19 June 2007


Finally! I made it out to hike this morning! I haven't done near as much as I'd been hoping to. The garden and the kittens are part of the reason. Also, the last two mornings I woke up and wished I hadn't. My best guess is allergies. I left my bedroom window closed last night for the first time in a while, and turned on an air purifier, and woke up feeling much better this morning. I still had a bit of a headache, but I didn't feel like it was a quarter past dead.

I meandered over to City Creek, largely because I thought I might be able to see the Howard Mountain fire from there. Based on the map, I thought I might have a decent view, but it looks like the fire was on the far side of Howard Mountain. There was some smoke visible when I first got up there:

But by the time I left, there was no smoke to be seen. Yesterday they reported that the fire had mostly been contained, so hopefully that means they've got it out now. It wasn't a big one, but it did come close to a few houses. I suspect that most of these criss-crossing vapor trails were from planes helping with the fire:

My mom and I saw one of the big water-droppers two nights ago. It had the biggest rudder I've ever seen on a plane. Tail-fin? Is that what they're called on planes? Eh, I like 'rudder' better.

So, the hike. Once I got out of my car, I looked at the trail left of the "main entrance," and decided to climb up it instead of going along the creek. Why? I don't know. It looked inviting. And at the top, I went left (away from the creek) because I didn't think I'd gone that way before. And, nope, I hadn't. There's a map here. So far as I can tell, I started at 'P', turned left at the first black bit, turned right at the red bit, and took the black scoopy bit back to the blue bit and back to the 'P'. At the time, I had no clue where the trail went, and figured that I'd just keep on it and find out. Looks like if I'd kept on the red bit, I would have made it up Kinport Peak, or even up to Wild Horse Mountain and from there to the Gibson-Jack parking lot. :^) (At which point, I would have hoped like hell that I had cell phone service so that I didn't have to walk back) Incidentally, if you want to find trails, this site has pretty good directions. It's emphasizing mountain biking, but a lot of these are hiking areas as well.

I only saw three other people, one dog, and a rabbit, as far as mammals go. As for plant life, the alfalfa and the sweet clover are going strong. Some of the lupines are past, but some are still blooming; same with the prickly pear. I found more of those presumed carnations:

Also some cherry trees (probably chokecherries) covered in galls:

Galls are usually caused by insects. They inject the plant with a chemical that causes the plant to grow structures that basically act as nurseries for the insect's young. At this site, I found out that those 'cones' I'd seen at the Fichter nature area were actually midge galls.

This concludes the hiking portion of this blog post. Since I keep forgetting to mention it, Don was out of the hospital on Saturday. He did warm-ups with us, then sat down and critiqued for the rest of class. He said that his leg muscles had atrophied from his two weeks in the hospital, but that he was feeling all right. He looked much better than I expected. He is on oxygen, but they hope to take him off of it in a month or two.

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