Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fall Colors

I'm in my pajamas with all the doors and windows open preparing my Sunday School lesson. Brandon is at the hospital since he's on call this weekend and needs to follow up on the woman he operated on for FIVE HOURS yesterday (very interesting story of a woman with bladder cancer, a gynocologist turned homeopath who advised her not to have surgery or do chemo but to try homeopathic stuff, and a five hour surgery 4 years later to remove the bladder that was totally overcome by cancer so her life can be extended maybe another month or two--and the MD turned homeopath is nowhere to be  found . . . can we just accept and integrate both types of medicine, folks?) and Will is in the kitchen making Bisquick pancakes all by himself for us to enjoy for breakfast. (He's feeling very proud of himself after coming off an overnight scout campout where they were working on their cooking badges and he got lots of compliments for his "flipping" skills.)

It's another beautiful fall day here along the Wasatch Mountain range. Brandon and I dream of an east coast fall colors trip "someday," but I'm starting to think Utah is one of the next best places to be in the fall. (Well, let's not rule out Japan. Fall in northern Japan is spectacular!) 

The best thing about fall in Utah is that--thanks to the elevation of the mountains--it just goes on and on. The colors started to change high on the mountains in early to mid-September, and here we are on the 21st of October and there are still several types of trees down in the valley that have yet to peak. 

I think we aren't the only ones who feel that fall leading into Christmas is the best time of the year. We try to soak up every little bit of it, and for us, that means heading up into the canyon near our home several times during the season to watch the gradual change from top to bottom. As a result, I've taken about 50 million photos, and since it's too hard to cull out my favorites, following are A LOT of pictures that I think are still the best of the best. (The best of the best of the best would be a much shorter post, but with limitless space on the internet, why bother?) Skim or savor, here they are:

First, a "morning star" (Venus) picture:

Every morning as I watch the sun rise, I expect Gandalf to come galloping over the edge on his white steed:
Back in September, the reds started up high on the mountain:

One Sunday afternoon after stopping in on some neighbors, we ended up going with them up the canyon and they introduced us to a hike and a part of the mountain range we had never been before. It was Ga-orgeous!

My friend's brother was in town and happens to love taking pictures, so he grabbed my camera from me and insisted an taking some pictures of our family against some pretty trees. (You'll notice I'm not really dressed for a hike. We were just planning on a drive that day, but once we were up there we had to see this hike they were raving about. It was worth it, and my Tevas did just fine . . .)

I'm feeling lazy this year. Maybe this could be our ultra casual Christmas card pic:
I love the little girls in this one. (I think Brandon and I look like old tired people, except I made him take off his old man glasses . . .)

This spot blew my mind! It looks so east coast! When we saw this, we knew we had to come back on another day when the sun was out so we could see it in full color. (It's in the next set of pictures.)

The sun was setting as we drove out of the canyon:
Within the week, we went back up to the same spot and were not disappointed:

Did I tell you we had a dog? For four days? I'll save that story for another day. It's a story of poop, slobber, tears, and a birthday present gone very, very bad . . .

We kept trying--unsuccessfully--to reach this spot, but the truth is, it was probably best enjoyed from this vantage point:

There it is again! Maybe we'll find the trail to this "pot of gold" next year:

Fast forward into October. I drive by this field several times a day/week to take the kids to school and piano: 

Last weekend we went up the canyon twice--once in the afternoon/evening, and then early the next morning. We went to the same spot we went last year at the same time of year, but a took a trail in a different direction. We went back the next morning because we wanted to see the difference in the way the light was cast on various parts of the mountain. Interestingly, there was a bit of a storm in between visits, so many of the yellow aspen leaves had blown off their branches by our second visit. Here are the cloudy afternoon pics:


There was one little burst of sunshine at this beautiful spot:

My favorite people-less picture of the day:

 Wasp nest and graffiti:
 She was singing the most adorable song about the 3 Bears that she learned at pre-school:

Can you believe I shot this picture RIGHT when the moose (cow, to be exact . . .) was looking at the camera?
This day we happened to drive the entire Alpine Loop down past Robert Redford's Sundance and into the Provo area. Such a pretty drive if you have time to do the whole thing:

Back at the homestead, the colors were changing in the gully behind our house:
We love watching the sunrises and weather off our deck. I actually coached Elizabeth to take this picture of the sunrise for her Reflections project at school:

Our last trek up the mountains (in the morning) to chase fall colors:

You can see where all the leaves blew off the Aspens:

 "There once was a girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead  . . . " (Longfellow):

Will took some of these for his Reflections project:

Staking out a good picture spot:
 Umm . . . could this be any cuter?

Our shoes were so muddy after that hike we had to scrape them clean and throw the in the back of the car before heading home:
One last sunrise picture. We've been waking up to the sound of the geese flying south almost every morning lately. I finally had to jump out of bed one morning and snap a picture: 
Hello? Anybody there? I know, this was a lot of pictures to wade through, but I sure love to see them again, and since it's my blog I guess that's all that matters!

I'm sure this post makes our life like one big romp in the fall colored hills, but I assure you the vast majority of our life is spent working, cooking, cleaning, driving (cars as well as kids to do what they need to do), trying to get a plumber to come out to the house, figuring out how to get Kate a driver's permit, wrapping up endless school projects (honestly, the gifted program is going to be the death of me!), taking back the clothes to the dry cleaners because they ripped the hem out on accident, going to physical therapy for a lame shoulder injury I got from carrying too many groceries at once, etc. It is because life is nuts that we create time for these kinds of experiences. And it is through these singular experiences that we are able to stop the clock for a little while, leave our stress behind, and practice living in the moment.

And when I blog about it, it's like I'm there all over again!


  1. I love reading your posts and looking at your pictures. You take amazing pictures!! Your kids are getting great lessons from you. Seeing these pictures makes me miss Utah so much.
    I need to take some advice from you and get away from the busy everyday life at home and go find some pretty trees to hike through. It looks so calming and peaceful. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Our favorite hikes in the IC area were around the Coralville Dam/Lake area for sure. (Wish I could remember the specific trail . . . ) If the weather cooperates, you should go this weekend!

  2. Thank you for sharing these!!!! Having spent 8 of the last 10 years in Utah I am so missing the fall colors. I love California but it's not the same. I wish I could take a handful of these beautiful fall colored leaves and throw them in the air. Thanks for posting and next time you go for one of these hikes through the yellow aspens think of me. :)

  3. Yes, the one season we did not like living in California was fall--it's just an extension of summer! I will think of you when I go hiking in the yellow aspens if you will think of me when you're strolling along a sunny beach in February or March!!

  4. Perhaps this post has made me a little too philosophical, but just the other night when seeing some fall shots on the news during the weather I said to my husband, "I don't think I enjoyed the fall like I should have." It has made me all the more determined to enjoy the winter-even though it is my least favorite season. There could be all sorts of symbolism in my melancholy thoughts of fall ending, but that isn't my intent. I just plain and simply wish I'd have enjoyed (and visited!) the colors more.

    PS-I think it's been a while since I last left a long, rambling comment on your blog. Sure you haven't missed that.

    1. I do miss your comments! But ut's my own darn fault when I only post once in a blue moon. I like your idea of making an effort to savor winter. I need to get in that frame of mind!! Someone gave me the suggestion of snow shoeing as a family in our favorite hiking spots. I may have to try that.


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