Saturday, August 26, 2023

Cordell's HIGH UINTAS & OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES > The theme of my life "NEVER GIVE IN.....EASILY!" > On this post FIRST & Last: The BOOK called the "ENCYCLOPEDIA of the UINTA MOUNTAINS" >Then 8/26/2023 -PART 1: A review of 2023 "VISIONS of NATURE" FROM THE FOOTHILLS of TIMPANOGOS ... including WARNINGS OF CAUTION that CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE!


My previous outdoor website: is not used for new items anymore but is left open to access historical items, what you can't access there will have to be Googled, using my name followed by your interest such as:    Cordell M. Andersen or Cordell Andersen, followed by your interest, like:  

Cordell Andersen videos, or C.A. High Uintas,  C.A. Grandaddies, C.A. Little Andy Lake, or Crow Basin, Tie Hackers, Pioneer Timber slides, 1,000 mile backpack, Light weight backpacking, Survival,  Speech in Evanston Wyo., Speech in Coalville, etc.,  etc. You will likely especially be led to YouTube videos, or newsletters, etc. If all else fails email me but best BUY THE BOOK, info to do so at the end of this report….and I’ll repeat it with Chapter 2, 3, etc.
With this other system at,  I can actually put together a book, as I did with my 1st book: 
and 2nd, 
and now working on my 3rd

BELOW first is basic INFO on the UINTA BOOK,  then FOLLOWS 
From the summer  REPORT of my  
 CURRENT EFFORTS in my 88th YEAR to..... 



It was born from experience in the Uintas in my youth, then from age 67 to 82 I did 2,000+ miles of backpacking to explore and photograph every drainage, and do research to publish online the 

730 page ebook in 2019.

  It is totally unique among HIGH UINTA MOUNTAINS books with over 1,400 color photos...and that's just for starters....

 MORE ABOUT THE BOOK LATER... at the end...

For info on the 
Now let's get to what will be my 3rd ebook about the amazing....


from the
You won't believe many of them are right in your backyard
you've maybe never noticed but I'll show them to you like you've never seen before! 

I see them as I hike at a very slowed down... 
"stalking pace!" 

 August 26, 2023 from  
I have to begin by reviewing just a little for any who are new to my story,  saying, "I am a recovering cripple, as almost 3 years ago after a botched back surgery, my right leg died, and I couldn't walk."   

As I laid there in bed the muscles in my legs began to disappear, so I went to work doing every kind of exercise I could think of beginning with isometrics all the time in bed, then using my good left leg to help lift it as well as with my hands moving it through the movements to remind it what it was supposed to I worked at forcing my dead leg to hopefully wake up and keep up with the rest of me.

In the middle of that giant struggle I had to be taken back to the clinic  groaning continually with pain in a wheelchair with Jesse pushing me.  They were shocked exclaiming,     "That's not what was supposed to                     happen!"                                         Then a few days later, again in the wheelchair with the persistent pain, off to the hospital for an emergency surgery with my continual pain moving me to the front of the line.      The surgery helped some, but it still took me  more weeks of  intensive exercises in bed in my tiny mobil home and then finally got outside with walking canes and  then  a walker my daughter Mahana brought me. 

 NOTE:  By the way for those of the few who have visited me....shocked to see my tiny 7'x11' wealthy friend embarrased with what he was seeing, shouted 
"How can you live this way?"
...but it has been a blessing and key element of my survival as when needing to sit up,  scute down to the end of my bed to use a portable toilet, stand up,  get some food, or take a matter what...  there was always something to grab onto to help pull me up, or move me along, and having lost my balance....especially when closing my eyes to wash my face, or dry it, I would insantly begin falling, but I couldn't really fall as in every direction close by there was a wall, a cabinet, or something to prevent a deadly fall.  Here it is below where I have lived since 2013 making possible managing the Guatemalan Foundation as a volunteer until retiring it on its GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY in 2017 as well as doing my HIGH UINTAS PROJECT, writing two books, and now a 3rd......

 So, back to NOT GIVING UP.....I was forcing my dead right leg to keep up with the good left one.  Gradually it began to work, and I even learned to drive my car tucking the dead right leg back under my good one, and driving with my left leg.....grateful for an automatic transmission!  

The funny part of that was on my first venture out with the car.  My boys, Nephi and Jesse, noticed the car was gone and began worrying....A LOT.  On my return they TOOK THE KEYS AWAY FROM ME, like as though I was some rebellious, untrustworthy teenager!  I finally showed them I could do it safely and got my keys back. Now, a few years later I'm back to driving normally with both legs as my efforts finally worked and MY DEAD LEG WOKE UP!

A major part of that was when my good friend Paul Edmunds, one of my wonderful customers from when I gratefully worked from 2009 to 2012 for LORIE at Reams Supermarket in Springville....  
......but Paul gave me a  "Luxury" style walker, and  in the summer of 2022 I  began going on hikes..... gradually increasing the distance from American Fork, and months later finally getting up to Lone  Peak High School in Highland (9 or 10 miles roundtrip), and then....
.....I  decided to do                 the                HALF MARATHON  DISTANCE       (13.2 miles) all the way to Alpine and back.  NOTE: From 1994 to 2007 I had done 14 consecutive half marathons in Guatemala's  famous International Half Marathon competing with the Kenyans and other international stars until reaching 72 and not able to make more trips to Guatemala to supervise Foundation projects for lack of no more Half Marathons...UNTIL 2022!

