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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Little Cottonwood Canyon

Last Friday it was time to start our journey back to the Pacific Northwest. During the night, a thunderstorm rocked the area, providing the first rain since July. In the morning, the rain showers continued. The weather made it a little bit easier to leave. We drove from Moab to Salt Lake City, and while passing through Provo we saw 4 or 5 American white pelicans (216) in a lake right next to the highway.

When we got to Salt Lake City, we still had a few hours before we had to head to the airport so we went up Little Cottonwood Canyon towards Snowbird, a ski resort where my mom worked for a year in the early 70s shortly after my parents were married. The geology here was totally different than in southern Utah:

Since no snow has fallen yet (we did see a dusting in the higher hills on our drive after all the rain), the ski resort was still pretty quiet. A few people were around to enjoy the montane hiking trails and the remnants of the fall colors, which were already a little past their peak here. My dad saw a Clark's nutcracker, which unfortunately I missed. I walked around a bit here, at an altitude of about 8500 feet, but I only found a few Steller's jays and black-capped chickadees.

The rain held off while we were there, but the low cloud levels made for some pretty dramatic scenery. At lower elevations on our way down, we had to stop to take some pictures where the fall colors were still a little brigther:

That evening we caught our flight back to the northwest. It was raining, but at least there weren't any more thunderstorms that night!

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