Saturday, October 25, 2008

Room with a View

The Tree Outside My Window

The day was so beautiful. The yellow river birch outside our window gives our bedroom a golden glow all day long. The mountain was calling me.

The Mountain at the Top of My Street

Neff's Canyon is just one of many within minutes of our house. I used to hike it before my R.A. became bad. Since I've been exercising at the gym for two months, I thought I'd take a stab at hiking again.

Red, Orange, Gold in the Sunshine

The air was brisk, just the right temperature for a steep hike while shooting photos. Neff's Canyon is at the top of Olympus Cove, near the "White House". The parking lot at the trail head used to be the place to "park" back in the sixties from what I heard (I wouldn't know!).

The White House

The view of the Salt Lake valley is gorgeous on a clear day. However, it is also a great place to see the valley smog.

Band of Pollution over the City

The Trail

This is where my camera batteries ran out, but my hike continued, steadily uphill, past the water tank to the first saddle. I decided to keep going as high as I could. Only a few other people were on the trail and I basically had the mountain to myself.

The rise is a constant 45 degrees and after an hour of huffing, puffing and wheezing, my heart rate was up to 150 bpm, so I sat down to rest. I realized it wasn't just quiet and still. There was absolutely no sound at all, except my breathing and the ringing in my ears. The leaves were not rustling. No birds singing. No insects buzzing. Nothing. I was the only person on earth for a moment. I was part of the earth. Cares had flown away.

Eventually my meditation was broken by the snorting of a canine, followed shortly by the puffing of his human master. My knees and feet were yelling at me and I realized I had to walk back down.

The cobble stones and gravel made the way down difficult on my wobbly knees. After my first slip and fall when my camera went flying, I remembered I had no cell phone and no ID. "Okay," I thought, "if I really fall and crack my head open or have a heart attack, it might be days before I'm found. I didn't tell anyone where I was going. I have no water or food. No coat if it gets cold. How would I survive the night on the mountain?"

As you have already figured out, I made it home in one piece, but with aching joints and muscles and only a few mediocre photos.

However, the lesson of the day was this: Exercising outdoors in the peace of nature is much better than a sweaty ol' gym any day!


Keri(th) said...

Sounds like a wonderful time (minus the slipping and falling part). The last photo of the trail is incredible!

Kathleen said...

I am glad you felt well enough to hike, especially since it is SO gorgeous where you live. Keep going...keep enjoying...

gramakas said...

Our mountains are so wonderful! And these past couple of months (minus the 2 snow storms) have been absolutely perfect for getting outside. I don't think I have ever done Neff's canyon. I'm going to put that one on my to-do list! Glad you made it home safe and sound! You're a trooper!

TravelinOma said...

The photos are beautiful.

andrea said...

I think I need to visit Utah! These photos are beautiful. The one at the top of your street -- can I borrow it? I may want to do a drawing from it. Such colours!

kenju said...

Such gorgeous photos! That's a beautiful area.

Keri(th) said...

So I'm dying to know if you're off in London, or enjoying the Utah weather?