Our Mountains

Early European explorers, passers-through and pioneers had no great love for the young & tall mountains in the West. Mountains, sandstone canyons and mesas were barriers and impediments through unfamiliar landscape. A hard and sometimes cruel land that looked grey and barren to their eyes. The names they gave on maps reflect this, bearing innumerable hellish descriptors or names like “starvation.”

Little Cottonwood Canyon Wall from the Road

Mountains in their old homelands carried strange stories or were home to vengeful gods and spirits. Even some of those who recognized the great beauty of these vistas emphasized their danger and separation from people.

Rushing water up Little Cottonwood Canyon

For us, our mountains are incredibly important. My great aunt once told us that the end of a flight home when the well-known peaks came into view, it felt like being wrapped up in a warm blanket. These mountains are home itself in a very powerful way.

Lower flow in record heat of 2012 summer

And it isn’t that they’re loved because the ranges are beautiful and majestic. It’s not their draw for skiing tourism or an easy connection to nature & recreation. It’s not because it makes navigation easier because you never lose your sense of direction. All this is true, but there is a more powerful force at work.

What it's really all about: WATER

Without these mountains, we could not live. This place would be more open space, sparsely populated by unfortunate tribes confined to too little land on reservations while the rest would most likely be more land on which the military drops weapons. Our Western sagebrush ocean has always been seen as useless but for its financial utility by the federal government that owns the majority of our state.

Thistles: pokey and pretty

It is our mountains that let people thrive in this wild and arid place; we rely on mountains for water. Every drop of rain and (especially) flake of snow that falls in our mountains near reservoirs becomes part of the next year’s water supply. Because we need them, mountains become precious not just for beauty and wilderness. They mean home.

Giant Fallen Granite Boulder & Trees

Family outings and picnics up the many canyons are a childhood staple.  When I’m tired or stressed, a short trip up the canyons provides incredible refreshment and joy.  The landscape with rushing water and the reminder of life with greenery and the animal sounds all around me are euphoric and transcendental.

 Brave Midna @ Little Cottonwood Canyon  Brave Midna at Little Cottonwood Canyon 2
 Brave Midna at Little Cottonwood Canyon 3  Brave Midna at Little Cottonwood Canyon 4
Brave Midna at Little Cottonwood Canyon 5 Brave Midna at Little Cottonwood Canyon 6

The dogs seem to have a good time too.  Although I think in the future, I’ll avoid trying to shoot video while tethered to exploring, happy canines.

Dogs at the stream edge

Downstream view

Atrus finds this rock fascinating

More Canyon Walls

Water flowing through Little Cottonwood Canyon

Midna also finds the rock fascinating, but from underneath

The other bank

Branches washed down during spring

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