely. :) Although in order to avoid the gravel road, go through Highland/Alpine.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Karaoke, Booze, and FIRE!!!!

My friend Vee knows how to celebrate her birthday. I mean, every year it seems to become more of an event than a birthday party. Which is awesome! Your birthday is YOUR holiday what better reason to throw a kick ass party? I know I always try to make it a big event for mine though I must say, none of my birthdays have ever come close.

We arrive to what looks like a block party, the whole neighborhood is here. (it helps she has cool neighbors) and the music is really going. We eat have a blast and the Karaoke starts up.

Summer Lovin (happened so fa-ast)

DSC_0862 V Gets down with the ladies.

DSC_0867 Me looking all punk.

Then the Fire-Dancers arrive. This is the 4th time I have seen various members of this fire dancing group (3 of the 4 at Jess and V’s home) and finally for fucks sake the first time I have my camera. I took an assload of images but will only share a few of my favorites here.DSC_0871  Dragons Eye

So when I was talking with this fire dancer he told me his favorite image someone had taken of him, the fire seemed to resemble a Phoenix. Now, I don’t know if he put this in my head and that’s why I see it here, but I see a Phoenix.
 DSC_0876 DSC_0888 DSC_0905 wow

DSC_0939 DSC_0950a DSC_0959a Hot. O and the fire is probably warm too.

DSC_0967 DSC_0985 DSC_0999 Fire Wheel – This is one of my favorites.

DSC_0001 DSC_0010 DSC_0018 DSC_0029 Of course the Birthday girl gets a chance to play with fire

Okay I shared more than I anticipated, it’s just as I had anticipated, there were a LOT of great photos.

Then the Karaoke started back up and it was getting to midnight, and I mean, this was LOUD I felt like I was at some sort of festival, and I just kept waiting for the cops to come, and they never did. I found out later she had gotten a permit to be loud until midnight. Did I fucking tell you this girl knows how to throw a party!

All in all it was a wonderful night, I am so happy to have been a part of it.
Drunken Shenanigans brought to you by Bud Lite. Hehe.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Silver Lake

Current mood: awake
Category:Travel and Places

From The Archives

When I was little I always remembered this cute little lake we would go fishing at that had this nice little boardwalk, and some good fishing docks. I don’t know why, but randomly I started thinking about it, and for some reason I thought it was near park city. So I started doing some google image searches to attempt to find it with no luck. Finally I asked my mom while we were at Calvyns birthday party which was at a picnic area in Big Cottonwood Canyon, and she knew exactly what I was talking about and told me it’s at the top of this canyon. SWEET I know where it is now I can hike.

Unfortunately, life has this funny way of, interfering with itself. I had been planning on doing this hike for a long time this summer and well, it just never really happened. Other things came up, family, friends, work, WEATHER, all sorts of things. So we finally have an open day to do a hike and I seized on it like the last pork chop at a meat convention.

First thing is, all the way up the canyon, passed donut falls that is, nothing looked familiar at all. I couldn’t tell you if I had been there before, until we got to the turn out for the loop road and it all came flashing back. We were exactly where I remembered from my childhood. So we find a spot to park, and after a quick stop at the Visitors Center we proceed to hike.

I would like to note, I now realize why we went there so often as kids. It is a very easy family friendly hike, completely board-walked, with very, very little incline. You could do the lake hike on a jazzy if needed. Hehe.

Silver Lake starts at a tiny mountain town next to a couple of ski resorts. After you get past the small town, and the Visitor center you are greeted with a beautiful meadow with a mountain backdrop.


We took the boardwalk to the left (it’s a loop trail) and proceeded counterclockwise. After a brisk walk we came across a beaver dam.

And the first glimpse of the lake itself.

I am unsure if this is an inlet or an outlet, but after reviewing all of the images I have deduced it to be an inlet.

The lake.

Piddy flowers and a glimpse of what’s to come, although I didn’t know it at the time.

Cute squirrel gets it’s munch on.


I was quite enjoying the flora this particular hike, be prepared for more flower images. Hehe. About halfway through the board walked loop around silver lake you come to a trailhead with 2 hikes. 1 to the Twin Lakes reservoir, and the other to Lake Solitude. Both sounded interesting, the crowded boardwalk was getting to be too much for us, and we really wanted a HIKE so we made a choice and went to the Twin Lakes Reservoir. Honestly the deciding factor was it was the shorter trail at just over a mile.

Sea of Aspens

Just a few feet up I looked to the skies and wondered if we should turn back and get our parkas. We ultimately decided we would probably be okay…

Here is a pretty view of Silver Lake from above.

I don’t know if I am more out of shape this year, or if the hike was steeper, or if it was the elevation, ok I just answered my question I think it was the elevation, but this short mile hike was KICKING MY ASS. I had to stop several times to catch my breath. Thank goodness we actually thought ahead this time and brought water with us. During one of the pit stops we saw this cute chipmunk scurry up the hill until he encountered a squirrel. Guess the squirrel is more intimidating because he turned back.

After that I was looking to the skies, feeling my heart racing and was seriously contemplating turning back. Luckily we passed a hiker coming down and we asked if it was much further up and it was not.

Twin Lakes Reservoir.

This was really pretty and I wish we had stayed longer and taken more pictures, but of course right when we got there the skies let loose. Now, I am not talking cats and dogs rain, but it was really coming down, and as I had nothing to cover my camera with other than a thin cotton shirt, and there was another family chilling here, we decided to just start back down.

Outlet valve of the reservoir. Which smelled of fish. Yuck.

Here is another above view of Silver Lake. The lower stream in the image is where we saw the beaver damn. Like I said, I am unsure, but I think this is where the Twin Lakes Reservoir enters Silver Lake.

The rain scared off the crowds.

I have this random habit of taking Landis’s picture when he hikes ahead of me. Hehe.

Back down to the rest of the Silver Lake loop a good view of the lake. This is above the outlet stream, or what I would suppose (not verified) is the source of Big Cottonwood Creek.


Here we saw this cute family of ducks.

Sadly there was a big family with lots of kids watching the ducks too, and acting all crazy. I think they spooked the poor babies and they swam under the bridge! I remember seeing momma attempt to snatch the last one back but she failed. She then proceeded to get slowly more and more upset. She tried calling them out and then she jumped up on the bridge.

She honked a few times and then went to the other side and proceeded to call them out with no luck. At this point Landis and I had decided that we should leave and hope the other family gets the hint the babies were spooked and probably would not come out until everybody left. Just before we rounded the corner we watched momma fly over head and scare the shit out of the kids. Hehe. You know, I have always read stories about the strong motherly instinct ducks have, but it was really cool to see it first hand, even though I know the babies were not in danger, but poor momma was freaked!

silver lake stitch (2) Panoramic of the fields and mountains

Random Nature Shot

The squirrels here are definitely not afraid of humans. We figured out why later as like 15 of them were hanging out under the picnic table of a large family.

All in all it was a wonderful day hike. I do need to separate it into 2 categories for my ratings.

The Silver Lake Loop: Family friendly, easy, easy, easy board-walked hike. Petty much drive up to beautiful nature. Pretty crowded but beautiful. 8 squirrels out of 10.

The Twin Lakes Reservoir Trail: Pretty, nice end result, GREAT views, strenuous. 7 squirrels out of 10. To be honest due to conditions I can’t give this a fair review.