Great Salt Lake Utah – September 2022 – A Unique Setting

The Great Salt Lake is, as the name suggests, a large body of salty water.

The lake is fed by 3 rivers, and a few streams. Because it has no outlet other than evaporation, the water collects over a million tons of minerals per year.

The water has a far higher salinity than the oceans. In addition there seems to be an ever-present strong smell.

Because of the shallowness of the lake, it’s overall coverage can, and has, changed dramatically over the years, leaving the boat docks high and dry – sad for the boat owners, but interesting photography opportunities.

The views across the grasses towards the now much smaller lake provide excellent contrasts.

Since the late 1800s there has always been a large event center along the lake known as the Saltair. While the first one was an impressive, massive structure, it was eventually destroyed in a fire. Today’s building is the third on this location. It too is suffering from the receding lake levels, leaving it far from the shore.

Provo, Utah – September 2022 – Provo Canyon

Seemingly keeping with the Utah approach of naming everything the same (Utah Lake, Utah Valley, Utah County), Provo Canyon is just east of the city of Provo, with the Provo River running through it.

The 28 mile drive through the Wasatch Mountains east of Provo takes you through Provo Canyon.

Not far into the canyon is Bridal Veil Falls, which cascades over 600 feet down the mountain in 2 drops.

The river is crossed by numerous bridges serving the hiking/biking path, but fortunately this was not the one we had to use.

The fall colors had begun on this late September day.

U.S. Highway 189 makes it’s way up the canyon, including this cool little double tunnel.

At the east end of the canyon in Deep Creek Reservoir.

We chose to take the Alpine Loop road up the mountain past Sundance Ski Resort. Overall a nice scenic drive for a couple of hours.

Provo, Utah – September 2022 – Utah Lake

Least you forget the name, Utah Lake is in Utah County in the state of…Utah. It is the largest freshwater lake in the state, covering approximately 148 square miles, but only up to a depth of 14 feet.

At one time there were thirteen different types of fish native to the lake, but after the settlers arrived in the late 1800s they introduced carp into the lake, along with pollution and over fishing. As a result only 1 native fish remains, the Utah sucker, with the carp being well over 90% of the fish in the lake, although birds seem to like it.

Situated in the Utah Valley (of course), mountains surround the lake.

Being the only lake around it is a popular place for sailing.

Utah Lake, Utah Valley, Utah County, Utah.

Nephi, Utah – September 2022 – Nebo Loop Scenic Byway

The Nebo Loop Scenic Byway skirts the 12,000′ high Mount Nebo, going from the town of Nephi to Payson, Utah.

The route peaks out at 9000′ elevation, and is paved the entire distance. Having completed the Beaver Canyon Scenic Byway earlier in the day, this route was somewhat disappointing in the lack of color in the leaves, the relative ease of the drive and the amount of traffic – far more traffic here.

Still had we not been on Beaver Canyon earlier this would’ve wowed us with the scenery.

As we neared the end closest to Payson we had a great view of Utah Lake and the valley near Provo.

Our final few miles went through Payson Canyon. Overall a nice drive but if you can only choose one I would strongly recommend Beaver Canyon, even though it is about 100 miles further from the larger population centers of Utah.

Beaver Canyon, Utah – September 2022 – The Aspens Are Changing

The Utah road trip continued north until we reached the town of Junction. From here Utah Highway 153 heads up the mountains and eventually into Beaver Canyon.

It is 40 miles from Junction to the town of Beaver, the first 20 miles is gravel and dirt, the last 20 back down are paved. With the leaves on the aspen trees, and others, changing, the drive was spectacular.

We took one last look back into the Sevier River Valley.

The drive continued until we topped out at 10,000′ elevation, about 4000′ above the valley floors.

The road passed Puffer Lake.

Utah advertises 11 scenic routes in the state. While we didn’t take them all, the others would be hard pressed to be better than Utah Highway 153/Beaver Canyon Scenic Byway.

Kane County, Utah – September 2022 – Willis Creek Slot Canyon

Southern Utah has numerous very famous natural attractions such as Bryce National Park. In addition to those you can find some amazing places that aren’t as crowded.

One of those is Willis Creek Slot Canyon. One potential reason is the road to the trailhead is a fantastically bumpy, at times steep, dirt road. We travelled 5-6 miles down this road, and found the parking lot empty at 8 AM, although next door was a group of about 10 horses and riders who had just finished their adventure.

After chatting with their leader and getting guidance on the hike, we set off.

We quickly dropped down into the canyon and it’s eponymously named creek. Fortunately despite some recent rains Willis Creek was quite small on this day so we were able to hop back and forth across it.

It didn’t take long for the canyon walls to narrow and rise to a height of about 10-20′.

The young lady who had lead the horse riding group had advised us that we would go through 4 separate slot canyons on our hike. This first one remain with walls up to about 20′ high.

As we continued downstream we would pop in and out of slot canyons.

Eventually the creek ran dry and the hiking became easier. Most slot canyons require some level of scrambling over boulders, but not here – just a casual hike down the canyon.

Eventually the walls rose to a height of up to 100′.

