Sunday, March 31, 2013

Holi - Festival Of Colors

 

Last year we went to a local fund raisings troops Color Fest and that was fun, but it was also quite small. This year we decided to check out Holi, or The Festival Of Colors at the Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork.

Holi is a festival celebrated in India that announces the arrival of spring, the passing of winter. It is a religious event, but you don’t have to be religious to enjoy it.

Apparently, it is really popular. Traffic was backed up for miles! All through Spanish Fork, and then several miles back down the freeway! We kept driving until we thought we were close enough to start looking for a parking spot, parked and started to hoof it. You wouldn’t believe the amount of people heading in and out. It was like Mecca, the throngs of people heading in to be bathed in color. Well we parked further than we thought and did a good 2 mile hike up to the temple. Just google mapped it, 1.9 miles to be exact. Well I guess I got a hike in after all!

I was really concerned for my camera, so it was in a backpack for most of today's adventure. (Very smart Idea after seeing the condition of tons of festival goers cameras wow!) I had my phone in a ziplock baggy, so a lot of these are not going to be the best quality photos. You know, I went back and forth deciding if I wanted to even post these images because the bag really diminished the quality of the photos, but I think, even though they aren’t great, they help provide the full experience of the event so ultimately I decided to share them. I promise there are some really amazing shots I caught with my DSLR in here too. :)

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We’re almost there. Looks like they just had a throwing. Look at all the people.

After finally arriving and paying the $3.00 fee we went to look for chalk.

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Lots of people, and everybody is throwing chalk at each other. The cleaner you are, the more of a target you are.

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This really is a gorgeous building.

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Our friends were smart enough to bring bandanas so we didn’t have to breath/eat the chalk.

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Deadmau5

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Colorful people.

Ug. That plastic bag really destroyed these shots. Darn.

Then I heard the 4 minute warning to the start of a throwing. I had to get pictures of this, I just had to! So I told the group I was going to find somewhere with a better view.

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I am quite please with this location. I can see the crowd, and the temple, which is really a beautiful building. I am also far enough away from all the other people I was more comfortable having my camera out.

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Look at that colorful crowd!

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And it starts.

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I think this is my favorite shot of the day.

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And then it all starts to blend…

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Until its one big grey cloud.

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Whoops, I think I’m downwind.

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Like a dust storm. Okay, time to put my camera away.

Listening to some of the things the emcee was saying over the loud speaker, yes some of it was religious, speaking of Krishna etc. however the overall message I was picking up is we are all humans. We are all the same, lets just live together on this planet peacefully. I like that.

So we had a lot of fun, but the youngsters were getting restless and is was time we started heading back.

More images from my phone in a ziplock bag. I was still covered in chalk and didn’t want to risk getting it on my camera or my phone.

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These ladies wore prom dresses!

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Guess which way people are going in vs. which way going out is. One of the things that struck me as interesting that I noticed from the freeway to here is almost everybody wears white shirt to this fun event. So, carload after carload of people wearing white.

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Cool old barn.

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Spanish Fork River. So 2 miles ish hike back, down the road, but there were some pretties to be seen. Not going to get a hike in this weekend anyway, so I’ll take it! Then we started the long drive back home.

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Hand print!

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Ending with a cropped version of my favorite shot.

This was definitely a fun adventure. The crowd was a bit much, the hike was long, and the traffic sucked, but it was all worth it. I recommend everybody try it at least once.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Comet PAN-STARRS

 

I have been anticipating comet PAN-STARRS for a couple of months now. I dragged Landis out on 3 separate occasions to attempt to view it. On our 3rd attempt we went later than normal and thought we may have missed it. It wasn’t until I thought hey, the camera picks up more light then we can see, so, maybe? So I pointed the camera in the general area I thought it should be and left the shutter open for a minute. Sure enough there it was! So we couldn’t see it with our naked eyes, but once we determined exactly where it was we were able to see it with binoculars and I was able to get a couple shots of it.

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So, not the best images in the world, but I am just thrilled I have finally seen my first comet.

Now PAN-STARRS was awesome, but apparently it’s got nothing on comet ISON expected sometime this fall. While comets are very hard to predict, astronomers are saying it may be as bright as the moon, or may even possibly be one we could see during the day!  I absolutely cannot wait to see this!

Although, I will take multiple comet discoverer David Levy’s famous quote to heart: "Comets are like cats; they have tails, and they do precisely what they want." In other words, hope for a great show, but understand it might decide to turn around and lick it’s butt.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sun Dogs

 

Today I want to talk about a really cool, but also fairly common whether event called a sun dog or a solar halo.

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Image taken from my porch on Presidents Day a few weeks ago

A sun dog is when you see a halo, or even a rainbow around the sun. I wanted to talk about Sun Dogs today because of what I recently learned about them:

“A solar halo forms when sunlight is refracted off ice crystals in cirrus clouds. The halos — solar during the day and lunar at night — are similar to what is created when sunlight is refracted off water coming out of a garden hose.

