City Creek Nature Notes – Salt Lake City

December 15, 2016

December 15th

Filed under: Light, Pleasant Valley — canopus56 @ 11:56 am

Blue Light

4:15 p.m. December 12th (Supplement). Near the bend in the road at the up canyon side of Pleasant Valley near mile 1.8, as the sun sets behind the south hill at the entry of City Creek, I see a flash of turquoise in the snow. The flash of color is in a small seven by one foot chute of snow that sits perpendicular to the direction of the hidden sun. Even though the Sun is hidden behind the peak and the sunset light is indirect, the face of the chute glows with yellow light. The interior of the chute contains a light blue shadow. At the chute’s apex, there is small subtle patch of turquoise shadow. As I move my head, this blue patch appears and disappears. Light from sunset is traveling through the peak of the chute and all but light blue light is filtered out. Crystals on the surface of the snow then reflect the light back towards the viewer.

Thoreau often remarks about seeing blue shadows in winter snow, e.g. – January 2nd, 1854.

In Thoreau’s “Journal” on December 15th, 1838, he finds the silence of the outdoors during this season as more normal and comfortable than noise. He notes that with silence with soul can commune with itself. On December 15th, 1856, he describes the many natural and human sounds of a typical snowbound day.

On December 15, 1906, the Deseret News reported on the history of the City Creek water-powered mill, built by the Euro-American pioneers in the 1850s, that sat at the mouth of City Creek (possibly near North Temple and Canyon Road). The mill was Utah’s first iron works and blacksmith shop. The mill also contained a grist mill for grinding barley and a turbine mill for manufacturing adobe bricks.

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