I’ve heard it said that the outside of a mountain is good for the inside of a man. For me, that statement screams truth and purpose.
Hiking is a huge part of my life. I grew up in Ogden so the Wasatch Mountain range has always been dear to me. A much-loved hike of mine is Taylor Canyon. The trailhead is at the end of 27th Street, from one step on paved road and the next onto a wilderness trail.
As you begin the hike you are walking through desert sagebrush. About a half of a mile into the hike, pine trees start to become more and more prominent. Eventually, the whole north-facing slope is a lush alpine forest and the south-facing slope is a giant rocky mountain playground.
And throughout the hike, if you look around carefully, you will find that you’re not alone. Little chipmunks are pretty easy to spot, but there are also deer, lizards, foxes, owls, bobcats, hawks and many others. There are a lot of cougars even. It is surprising to think that a predator so big lives in abundance right in Ogden’s backyard. A few times as I have hiked through the trail I have had a feeling of being watched, and it makes me wonder what type of animal is watching from the deep of the forest.
There are a few particular spots that I go to again and again. If you climb the rocky, south-facing slope about two miles into the canyon, you can get to a great view. It takes some hard work to get up there, but it is well worth the trek. As you reach the top you can see the mouth of the canyon, Antelope Island and the whole of the Ogden and Salt Lake valleys.
Another of my favorite areas is a half-cave, half-rock shelter area surrounded by pines and home to many singing mountain birds and chipmunks. The air smells like mint leaves, which gives a nice charm to the whole area. It makes a wonderful place to camp and spend the night.
As I was searching the history of Taylor Canyon I saw that a man named McDonald is said to have discovered a gold mine in the canyon. Not much information was out there, so I don’t believe they were able to find a whole lot of gold.
In each season traversing this trail is a new story to me. Spring and summer provide the sound of the melting snow gushing down the mountain. In autumn it is the beautifully-aging leaves in lush yellow, orange and red. My particular favorite is winter, when I can go through with snow shoes and try to find deer and other animals. They are much easier to find when you can track where they have been in the snow.
Spending time in the mountain can help with issues in one’s life. I often think of spending time there as a form of baptism: breathing out my polluted, city air and breathing in fresh and clean mountain air. Taylor Canyon is a place for me to think and realize what is important to me.