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.

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