           During the night before attempting to go all the way to Alpine and back, I dreamed of doing again the International Half Marathon in Coban, Guatemala and ....
The next day was a hot one the temperature getting up to 96 degrees, and I'll confess it took me all least 6-7 hours!  On the return along the North County highway I was stopped by two police cars who said that they were getting 911 calls from motorists  about...
... an old guy with a walker on the highway that maybe needed saving!
Apparently I didn't look too good
but I assured them I'd make it home alright.
Then two beautiful young ladies, one in a Mustang convertible, stopped to save me. It was her, in an attempt to get me into her car, who told me it was 96 degrees!   It was sweet talking to them  but.....
.... I was tough, thanked them and finally made it home by myself with my virtue intact!

I was finally building muscle again, and then moved to the parks on grass, with no aids, 
learning to walk like a baby, in the beginning with the help of 
my infant Guardian Angel, TED...'ll see TED again below a few pictures when we get to the hills where we are inserted again in the foothill montage of my 2023 efforts to 
 Part of that was TED teaching me  to fall like a baby so I wouldn't  kill myself! 
 With my misaligned spine you see spine surgeon told me  a fall would kill me, and gave me strict instructions to use trekking poles if hiking in the hills.

.......then to climbing stairs with a railing on the south side of the American Fork Fitness Center, where the stairs face south and the snow would melt quickly......
Always in the beginning with my little buddy TED!
I hope all you friends know Ted is a fun figment of my imagination who I haven't seen yet....but maybe he's there as I couldn't have made so much progress by myself!
I eventually graduated from the 7" stairs seen above, and began going to the American Fork Amphitheater.......with its 11" stairs that even now in summer and autumn I use every other day when not in the hills.

 ....and in the winter when too cold, or snowing I discovered the.... 
.......INSTACARE 5 floor building..
...with a drinking fountain, restroom and soft chairs on every floor, as well as a snack bar near the pharmacy! 
There I enjoyably and safely persisted with my preparations for 
 and when Spring came,  off to...... 

Behind the beautiful trees we see  
 coming alive with Spring and we see here
  the fairly restricted area I mainly focused on during the summer of 2023.  Below you see me all over using the previously hated trekking poles that I always said were for wimps!  

In this montage I show two of my 2023 triumphs getting to the VALLEY VIEW SPOT
going up the front of the hills, rather than the easy, safe way going up the canyon and switchbacking to the SPOT..... as I did for my first time in 2023 represented in this Chapter 1.  Then I did a warm-up (the blue line), then did the LONGEST but SAFEST WAY, then decided to do the HARDEST & MOST DANGEROUS WAY....straight up the ridge.....each of those climbs will be featered in Chapter 2, and then Chapter 3.  
I'll admit all my hikes are done carefully and 
VERY SLOWLY and SAFELY as a fall could kill me.
actually  going slow
with the  STALKING PACE  blesses me
and my physical complications and age bless me even more 
by forcing me to go even slower........which makes possible
  SEEING the stunning 
I want to share with all of you.

NOW to my beloved VISIONS of NATURE that inspire me to persist even with constant back pain 
and other complications of being in my 88th year...but all made bearable and possible by  looking for beauty I am blessed to flowers, plants, insects, animals, reptiles  and in the rocks & lichens...doing this at least every other day in the hills and canyons—
otherwise my blood pressure gets out of control scary, back pain worse and once 3-4 days of "resting"  had both of my legs beginning  to go to sleep with no feeling,   brought on two mini-strokes and for the first time since at 16 years old when I experienced an NDE and shouted "I'm a dead man!"  I actually felt one of those days like it  was the end and I asked myself,

But I learned my lesson that I have to keep moving EVERY DAY or DIE!  So, in spite of the pain, I exercise daily....stairs, and every other day to THE FOOTHILLS OF MT. TIMPANOGOS!
I began  early in the Spring documenting with photos each plant as they spring to life,  then follow their development to blossoming, and then to the unique process of reproduction...some plants with spectacular systems I'll show you with some...meaning.....
"the whole story" on a few, good detail on many and 
magnificent conclusions on all.

I'm dividing the review into several one every few weeks starting August 26th--reports that will show briefly that whole process for a lot of plants, with more emphasis on  extraordinary plants that quite literally are...... 

.....but hardly anyone notices!
 Perhaps because you're low on testosterone,  don't have a long zoom lens or you concentrate more on making long hikes fast like 
MARATHON BACKPACKERS....wanting to set a record or 
quickly get down to ARBY'S...where the meats are!

