10/4/09 - Gen, who paid a visit to Ogden before the Kershaws came calling for Christmas in Akron, told us that the mountains were right in the back yard. We didn't get it until we got there; we'd been IN the mountains lots of times, but we'd never stood at the bottom of them. The west side of the Rockies marks the beginning of the basin-and-range country. The Great Salt Lake sits in the granddaddy of modern basins, surrounded on its south and east sides by the towns and cities of northern Utah, which reside in the piedmont of the Wasatch mountains
Gen was right about the mountains. There they are, blocking the sunrise just five streets up from the Kershaw's house on 23rd Street. The Kershaw house was only seven blocks south of the road up Ogden Canyon, down which fierce winds blew in the morning, the mountains yawning awake with forceful exhalations the Valley of the Great Salt Lake and giving a permanent down-wind lean to the trees.
Mountains and wind characterize Ogden--and all the towns along the Wasatch front, for that matter--as much as the LDS Church.
On the trip to Ogden, Doug drove us across the mountains through Weber Canyon at the tail end of the last winter storm of 1961. He was a bona fide westerner and the wet and slippery two-lane road (a couple of years before Interstate 80 was built) didn't bother him in the least.
He drew our attention to features of the canyon's geology (such as Devil's Slide at right), ancient mining operations, and the railroad--about all of which, it turns out, he knew a great deal. At one time, his family had been prominent citizens of Salt Lake City who had their hands in just about everything that made money. He had tramped over the Wasatch with his father and grandfather to visit their mining claims and search out new ones; mining is inextricably linked with geology and railroading, so he had plenty of hands-on experience in those fields.