2008-06-07 Trip to the Granite Quarry
Back on June 7th we took a trip to a place I've wanted to visit
since we got here and finally got the time. We visited the quarry
from which the granite blocks came to build the Salt Lake Temple, the
Assembly Hall, and the Capital Building in Salt Lake City.
Examples of these huge granite blocks can be found all over the central
part of Salt Lake. We wanted to see the place they came
from. Won't you join us?
learned from those who live here that the quarry was at the beginning
of the road that leads up Little Cottonwood Canyon to the ski resorts.
I can't help but
wonder how intimadating these canyons must have looked to the first
settlers. There were no roads then and they had only wagons and
draft animals to get them through.
I'm sure the
weren't quite as well marked back then either.
We found the
marker to the Quarry trail.
marker below tells a bit of interesting history about the quarry.
talking to rangers and asking folks about the local history, we learned
that the rocks that were quarried weren't blasted from the cliffs.
They were already laying there on the ground. What's interesting
about that is these huge boulders had fallen from up high, nearer the
where the stone was much more dense and made better building material.
The Lord had prepared these stones for His temple many centuries
prior to their use.
Here's a pic of
the trail we followed. It forms a loop.
All along the
trail we would occasionally see stones like this one which showed signs
of manual drilling. The hand-held drill point looks like two
pointed chisels welded to form a
cross or star shape. That's why they're often called star drills.
You have to pound them with a hammer, turn a quarter turn, and pound
them again. Now and then, you have to clean the debris from the
drill hole.Once the hole was deep enough the workers drilled another
next to it, then another, then another. A slow process to be sure.
In each hole 3 metal objects were placed. Two looked like
inverted "J" shaped flat irons. A small wedge was placed between
pieces. Each of several wedges would be pounded home one stroke
at a time down the row of wedges driving them
Eventually the stone would crack squarely along the row of wedges
leaving a roughly square or rectangular shape.
Near the peaks of
these cliffs is the place from where these stones fell thousands,
perhaps millions of years ago.
You can still
clearly see the fracture lines in the face of the rock. Granite
always fractures along square lines making it an ideal construction
Another marker tells how the stones were transported by Ox team until
the railroad came through in 1869.
Here's a long shot
of this beautiful canyon and the creek that runs through it. They
say the rounded boulders are a left over from the last ice age.
We noticed some of
the wild flowers that grew here. Linda got some good photos of
There were also
pieces of structures left over from a bygone era.
Not used to
wasting an available resource, the pioneers that quarried this canyon
used these round river stones to build several walls.
The size of some
stones was impressive. This one was roughly the
size of a dump truck.
After a time, the
force of the water was used to provide electricity.
These are the
remains of an old power plant.
Notice how it is
situated right at the water's edge.
Back down the
trail, we passed through some cool areas that were much
appreciated. The shade shielded us from the summer sun (say that
5 times really fast).
I guess I went
overboard enhancing this pic Linda took. I wanted to bring out
the true colors of these flowers. Sometimes the bright sun washed
out the colors. These blues are more near what they looked like.
We were passed by
many bikers as we went further up the trail. Sometimes bikers
travelled alone ...
... and sometimes they were in groups of 2 or 3.
There were also a
few very beautiful mountain cabins or homes whose back yards bordered
on the trail.
This is one of
the prettier homes.
Farther up the
trail it got even more shaded. Ah, welcome shade.
By the time we
reached this little cove, we were ready for a rest. It was so
cool here we could quickly cool off and move on.
At times the trail
and the water were quite close to each other.
mid-point along the trail we spotted this little bridge that led to
the other side of the creek.
It was fun to
capture photos of the waters swollen with runoff from the melting snows.
On the other side
of the bridge, there was a dam. I couldn't tell if it was a
beaver dam or one that got created from floating debris.
Here's a better
shot of the bridge.
And a long shot of
the rushing creek taken from the bridge.
You can see how
wild the water looked in this closeup.
"moving GIF" image gives you some idea of how wild the waters were.
All along the
upper part of the trail there were abandoned pipes of various sizes
laying on the ground.
The trail seemed
to get more and more narrow the further we went up it.
And the scenery
got more and more beautiful.
I asked Linda to
take several photos of the different types of abandoned pipes. I
thought this one looked at
least 100 years old.
At times there
were also joggers on the trail.
Sorry to flip back
and forth but I wanted to show this very unusual pipe weld.
Some of the stones
were equally interesting.
Not all pipes on
the trail were antiques.
These two rangers
gave us a pamplet about the trail. They were very courteous and
One treat along
the trail was a point where I could set up the tripod and telephoto
lens and catch this pic of the granite mountain storage vaults across
The view of the
canyon and widening trail from this point was truly magnficent.
We began to notice
snow on the higher elevations. We were getting closer to the
These markers say
the distance along the trail was
nearly 3 miles.
And here's a long
shot of it.
We decided not to
walk the entire trail. Instead we turned around and walked back
downhill to the car. From there, we drove up the canyon to
another stopping point where there was quite a bit of snow. The
sign says the elevation was, at that point, a little over
From our viewpoint, you can still see plenty of snow at the higher
elevations. At these heights snow can fall any month of the
year. We heard weather reports of snow fall in August (2008)
above 8,000 feet.
This pic gives you
a better idea of just how much snow still remained in June from the
winter's snow fall.
Ok, so I'm a
ham. I couldn't resist showing off a snow ball in June.
And here's our
parting photo, the snow capped mountains through the budding
aspens. Pretty neat, isn't it?
~ END ~