Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Alpine Pond

Saturday July 9, 2011
Cedar Breaks National Monument
Point Supreme Campground Site #9

Today was one of those slow easy
mornings that I like a lot.
We spent the time looking at
the RVDreams forum information
about solar.  Well, we looked at
some of it.  There have been a lot of posts
and folks have had a lot to say.
We also got some good leads from our
Techie wizard friend Gin so we looked in to
those as well.
We are liking the financial benefits and freedom
of boon docking and are having
no trouble doing without electricity.  
We just want to make sure we don’t
stress our batteries over a week or two.
The weather gurus have been right on recently
with regard to when it is going to rain here
almost to the hour.  They said today that rain
would start at 11am and continue pretty much off
and on all day.  So we had sort of ruled out
doing any hikes.
But when it got to be 10:30 and didn’t look a thing
like rain, I checked again and found that weather
had changed its mind and the rain was coming at 2pm.
We’d done ourselves in with “business”
and threw together some snacks, filled up the
camelbacks, grabbed our rain gear “just in case”
and were off to do the
4 mile figure 8 loop trail around
Alpine Pond.
Alpine Pond 007

There was a short spur trail to the
point at which the “Upper” and “Lower”
pond loops split.  These lovelies
were beside that section of the trail.
Alpine Pond 001

David reasoned that IF it rained and we were not
finished with the trail, starting out on the
lower one might insure that we were on the upper
and in better drainage when the skies opened.
So off we went into the forested lower loop.
The wooded path too was lined with wildflowers.
Guess that’s why Cedar Breaks is having
their Wildflower Festival now.  :-)
Alpine Pond 008

Does anyone know for sure if these are Lupine?
Alpine Pond 009

Due to the HUGE thunderstorms from last
evening, the path was pretty muddy
which made it very clear we were not
the first ones to walk it today.

Alpine Pond 010

The first part of the Lower loop of the
Alpine Pond trail has the Amphitheater on its left.
With numerous windows through which you have great views.
Alpine Pond 011
So there were high distant views and
low close up views on this trail.
Very nice!
Alpine Pond 014

Soon we came to the first of several
”snow interruptions” on the trail.
Mud, water, snow but
Not too bad.

Back to the dry trail.
Alpine Pond 018
This “interruption” was a tad bigger
More beautiful views.
Snow in the foreground,
Brian Head Point in the distance.

More beautiful flowers on the trail side
Alpine Pond 023



Alpine Pond 031

And then we came to Alpine Pond.
I assume the name comes from the fact
that this is a Sub-Alpine forest
made up mostly of Engelmann Spruce and Sub-Alpine Fur.

In the 1990’s the area was overwhelmed with
a spruce bark beetle which damaged and killed many
of the spruces which today are dead skags.
But the forest is recovering and we saw many
young spruce and firs as well as Aspen which
would not be here if it were not for the spaces
opened in the canopy by the death of the spruces.
Ultimately the spruce forest will regrow over the
Aspen as succession continues.  I suspect that
the wildflower strewn paths would also not be quite
so numerous and bountiful were it not for the light.

Alpine Pond 034
Alpine Pond 037 

A ways beyond the pond,
the trail began to get quite rocky.
Alpine Pond 043

Turns out this is volcanic rock from an eruption over 2000 years ago

Alpine Pond 046

and that chipmunks and marmots live there.
So we decided to sit for a while, listen to
the wonderful bird song and see if anything
would poke its head out.
So David sat here
Alpine Pond 051
And I sat here
for as long as we could before the next set of
hikers who were talking loudly ruined any
possibility of seeing anything.
By this point we were half way, at the top of
the lower loop and near the
Winter Ranger’s Station Yurt
so we went on out to take a look.
It’s adjacent to a parking lot for this
end of the trail head and for folks who
want to come up in winter and ski, snowshoe or
snowmobile the groomed trails which are on the roads.
Alpine Pond 054
We were able to get some pictures of the inside as well.
(well mostly David was)
I took this one of the skylight in the ceiling which you can
see at the top of the yurt in the first picture above
Alpine Pond 057
and David got two of the inside including
one of the woodstove.  The yurt has no
electricity but with the skylight and woodstove
looks like it would be pretty cozy in those
sub zero temperatures I mentioned a couple of days ago.
Thermometer on the wall today says 80 degrees.
At least 20 degrees warmer than outside.
Here is a picture they had posted on the door of
what it looks like in the winter.
Leaving the yurt, we started around
the upper loop and the backside of the
volcanic rocks.  We were up higher…
duh upper loop…so the views of the rocks
were closer and we could see the layers clearly.
Each of these is a separate eruption.
Isn’t that amazing??
Alpine Pond 060
Alpine Pond 061
The upper loop pretty much runs on the far side
of a lovely meadow.  The only problem is that
the road is on the other side so there is much
more auto noise here than on the lower loop.
Alpine Pond 062