Native Americans believed the appearance of a sun dog or halo meant a storm would come within five days — and that holds true about 90 percent of the time outside of the summer months, when the accuracy rate falls to 70 percent, according to KSL's chief meteorologist, Kevin Eubank.”

So if somehow you manage to find yourself in a post-apocalyptic world or really off the grid where you do not have access to weather reports in any way shape or form, it is a fairly reliable indicator of an approaching storm.

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I saw one 2 days in a row at work last week, and saw this one on the hike to Shepard Creek we did on Saturday. We did get a storm shortly after Presidents Day, we got a small storm on Sunday, and we have another one coming in the next few days. So, since learning this random fact, it has been 100% accurate at predicting storms.

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Landis helped me take this one.

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I had to dig back to 2010 to find this old image of a lunar halo.

Now I wonder if the percentages this meteorologist referenced apply to both lunar and solar, as I seem to see far more lunar halos than solar halos.

Anyway, yes very common, but still really cool, and it’s really cool to learn that they can help predict a storm.

Word of warning, even with sunglasses on you should never look directly at the sun, and you really shouldn’t look through a camera lens at it either. When I notice them, I try to look at the halo, rather than the sun, set my camera to what I think will work best, and point it in the general direction and click. Your eyes are precious, protect them.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Shepard Creek

 

Last fall i discovered this wonderful map that the city of Farmington provides that shows all of the hiking trails, as well as a few points of interest to look for. Its what I used to find Davis Creek, and what I used for today adventure. I decided on this trail because there is still quite a bit of snow on the mountains, and this appeared to be pretty low elevation. It also had several points of interest that appeared to be right on or near the trail that sounded pretty interesting. Frog Rock and Window Cave to be precise.

From the Farmington City website:

Trailhead Location: To reach the trailhead, go east on 1400 North off Main Street to North Compton Road, turn left and go to the end of the road. Park here. Several trails depart from this area. To hike up Shepard Canyon, hike north across Shepard Creek and look immediately to your right to see the beginning of the trail. The trail winds up steeply for 100 feet until it heads east some distance above the creek. In 10 or 20 minutes, the trail will come out on Bella Vista Drive. Look up the canyon over your right shoulder to see the break in the chain link fence where the trail continues. Hike up the dirt road about 200 feet and watch for the trail to cut up the slope to the right. Continue up the trail beyond the chain link fence and hike straight up the dirt road until it "T's". Turn around and appreciate the view. Go left at the "T" and follow this dirt road. After 75 to 100 feet, keep an eye to the right of the road for a faint footpath. Follow the footpath up a ways where it turns to the south. Explore around a little and notice that there is a footpath that travels east up and over a rock outcropping. Another trail goes south from here to Farmington Canyon. Be aware that the descent at the Farmington Canyon side of this trial is poorly marked and steep.

Note: This is not fully accurate. We went to North Compton rd. and discovered the trailhead on the right side, but the road kept going. It was fairly obvious though so you shouldn’t have any trouble.

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First, from the DBP album we see the trail we hiked last fall, Davis Creek. I am pretty sure I have correctly identified El Capitan, and Prayer Rock. Circled here. I just wanted to show those from below.

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Here is the trail head, with a little waterfall.

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Pretty steep at this part.

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Not too high up and already getting a great view.

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Random treehouse. This reminded me of a gully in sandy we used to play in as kids. There were a couple random structures the kids had built there.

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Could this be Frog Rock? (spoiler, no this was not in fact Frog Rock. More on this later.)

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Hrm. Snow already.

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The trail is a little hard to see here.

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Some green reeds.

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We had to cross the creek here. It was a pretty big step, but luckily there were trees to hold on to. Wasn’t as easy to do on the way back down though.

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Could this be Window Cave? Another spoiler, no, no its not. I was so interested in Window Cave that I did not even think to keep an eye out for “Beach Cobble Stones” or “Farmington Jade” which should have been around here somewhere as well.

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The creek.

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About here we pretty much lost the trail. Either it continued up here with more creek crossing, and some extreme bush whacking, or it went up the ridge to the left which was quite steep with loose gravel. Meh. I wanted to see the waterfall at the end, but we weren’t up for either option. We decided we would follow the other trail we saw that appeared to go to what we thought was Frog Rock.

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The creek.

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Scrub oak, and evidence of a recent landslide.

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And here we are almost back to the upper trail head on Bella Vista Dr. The next trail we took was just a bit north from this trail head. It was a fairly obvious trail, that apparently crosses someone property line as there is some obvious landscaping covering the beginning of the trail. Sorry man, but I’m going to cross your property for 5 feet. However there was a trail marker so I think I was within my right to do that. If you are more polite than I am, on the way back down I discovered there is another trail head that connects to this trail further up the road at a circle. To be fair, if I had known that I would have opted to do that on the way up as well.