After about a mile and a half we ran out of slot canyons and made the decision to turn back there. The return trip was just as interesting as the morning sun changed the look seemingly every minute.

On our return trip we passed about 6 other groups of hikers, reaffirming my belief that if you want solitude in nature get going at the crack of dawn.

Willis Slot Canyon is a great hike for anyone, with a fun drive to get there.

Hite Crossing, Utah – September 2022 – Lake Powell (What’s Left of It)

The comments of the severe drought in the west is true, check out Lake Powell at Bullfrog, Utah. Those white lines on the mountains on the other side of the water – that should be the water level.

In normal times there is enough water to take a ferry across, but we ended up going the long way around and crossing at Hite Crossing. While the Colorado River is present, the area between the lower canyon walls should be filled with the water of Lake Powell.

The drive up Utah Highway 95 was impressive.

Rock formations near Lake Powell at Hite Crossing.

Further north on Utah 95 is the Hog Springs Canyon rest area. The hiking trail was overgrown with grasses from recent monsoon rains, but these rains are far too little to help Lake Powell.

The rocks along Hog Canyon also had great erosion holes.

The drive back south to the town of Bullfrog passed the Henry Mountains, again with some of those classic Southern Utah looks.

The mountains in the background are highlighted with the Aspen tree leaves changing to their bright yellow.

Tucson – September 2022 – Agua Caliente Park

In the foothills east of Tucson lies Agua Caliente Park, with it’s large palm trees and year round ponds feed by spring water.

Originally there were two springs, a hot spring and a cold spring. Over the years attempts to improve the flow of water failed miserably resulting in a combination of the waters, and a lower overall volume of flow.

The native Hohokam had a village here for nearly 1000 years. In the mid 1800s the Army had taken over the area for an encampment following the Gadsden Purchase of 1853.

In the late 1800s it was claimed by a settler who ranched the land. Later they advertised the ranch as a health spa. This pattern continued for 100 years, until the mid 1980s when the county took over the property to develop as a park.

The majestic palm trees were added in the late 1800s when it became a spa.

Across the Western Hemisphere – 2017-2022 – A Celebration of 5 Years of Blog Postings

For the 5th anniversary of posting to WordPress I thought I would post some of my favorite photos that have appeared.

The blog has postings prior to 2017 but they were added in the last 5 years – those are celebrated on the 1000th posting here https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2020/01/28/a-milestone/

I recommend to all – wander the world, you never know what you might come across.

2017 – Ohio State indoor track meet
2017 – Ft Mitchell, Kentucky – Vent Haven Ventriloquist Puppet Museum

2018 – Manhattan – Vacant City Hall Subway Station tour

2018 – Sunset in Molokai

2019 – Cleveland. One of the finest architectural wonders in the world – the Arcade
2019 – Paris, Kentucky. Caliborne Farms. A multi million dollar stud just waiting for his next assignment.

2019 – San Antonio de Areco, Argentina. A participant in the gaucho festival holding the Argentina flag.

2020 – Patagonia, Argentina. A real gaucho at work.

2020 – Delaware County, Ohio reservoir from a drone.

2021 – Tucson. The Thunderbirds sail past the sun in the late afternoon.
2022 – Far Eastern Oregon on Highway 3 on a rainy Memorial Day weekend.

Lake Havasu City, Arizona – July 2022 – Why?

As most people know the western United States is in the midst of a long term drought, where water is precious. In previous posts I have shown Lake Powell, at historic low levels. The same is true of Lake Mead, sitting behind the Hoover Dam.

Yet here in the middle of the desert is Lake Havasu, made possible by Parker Dam. It is constantly at 97%+ full. Why – because 100 year old water rights says parts of California get the water first, and Havasu is that reservoir.

What to do with that water – create an island out of what was once a peninsula, and use the 200 year old London Bridge to cross the channel.

Havasu City was created by an eccentric millionaire back in the 1960s who bought thousands of acres of desert along the reservoir, only to find that nobody wanted to come.

The city of London needed to replace the bridge since it was sinking into the Thames River, so they held an auction where, as legend has it, had 1 bidder – Robert McCulloch.

Once purchased, he had it disassembled after carefully labeling each block, shipped by boat 1/2 way around the world through the Panama Canal to the Port of Long Beach, then across the couple of hundred miles of desert to Havasu.

They then set to it building a bridge in the middle of the desert (water to come later). This photo is off the internet.

Legend also says that McCulloch thought he was buying Tower Bridge, but this has been debunked. Eventually he had his bridge, and it was a success – thousands of tourists came, and now Lake Havasu City is home to over 50,000 people, with probably 3 times as many here for the 4th of July weekend.

While you are there you can enjoy the sound of hundreds, if not thousands of people on boats and jet skis that have been towed hundreds of miles to this remote location by their giant trucks and SUVs, to cruise around and complain about the cost of gas.

The Colorado River leading up to Havasu is similar.

Another of the attractions of Havasu is a collection of replica lighthouses. There are 28 of the houses scattered around, many of them on private property (behind gates), so the only way to see them is by boat. We chose to drive to those we could get to.

The sun set on the roar of engines and the London Bridge.

As we left Havasu early the next morning we passed the solitude of a nature preserve. Ahhhh.