Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Beauty of Our Back Yard. Sort of.

You may remember, from way back , I have always wanted a back yard to my house. I love the simple pleasures of just going out there, sleepy eyes and pj’s, coffee mug in hand, to read a book, magazine, or browse the net on a lazy Sunday morning. There is nothing like recharging with no frills, just like that.

One of the many snow covered peaks around Mount Timpanogos, in American Fork Canyon

Well, our new back yard happens to be a little … Spartan, for lack of a better word. Actually, I can come up with “worse” words to describe it, but … I don’t want to project worse karma on the poor thing. I need to be grateful that it’s there and pray that one day, we can make it into the heaven I want for the lazy days above mentioned.

There is almost no grass (really, just lots of weeds) in our back yard, and we live close to a semi-busy street (some times of the day and week are better than others). We have no patio, and the small chairs and table that are on the stair landing are barely fitting – not very conducive to “lounging”. There is no fence, really, so you’d be in everyone’s business and everyone’s business would be into your life if you were sitting out there. There are no trees. Not even one. It’s a space. Not much a “home” feeling there. It’s our job to make it into one. One day. And we will. I am sure. One day.

It's hard to imagine with such altitude today that Utah was once at the bottom of an ocean - but finding sea shells like this on the trails of American Fork Canyon reminds us of that.

But sometimes I am thinking: will we truly put the effort into making it into the heaven I was talking about with all the natural beauty we have around town? We have a little bit of everything around here, minus the ocean. But we do have huge lakes with beaches if we must have standing water. We took a couple of rides around our small town of Spanish Fork’s vicinity this weekend and the breathtaking scenery recharged our batteries more than three lawn furniture sets and fifteen grills could have had!

In the span of barely two days, we took in the mountains, and cold streams, and all the beauty they come with: beautiful flowers, freshly popped buds of aspen leaves, chipmunks, deer, countless butterflies, even humming birds that were too restless to be pictured, winding trails and roads, blue skies, and lots of waterfalls, fresh with the (still) melting snow.

I have never seen columbines before, but they are precious: very frail and yet sturdy enough to grow almost out of rock - grace under hardship for sure.

View from our picnic trail off Alpine Loop: who needs flat stone patio at home, when in less than an hour we can have lunch here?! (just half kidding, really)

On Sunday, we drove the Alpine Loop that winds about American Fork Canyon to Sundance.
Mount Timpanogos stands tall, snow covered year round, at 11,750 ft in the middle of the loop. After a day of driving, hiking, picnicking along beautiful mountain views, and lots of picture taking, we stopped in Sundance for dinner.

Alpine Loop is studded with tens of waterfalls; but the "must see" place is Cascade Springs: a spot in the middle of the loop where several streams converge in a beautiful marsh, full of wildlife and moss - nature's own Japanese garden

This guy seemed not very concerned at all about the cars on the Alpine Loop - he was just enjoying his lunch, feet away from the asphalt.

I loved, loved, loved the aspen woods! The leaves were just popped on most of them. I cannot wait for the fall, when they will turn screaming yellow - a sight that made Utah and Colorado famously gorgeous in pictures.

The next day, we went to explore the Whiting Campground in Mapleton, which is a small town next door to Spanish Fork. Only minutes from our house, we found a serene and extremely not populated and quiet camping ground, beautifully managed, clean, with a noisy stream running through it, amazing overflows, trails and wild life! We even picked a spot for our next camping trip! We can camp out there even without a notice one evening. It’s so close and so well done!

Mini-lake overflowing into a nice stream, and over the bridge/ road - in Whiting Campground, Mapleton, UT

Some of the hundreds of butterflies in various colors, along the stream
through Whiting Campground

I will let the pictures speak for themselves. I still cannot believe, every day, with every time I open my eyes around me, that I live here! “Lucky” and “blessed” don’t begin to even describe it! And once you see the pictures for yourselves, you will (hopefully) understand why our literal back yard must wait for now. The trails are endless.

Simple beauty: aspen tree in the sun - American Fork Canyon/ Alpine Loop, UT
Please click on the picture to see the entire trip in photos.

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