Friday, July 5, 2013

Logan Canyon Scenic Byway

When we visited Bear River Refuge a docent at the Visitor's Center mentioned that we should visit Logan Canyon.  She and her husband have a cabin there and return to the area every week-end.  We knew that there are many things to see in this area, but until then did not have any specific ideas firmly in mind as to what we were going to see.  We should have realized that, because of the hot weather here, many people would be heading to the mountains and lakes for the holiday week-end.  Anyway, Independence Day found us and many others heading for Logan Canyon.  Most of Logan's Canyon's landscape falls within the borders of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest.  Cache Valley was given its name because of mountain men as Jim Bridger who hunted in this area and cached many beaver pelts (buried them underground) until selling them at the annual fur rendezvous.  Unfortunately by 1840 much of the beaver population had been decimated, because of the heavy trapping for furs.  Our first stop on the byway was Ricks Springs.
Hydrologists have determined that the spring is both a spring and a diversion of the Logan River.  In 1972 scientists discovered the diversion when they placed green dye in the river and it appeared downstream at Rick's Spring.  Dye tracing has also shown that water from the spring also originates from disappearing streams to the northwest, and 2,600 feet in elevation.  Water that flows out of Tony Grove Lake also comes back up at Ricks Spring.  That lake was our next destination, and its parking lot was full because of the holiday.  Most fortunately we found a spot to park further down the road.  I was ready to leave the area because of it being so busy- had we done that we would have missed the highlight of our day.
Unless my memory fails me, I do not believe we have ever visited an area with such an explosion of wildflowers!  We took a walk around the lake and I could not stop taking pictures.  They were in every color imaginable- most striking to me were the vibrant blue of the bluebells and lupine, the delicate white of the columbine, the brilliant red of the gilia, the shy pink of the wild rose, and the stunning yellow of the sunflower, to name but a few that caught my eye.  The chipmunks and blue dragonflies were also numerous in number, when I took my attention off of the flowers I came to realize how close I often came to running into them.  Many birds also seemed to be singing high in the treetops.  But still for me it was all about the flowers, and they seemed to have no problem in growing around the large rocks of the lake.
The lake is considered the crown jewel of the Bear River Range.  It was formed by large slow-moving glaciers.  Large boulders around the lake are evidence of that powerful glacial activity.  I should end this with a picture of the lake, but I have too many pictures of the flowers which I want to share with you.  The rest of our day in Logan Canyon will have to be continued in my next posting.

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