NOTE:  A good level of testosterone, for man or woman, will help you have a better mood, and enhance your ability to recognize and appreciate beauty....yes in the opposite sex, but also in the  beautiful VISIONS of NATURE, and even in the CHAOS OF NATURE! So, if you don't recognize amazing beauty in what I'm going to show you, you need a good dose of ANDRO 400 Max, or equivalent!

A note to begin, I must say that the foothills of Timpanogos and of the Wasatch Mountains, in many ways are desert environments. That gradually change as you get into the canyons and their creeks, and get higher and higher.  I will restrict my comments as to not do so would be creating a bookNO, that's now exactly what I'm really aiming formy 3rd ebook of which I'll print ONEfor me to thumb through and be continually inspired  when I....

....GET OLD!  

 Do you recognize the plants I'm walking among?
I'll feature them later, but one is  critical for survival of one mammal species in most of Utah....and one becomes perhaps the.....

AWAKENING COLOR....we'll see later in the Fall!


With a wisp of green in the foothills we begin and see the first flowering plant I noticed.  

It is in the dead center of the picture below.. taken on March 16, 2023

The flowering of the plant photo below was taken on April 15.

 The seed pictures taken on May 22, the plant's life cycle being about two months.  It doesn't last very long, but you can see the flowering center of it below.

 much a desert environment so no surprise to find...PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS..the first, and so far the only cactus I've found in the small section of the hills I worked with in 2023, and did my best to follow its development.  In 2022 I missed the blossoming as I've learned it happens real fast and is then gone. 

It blossomed on June 8th

The reason in past seasons I have missed this development is because the blossoming happens literally in two days, and in two days the flower was withering away and gone.  
So in most of the plants followed, it required me making the hike every two days.  Other Plants took sometimes all summer to go through their or two of them haven't happened yet the  wild Chrysanthemum!

Below is seen  a bee burried in the pollen of one of the cactus flowers.

There were two more blossoms, plus new....what we might call "ears"  like seen below that were beautiful to begin with, then soon blended in with the whole community of CACTI.

Compare the ending scene below to the original and you'll realize there was a lot of change even though very slow.

With the desert, or foothills in mind best mention that at the Grove Creek Trailhead there is a warning sign about.... 
I'll incorporate it into the following montage, but mention, that in the foothills of Timpanogos I haven't seen a live one yet.  I have seen the sloughed off skins of them blowing around in the winds, as they shed their old skin after the warmer weather has them coming out of hibernation....usually here in the month of May. 
But in the early summer on the road entering the Grove Creek Trailhead parking lot I got the following photograph of one, we see below run over by a car or two.  So there is reason for the warning sign, and to
be careful--ALWAYS!

As I have reported in past posts, in my youth in Provo, in mid-May one year I climbed Little Squaw Peak and as I neared the summit all of a sudden one struck at me from the left, then one from the right. There was no rattle as when changing skins they are blunted, blind and will just strike at anything that frightens them.
 I have experience with rattle snakes having worked for two summers as a hunter and trapper for a University of Utah Wildlife program connected to the Army's Biological Warefare work at Dugway Proving Grounds in the West Utah Desert and captured and had in cages several rattlesnakes, so I had learned to be be careful.  Those first two didn't get me, nor the 3rd, 4th or more before getting to the summit, where in the middle of small scrub oak brush there was another one!  To say the least I was even more cautious as I headed down.
Also back in my youth I found and captured a small rattlesnake on the trail to the Y.

About 8,000 people a year are bitten, with 10-15 deaths.  So, be cautious and if bitten, get medical attention quickly.

Sweetwater, Texas claims the largest "Rattlesnake Roundup" but Arizona has the most venemous snakes--19 out of 20 varieties, but the largest rattlesnake is the Eastern Diamond Back Rattlesnake, the largest recorded was 7.9 feet long, weighing 34 lbs. There are 34 species of rattlesnakes, Utah with 7 varieties, most of which are in southeastern to southwestern Utah.  The ones we have in most of the western half of the state are the Great Basin Rattlesnake--which looks like the one in my picture above.   Alaska has no snakes.

Below the YUCCA PLANT  of the deserts
 with a fascinating, but almost tragic history as we'll see in the pictures. 

As some of you might remember from last year, this plant had a tragic history, but in past years it had reproduced two other plants well see below and, in spite of the enemies almost totalling destroying them, they reproduced a number of live plants we can see spread around the parent plant.

Aphids take over. 
 There are predators, maybe the tough looking one above/left and below.....

........ and the Lady Bugs,  that eat them, but far and again ougunned by the APHIDS!

Around the base of this plant I all of a sudden noticed a dangerous insect.......


I zoomed in and was lucky to get the following good picture.

The      BLACK WIDOW SPIDER, that 
we all know is poisonous. It didn't come after me, rather scurried away out of sight. Researching it, I got the following:  In rare and extreme cases, black widow spider venom poisoning may lead to seizures and even death, but death generally doesn't occur in healthy adults. Young people, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to serious complications and death from a black widow spider bite.    One report I have says out of 2,500 bites only 4-8 people die each year...

