Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hiking to Lisa Falls

Lisa Falls - Little Cottonwood Canyon

This little waterfall is only about a tenth of a mile off the road in Little Cottonwood Canyon.  It is secluded enough, and far enough off the highway that it is a welcome escape.  The last part of the trail is a scramble over rocks in the stream bed.  It may be wet in the spring, but is dry in late summer and fall.  The water flows down smooth granite, giving off a cool and refreshing spray.

Lisa Falls

To the right of the falls, climbing anchors are embedded in the granite walls.  Obviously, this is used as a climbing site, but no one else has been there the times I have visited the falls.  There are large boulders and flat areas that beg to be a picnic site.  One of these times I am going to remember to bring lunch!

Lisa Falls is definitely worth a look and the short trail makes it accessible to many types of hikers.  It can get steep in places, and the rocks can be slippery, but it is a short walk.

The falls are a great destination for all ages.

The trailhead is about 2.7 miles up Little Cottonwood Canyon (Utah hwy. 210).  There is parking on either side of the road.  The north side is the trail for Lisa Falls, while the south side is the Little Cottonwood Trail. There are no facilities here. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hiking the Nebo Bench Trail

Mt. Nebo, Utah

The Nebo Bench Trail is located on the Nebo Loop Scenic Byway in Utah.  It is quite a lengthy trail, and we opted to just do part of the trail as an out-and-back hike.  We visited in mid-August.  The scenery on this trail is stunning, but the trail was not well-maintained.  That may be due to the high snowpack this year, which caused many high-country areas to remain closed until late July.  I wondered if perhaps people who normally clear trails had not been able to this year.

Sign marking the trail.

My guide for this hike was Best Hikes With Children in Utah, which suggested a turnaround point about 3.4 miles in.  We opted to turn back earlier.  This hike begins at an altitude of about 9300 feet.  I felt the altitude! However, the trail has gradual ups and downs, and relatively flat sections in the early going, so it wasn't too bad.

Early in the hike, the trail crosses beautiful meadows.

One unusual thing about hiking this area was running across cows.  We didn't see anything but the piles they had left behind hiking in, but on the way out, we encountered bovines.

Beginning of the trail

ONE big tree had been cleared at the beginning of the trail, but there were places on this hike where we had to duck under branches, climb over trees, or sometimes follow a faint trail around the blockage and then return to the main trail.

Where's the trail?

Despite the small setbacks, this was a pretty hike.  Sometimes the trail goes through groves of aspen, and other times it crosses meadows of wildflowers. 

Aspen trees on the Nebo Bench Trail

Wildflowers add some color to the slopes.

We had to hike in a couple miles to get views of Mt. Nebo, but it was well worth it.  We turned back before the trail turned steadily up hill.

The trail crosses a dry stream bed.

Mt. Nebo from the Nebo Bench Trail

I love wildflowers, and there were several varieties in bloom.  We spotted bluebells, lupine, columbine, forget-me-nots, and more.




Flowers on the Nebo Bench Trail

Bumblebee checks out the lupine.

If you get a chance to drive the Nebo Loop Scenic Byway between Payson and Nephi, Utah, stop and see some of the sights.  We thoroughly enjoyed doing a small part of the Nebo Bench Trail, and also enjoyed our visit to Devil's Kitchen.

IF YOU GO:  Take I-15 to Nephi, Utah, then take exit 225 onto UT-132 (heading east).  After about 6 miles, turn left on the Nebo Loop and follow it for about 12 miles to the trailhead.  There are vault toilets at the trailhead, but no water.  There is ample parking in the lot.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Porter Rockwell Cabin - Eureka, Utah

Rockwell Cabin, Eureka, Utah

This cabin is across the street from the Tintic Mining Museum.  A sign at the cabin states that it was brought in from Orin Porter Rockwell's ranch, and it is not certain if Porter Rockwell (Orin's father), ever stayed there, but the cabin still has historical value.

Did he or didn't he?  It is unknown if Porter Rockwell stayed here!

Inside the Rockwell cabin

Restoration and preservation continue on this small cabin.  Inside you will find period pieces, photos, and historical information.  It is a small, two room cabin, and is interesting to walk through.

