Wildflowers in Timpanogos Basin.

After spending the last day in bed recovering from the beatdown Derek’s kids layed on me in the Uintas on Saturday, I felt like heading up to the basin to do some photography. The forecast called for thunderstorms, which usually means some interesting light at sunset. Around 4:30, I hit the trail to a light rain and some awful humidity. Looking to the northeast, the storms looked pretty nasty, and the Alpine Ridge was covered in some threatening clouds. Perfect.

The view looking north, with storm clouds threatening the alpine ridge.


The basin is full of wildflowers, despite the drought. Not that I mind… The sunset was less than stellar though.

After reaching the basin, I pulled out the panoramic gear and started hunting for compositions. The rain stopped, and the clouds looked like they were going to break up and provide some great light. I waited. And waited. And waited some more. The great light never came. But I did get about 5 minutes of good stuff, so it wasn’t a complete loss.

A bit disappointed, I decided I’ve got nothing better to do, might as well summit tonight, since I haven’t been up there yet this year. I dropped my camping gear at the saddle and wandered up the last ridge, arriving just as the last twilight slipped into darkness.

Utah Valley after sunset, from the Timp Saddle.
Looking south at the summit.
This is what you do when it’s the middle of the night, and you are all alone on the top of a mountain, and have nothing better to do…
Looking north towards Salt Lake County.
Looking south to Utah Valley. The summit hut is on the far left.

I’ve never been super impressed by the views from Timpanogos. It’s an ok view, but certainly not the best in the county. That said, the views at night are spectactular, and the low lingering clouds reflected the city lights, creating an eerie orange glow. There was a howling wind and an occasional bat trying to whip my head off, but the solitude was nice. I’ve been waiting for a few months to get a nice image of sunrise from Robert’s Horn, and decided to head back down to the shelter to camp, and hopefully see some good light in the morning. Unfortunately, it was ho-hum, again.

Robert’s Horn at sunrise.

Clouds were crowding the horizon, and I figured the sun wouldn’t be shining in full force for at least another hour or two, so might as well head down in the cool part of the day. There are always a few moose down in the meadows above scout falls, so I hurried down to see if I could spot them before they bedded down. After getting their location from the early risers looking to summit, I spotted three bulls, just a few feet of the trail. Of course, I go into stealth mode and try to sneak around a bush to take some pictures. The moose were accommodating enough, and I got a few nice images.

Then, the two big guys decided it was time to decide who the alpha male is, and they started sparring. Wow. They were about 40 feet away, and I just sat back and watched the madness. Pretty cool stuff. After a few minutes, the third bull decided he wanted to spar too, but didn’t have a partner. Disinterested, he walked away from the other two, only to spot me a few moments later. Slowly but steadily, he started coming my way. I dropped my gear and started backpedaling as quick as I could. Our eyes locked and I damn near went into cardiac arrest. There was a small hill behind me, so I started running up it, not sure what the moose had in mind. He walked up to where I left my gear and just stared me down, as if he was daring me to come back to my back. In the meantime, the two big guys were battling, and one decided to retreat. He turned and started running my direction as well. I started running again. Luckily, the small moose blocked the way of the big guy, and he started running into the woods. The small guy stood guard over my gear, and I just sat and watched, hoping he wouldn’t smash my lens or backpack. Finally, another group of hikers came by and the moose relented. I got my stuff back, without a scratch.

Note to self: When moose get mad, get lost… Anyways, here is a sequence I had before I set down my camera.

Stink eye? Crook eye??? No. EVIL EYE.
Peek-a-boo from the little guy.
Happy moose.
Not happy moose. Notice the smaller guy on the left, getting bored…
The battle continues…
Pretty cool sight, glad I got to walk away from it myself.