In an effort to avoid the worst of rush-hour and freeway-construction traffic, I left quite early. As soon as I got around the point of the mountain, I was hammered by a terrific gale. The point of the mountain is a gravelly rise that juts out from the main Wasatch range and divides Salt Lake and Utah Counties. It's high enough that the weather on either side of it can be markedly different, and on nice days hangliders and paragliders can be seen cruising around its top. From the summit of Mount Timpanogos (the actual peak, not the cave) the point of the mountain looks laughably insignificant. After putting in a strenuous day of hiking to reach the top of Timp, I've looked down on the point and wondered "How in the world can that little hill affect the weather like it does?"
As I continued to drive, the gale did not let up for a moment. It wasn't one of those gusty kind of winds, but a strong steady blow. My knuckles were white as I gripped the steering wheel and tried to steady my swaying car. I watched enormous cottonwoods bending heavily and in a few places the road was covered in broken branches and debris. When I pulled into the Arts Center, I noticed the wind was so strong it was even affecting one of the bronze sculptures near the parking lot...can you imagine a wind powerful enough to blow hair this stiff? (ok, I know...silly joke:)
I wandered around taking a few more pictures and trying (with mixed success) to keep my shirt from blowing up over my head. The view from the sculpture garden was awesome:
The mountainous area spread out behind this bronze elk lies just to the east of Lone Peak, but I don't know the names of any of the specific features you can see here. Alpine is just northwest of American Fork Canyon and this is the view I found so distracting the other day while driving to Timp cave. I'm glad I ended up with this much more convenient opportunity to take a photo!
Here's a better view of the same terrain:
Isn't Utah gorgeous?! I am really going to miss these mountains...