If I have the chance, I am "playing bear" (
On this day, we found summer flowers still blooming, mountain meadows, some deer, views of lakes, and of course mountains. The lighting on the trees was awesome, each needle on each pine tree distinct. The aspens were twinkling as their leaves trembled in the breeze. I saved my coordinates in my GPS to return for some magical autumn shots of the aspens. Watch for golden aspen images next month! There is plenty of wildlife in the forests of the mountains, and if you have time and luck, you will be rewarded with views of them.
Here's a picture from our afternoon and evening of roaming. The Wasatch Mountains, the western edge of the Rocky Mountains, travel across the state of Utah, north and south. It has rocky, rugged peaks and myriad canyons. Salt Lake City is framed by these mountains to the east. They are the source for abundant recreation for the Salt Lake Valley population and visitors in every season. Wasatch State Park is, obviously, in these mountains, and the Timpnaogos Cave National Monument is also here. Big Cottonwood and Small Cottonwood Canyons are well known for hiking, skiing, fishing, and other activities. American Fork Canyon and Provo Canyon are popular for recreation and for travel to other areas. There are small mountain towns and well-known mountain towns, and of course the ski slopes and resorts. Many of the canyon roads are closed for 6+ months of the year due to snow. Wherever you travel within the Wasatch Mountains, you will be awed by their beauty.
Some things to consider when exploring the mountains:
Start with plenty of gas and carry more with you. You don't know how far you are to the next gas station.
Same with water. Bring plenty. Bring enough for overnight and tomorrow in case you get lost or stuck.
Have sunscreen, bug spray, sleeping bags for warmth (mountain nights get cold), food, first aid kit, light with extra batteries, dry clothes, extra layers, boots, hats, and gloves.
Stay in your vehicle if lost. Your vehicle offers more protection than if you start wandering around on foot while lost. A map and a compass are important tools to have with you. Know how to use them! I keep a portable GPS with me and I have a solar charger for it and phone.
An ax may come in handy if you get stuck. I do not recommend chopping down trees unless absolutely necessary, but it's nice to know you have one with you just in case. A shovel is also useful.
Bear spray. Need I say more?
Emergency whistles. Buy the good ones - your life may depend on it. Good ones do not have a pea inside. Good ones are LOUD.
There are lists that you can find online about items to keep with you when traveling off-road, but most important is common sense and caution. If you do not have these, please do not travel alone in these areas.