Monday, August 13, 2012

Willow Heights- Big Cottonwood Canyon- August 2012

With a last minute change of plans, I made a quick over nighter up to Willow Heights. This is a very beautiful area, and a really nice place to see moose, deer, and a host of other wildlife in a pristine area in the Wasatch. I made my way up to the trail head Saturday afternoon, and got the pack on and headed in. Everything in this drainage this year is very lush. The trail makes a pretty steep jaunt straight up the hill for the first quarter mile, then winds its way through the trees. eventually it turns to a manageable grade and enters a very open meadow with good views down canyon. A few more paces and you find yourself at the lake. I walked over to the west side, and took a few photos east. After a bit I made my way through the aspens on the east side of the lake and found a very nice spot to set up shop. After getting shop set, I went to the outlet and filtered some water. After that I just pulled up a seat and watched the light play in the bowl surrounding the lake. Evening set in and I made a very good meal. As the sun started to set, I noticed some high clouds and the fire smoke turning that classic shade of pink that makes sunsets so much fun to shoot. On my way back to camp, I noticed a Cow Moose and Calf at the lake getting a drink. I had some worries for shooting later as I did not want to run into them in the dark. I found a spot, and let it rattle off some shots to get a star trail, as I had a beverage and watched a few meteors which I am sure were the beginning of the Persids meteor shower expected Sunday night. After a couple of hours, I rounded up my camera, took a few more shots and then went to bed. I slept so good, one of the best nights sleep because it was so quiet up there. I was awakened around seven AM to the sounds of Coyotes howling up on the ridge above me. I peeked out to see the Cow and Calf at the lake on full alert. They left with haste as the sound of the pack seemed to get closer. I finally pulled myself out of my sleeping bag, and made some coffee. I pulled up a seat as the light from the morning sun slowly painted the basin. All the flowers were glowing, and the air temps were a bit nippy in the shade. After some coffee, I packed up my bag, so I could wander around taking photos on the way out. As I descended, I noticed the ground cover had started to change color, first sign that fall is just around the corner. I also saw a wasp nest that was extremely large right next to the trail that I had not seen on the way in. After a while of wandering I made my way down the trail to my car. It was a great last minute adventure, and nice to be in the mountains once more. More adventures to come, enjoy the slideshow below.

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