City Creek Nature Notes – Salt Lake City

November 10, 2016

November 10th

Filed under: Avenues, Brown Trout, California gull, Fish, People, picinic site 5, Places, Plants, Seasons, Tamarisk — canopus56 @ 5:24 pm

Last Falling Leaf Day

9:30 a.m. On October 21st, I noted that there are various markers of Fall seasonal change, e.g. – the last flying insect, the last crawling insect, the first freeze, the first leaf fall, etc. Today is the day of the last falling leaf below mile 2.0, or nearly so. There are maybe one-quarter of a percent of leaves left to fall and tamarisks at picnic site 10 still need to loose their top leaves, but I will call it as done and over. The trees are now all bare, and it is the day of last leaf fall. Even so, a canyon of grey, brown, red, and tan sticks has its own appeal. This is especially so, because it is just over a week since cars (except for those of a few water treatment plant workers) have been banned from the canyon. If solace could be quantified or was one of the ancient Greek’s four humours, there is more of it in the canyon’s air.

It is a another beautiful warm, fall day, and I have taken to jogging in the frosted mornings to get some cold conditioning. The warm afternoon weather is making me too susceptible to catching a cold. In the lower shaded canyon, my breath is visible with each step. A professional ski team is doing pre-season conditioning in the canyon, along Bonneville Drive and along 11th Avenue. They are “double-poling” up the two to four percent grade of the canyon on roller-ski blades. This makes each skier do several hundred crunches per canyon mile. I am sure that it hurts as much as doing several hundred sit-ups, but the scenery provides some compensation and must take their minds off of the pain.

As is my usual practice, I stop at those locations that might feature notable insect or animal characters in the canyon, to see what is new with them, and today, at picnic site 5, I am rewarded by seeing trout jumping upstream over rocks. We have all seen representations, that is images on television, of salmon fighting their way upstream over natural rapids or man-made fish ladders, only to plucked from the air by a waiting bear. A miniature version of this occurs at picnic site 5, where the pool has been created by a man-made twelve inch line of rocks. Water pours over the rocks on the down-stream end and makes a mini-water fall. I notice a small splash at the rock pour. A small brown trout spelt is swimming furiously just on the upstream side of rocks. Then a nice 6 inch trout leaps over the rocks and lands next to the spelt. The spelt is swept back over the rocks, and a few moments later, tries again and lands in the pool. This time its vigorous swimming pays off, and it breaks free of the fast moving water near the falls into the calm water at the center of the pool. Although this is a trivial experience, I realize that I have never seen this before in person, but only through media, and it is all the more satisfying because it is a personal and not manufactured experience.

Two California gulls soar above the canyon at milepost 1.5. They are either going from their nesting grounds at the Great Salt Lake for a breakfast of scavenging in the dumpsters of restaurants in Salt Lake City, or they have finished breakfast and are going back to the lake.

In “Four Seasons” on this date, Barnes while describing a walk to the end of the road, provides an extensive list of flowers and weeds in City Creek that bloom during the spring through autumn (id. Nov. 10th).

In Thoreau’s “Journal” on November 8th, 1850, he records the increase in stillness during the Fall.


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