Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Magnificent Moonset

This evening, as the sun was setting, Taylor noted that the moon looked really cool.  So I looked out the windows and it looked really REALLY cool!  The moon was setting along with the sun and it looked beautiful just above the Oquirrh mountains.  Now the moon is completely behind the mountains.  It was fun to watch the moonset tonight!

sunset and moonset in Salt Lake City Utahmoon setting in Salt Lake City Utah

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lots of Lightning

Last night, there was an awesome thunderstorm here.  We had some spectacular views of lightning from almost every window in our apartment!  It was such a beautiful night with falling rain and blowing wind and rumbling thunder and bright lightning.  The cats enjoyed watching the natural display of amazingness from the windows for quite a while too.  Around 11pm, I went out and tried to take a bunch of photos of lightning bolts, but it was quite difficult and most of them were blurry.  Some turned out to be kind of interesting though!  It was fun to be out in the misty rain and breeze and to smell the fragrant rain-air.

lightning bolt in Salt Lake Citylightning in Salt Lake Citylightning in Salt Lake Citylightning in Salt Lake City


Here is how bright everything looked while lightning would strike.lightning flash in Salt Lake City

And here is how dark it was without lightning!darkness in Salt Lake City

It was so nice to have a refreshing thunderstorm!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Seasonal Similarities

After we went on our early morning hike to Donut Falls last Saturday, I noticed that some of the photos were a bit similar to the last time we went with Alexis and Michael in November.  Here are some of the seasonal similarities that I found:

summer at Doughnut Fallswinter at Doughnut Falls

summer at Doughnut Falls winter at Doughnut Falls

summer at Doughnut Falls winter at Doughnut Falls

It has been extremely hot here in Salt Lake City lately, so I’m really looking forward to autumn and winter!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dawn at Donut Falls

Brooke had to work this Saturday. She had mentioned that fact a few times throughout the week, but being a typical male I had to be reminded over and over again. In fact, I had completely forgot about it on Thursday evening when I suggested that we should go on yet another hike on Saturday. She reminded me (once again) that she would have to work. Needless to say, I was disappointed that my reoccurring wish to return to the mountains wouldn’t work out for this weekend.

However, Brooke is nothing if she isn’t creative! She suggested that we should wake up early on Saturday morning and do a sunrise hike. We both became very excited at the idea, and all day Friday I was smiling at the prospect. We went to bed early, and then Brooke woke up at 4:00 and hopped into the shower while I got some things together to head up into the canyon.

We had decided the night before that we wanted to go up to Donut Falls once again because the hike is relatively easy, and because I remembered a part of the trail that had a meadow that I thought would be good for watching the sunrise.

We arrived shortly after 6:00, only to find that the last 1/4 mile of the road to the trailhead was blocked off by a gate that wouldn’t open for another hour. So, we parked the car on the side of the road, and started getting ready. That’s when we realized that we had forgot to bring a flashlight or lantern! Lucky there was a waning half moon out which was bright enough to light the asphalt underneath us as we walked to the trailhead.

The Moon in Big Cottonwood Canyon

As we started on the path, the light began slowly to grow brighter in the east, highlighting the silhouettes of the trees along the ridgeline.

Breaking Dawn in Big Cottonwood Canyon Salt Lake City Utah

We finally found the meadow that I remembered. It was much further along the trail than I had recalled, and it had seemed much bigger the last time when we visited in the middle of winter, but it was still really pretty. We found a log to sit on and watch as the sun started to rise. Meanwhile, Brooke got out her camera and we took some pictures.

Taylor watching the SunriseBrooke watching the sun rise

Eventually we got restless and decided to continue along the trail once it was light enough to see everything. Around the corner we looked to our right (west) and saw the sun just starting to illuminate Kesler Peak about 2,000 feet higher in elevation than we were.

Kesler Peak, Salt Lake City, Utah

(By the way, I am wearing a new shirt and a new trench coat in these pictures. The shirt is a Field and Stream shirt that we found at Costco and which Brooke talked me into buying because I liked it so much. We bought the coat last weekend at Eddie Bauer, and it was about 75% off!  So, we counted it as part of my anniversary present. I love clearance.)