Interior of the Rockwell cabin

If you are traveling through Eureka, Utah, stop and take a minute to see this little cabin.  It is on the main road through town, and only takes a few minutes to visit.  There is a main room (shown in the pictures above), and a bedroom containing bunks.  It is amazing people lived in such small spaces, and harks back to a physically demanding, but materially simpler time!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tintic Mining Museum - Eureka, Utah

Tintic Mining Museum

This little gem of a museum is right on the main street in Eureka, Utah.  I have driven past it many times, but never stopped.  This summer, we called and made an appointment to tour the museum.  It is part mineral museum, part mining museum, and part cultural/historical museum all rolled into one small former mining office building!  Crammed with memorabilia in every nook and cranny, it is an interesting place to explore.

Crystalline Galena-Barite sample

Tintic Quartzite

A geology professor from the eastern United States collected many samples in the Eureka, Utah area.  When he retired, he donated his collection to the Tintic Mining Museum.  As a result, they have an above average mineral collection on display.

Tintic was a Ute chief, and the area and mining district are named after him.

Clothing Display in the Museum

The museum is on the site of the general store.  The family who owned the store donated the land for the museum, with the condition that it include information on the store, so part of the museum is dedicated to that. The building itself is a mine office moved from one of the old mines.  (Some websites report this museum is in the old city hall, but the City Hall building is next door, and our guide told us this was an old mine company building).

Room representing the store

This room featured appliances (washing machine and refrigerator), an organ, piano sheet music, and many other items.  In a quick perusal of the room, you get a feel for many of the items that would have been in daily use during the mining era here.

Old Cash Register

I loved this old cash register, and was pleasantly surprised when our guide rang up our purchases using it. I can't imagine any of our modern cash registers having the same beauty!

Lamp made from WWI shell casings

I poked my head around a corner and discovered this lamp, cleverly made from old World War I anti-aircraft shell casings by a sailor in 1918.  It was donated to the museum, and is one of the many interesting things you may discover on your visit here.  This is a fun place to browse!

Job Advertisement

This advertisement for mine workers caught my eye.  My grandfather took a job in a mine in Ruth, Nevada in the 1930s (Depression Era).  He was in a line waiting to see about a job, and noticed that the mine company was hiring men who said they were muckers.  So, he told them he was a mucker and got a job.  My grandfather was an outdoorsman, who took a job underground in a mine to support his family.  He had no idea what a mucker was, but I am sure he soon learned, as his family was in Nevada for many years. I am grateful for his example.

Assay area

The Tintic Mining Museum has items on display outside the building as well, including this assay display.  I purchased an old assay cup (used to assay silver) inside the gift area, so it was great to see this part of the museum.  We looked at old cabins and mining equipment outside the museum, and then wandered across the street to the Porter Rockwell cabin (which I will show you in a later post!)

Displays behind the Tintic Mining Museum

Reminders of a mining era.

The Tintic Mining Museum is open to the public for limited hours on Saturdays and Sundays (generally in the afternoon).  If you would like to visit another day of the week, call ahead and make an appointment.  The volunteers who care for this museum are happy to meet you there.  It is free of charge, although donations are appreciated.

The Tintic Mining District also encompasses other mining towns:  click through to see my post about Mammoth and Silver City, Utah.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Eureka! (Utah, That Is)

Main Street, Eureka, Utah

Eureka shows up on some lists of ghost towns, and driving down main street may convince you it deserves to be there, but there is still a nice-sized population here. You can also get a snack or tank of gas in town if needed, so I am not sure the label fits.  This view of the main street in Eureka shows some empty businesses, including one where there is no longer a roof.  

Vacant building space in Eureka

While there is a certain emptiness to this town, there are some businesses that have managed to hang on.  The old buildings have character, and there are nicely kept homes, churches, and schools.  Eureka was once a thriving mining town, but since the mines have closed, the town has shrunk considerably.  The residents we encountered were quite friendly, and really have an attachment to their home town.

Advertisements on a building

Although we visited during a time of day where the lighting was challenging, it was still a fun place to photograph.  

