Each spring I take a trip out into the western Utah desert to collect rock samples for my independent study course. Not many of the desert flowers were in bloom this time, probably because of the dry winter and spring weather. But the desert is still beautiful this time of the year. Here are a few shots I took in between collecting stops.
Stansbury Range in the distance, and beyond the trees, in the middle distance is a burned out area from a previous year's fire.
Pony Express station. What a life those riders must have had.
Thomas Range, I stopped to collect some rhyolite. I also found a few pink topaz crystals and some pseudobrookite.
sego lily was blooming in the middle of the dirt road.
gopher snake that is very common and useful in the western Utah desert.
Thomas Range, these pointed volcanic hills form the end of the Keg Mountains.
Desert Mountains to collect some quartz. These low hills and mountains located just south of the road between the Thomas Range and the Little Sahara sand dunes have always fascinated me with their variety of different igneous rocks and dikes. But you want to arrive in the spring when the June grass (or cheat grass as it is also called) around the hills has not dried out. When it dries, its seeds gets into every crack and crevice in your boots and shoes and work their way in until you have to remove socks and shoes and pick them out.
Little Sahara reminded me of the dreadful day two years ago when my wife and I were the first ones on the scene of a terrible tragedy. Three young teenage girls killed by a train.
Eureka, Utah the view of Mount Nebo is spectacular. Snow from this winter still fills the three ancient cirques at the top of the mountain that were carved out during the last ice age.
Mount Nebo as the sun begins to get low in the sky. This one taken from near the town of Goshen.
Genola visible at its base. At the top of West Mountain, not seen in these photos, is the BYU West Mountain Observatory. Beyond West Mountain, civilization once again intrudes upon the desert and I catch the freeway back to Provo. But it was great to escape even for just one day.