Monday, August 04, 2008

Travelogue: Silver Lake, Utah

Whenever I travel to states or countries I have visited before, I try to build in a hike or bike ride through a region I haven't yet seen. During our July visit to Utah, John and I hiked in the Brighton and Solitude mountains -- places usually seen covered with many feet of snow and quite a few skiers and snowboarders. In the photo above, you can see Silver Lake, which is a very short hike from the Solitude visitors' center.

Silver Lake (along with Brighton and Solitude) is located in Big Cottonwood Canyon. The canyon, in turn, is within the Wasatch mountain range that encircles the Salt Lake City valley. In the summer, it is the gateway to wildflower hikes, fly-fishing, and more.

Above you can see the man-made path through the marsh around the lake. As we walked around the lake, we saw some wildlife.

This young mallard was trying to attract the attention of a lovely young female (below).

She demurred.

Because there were a few fly-fishermen on the lake, John and I were interested to see if there any trout. There were.

Hiking around the lake is definitely family-friendly. There are guides and signs along the way, pointing out flora and fauna. This sign was particularly useful because I didn't know many of the wildflowers we were seeing during the hike.

These pink geraniums were tiny and fragile, like origami flowers made from tissue.

The flowers below reminded me of trails from fireworks.

After we finished our tour around the lake, we hiked up to the Twin Lakes reservoir, which is a total misnomer because it's only one lake. In the guidebooks, this is an "easy" hike. It's pretty steep and very dry, so if you try this, make sure that you wear your hiking boots and take more water than you think you will need. Remember also that the altitude is 9469 feet (a bit of a challenge for those of us who normally reside at sea level). If you are from the lowlands and are aggressive about hiking this trail, ascending and descending quickly, you will experience a headache. So, take your time (and an aspirin, just in case).

This is your reward at the top of the hike:

Oh, and the wildflowers.

Here are some helpful sites to visit if you'll be in the Salt Lake City area and would like to hike the mountains:

Go Utah

Solitude's hiking guide (click the star)

Kirkhams -- where to get your gear and maps

REI -- another option for gear and maps

Now get out there and enjoy the great outdoors!

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