Field and Stream shirt button  Taylor in his Eddie Bauer Jacket

As we hiked deeper into the area around the falls the sky began to change color from a dark blue to a pink and then a light purple. Somewhere in that mix I think I have found my favorite color. But I can’t quite identify it in a solid form. Perhaps I just like it when the sky is light up in a gradual and subtle change of colors from one horizon to another.

Pink sunrise in Big Cottonwood CanyonSunrise near Dog Lake, Salt Lake City, Utah

Suddenly we turned around a corner, and there were the falls. The trail seemed so much shorter than I remembered! The falls were beautiful, and since we were there so early in the morning we had them all to ourselves. Brooke managed to get some stunning pictures while I enjoyed listening to the birds in the distance and the stream running down the falls.

Taylor at Donut Falls Big Cottonwood CanyonMill D Stream Big Cottonwood CanyonDonut Falls Big Cottonwood CanyonAmazing Waterfall!Doughnut Falls, Salt Lake City Utah Big Cottonwood Canyon

As we left, I took the camera away from Brooke and took some pictures of here. Isn’t she the cutest thing ever?

Driftwood Brooke at Donut Falls Big Cottonwood Canyon

While we worked our way back, we stopped to enjoy some other spots where the sunrise was particularly pretty. The morning was actually quite chilly, and I was glad that we had decided to bring along some warmer clothes.

Salt Lake City Utah SunriseTaylor hiking through the woods

We got back to the car just around 8:00 and we realized that we could have done this any day of the week and got back to the valley in time for Brooke to go to work! Perhaps we just might try it sometime soon.

Dawn near Salt Lake City Utah

After we left we decided that we had worked up quite an appetite and didn’t want to just eat the muffins that we had brought along. So we decided to head to Village Inn for breakfast. As we drove, I thought how it is very strange indeed that I have seen so few sunrises compared to all of the sunsets that I have watched over the years! I wonder what our great-grandparents would have thought about that! Quietly I decided that I should start trying to be up and active more often to enjoy this amazing, and all to often neglected, part of the day.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Awesome Anniversary

On August 11th, we celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary!  We had been intending on going camping for a couple of days out in the backcountry in the Wasatch Mountains.  However, we were still recovering from a poison ivy incident which had left our legs itchy, red, and swollen… so we ended up just camping one night at a developed campground.  We both were able to get the 11th and 12th off from work so that we could go.  We left in the afternoon on the 11th for Hope Campground which is not too far from the mouth of Provo Canyon.  There were lots of pretty trees and wildflowers!

view from Hope Campground near Provo Canyon in Utah
pretty stone at Hope Campground in Utah
We had fun setting up the tent, building a fire, and making dinner.  Taylor enjoyed reading the current issue of National Geographic and I enjoyed knitting for a while.  Our campsite was so cool!  I wish I could just live at a campsite.  That would be so awesome!  Taylor decided that it might be nice to have electricity sometimes though, which is true.  It would be nice to have easily accessible, hot, running water as well.  So I decided that it would be extremely awesome to live in an old log cabin out in the middle of a forest instead!

Taylor reading National Geographic at Hope Campground
bundle of firewood at Hope Campground in Utah
The moon was almost full, so it was a really bright night.  I love moonlight!  It is so beautiful.  We didn’t take any padding with us to sleep on.  So we put a blanket on the floor of the tiny tent and used that as padding.  Taylor said his shoulders were a little sore from sleeping on a slightly hard ground but I slept remarkably well!  Maybe my sleeping bag is fluffier and provided me with more cushioning.  I really liked the view of the moon through my mesh window in the tent and the fresh air.  The weather was ideal too!  I was kind of worried it might get pretty cold during the night, but it was just perfectly and refreshingly cool!