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The creek below.

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The peaks above.

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Well, it kind of looks like a frog.

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Nice view.

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I can see Farmington Bay, which we explored last week, from here. Look for the white water tower center right.

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View of Shepard Canyon.

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Getting closer, looking less like a frog.

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On top of the hill. The trail started taking us away from what I thought was where we needed to go. We made it to that other canyon, and turned back.

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I have seriously never seen more deer poop on a trail than I saw here. I would take that as a sign that you have a really good chance of seeing deer here.

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View from another rock formation.

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This does not look like a frog. I don’t think this is Frog Rock.

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Still kind of cool though. Oh, and lookie what we noticed.

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Peek-A-Boo!

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Someone built some stone benches and a fire pit next to it as well.

We went back down and followed the trail around the ridge.

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We found a paved driveway to what I think may be a water tank. Here is the unnamed rock above the fenced area. I took a moment to snap some pictures to make this panoramic.

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Then we pulled out the map again to try and get our bearings. We determined that that definitely could not have been frog rock, was it maybe the Window Cave? Couldn’t have been. Yes there was a window, but it was a rock, not a cave. Grr. Okay Farmington, you win at providing a map, and showing us about where some features are, but you totally fail at helping people locate these features or showing what we should look for. Feeling a little defeated and frustrated we decided to head back down.

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Antelope Island reflecting off of The Great Salt Lake.

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And back to the little waterfall at the trailhead.

So looking back at the map I think the 2nd trail we did was the beginning of the Fruit Heights Upper Terrace trail. But we didn’t do too much of it, so I am not going to give it a rating. Shepard Creek however, even though we didn’t finish it and make it to the waterfall at the end I am going to go with a 5. It was pretty, there weren’t any other people, but losing the trail is a huge downer.

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We decided to drive up to Bella Vista Drive to see if we could locate the other points of interest, just to satisfy the curiosity. 

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At the end of the road we found the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Head. Meh we’ll check it out.

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We found the following sign at the trailhead. The gist of it is a public announcement that this is in fact PUBLIC land set aside for the public to recreate on. Sounds to me the homeowners who paid to build their big houses up on the benches were butt hurt about locals hiking here in their backyard and were harassing people. It’s nice to see the city come in and say, no, this is public land. If you don’t want people recreating near your home, perhaps you shouldn’t build one in the mountains! Perhaps the city of Sandy could take note.

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Cool rock formation.

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Hey look we found the Scott Nye Memorial. Frog Rock should be nearby.

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The memorial reads:

In loving memory of Scott Nye:
"Sunshine"
For you dude that love to be extreme-
On October 12th, 2007, we climbed this tower without thinking.
We just looked at it as a great way to "play" or do something
fun. We didn't realize that it would take away one of us from
playing for the rest of this life.
we're not saying taking risks and doing risky things is bad.
But just think "Will I be able to play tomorrow if I do this?"
If so, go for it. Because life is super lame if you can't have fun.
Main point: Please be careful.

So it would seem Scott Nye was a kid who decided to climb this power tower and fell, ultimately losing his life. It’s nice that his family put this here and basically said, have fun, but don’t be reckless.

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Lots of sage brush.

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Since Farmington like to name rock formations, I’m going to go ahead and help them out here. I dub this: Turtle Rock!

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Pretty view.

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Why would anybody park like this?

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Okay. I am certain this is Frog Rock. Looking back at the map, and the proximity to the memorial, this most definitely is it.

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Definitely looks like a frog from this angle.

For the last couple minutes we had been hearing somebody calling for someone, and right after taking the above picture a little Pomeranian popped out barking at Landis. I heard someone call out again so I called out he’s over here! The dog seemed to want to stay with us, so I decided to walk towards the owner and bring it back to her. We then decided that we had finally found Frog Rock, we we’re finished adventuring for the day.

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Back at the rock formation. I like the rock on top, it looks like half of one of those head rocks on Easter Island. And wait a minute, what is this?

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A cave!

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It goes in about 20 feet or so. Due to it’s position and where the sun was, it was fairly light in here, but still dark enough that you can see motion blur.

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Back towards the opening. Did we find Window Cave? Now window cave brought to mind something more like an arch, or a cave with a window at least. I guess it’s kind of a window. Or, this might be Bella Vista Mine, and we still haven't found Window Cave.

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View out.

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Another shot of the entire formation. I’m leaning towards this being Bella Vista Mine. A) This is at the end of Bella Vista Drive, and seems to fit the map the closest. B) There was no window. I guess we will need to return to try and locate Window Cave.

Oh well, we had a fun adventure. Again, Farmington wins by providing the map and Points Of Interest but absolutely fail at helping you locate them. So this short section of the shoreline trail had a few fun things we’ll give it 7 squirrels.

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