City Creek Nature Notes – Salt Lake City

January 27, 2017

January 27th

Filed under: Black Mountain, Elk, milepost 1.5 — canopus56 @ 8:18 pm

Black Mountain, Yellow Mountain

4:30 p.m. It has been the first clear day of blue sky in almost one week, and I have forgotten what Black Mountain looks like. In the lower canyon, the snow-covered high walls are covered in deer or elk tracks, but I do not see either mammal directly. On parts to the south ridge, a three or four feet cornice has formed. Near sunset at milepost 1.5, Black Mountain comes into view. Normally, the Black Mountain is black or dark green due to its heavy coverage of Lodgepole pine and Douglas firs, but today the mountain is completely snow-blasted white. This makes Black Mountain look more fierce and crag-like than it really is, and, as the sun sets, the mountain becomes ablaze in yellow light.

At mile 0.5, I pass two anterless elk hunters coming down-canyon. They drag a sled that contains at most thirty-forty pounds of meat. They have not butchered well and have left two-hundred to three-hundred pounds of meat rotting in the watershed. Later, I discover that this is possibly an illegal take. Near mile 1.3, their sled tracks and footprints trudge up and back down the mountain side, but legal rifle hunting in the canyon does not begin until after mile 4.0. This may also explain why I see no elk or deer. The anterless elk hunt ends on January 31st.

In Thoreau’s “Journal” on January 27th, he sees small nests of wasps made from mud. (These are probably nests of the mud dauber wasp.)

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