... so your chances are pretty good to survive

JUST BE CAREFUL IN THE HILLS, and/or AROUND YOUR HOME!, somehow in spite of the aphids the plant produced a few seeds that spouted this year and have a chance of growing up to keep the species going.  Apparently the aphids only attack the flowers.

was the next plant that came alive...

.....  and eventually evolved to the blossoming stage.  

  Numerous tribes in North America used yarrow for a variety of ailments. The crushed plant was applied to wounds and burns. The dried leaves were used as a tea to soothe colds, fever, and headache.  The Navajo considered it to be a "life medicine", chewed it for toothaches, and poured an infusion into ears for earaches. One of the most widely used medicinal herbs, yarrow tea was taken for stomach problems, fever, and restful sleep. It was made into poultices for treating rashes, swelling, eczema, and spider bites. Popular in European folk medicine, yarrow contains flavonoids, plant-based chemicals that increase saliva and stomach acid to help improve digestion. Yarrow may also relax smooth muscle in the intestine and uterus, which can relieve stomach and menstrual cramps. Yarrow may reduce skin and liver inflammation, which could help treat skin infections, signs of skin aging, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.  

WOW!  It "MAY" do a FEW GOOD things, or


It usually is white, but pink also is common....

Below we see it late in the summer in its reproduction stage.

Interestingly this same plant is sprouting again on September 15th as we see below.....


Here's another early spring plant coming to life as we see on the left, but the deer are still around and seem to like it (2nd picture), but a few plants survive and develop into a beautifull flower that  eventually produce seeds. 
Let's enlarge the flower so we can appreciate it more.

......and THE SEEDS seen below.

The next is.......
.....a very tiny plant with a tiny flowerDo you see it below?  
I'm not kidding, there is a flower the rock in dead center!  My trekking pole inserted for size perspective.  If you like to hike'll never see this beautiful jewel!
Zooming in....picture taken on June 22nd, but I've photographed  filaree from April all the way to September.  
Zooming in we see the tiny flower at the end of reddish branched stems, all very low to the ground. It is called FILAREE,  sometimes called AFILARIA and  is one of the earliest to bloom.

.....and as late as September I still see once in a while one of these tiny flowers, like the one below I photographed on September 13th....

Below we see another beautiful plant, but this one blossomed quite early in May, and very quickly disappeared...... is LEMONWEED  or  YELLOW PUCCOON


Have you guessed what well known plant this is?  The picture below
is a dead give-away!

And, in September I got the following photos of beautiful new sprouts of OREGON GRAPE

You won't find this beautiful plant in the foothills, 
but have to head for the creek and the shade of its bushes and trees, 
and cooler temperatures of higher elevations .  
We will include in this 2023 report some of the plants and wildflowers of the CANYONS of the FOOTHILLS....not just Grove Creek Canyon, but also a few from the next canyon south,  Battle Creek Canyon of which I'll also give a little history in chapter 3. 

Along the creek  that has flowed all summer, and likely will continue until winter....let's check out the beauty there, but...
For this I'll go to my           "LEAVES"       folder and without much comment  
show you some real delicate beauty and see if you can pick out any of them that are dangerous, or poisonous.

As we will learn there is one plant that  has 3 leaves per stem like this beautiful plant you might want to have in your living room, or out on the patio, I'll insert at the end a photo of this plant in late August. The above photo  taken on May 22nd, and of the others  of the same "3 leafs per stem" plants taken at about the same date.   

Again three leaves per stem!

This is the Choke Cherry

Again....three leaves per stem!

Above at the tip, this one has three leaves, but differs as it has leaves along its stem.

Do I see again  three leaves per stem?

Fascinating....we'll get to it  later, but no 3 leaves per stem.

This beauty has some of you with Canadian roots want to sing, 
O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all of us command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!

And  last from Battle Creek Canyon one of at least 3 photos I've taken there of a similar plant, photos taken on July 3rd.  
Notice this one is again characterized by clusters of 3 leaves per stem
 and is a beautiful plant . 
So what?  

NOW IN ADDITION to BEING WOWED by just a few of the unending variety of  beautiful....
... ITCHING and sleepless nights!

Four of the pictures from Grove Creek Canyon 
(in this section they are #5, #12, #17, and #19) 
and one from Battle Creek Canyon  (#23  of the 23 photos) are the dreaded....
....POISON IVY .....
.....we see above. I have enlarged each of previous ones. They are among the most "admired" of the remember "good looks can be dangerous" with leaves, or with the opposite sex....but of course...... not always 
So let's learn just a little about Poison Ivy that is among the 7 poisonous plants in Utah, but it is the one that will quickly cause a blistery rash on your skin, with an itch that will make life difficult for a few weeks.

