Monday, September 27, 2010

Willow Heights

Although mowing my lawn and taking kids to the park are great things to do on a perfectly beautiful autumn day, they didn't give the sense of satisfaction that I was looking for on one of the last good weekends of the year. I wanted to get into the canyon. I wanted to hike. I didn't leave Alicia's till almost 5 so I didn't have time to go anywhere far but I did have time for Willow Heights. I had the place to myself. I didn't see anything bigger than a duck till I was almost back to my car and passed 7 hikers on their way up. Though, the ducks were friendlier than any of the hikers I passed. I took my time and took lots of pictures and enjoyed the weather and the peaceful scenery. It was perfect. Willow Heights is such a pretty trail. It's a little less than a mile each way but steep. You hike most of the way through the most ideal and picturesque aspen forest I've ever seen. It's not just a pretty grove of aspens or a hillside, it's a forest of aspens that goes on forever in every direction. I love it, and they were just turning gold.
Suddenly the trail flattens out and the aspen forest ends. Abruptly. You step out into a wide open field. It's like the meadow in Bambi, although I hope this meadow doesn't experience such tragic horrible things as the one in Bambi does. The meadow isn't the prettiest thing in the fall, but I still like the sudden openness of it.
I'm getting good at taking my own picture. A useful skill when hiking alone.
Briefly you enter another grove of aspens and then...poof. You're at the lake. It's not a very glamorous lake with dramatic shorelines, but the reflections are serene and beautiful, especially in autumn.
Then the ducks came. I don't know what was up with these ducks. They were like little puppies that follow you to the bus stop. As soon as they saw me, they got in and swam over. I couldn't imagine that they get fed so much up here that they expected me to give them anything but they came over just the same. I decided to take pictures of them till they got scared...but they never got scared. They didn't expect food, they got out of the water and just stood by me like my cats do when I'm in the kitchen. They started eating by me and didn't run away when I stuck my camera right in their face to get a picture. I didn't ever have to zoom in, in fact I had to set the macro on my camera to focus as such a close distance. Sometimes I even had to snap my fingers to get them to look at me. They followed me around the lake and watched me go back down the trail when I left. I think they were just lonely and wanted someone to hang out with.
I started to walk around the lake, but about halfway I hit a wall of death. Something was rotting. The smell was so powerful I couldn't keep going. If I took one more step I'd vomit. I didn't even want to open my mouth to breath afraid I'd taste it. I don't know what was dead further up the trail but it smelled like about 5 moose and maybe a herd of elk. I was kind of curious to find out, maybe it was a person and I'd have to call the police, that would be exciting, but did I really want to be the one to find a dead body in the woods? What if it was a baby moose, I'd be so sad. I couldn't stand the smell anyway so I left and now I'll always wonder.
I was hoping these trees would be yellow so I could get the reflection, but they weren't yet.
A perfectly wonderful hike in Big Cottonwood Canyon and a great way to end my weekend.


Winters Outloud said...

Laughed about the death smell. Maybe I shall take the kids and hubby to that hike tomorrow or sometime soon. Looks fab. Miss your legs.

Stacie said...

Love the pictures! so much fun. Can't believe the duck let you get that close.