But the meadow was covered in flowers;
mostly these lovely yellow ones.  No
botanist along today to identify.

Doesn’t the meadow look gorgeous with
those dark conifers as the back drop?

We did this hike in an unusually short
amount of time for us.  4 miles in 2.5 hour
and still no rain.  It’s 1:37 and the
predicted rain comes at 2:00.
Hmmmmm I’m thinking,
but David wanted to go up the road to
Brian Head Peak and take a peek.
There’s Brian Head
Here’s the road we are going up.
Look at those clouds…..

About 2 miles up the 3 miles road this
is what the road turned in to
No driving past this point.  Just beyond me there is
no road, only snow.   I wonder how this will  melt
before snow falls again.
So now David wants to climb up that ridge to the right
to “see”
This is a real alpine ecosystem so here is what
he saw
I’m surprised they aren’t still skiing up here.
Look at the snow.  :-)
I was very concerned about what our walking
up here would do to the habitat and
must have looked like a clown trying to step only on the rocks
so that I wouldn’t crush any of the tiny sub alpine plants.

The ground was gorgeous with all the tiny
plants and algae/lichen covered rocks

I got up to here when the first crack of thunder
sounded.  Now you know being at the highest point
on a rocky ledge during a thunderstorm is not
my idea of a good idea so I was headin’ back to the car.
We’ve learned that around here thunder means rain
in no time at all and possibly really heavy rain.
I looked to my right and checked out those clouds
along with the view.

David took these pictures after I left
and was back in the car.

The rain did come but surprisingly little and no
more thunder.  David can thank me for high tailing
it back to the car I think.  :-)
Back down to the road, we were only 2 miles from
the nearest town, Brian Head of course,
so we thought we’d just go on down and see
what sort of grocery might be had.

What a joke.  Brian Head looks like it was built
about 2 years ago and is a resort town made
up almost entirely of Condominiums and a ski lift.
We saw a general store.
ONE gas pump, seriously, not a station, ONE pump
and of course real estate offices.
SO if you come to Cedar Breaks, and you should,
be sure you have all the provisions you will need.
Back at the ranch, we had dinner, dishes,
did a little reading and worked on blogs to post.
About 8:00 I suggested perhaps we needed popcorn.
David said “yup” and continued working.
I continued working.
In a little bit he said
”Isn’t it your turn to make it?”
I replied “Probably, but I don’t want it that badly”.
He laughed and said well I guess I’ll make it
for myself then.   Although if I try to fix
myself popcorn and eat it without making
any for you, it will bring out the pest in you
and you will be too pesky for me to enjoy my popcorn.”
Aren’t I terrible?????   :-))))))))
It still hadn’t rained and sunset was approaching.
So the weather folks have ruined their very fine
reputation.  They are saying rain through Wednesday
but do we believe them?  Hmmmmm not sure now.
We’ll find out how right they are tomorrow.
Hope to do some more of the wildflower festival
and some more ranger talks.  At least over the week-end
this is their ambitious schedule for every “today” during the festival.
Wildflower Walk 044


  1. That snow actually looks refreshing. It has been in the high 90's with heat indexes in the 100's....TOOOOOO HOT!!

    Loved the hike and the photos of the storm clouds. I would have been right with you in the car at the first sound of thunder;o))

    Now if you would adopt me I will make popcorn:o)))))

  2. Glad you gambled against the weather. The view from there is beautiful!

  3. All that rain should really make all the flowers pretty. Of course, that might keep you inside longer than you'd like.

    Make sure you have plenty of popcorn!

  4. What a great hike! I have always wanted to stay in a yurt. Not sure I would like that one in winter though.


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