I know because I'm now in my 3rd week with it, the first two especially difficult at night more than once making sleep impossible ALL NIGHT!  Let me quote from an internet reference that begins giving credit and where I found it:

7. Poison Ivy

  • Scientific Name: Toxicodendron radicans
  • Common Name: Eastern poison ivy
  • Plant Description: Poison ivy is famous for its 3-leaf clusters, small yellow-green flowers, and white berries. The shape and texture of poison ivy leaves can vary between dull or glossy and smooth or toothed. Plus, this dangerous Utah plant’s growth habit can be both climbing and shrub-like. Poison ivy produces its flowers in late spring through summer, and its leaves turn yellow-orange and brown in the fall.
  • Mature Height: As a climbing plant, poison ivy can grow up a tree or other nearby structure to 75 feet high or more.
  • Habitat: Trails, roadsides, forest edges and clearings, and other sunny woodlands
  • Toxic Parts of the Plant: Avoid all parts of poison ivy plants.
  • Symptoms of Plant Poisoning: Touching poison ivy can result in an itchy skin rash, redness, swelling, and blisters. Eating poison ivy could lead to stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and damage to the esophagus, kidneys, and other organs. Also, burning poison ivy plants can cause throat discomfort and difficulty breathing from inhaling the smoke.

Most people know about the dangerous plant growing in Utah called poison ivy. But did you know that the allergic reactions caused by touching poison ivy could lead to anaphylaxis? This hypersensitive condition can cause the throat to close, the tongue to swell, difficulty breathing, and loss of consciousness. And the symptoms of anaphylaxis could come on within minutes from poison ivy poisoning.

So wear protective clothing on your nature walks through wild and beautiful Utah vegetation, just in case you accidentally touch or brush against some poison ivy along the way.

Toxins in Poison Ivy

The poison ivy plant protects itself from predators by releasing a toxic oil when the leaves are touched or disturbed in any way. This poisonous oil is called urushiol, and it’s hard to remove from the skin unless you use anti-grease soap formulated to dissolve oily substances.

Urushiol contains a mix of allergenic compounds that are also found in poison oak and poison sumac plants.


NOTE:  Now, with this on your mind, best go to the internet and look for this article that deals with the 7 poisnous plants in Utah and then research also Poison Sumac.  

In my personal autobiography 0-22 years I call My Checkered Faith & Works Journey that is Part 1 of my book , except for the first Part, is about my LIFE IN THE MOUNTAINS OF THE MAYA. On page 17 I tell the story of my first camping trip as a Boy Scout in California's Bay area.  I had not been told anything about Poison Oak, which has the same oil on its leaves as Poison Ivy, and Poison Sumac, which is urushiol oil that  causes the allergic reaction. 
You can check that out if interested, but it boils down to me getting into it real fact my entire body was covered. For a month I couldn't put any clothes on, followed by another month before venturing out into the world. NOTE:  As difficult as my present minor experience was, it had me wondering.... I ever survived having my entire body covered with it? 
But, from then on I was immune until moving to Guatemala 19 years later where  there is a plant that can grow into a tall tree called AMCHE or PALO BRUJO ("A Witch Tree"), that is  beautiful with handsome long pointed oily leaves (urushiol oil), like Smooth Sumac leaves (that are not poisonous) that I will add to this report next below.  I soon learned there that I had lost my immunity with the effect the same as Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac.

What I just had was some spots on one leg, other patches on my arms and upper body, and a lot on my lower back (around the protruding bone centering my misalighned spine), but I kept up with my hikes and normal activities, the difficult part being not able to sleep  well at night. 

  I soon realized what was happening,   washed all my clothes and bedding that maybe still had some of the oil, and I bathed with Cutter Poison Ivy Scrub to remove any oil residue and keep it from spreading.  To relieve the itch and help dry it up I used Calamine Lotion mixed with it Hydrocortisone Cream, and Walmart's Anti-itch Cream (basically Benedryl & zinc acetate). I finally went to a Dermatologist who told me to stop using all that stuff and prescribed Betamethasone Dipropionate Ointment.   I did as instructed and went through an entire night not able to sleep. By itself it didn't seem to help at all.
 So, I went back to my mixture, adding to it the Doctor's prescription, and began doing real well, and  by the mid-third week almost totally well.  Now, about rour weeks have crept by and I'm not using any medication anymore. 

 I went through my leaf photos and tagged the ones among them that were Poison Ivy, but I couldn't recall having come close enough to touch any them.  I was cautious with  Poison Ivy   carefully avoided touching them or brushing up against them.
But, I obviously had gotten into Poison Ivy without noticing and being careless.

Today I also went down along the creek where I had photographed Poison Ivy, and re-photographed the now extensive growth of the beautiful but dangerous plant, pictures below:  

As we see Below we see berries with seeds, so we can expect to to spread next year, along with even more extensive Poison Ivy in Battle Creek Canyon, so we all have to be careful....or learn the hard way!

When I took these pictures just a day or two ago, I was extremely careful to not get close, but I remembered a friend from California who was so allergic to the poisonous oil that every Spring he would be careful to never even come within  sighting distance of Poison Oak, but he would get the rash real bad anyway.  The last I heard he was going through an immunization program to hopefully solve this problem, but we moved to Utah then and I never knew what happened. 
But since going back to get the above pictures I was mentally weak and immediately imagined and felt itching all over!  And now, three or four days later I do have small patches of rash in a couple of places....from who knows where?????

