Out my back door tonight

Not content to merely look at it every night, we have circumnavigated Spanish Fork Peak twice now, taking Diamond Fork canyon up behind it and coming all the way around to Hobble Creek canyon. It is a really beautiful drive.

Going this route you can stop for lunch at Red Ledges picnic area, an amazing red rock canyon that I detailed in a previous post. After Red Ledges, Diamond Fork road narrows as it ascends, the steep canyon walls pressing on one side and in places a vertical drop to the creek on the other.

The smell of sulfur is in the air...

Soon you will notice a very strong sulfur smell and whiteish blue mineral water seeping out along the uphill side of the road. There is a hot springs you can hike to from here which we have not visited yet, but evidently it has beautiful blue pools and a waterfall!

Milky blue sulfur water pool along the road

The water next to the road is not hot, but it is fed by a thermal spring.

Chemical analysis of the waters in this cool spring showed that the stench is due to significant quantities of hydrogen sulfide and methane gasses trapped in bubble form in the water.

The color is from algae and chemosynthetic bacteria that eat the gasses and form mats and strings of goopy white gunk.

Right Fork Hobble Road - Pumphouse Hill

Taking a left onto Hobble Road you gain elevation until you reach the top of Pumphouse Hill (the highest point on our route was 7,365' elevation - the dot marked "Right Fork Hobble Road" on the route map above).

We pulled onto Forest Service Road 115 to take a break and soak in the beautiful views of the back side of all the mountains we normally look up at from the valley.

At this higher elevation we saw several eye catching stands of white-barked aspen trees.

Quaking Aspen Stand

All the trees in an aspen stand are all genetically identical clones connected to a single root system, and thus really just one big organism. One single stand in Utah, named Pando, is among the oldest living things in the world at over 80,000 years old and collectively it weighs over 6000 tons and covers 100 acres!

@yeti-the-dog thinks that is really exciting stuff about the aspen trees!

Wildflowers and dew drops on Pumphouse Hill

From here the road cuts down into Hobble Creek canyon along a dramatic series of switchbacks before following the creek down. The first time we drove this we did the final portion in the dark, and that was almost a little scary. The road is in relatively good condition for a dirt road, but it is quite steep with some sections of washboard.

The second time we were following the sunset down the canyon the entire time, and it was an absolutely gorgeous way to end a perfect day. Here is a sped up video of a lower portion of the drive down Hobble Creek canyon: