City Creek Nature Notes – Salt Lake City

January 23, 2017

January 23rd

Filed under: Watercress, Weather — canopus56 @ 11:38 pm

The White Tangle

5:00 p.m. As another storm front passes over the valley, great winds beat tree and building alike, but no rain or snow arrives until the afternoon. As I enter the canyon, another foot and one half of snow has fallen and the storm continues with a heavy sheet of white. All of the branches are covered with a thick coat; whiteness is everywhere; the canyon is a white tangle of chaos. The snow banks rise to two feet in the lower canyon and in some spots to three. I see a thousand hues of white and grey, except for one break at the spring below picnic site 6. There, the spring water is filled with a green mat of the invasive watercress (Oct. 19th). Because the watercress is surrounded only by white, its color is luminous. But it is not cold.

In Thoreau’s “Journal” on January 23rd, 1857, he records a -8 degree temperature and on January 26th, 1857, -24 degrees. On January 23th, 1858, he records that the ground is bare and snow free. On January 23rd, 1859, Thoreau again sees snow fleas.

On January 23rd, 1904, City Engineer Kesley again proposed a 5,000,000 gallon storage tank be built at Pleasant Valley in City Creek Canyon (Salt Lake Telegram and Salt Lake Herald, Jan. 24th). On January 23rd, 1901, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that the City had received a proposal to purchase 240 acres of land in City Creek owned by an eastern bank. On January 23, 1896, the Red Bird Mine at the City Creek-Morgan County divide was leased in order to restart the 1,300 foot tunnel that already existed at that mine. On January 23, 1896, the Salt Lake Herald published two rumors: first, that placer gold had recently been found in City Creek Canyon, and second, of a long-time Salt Lake City shoemaker who in the 1860s purportedly had a hidden gold mine in City Creek. The miner died without revealing the location of the now lost mine. The Herald predicted that by spring, “the mountains east and north of Salt Lake [would be] fairly covered with prospectors and miners and are confident that within six months the mountain sides will be pierced with shafts and tunnels and the canyons lined with sluice boxes and tail races.”


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