Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Take A Hike

I had spent an entire summer in Utah without going on a single hike. My FA friend May Rose decided to fix that. So we collected two more would-be hikers, Aaron and Katy, and drove up a big mountain to see what there was to look at.
Aaron's a local, so he directed us to a winding mountain road just short of Snowbird. At first, we just parked and climbed up some rocks.

Past those rocks were more rocks.

Some of them had been cut by machine; they had long straight gouges in them, like they'd grown too fast in a small jail cell. Aaron thought this might be the place where the Mormon pioneers got the stone to make the temple out of. Soon everyone got a little too anxious watching me bound around on what they insisted were ankle-breaking rocks and made me quit.
We drove a little further and May Rose did a dance when we found an actual trail to follow.

There was a map at the bottom that showed a lake a few miles up, and so we set out.

A few switchbacks up, the trail iced up. Just so you know, ice is slippery. None of us fell, but I'm pretty sure one of us should have. And probably the one from Louisiana.

All of that ice had to come from somewhere, we reasoned. And a few minutes later, we found the source... a frozen waterfall. You might be able to pick out a twig there that's been frozen in a solid inch of ice.
Snapped a really close-up picture of the frozen-over stream without really looking. It turned out to be a better picture than I imagined. Nature can do some really amazing things when you leave it alone for a couple hours.
The sun beat us to the horizon, and with the approaching cold, Aaron thought it would be a good idea to turn back. It's exciting and a little scary to finally be out in the kind of environment that will kill you if you don't respect it. He told a story about a few friends of his that had been caught out in a lightning storm, and had almost gotten blasted to pieces while hiding under a rock.

We had gotten high up enough, though, to see some amazing views. If the inversion layer hadn't been acting up in this picture, you'd be able to see the whole valley.
Aaron talked about the quaker aspens, which got their name from Indians seeing the wind flutter through their leaves. He mentioned that they can sometimes look like several trees but actually be part of the same root system, and can smash shut like a half-a-mile thick fist when angered. I think he made that last part up. He reads a lot of Stephen King.

When we got to the bottom, May Rose finally fell down while admiring this stream. I wasn't even there to witness it. But at least I got to see some neat rocks. And I didn't get killed once.


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