For a future report I will get pictures through my Guatemalan contacts of the plant down there with the same oil which causes the same rash, and show you pictures of 
On September 11th I was determined to make it further up the canyon to look for, and photograph the plants near the trail and hope that a few might notice to avoid trouble.  I'll confess that my hikes have got shorter and shorter this summer because my back pain has greatly increased, that forced me to not do a hoped for overnight backpack in the High Uintas, but I had to do the Grove Canyon hike  to locate other patches of the poisonous plant to help all be careful. So, below is what I found...and it was a lot... going up the canyon along the creek:
This is just up the hill from the Trail Head parking lot. From here a trail goes down to the south and just before getting to the creek on the left a short 5-10 yards you begin seeing a lot of Poison Ivy, pictures already shown.  I'll insert just two below that you've seen already:

From here, a month or so later on September 18th, we look over towards the creek and find a big patch that is beginning to show the shades of Fall....

We return about 10 yards to the trail coming down from the galvanized cover, and see a trail that goes west paralleling the stream, and immediately see more Poison Ivy as seen below....

Back to that galvanized cover, we go up just past the first turn, and as we continue on the right is an open area looking down on the creek.  Go to the 2nd open area and  you will notice a number of small Poison Ivy plants,  seen below:

Remember one dominant characteristic of Poison Ivy is three leaf clusters at the end of each stem that has no other leaves.

Next up is along the road just before the diversion dam where water is taken out in a burried pipe.  You will notice there are a lot of plants on the creek side and they all have quite large leaves, which I hope we can note in the following photos of the 4 or 5 that I took up there.  

We then come to the diversion dam you see below and I'll climb up behind it and show you what I found.

At the  very top of the dam to the left we immediatly begin seeing Poison Ivy. I'll insert a few pictures below. 

To Follow the creek upstream, or downstream, there will most certainly be Poison Ivy, so be aware, and be careful.

From the diversion dam we backtrack to take the trail that goes up the mountain through the "Rock & Roll Area," and then you come to the two rocks right in the middle of the trail.  The picture below is up the trail looking down on those nice "resting rocks."  
The fringe of low green vegetation on the left in the above  picture is Poison Ivy. 
A close-up below of part of it.  BEAUTIFUL LEAVES!

Next, up the trail a bit off to the right in at least three areas Poison Ivy is mixed in with dead wood and other vegetation, and is quite recognizable.

Then we come to the big turn where the trail begins a long switchback up the mountain. We see that point below where a trail goes down to the creek and then continues up along the stream.
Close ahead where the trail begins to descend towards the creek, on the right is a whole garden of Poison Ivy.  Interestingly in the exact spot of the first picture below, early in the season before the Poison Ivy plants sprouted, I rested and had my lunch in that spot.  Next year I will carefully notice when the plants come alive and how quickly they develop.  

Poison Ivy plants produce a white/slightly yellowish fruit with seeds that will multiply the plant for next year.  

From that first point, I continued up the trail along the creek and found Poison Ivy all along the trail, both sides and in places where hikers not knowing what to avoid would certainly get some of the oil on their legs or clothing.  Early in the season when the leaves are shinny with oil is when there is the greatest danger.   Below are a few of the many photos I took up that trail.

In several places there were Poison Ivy plants right in the middle of the trail. 

The tall plants on the left with long woody stalks at the end of which are clusters of three large leaves are also what we are looking for, as well as the low to the ground green ones,  all are Poison Ivy.
It might be a bit hard to distinguish Poison Ivy from all the other green vegetation. To help a little, let's zoon in some on the tall plants.

Then hopefully to help a little more, let's erase as best I can all except the Poison Ivy.

That was a pretty rough Photoshop job, and I actually erased some of the Poison Ivy, but I think you'll get the point that there is likely more of the poisonous plant than we might have thought.  BEST BE CAREFUL as we learned is also necessary with RATTLESNAKES and BLACK WIDOW SPIDERS.  
Before leaving the subject of POISNOUS PLANTS, I'll insert below a picture and information about the Guatemalan plant--ACTUALLY THE "AMCHE"  TREE, that I have mentioned and which oil on its leaves is the same as for Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac
The leaves are like the leaves of Smooth Sumac we see in the next section, but here are the poisonous AMCHE plant/tree in Guatemala.....a rough picture I'll insert below.....
For the above picture, I'll insert information in Spanish from the book I'll identify below,  along with information from that book about what actually is a large tree.  I have even seen some use it for fence posts that then sprout creating a formidible barrier for those who want rustle the cattle.

Within a few days, at least by the end of September I will be receiving new photographs from Guatemala of AMCHE or 
PALO BRUJO and they will be inserted here, so check back in a week or two. 


In spite of the name this beautiful plant is not poisonous to the touch, and the fruit/seeds are even edible, but make sure and do some research on them before having them for lunch.  

The leaves are like the leaves of the poisonous AMCHE plant/tree in Guatemala...pictured below 
Soon I will get from Guatemala better pictures and insert them in this chapter.

