Photo Moose-A-Palooza

One of the three moose I saw this morning at the beginning of my hike.

This morning’s hike could have easily been one of the best I have taken in Utah. To be fair, it is strongly enhanced by the sighting of 3 moose at the beginning of the hike. It also could have been the amazing sunrise I witnessed on the trip to the trail. And yes, it could have been the trail itself and the lovely lake at the top of the trail.

The truth is, it was ALL THE ABOVE!

Let’s start with the journey to the trail.

I left the house at about 5:15a to get a head start on the 6:30 sunrise. I drove through Provo Canyon toward Heber and took the Midway cutoff to Pine Canyon Road. This route is gorgeous and has plenty of hairpin turns. It climbs quickly and meets up with the road over Guardsman Pass and the road that goes to Bonanza Flats and Park City.

Before I started climbing, I noticed the full moon heading toward the western mountains. I stopped and took a few cell phone pix at several locations. The quality is not good, but I like the general gist of the pix.

The first moon image at the beginning of the climb
This one was taken right before the Guardsman Pass Road junction

When I stopped to take the moon picture above and then turned around to walk back to the car, I saw the beginnings of an incredible sunrise that I could not see while I was driving up the winding roads.

The beginnings of an incredible sunrise.

When I saw this sunrise forming, I noticed the road (224) that goes east away from Guardsman Pass and toward Empire Pass and into Park City. I have never driving this section of road, but I decided that I would this morning because it was heading toward the sunrise.

After a few turns and amazing views, I had to stop at when I came to Empire Pass and saw the view. It was unreal.

Enjoy a few of my favorite snaps from that location.

The first shot from Empire Pass
A silhouette of the top of a ski lift
The rain retreating into the distance east after dousing Park City

After leaving Empire Pass, I doubled back and headed toward Guardsman Pass. The climb to the overlook area is narrow, steep and has and incredible view to the east looking over Heber and Midway.

The view from the Guardsman Pass Overlook

I have only been to the overlook two times. Both times have been in the early morning and both times there have been people gathered there just to enjoy the majesty of the view and sunrise.

This morning did not disappoint!

Onlookers were treated to something special this morning

After leaving the pass overlook, I began the harrowing (for me) descent into Brighton. I call it harrowing because of my fear of heights. Driving down the steep road gives fantastic views and due to the altitude, those views trigger my acrophobia.

As soon as I arrived at the trailhead to Lake Mary, I noticed a dark creature in the woods. I had to take a long look because I couldn’t believe how close I was to a bull moose. A few other people noticed as well and we all began a photo-moose-a-palooza.

The first moose spotting of the morning

After spending a few minutes shooting this moose, he crossed over the road and ran into the mountainside. See video below.

After the moose left the scene, I went back to my car to get my gear and start the hike to Lake Mary. However, I immediately noticed another moose about 30 feet away coming out of tall grass and he was eating leaves.

While it looks like he is smiling for the picture, he is actually chewing some leaves.

After this moose was done eating, another moose came out of the grass and walked across the road into the woods. The third moose was far the biggest moose. I followed him and stood about 30-40 feet away from him.

It looks like he is sticking his tongue out a me. Maybe he was!
He sauntered into the woods
He seemed to enjoy the shelter of the trees

After having spent over an hour photographing the three moose, I decided to leave the third moose and head to the trail.

The sign marks the way

The trail begins close to the base of two ski lifts for Brighton Ski Resort.

I am going to let the pictures do most of the talking for the hike. It was simply lovely.

I saw this cyclist many times on the trail today. He was the only one I saw on a bike.

I love the Alpine trails. This section was steep and a bit rocky.
Lots of wildflowers along the way!
Before getting to the top where Lake Mary is, I took a side trail to this small “dog lake”
I was happy to arrive at the lake
A lovely view as I circumvented the lake to get to the high point
A couple enjoys relaxing at the high point. I am en route to that location as this was taken.
The view from the highest point. Lovely.

While at this location, they were three young ladies there at the same time. I took pictures of them and then they returned the favor. One of them came up to me and said, “I got this, we are gonna kill this.” I loved her demeanor and lightheartedness. We ended up have a blast with it. I most particularly love her counting in the video below.

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