tent site at Hope Campground
view of the moon at Hope Campground near Provo Canyon in Utah campfire at Hope Campground Utah
In the morning, we drank some delicious lemon ginger tea.  Taylor also ate a large bowl of oatmeal and I ate a poppyseed muffin.  We also saw some very beautiful animals!!  We saw a deer walking around among some trees.  It was adorable.  We also saw some wild turkeys [one big turkey and two little ones]!!  I don’t think I had ever seen wild turkeys before.  They were so amazing!!  The big one was ginormous!  We also saw several squirrels!  They are always cute and fun to watch.  There were lots of gorgeous butterflies and other insects fluttering and buzzing through too.  The campground had lots of maple trees which looked very pretty in the morning sunshine!  There were lots of mint plants too!  Taylor ate some of the mint leaves and I used some of the mint leaves as perfume since they smell so good.

treen in the morning at Hope Campground in Utah
beautiful leaves at Hope Campground
view of trees and Cascade Mountain at Hope Campground
bumblebee on mint flowers at Hope Campground in Utah 
We played some delightful games of Yahtzee [National Parks Travel Edition!] then packed up our stuff to get ready to depart from our campsite.  After we left the campground in the early afternoon, we headed up a road that looked like it might offer some interesting views.  And it did!  We stopped at a nice overlook and spotted Utah Lake, Brigham Young University, the Provo Temple, the Missionary Training Center, and many other neat things!

view of Utah Lake and Utah Valley and mountains
mountains near Provo Canyon in Utah 
We had a lovely anniversary celebration out enjoying nature.  I can’t believe we have already been married for four years!!  It feels like it has been only about two years or so.  Taylor is the best husband ever.  He is incredibly handsome, intelligent, generous, sweet, loving, thoughtful, etc.  I am so lucky to be married to such an amazing person!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Timpooneke Trip

Last Saturday we went down to visit Alexis and Michael after Brooke finished her weekend work shift. We had been planning to go to visit the Timpanogos Caves all week, but our schedules hadn’t worked out, so we went down to have lunch at Alexis and Michael’s house and then go up to the caves.

We last visited the caves more than three years ago! It was a nice day in May, but it rained a lot. (Brooke says that it was a nice day BECAUSE it rained a lot…) Here are some pictures from our last trip.

Brooke in the rain Taylor happy to have a hat in the rainTimapanogos cave View from Timpanogos Cave Trail

Unfortunately, Michael wasn’t able to go because he had homework to work on. So, after a nice meal of soup, salad, and sandwiches, Alexis, Brooke and I set out!

Our luck wasn’t very good though, because the tickets to go up to see the cave had sold out for the day. Instead of turning around, we decided to take a drive and see if we could find any other tempting trails.

Northeast side of TimpanogosBrooke and AlexisTaylor and Brooke

After a bit of driving we found a very cool overlook were you could see down the canyon we had just driven up and the Northeast side of Timpanogos.


Alexis contempating natureHappy Alexis in NatureWildflower! AlexisTaylor exploringBrooke and Taylor

Next we stopped at a pull-off on the way to the Timpooneke campground and the trailhead to the summit of the mountain. We found a really neat stream and so we took a break to take some more pictures.


Alexis posing on a scenic overlookAlexis and GrassBrooke and Taylor in the mountainsBlurry Alexis

After a bit more driving we arrived at the summit of the pass between Mount Timpanogos and Box Elder Peak. There was a stunning view from a scenic pullout so we took some more pictures. The air was so clear on the other side of the mountains, and the view down the valley to Heber and Midway was worth the drive.

After we left the summit we descended on a dirt road called Cascade Scenic Drive to the outskirts of Heber City. It’s such a charming little town! There was also a great view of Deer Creek Reservoir. I would love to have the opportunity to live somewhere like that someday.

The town was having a parade, so we were rerouted through a few neighborhood streets, along with all kinds of highway traffic. Eventually we made our way through the town, and then to the highway leading down Provo Canyon, and then to have dinner at Pizza Pie CafĂ© in Provo. After we had stuffed ourselves, we went to Alexis’ house and played some games until way to late at night. It was so much fun! (except the part about the drive home taking two hours because the freeway had been closed down to one lane).

So, I guess that the caves will have to wait until another day. Anybody want to come with us when we go?