Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mueller Park Trail Hike

Gloomy, gray skies, rain, snow, cool temperatures (20 degrees below normal) can describe the last 5 days in Northern Utah
 and is not the normal weather for this time of year. 

 This Spring has been fraught with Winter. Trees are starting to bud and leaf.  Wildflowers are coming alive. Yet, Spring really has not sprung...yet.
However; there have been a few days of 70 degrees F and sunshine!  

Last Friday was one of those days....gorgeous sunshine!

My friend and her kids asked me to go hiking with them, we met at Mueller Park Picnic Area in the foothills of East Bountiful, UT, which is about a 30 minute drive South of my house in Mountain Green.  Mueller Park Trail is a 13 mile trail roundtrip that begins at the picnic grounds and meanders under serene pine and oak forest canopies to stunning open views of the mountain tops.  
The elevation profile is approximately 5200’ to 7100’.  

As we begin our trek, we cross a bridge over the 20+ foot wide Mill Creek which is flowing fast and furious with snow melt.  The noise of the rushing waters drown out all sounds of birds.  

As we walk away from the creek and around a bend, a peaceful quietness envelopes us.  The trail lures us along the hillside to various view points:

As I look up, a stunning view of trees, blue sky and clouds greets me.  
I smile to myself, and say, “What a gorgeous day!”
 As I turn to look North West, I see the lower end of Mueller Canyon
 and out over the Great Salt Lake.

Along the trail I see more stunning views:

I love the smell of a Ponderosa Pine forest !

 As we climb higher in elevation, the Great Salt Lake is stunning. 
Zoomed in below is a view of part of the Great Salt Lake:  
Farmington Bay Wildlife Management Area and Antelope Island.

My final view of this trek:

Snow begins to cover the trail, it is time to turn around and head back downhill,  our trek only covered about 2.5 - 3 miles one way, not even to the half-way point to Big Rock (aka Elephant Rock by the locals).  

Only two Utah wildflowers were in bloom along the trail. 

Glacier Lily, aka Dogtooth Violet (Erythronium Grandiflorum)

I was unable to positively identify this wildflower, may be a Spring Beauty. (Not a very focused picture either. I need to work on my macro technique.)

What a fabulous day in the Wasatch Mountains! 
I look forward to hiking this trail when the snow has melted!

Hiking tip:  Always be prepared!  Always let people know where you are going!  On Saturday, the day after my hike, a Boy Scout group with 2 adult men and 6 boys got lost while hiking this trail up to Big Rock due to snow obscuring the trail.  They had to be rescued by helicopter.   

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Blue Sky

Nothing like a little warmer weather, blue skies and white clouds to chase away the "Sprinter" blues.  Trees are budding, daffodils & tulips blooming, and birds returning.  To my delight,  I added 3 "First of the Year" (FOTY) birds to my yard list yesterday.  Black-chinned hummingbirds, Lazuli Buntings and Green-tailed Towhees made an appearance!  These species are Spring and Summer birds in My Mountain Green, all indications that warmer weather is near.  

Still tons of snow on the mountains, snowpack is 217% of normal, so a slow warm up is needed to avoid 
major flooding downstream.  This photo was taken May 2, 2011. Mountain Green is at the base of this mountain.