A carpet of gold in Soapstone Basin, Utah

Mule's Ears -Soapstone Basin, UtahMule’s Ears -Soapstone Basin, Utah – Nikon D300, handheld, f14, 1/80, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 18 mm, natural light

There’s gold in them thar hills! Not the nuggets of gold that prospectors work hard to find but a carpet of golden Mule’s Ears covering some of the hills in Soapstone Basin, Utah. There were other wildflowers blooming in the mountains yesterday but in the Soapstone Basin it was the Mule’s Ears that stole the show.

In the heat of summer Utahns and visitors to the state can escape the heat by heading to the mountains which is where I wandered yesterday. The Soapstone Basin is named after Soapstone Creek which flows through the basin and Soapstone Creek got its name for the soapy-feeling talc that occurs along the creek bed.

It felt marvelous to be in the mountains yesterday and to see that Bald Mountain and a few other mountains in the area still have some snow up high even in the middle of July especially because temperatures in the Salt Lake valley climbed to over 100° F.  It was a scorcher yesterday in northern Utah and at one point I saw a temperature reading of 105°.


Additional posts you might enjoy:

About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Mia, what a great way to cool off! Just beautiful!

  2. Just beautiful!

  3. The very, very best type of gold to hoard, cherish and share.
    Those temperatures? Bleah. You can keep them. Please.

  4. Jane Chesebrough

    I love your fore, middle and background here with all this colour, makes for an interesting composition. Great shot and yes, I am enjoying the wild flowers very much, too.

  5. Looks like a beautiful way to escape yesterday’s high of 103 in SLC. I had to look up images of Bald Mountain — elevation: 11,942′ (3,640 m) — it has been many years since I was in that part of the Uinta Mountains. Cooling off to 95 degrees today but July is always a good time to head for the mountains!

  6. You got some amazing depth of field from that setup, and handheld at 1/80 to boot. You didn’t mention your ISO and I was wondering how high you would go in a situation like this? I imagine you have some sort of limit in mind or else you might have stopped down even further.

  7. This image is like healing ointment for whatever ails you! It sure lift my spirits! 105 degree temps? Not so much…..I rather have this kind of gold any day….

  8. how magnificent!! thank you for sharing your visit to this amazing sight!!

Comments are closed