....and the name, sumac,  like POISON SUMAC,   
but SMOOTH SUMAC is not poisonous.   
NOTE:  Poison sumac is considered the “most toxic plant in the country.” However, on a positive note, it's also much rarer than the others. It only grows in super wet areas, like bogs or swamps along the Mississippi River, etc.. 


that becomes TUMBLEWEED is not native to the U.S....see below.

It is a summer annual native to southeastern Russia and western Siberia and was first accidentally  introduced into the United States in 1873 by Russian immigrants as a contaminant in flax seed in South Dakota.  It is now found in every state but two:  Alaska and Florida.  We'll learn more about it later when at the entrance to Grove Canyon it turns into tumbleweed.....WHICH CAUSES A LOT OF TROUBLE IN SOME PLACES......

And, now a new plant that in some respects seems to be related to the thistles, at least in the appearance of the flower-like product, but totally different with nothing else like the thistles,  as seen below....

This is apparently the GREAT BURDOCK originally from Europe but somehow brought to America through BC and Alberta, Canada and then south to Colorado and the U.S. 

  I have spent hours searching my reference books and my  investigattions show it is the GREA BURDOCK plant.  I found it in shade  along the creek in the rocky bed, above the diversion dam,  where there was a lot of Poison Ivy.  

Interestingly the hook of the bur-like flowerheads, seen above,  inspired the invention of VELCRO.

Our desert SAGEBRUSH is in some respects the salvation of our foothills and Utah deserts, as well as being an important food for deer in the winter time.  Deer are not grazers, as are elk, rather browsers and in the Spring our sagebrush looks as though it had been carefully pruned by the browsing mule deer. This year with record rainfall the sagebrush and other plants of the foothills are the greenest I can remember.  My past experience has me associating with sagebrush jack rabbits like in the West Utah Desert, but so far in our hills I've only seen cottontails, like in the picture.
I will have in anothert chapter a detailed report later about SAGEBRUSH, its seasonal evolution, and some INTERESTING LOOK-A-LIKES.  

Most just call it SCRUB OAK, but its real name is

It is often more like a bush, or at best a thicket of small trees, but under the right conditions it can grow quite large as we see below.

I love to use its rough beauty for outdoor picture frames like the one below with one of my High Uinta Mountain scenes.  

With hiking, and backpacking becoming increasingly more difficult, I might just get a few tools and go back to work doing this again.

There is another of the deciduous trees that come alive in the Spring, actually sometimes ahead of the Gambles Oak, and adds splashes of color to our canyons and foothills as we see below.

Seeing its beautiful leaf we should all know what we are talking about, especially those of you from CANADA who we've already heard sing, "Oh Canada....."  

Along the creek below we see it growing quite tall, and I'm sure those from Canada, and also from Guatemala, recognize that we have here in Utah a different species, adaptable to our more desert climate and doesn't produce syrup for our pancakes or waffles. In fact in Guatemala we had a quite tall variety that I would use in home construction as it was more resistent to termites, as well as another variety that was really different with a twisted grain that made splitting it and making firewood almost impossible.  I gave it a nick-name "GAMUSA."

NOW to end this PART 1.....
....LET'S ENJOY a few more of my  UNENDING......
First for a moment moving away from the hills with glimpses 
up the canyon all the way to what I call 

That at times will include some of my cherished ...

At the Grove Creek Trailhead

Now...back to our subject....

Above PENSTEMON family with at least 14 different varieties.

This is the DESERT STAR FLOWER, named more for how it looks once through its life cycle as we see below.

Now, as we come into Fall, I've located a whole bunch of these that have just recently sprouted and so will do a better job of following their evolution that I'll report on in a future chapter. 
At one spot in the canyon where I always rest a bit because of a perfect square boulder right in the middle of the trail, mentioned in the Poison Ivy report, I noticed in the tree off to the side something I hadn't noticed before, and got close enough to begin being.... 
WOWED another of the trees whose reproductive system is like CLIFF ROSE, we'll see in our next chapter.  Plumes  are produced with a seed on each.  The plumes help the seeds get spread around by the wind.  
In Battle Creek Canyon,  one canyon south there are several other varieties of trees that have a similar system....we'll get to in a later chapter. 

....and above,  down the trail, a plume with seed that the wind has carried about 50 yards away from the mother tree.

one of the prettiest of the fleabane family not usually found in the desert-like foothills, rather up the canyon at moderate elevations in shaddier areas than we see below as we begin our climb up the mountain. 

We are now switchbacking up from the canyon and soon will be at the VALLEY VIEW SPOT for a needed rest for this old guy, but first....ONE MORE SPECTACULAR 

High up above the canyon we all of a sudden see a strange plant that has no leaves, but going through a thicket of them.....

