We wanted to go on a hike and see some of the fall colors. Knowing I am not in the best of shape, I didn’t want to go on a hike that was too strenuous. So I did what I have done for years, I used the AllTrails app to search for a good hike.
I have used this app many times for hikes in Seattle. When you tell it you want an easy hike you end up with things like, Kubota Gardens, Jefferson Park or our own beloved Seward Park. Because of this I assumed my faithful app would guide me to a good hike. But it didn’t quite work out as expected.
Since we also didn’t want to drive for too long I searched for a hike near the entrance of one of the canyons. Utah is full of canyons. But most of our ‘canyons’ are not what you would normally think of as a canyon. When you mention the word canyon most people thing of things like the Grand Canyon in Arizona. For sure Utah has canyons like that, but they are mostly in the southern part of the state. In our part of Utah canyons are passages into the Rocky Mountains. To me they seem more like valleys, but I guess since we live in the Salt Lake Valley they had to call the passes from the mountains something else.
Anyway, several of the canyons into the Rocky Mountains are less than a 30 minute drive from out house. So I searched my app for an easy hike at the mouth of one of these canyons. It came up with “Lower Bells Canyon Reservoir” at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon. This was just about a 20 minute drive from the house and a short 2 mile hike.
We got to the trail head around 10:00 AM on Sunday. We were able to find a parking place without too much trouble, so we got our jackets on and headed off for our hike. I expected the first few minutes to be a bit steep, but it went beyond the first few minutes. We kept going up and up. My app was telling me we were only climbing about 350 feet. I had never really paid that much attention to the altitude you were going to climb before. This was an ‘Easy Hike’, so I didn’t worry about it.
I won’t do that again. We enjoyed the hike but we had to take several breaks as we climbed the 350 feet. This wasn’t the country stroll I was expecting. But what the heck I got my workout for the day. As we made our slow assent the view kept getting more and more spectacular. The valley below kept getting bigger and bigger. So in the end I would have been stopping anyway just to enjoy the view.
Beyond the beautiful view of city was the mountains around us. We got up to the lake that was the destination of the hike. It was a very peaceful place. There were duck and geese on the lake and the mountains in the background were massive. It was still early fall but the mountains in the background had snow on them and looked wonderful.
After we got back to the car on a whim we decided to go up the canyon a bit more. Within a few minutes we were seeing snow on the side of the road. Not much, maybe an inch or so, but enough to make everything look beautiful. At this point I knew where we needed to go. In the middle of the summer we had driven up this canyon to Snow Bird, one of Utah’s many ski resorts.
When we got to Snow Bird it was packed. We were not the only ones who wanted to enjoy the winter wonder land. There wasn’t that much snow there either, but snow is kind of magical; it only takes a little bit to make everything beautiful.
As we got out of the car we were reminded that snow equals cold. It was very cold and windy. But it was so pretty we just had to get out and take a walk. I’m not sure where everyone else was but we found a path along some of the smaller ski slops that was totally deserted. So we all walked along this path in total solitude. All we could hear was each other and the wind blowing through the trees.
We wandered around a bit in our own private little world. It was so peaceful and amazing. I have been in snow hundreds, maybe thousands, of times but I still find it amazing. It makes everything so lovely, so quiet and serene. It gives a sense of innocence and newness to everything. It is like God reminding us that only He can bring peace and make anything beautiful.
Eventually the cold got to us and we headed back to the car. We enjoyed the drive home, winding through the mountains. As we got home I marveled at how in a 45 minute drive we could be in such a different place, but that seems to be normal for Utah.