At the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon is the Granite Hydroelectric Power Station, it was built in 1896 shortly after the Stairs Hydroelectric Power Plant just up the canyon from it.
It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.
The white rock on both sides of the road is a Mississippian limestone which has been recrystallized to marble and then bleached.
Due to the upstream tilt of the beds, the narrowness of the canyon at this point and the strength of the marble below the surface, this spot has been chosen for the site of the proposed Argenta Dam.
The First Statewide Pioneer Day Celebration
UPTLA Marker #14 in Brighton, Utah
The first statewide Pioneer Day celebration was held in this basin July 23-24, 1857. Headed by Brigham Young, the company reaching here July 23rd numbered 2,587 persons, with 464 oxen and cows.
A program of addresses, six brass bands, singing, athletic events, drills by six companies of militia, and dancing, was punctuated by salutes from a brass howitzer. U.S. flags were flown from the two highest peaks and two highest trees, the flag-tree in front of Brigham Young’s campsite being 70 feet N.W. of here. At noon July 24, Judson Stoddard and A.O. Smoot, 20 days from the states, with Elias Smith and O.P. Rockwell, arrived with news of the advance of Johnston’s Army against the “Mormons.” The company returned in orderly formation July 25th.
Meeting of the Glaciers
A small, vigorous glacier coming down Mill D South Fork met the larger sluggish glacier from the main canyon and the two wedged together and stagnated at this point.
The low smooth hill over your left shoulder, is a terminal moraine made up of rock debris deposited by the glaciers.
The L-shaped canyon above is a typical glaciated valley, contrast this with the V-shaped, stream cut canyon below.
This one is a little iffy, usually I document the filming locations carefully, matching up the angle of my photos with screenshots from the movie and finding details that prove it but this one there just isn’t enough in the screenshots, normally when that happens I’ll just skip that location but I have heard and read several times that this was at the Storm Mountain Picnic Area in Big Cottonwood Canyon so we’ll go with that until I find out otherwise.
The possible location where they filmed the opening for Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) as he escaped the mine shaft, floated down the creek and found the hermit’s shack.
The Stairs Project was built in 1894-96 as the first hydroelectric power plant to provide electricity to Salt Lake City. It was also one of the first plants in Utah to transmit power long distance, using alternating current rather than direct current. In addition to the powerhouse, other elements of the historic complex include the dam, conduit, and penstock—all critical components of a hydroelectric plant. The power plant is ideally located to take advantage of the Stairs cascade on Big Cottonwood Creek.
During the late nineteenth century, a combination of technological developments, capitalist enterprise, and economic demands led to the creation of Utah’s hydroelectric power industry. Small utility companies around the state built water power plants to generate electricity, mostly for streetcar systems, mines, and other industries. Cities and small towns also consumed power for municipal, commercial, and domestic use. By the early twentieth century, a merger and consolidation movement among Utah’s utilities culminated in the formation of the Utah Power & Light Company (UP&L). In 1989, UP&L merged with PacifiCorp, an Oregon corporation, which continues to operate the Stairs Project.
Grove Karl Gilbert (1843-1918) is considered one of the greatest American geologists, having pioneered many theories in the earth sciences. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Gilbert advanced concepts of mountain building, fault scarps, earthquake probabilities, and lake cycles that have withstood the test of time and are still used today. Furthermore, Gilbert applied science toward promoting public welfare by advocating the need for evaluation of risks and public disclosure of geologic hazards.
Utah was one of Gilbert’s favorite study areas where he formulated many of his theories. He spent much time at this particular location and was the first to establish that Little Cottonwood Canyon and Bells Canyon glaciers descended as far as the shoreline of ancient Lake Bonneville. Gilbert was also the first person to recognize the earthquake hazard posed by the Wasatch fault.
I hiked up to Donut falls with Tammy, the hike up was nice, about three quarters of a mile from parking to the falls. We played around a while at the falls and found a geocache then we decided to find our own way down, that is always a bad idea, why don’t I learn? sliding down hillsides, climbing cliffs, jumping across raging rivers, running into a moose just a few feet away from us…. another good adventure in the books.
Remnants of an Ancient Sea
700 Million years ago these blue to purple shales were deposited as silt and mud in shallow waters near the shore of an ancient sea.
Notice the pattern of mud cracks preserved on the purple rock.
After the layers were built up and compacted, they were tilted, and in time elevated to their present position by movement along the Wasatch fault.