Eureka, Utah

Architectural detail of building in Eureka

Rear view of building.  Small attachment on the left is the old jail.

There are, of  course, remnants of mining visible around town.  This particular mine shaft was on the south end of town.

Mining remnants in Eureka

The real treasure we found in town, however, was the Tintic Mining Museum.  It was so fun, it definitely deserves its own post, so stay tuned!

Tintic Mining Museum

Eureka is also home to the annual Tintic Silver Festival.  This year it runs from September 17, 2011 through September 21st.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Art of Drive-by Shooting (or Photography out the Window)

Photo I took out the car window in Las Vegas

The first time I shot a photo out of the car window I was stopped at an intersection on the Strip in Las Vegas.  I was on a vacation weekend with college friends, and I framed a shot of the Flamingo lit up in all of its nighttime glory, and snapped the shot before the light changed (no, I wasn't driving!)  I was really happy with the results.  I didn't know at the time that my future would hold many photographs-out-of-car-windows experiences.

Of course, there are serious challenges with this type of photography.  Distance, speed, semi-trucks that cross your path right when you snap, and glare off of windows are just a few.  The advantages are you can capture a moment, a scene, a certain light without having to stop.  The most difficult shots I have taken involved a manual Pentax SLR camera and high speeds across Kansas and Nebraska.

Nebraska farm from the freeway

My husband (the artist), would say "Get a shot of that building (cloud, hay bale, cow, etc.) as we drove by, and I would focus, adjust the aperture, and snap, all before we passed the scene at freeway speeds.  My kids would yell from the backseat if a semi-truck was passing us or if we were going to pass a road sign, so hopefully those items would not appear in the frame.  Getting to be fast with the manual camera was a huge advantage when I began shooting sports events (kids sports and Olympic events we attended), so you can also use "drive-by shooting" to upgrade your photography skills.

Shoot from inside the car if it is raining, or is obviously unsafe for you to be out of the vehicle.

Part of the dashboard is in this shot from Yellowstone...I was NOT getting out with this guy.

Bear Lake - out the window in a rainstorm

Of course, I could have made more adjustments on this picture in photoshop, but I wanted to give you an idea that you capture more of a moment than the world's greatest photo.  This was a cloudy, rainy, day, and I was willing to let the foreground remain dark to show off the lake and clouds.

Often shots out the window are blurred, either from the motion of the car, or, in this case, the motion of the animal.  They may not make my photo albums, but the shot still triggers a memory!

Moving buffalo - he's blurred, and you can see the reflection off the glass in the shot.

Sometimes you take a shot out of the window and it is just too far away.  I try and have my larger lens available, but even then it isn't always enough.  So, there are times when you just have to stop the car and get out to get the shot.  If you are an artist or know one, you are familiar with the concept of shooting scrap for future painting reference.  Many of the shots I take could end up being used in a painting.  Sometimes scrap from multiple photos gets referenced in just one piece of art:  a sky from one photo, a barn from another.

These haybales were just too small from the car window.

My husband was much happier with this photo he got after parking the car.

Sometimes photos turn out surprisingly well, even from a moving vehicle. In this shot, the foreground is blurred, but I wanted to capture the low-hanging clouds on this rainy day.

Capturing the low hanging clouds was the objective of this car shot.

I like the feel of this through-the-windshield-shot.

Many shots out the window are not successful, or only mildly so.  But that is part of the challenge and part of the fun!

Leaving Grand Canyon in a rainstorm.  My husband wanted me to shoot the clouds in this photo.  Note the car antenna in the shot.

Sometimes you just get a blur.

Sometimes I shoot out of the car for convenience.  In the case of this barn picture, it was raining, and I was happy to roll down the window and get the shot before too much rain blew in the van.

Barn picture taken from the car.

Sometimes it works out pretty well!

The lighting was great when we drove through southern Utah.

Trestle outside of Eureka, Utah

Of course, in this digital age, the camera can compensate for an awful lot all by itself, so that has, in some respects, made my job easier.  Only shoot while the car is moving if you are the PASSENGER.  If you are driving, pull over and stop to get the shot.  You never know what you will see as you drive, so keep your camera at the ready, and happy shooting!