Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hiking to Big Cottonwood

We got an invitation from Ron and Carol Lee to join them on their 10th annual fall hike from Park City over the mountains and down into Big Cottonwood Canyon.  Taking different routes, it was a 13 mile hike there and a 9 mile hike back.We got really lucky on the timing.  The weather was perfect and a lot of the trees were at their peak color.

It was nice that we could hike lightly loaded.  We had one person who couldn't hike over drive a car with our bags for the evening. A different person took them back for us.  Of course I loaded my backpack with a ton of camera equipment anyway..

Julie, pausing for a photo.
We had 9 people on the way over and 8 on the way back. Some of the people had done lots of these annual hikes and one other couple were newbies like us.
One of the first things we saw was a bulldozer pulling a huge mower up and down the ski runs at Park City Mountain Resort.  We all agreed that driving up these steep slopes was a job none of us wanted.  This is one of the Intermediate slopes off the King Con chair.  They also mow the steeper Expert runs.
Some of the aspens were just starting to go from green to yellow.  Others were brilliantly colored and looked like they had been painted every time the sun hit them.
As pretty as the trees were, some of my favorite pictures came from photographing the trail we were walking on.
Just a nice reminder to keep looking all around you.
As we crossed over into Big Cottonwood Canyon, we got some more wide open views.
We were a bit nervous when all 100% of the 0% rain forecast started to look ominous. Some mountain biker passing us said that it was sleeting and raining ahead.  We got lucky and never got more than a few drops.
I wish I had taken pictures at the Silver Fork Lodge.  It's mostly restaurant and a bit motel.  When we got there around 4:30, there were already a lot of people eating. This place is hopping.  There are about eight simple, rustic rooms for rent. Just perfect when all you need is a good meal and a place to sleep.  The bulk of their business is people from Salt Lake coming up during the summer and fall to escape the heat and enjoy the scenery.

The most exciting point in the trip came when one of our hikers collapsed by the hot tub, resulting in a 9-1-1 call.  It turns out that hiking 13 miles, drinking very little water, and then drinking beer in the hot tub can really mess with your blood pressure.  He and his wife had to head to the hospital, but got to go home without an overnight stay.  All is well now, but it was quite a scare.

The next morning the skies were as blue as they get.  Normally I only capture skies like this when I use a polarizer on my camera lens.  In this case, I didn't even have one with me.  The skies were just this blue.
These are the remnants of the Comstock Mine.  In addition to the obvious history, this is the area at PCMR where a locals' snow Martini bar is held every Christmas Day.
It was a nice hike with nice people.  It's a wonderful mix of a fairly long hike with the benefits of not having to sleep on the ground or carry all your belongings.  Julie and I both hope to join this group again.
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