It doesn't look too "SPECTACULAR"..... one of several  plants I've photographed with no leaves, but zooming in it's flower is  a 
                            .....seeing  what it becomes.....
This is the YELLOW STAR THISTLE native of 
Europe that somehow got to the U.S. and is spreading in the dry western areas like Utah.  There are places where thickets of this plant makes hiking very painful.....unless you have tough cowboy chaps on. 
MADE IT....AGAIN, 5 TIMES THIS SEASON which I'll sort of use headlining each CHAPTER. 
Let's just say for Chapter 1, that this hike was the first of the season going up the canyon and switchbacking up to the....
I'll have to confess that as the season progressed getting up here by the 5th time was....
..... getting harder as my misaligned spine hurts all the way and I have to rest about every 50 yards or sometimes every 10 yards and lean on my trekking poles for a minute or two....and then continue as..
It seems to be getting worse and it feels like I need to get a....
 So far I've outlived all of them, my first one died of cancer, 
my last two.....Colledge & Bacon,  both incredible doctors and human beings, but now retired.....
......but I'm NOT RETIRED and NEED ONE AS I'LL HAVE TO ADMIT MY HIKES ARE GETTING SHORTER DUE TO INCREASED BACK PAIN! I have to confess right here, that was the main reason for not meeting my goal of an overnight backpack in the High Uintas this summer....but don't count me out for 2024!

But, I still made it up to this wonderful spot 5 times this season to see again.....
"The Valley of our Lady of Mercy of Timpanogos"
as named in 1776 by Fathers Escalante & Dominguez, 
who came up the "Old Spanish Trail" from Santa Fe, New Mexico 
to the Uinta Basin, and then on to 
calling it, 
"..... the most pleasing, beautiful and fertile site in New Spain.” 
 The Ute-Timpanogos Indians were called "fish-eaters" because  a major source of their food was from Utah Lake that then had clear water teeming with abundant and large native cutthroat trout--no carp!  The "fish- eaters"  had a friendly relationship with the Catholic priests who promised to return and establish a Mission.  But, they were never seen again.  Can you imagine how different the Utah territory would be if they had of kept their promise?
As a footnote for the above history, and introduction to the next item...MY FIRST BOOK, let me add a teaser!
For many years it has been thought that Escalante and Dominguez were 
"the first white people to visit the Uinta Basin and see at a distance the High Uinta Mountains." 
 But, history mentions they came north following 
"the old Spanish trail,"  
which means it was a trail that already existed made previously by Spanish explorers....right?
I relate the story in my HIGH UINTAS BOOK, regarding
 how that happened as early as the mid 1500's when Spaniards were the first white men to see the High Uintas!
For "the rest of the story" and quotes how to find the gold, and
pictures of whole mountains of it,
you'll have to get 
GET MY BOOK, details below: 
It is the only book on the High Uintas that has up-to-date information about the lakes with color topographical maps showing the routes and distances to each lake, as well as being the only guide book that has HISTORY, LEGENDS, SURVIVAL STORIES of those who didn't make it and why, plus MY OWN 8 SURVIVAL STORIES & why I'm still around in my late 80's.  There is also an important chapter on...
.. LIGHTWEIGHT --JOYFUL & SAFE BACKPACKING that first explores WHY WE EXPLORE and even a section
on why one outdoor expert called me a...
Plus 15 Appendices 
with all kinds of additional information unique to this book, 
like  references to the 
High Uinta Project in Backpacker Magazine 
A full-page spread color photo & article in 
The Salt Lake Tribune, 
plus articles on: 
Personal Locater Beacons,
Tie Hacker Museum in Wyoming
Another article about me  in 
Combat Handguns magazine, 
The Legend of Big & Little Foot,  
The Central Utah Project
Visions of Nature, 
Mosaic of hundreds of High Uinta Friends,  
High Altitude Sickness
and a big section with all my secrets on the 
with  pictures below used in that story of my struggle to remain active and useful. 
Just for health and longevity purposes 
Bill does have a lot more hair than me, but also too much other stuff!
Also a  14 page index.  


To acquire a digital copy of the 730 page ebook, send me $20 and your email address to:
Cordell M. Andersen
444 Elm St.
American Fork, Utah 84003
On receipt of your order I will immediately email you a link to download the book to your computer along with my permission to share the link with one other friend.

For a print copy in two volumes as seen above....the spiral version is the most practical as pages will remain open.  
The other version is mainly for libraries with a place 
to list call numbers.
Every library in the U.S. should have this book as 
there is no other book  about the 
 that even comes close. 

I do not personally handle orders for print copies anymore as I did in the beginning for about 60 more than willing to pay big bucks to get it, but now suggest my favorite printer below.  Prices in the beginning were relatively low as I got a quantity discount for the 60 who were willing to pay almost anything, but prices have risen a lot, so you will have to talk to the printer....but for a single copy you can expect the cost  to be around $200.  They do excellent color reproduction with great paper.  
Also they can do a black & white version that will cost about 1/3rd of what color will cost.  

Of course you can get it done at your favorite printer by taking to the printer a thumb drive with the book.  If you go to Office Max, remember my experience is that they printed all the pictures too dark, so give strict instructions to avoid that and get better color reproduction.  
Best call COPYTEC.

In a week or more....likely two or I still have to do my hikes and keep track of all the plants, insects, mammals, & repitles, lichens, rocks,  etc. but soon (now Sept. 14, 2023)   will come 
that I promise will WOW you with more incredible....
Check once in a while as I won't be sending email notices only announcements  through FACEBOOK


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