autumn, utah style

October 17, 2013

clouds and mist over the Wasatch Range

I often joke that summer tourists are too early to enjoy the best season on Cape Cod. By the same token, it may also be said that for snow birds seeking mountain splendor in Utah, the migration is a bit late. For while autumn in New England is quintessential and quaint, fall in my husband’s home state is its own kind of spectacular.

On a recent trip to see Chad’s family, we took several hikes in the hills right above Salt Lake. Here we were greeted by a different kind of autumnal scene. More harsh than the rolling hills of New England, fall in these rocky peaks conjures not so much the feeling of harvest, but of something more wild and exposed. Here, instead of air laden with the aroma of apples and grapes, mountain breezes carry the more exotic scents of rabbit brush and sage. No dense, dappled forest; in thisĀ arid, craggy place twisted vegetation dances on a more horizontal plane, leaving the heights to sky and stone. It is dramatic landscape, a congress of natural elements, in which not only color, but texture take center stage.

hiking over the pass to Parley’s Canyon about two minutes from Chad’s parent’s house

grasses and rabbit brush grace the lower slopes

discovery amongst the rabbit brush

falling rocks

At “Suicide Rock” right off Hwy 215, Nature’s own graffiti complements a man-made paint job

colors of fall

The lower slopes are resplendent with every shade of yellow.

Not even human detritus can detract from fall’s color fest.

silhouette of wild sunflowers and grass

Swaths of grass surrounding the Red Butte Gardens look like fur.

color bands

heathered hues and Mount Olympus

wild sunflowers

panoramic path overlooking Salt Lake City and the Oquirrh Mountains

Scrub oaks provide a burst of red ochre.

scenic vista

textured hills

Black and white, magpies fly about in striking contrast to the fall foliage.

the last tree on the way to the top

vantage point, Wasatch Mountains

A future paleontologist surveys dino country.

silhouette of Mount Olympus

Chad in his native habitat

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