Thursday, January 23, 2014

Across the West and Back Day 2: Over the Wasatch Range

Possibly I can now -- now that holidays are over -- get back to the western road trip MOH and I took last August, where, if you remember, we're still on day two, and about to head into American Fork Canyon south of Salt Lake City, Utah.
As a reminder, we're here on Utah S.R. 92.
As we approach, it appears that the canyon bisects an anticline, with bedding dipping north on the north side of the canyon and south on the south side.
Closer view of the south wall of American Fork Canyon.
South of the canyon and on the left side of the photo, the sequence of mostly Mississippian sediments is definitely dipping southward, according to the online, interactive geologic map of Utah. The section includes the Deseret Limestone, Humbug Formation, and Great Blue Limestone.
A closer view of the north canyon wall.
On the north side of the canyon, the geology is more complicated, but at least part of the section dips to the north.

As we head into the canyon, the road fairly suddenly becomes a very narrow two laner (? -- more like 1.5!!) and goes upward and into the mountains. Not knowing at all what to expect at this point, we hope we have made a good choice in not turning back toward SLC (you'll have to read the last installment to find out more about why we ended up in American Fork Canyon in the first place).

Nevertheless, despite the demanding road and my migraine, we see some good scenery (and awesome rock formations).

North Timpanogos Peak (or North Peak), rising to 11441 ft
(3487 m), reportedly underlain by the Bear Canyon Member of the Pennsylvanian Oquirrh Formation. 
Here we are a little farther on, looking back down South Fork toward American Fork Canyon.
Much of the drive was through fairly dense trees, often aspens. And, like I said, the road was fairly narrow, and it lacked a viable shoulder, making some of the curves and brief overlook sites rather startling.
We approach the summit, which is marked at 8060 ft.
More aspens.
Our first glimpse of Mt. Timpanogos, 11749 ft (3581 m), also in the Bear Canyon Member of the Oquirrh Formation.
Something not clear from most of these photos: it was a dark, cloudy day, always threatening rain. 
Roberts Horn, with the peak at 10993 ft (3351 m), same formation as before, looking about the same.
Roberts Horn is a true glacial horn, surrounded by several cirques: Primrose Cirque, with two cirque basins (Emerald Lake and Hidden Lakes basins) above the main cirque, lies to the south; the Timpanogos Basin to the north is an elevated cirque that above the Giant Staircase, a cirque and glacial valley.

At this point in our trip across the Wasatch, we've almost made it down S.R. 92 to our next road, and hopefully the last section of the trip report for Day 2.

View Day 2: Elko, NV to Vernal, UT in a larger map

Related Posts:
Across the West and Back Day 2: Are We Lost Yet?
Across the West and Back Day 2: A Hike along a Limestone Ridge
Across the West and Back Day 2: Across the Salt Lake Desert
Across the West and Back Day 2: A Side Trip in West Wendover
Across the West and Back Day 2: Pequop Summit to West Wendover
Across the West and Back Day 2: Looking for an Old Roadcut
Across the West and Back: The First Day
Intro to Recent Western Loop Trip

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