Wasatch Mountain Range - Utah

August 17, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

If I have the chance, I am "playing bear" (

The bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain, to see what she could see.)  Living in Utah, the mountains are constantly enticing me to come and play, drawing me to them.  On a particular Friday in early August, we went to an event that was rather more of a non-event, so with unexpected time on our hands, we drove away with no destination but to see what we could see as we wandered.  Of course, we quickly found ourselves bumping along a dirt road that was climbing higher and higher.  Ah, the unknown roads with unknown views for us to discover!  Off-roading in the mountains is like sorting a bowl of spaghetti.  The roads (trails) cross each other, circle and wind around, go up and go down.  You are following one road, but then you have to choose whether to stay on the current road or take a new road that veers off in a different direction.  Sometimes the GPS will show water, a lake or river that helps me choose the path to follow, but mostly it's basically flipping a coin.  I want to follow them all!  I cannot tell you how to find places in Salt Lake City, but I know lots of canyons and mountain trails.  We have one of those map books that are supposed to show you these unpaved roads and trails, but these maps are not very useful.  They used to be more useful with more of these roads clearly shown, but such quality has faded.  Do not rely on your phone for navigation service, either, as it is typically non-existent out in the wilds.

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.

Wasatch Green (UT)Wasatch Green (UT) 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.


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