Thursday, June 28, 2007

Snow In June

If you’re looking for a cool escape from our summer heat, try Cedar Breaks National Monument in Utah. At an elevation of over 10,000 feet, you can be assured of cool weather. When I was there the first part of June, it had just snowed.

This massive natural amphitheater is full of fantastical rock formations in colors ranging from yellow to purple. Four scenic overlooks punctuate the rim at various points, and an alpine meadow next to the visitor’s center offers picnicking and camping. Two hiking trails are accessible from the rim; Spectra Point skirts the edge of the rim, and the Alpine Pond trail guides you to a forest pond.

Those who visited Cedar Breaks in years past may be stunned at the number of dead trees. The spruce bark beetle is at epidemic proportions throughout North America, and Utah is no exception. Forest officials point to faulty fire suppression tactics as the major contributor to the explosion of this naturally occurring pest, but global warming has also been implicated. While it’s disheartening to see the dead trees, new growth is clearly doing its best to renew the forest.

For more information on Cedar Breaks, read my article in the July issue of Southern Nevada Life/Fun & Fit.

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