Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ogden, Utah: 'No Mountains to Climb'?

  PICTURED ABOVE is an almost comical tourist billboard from 1930 in Echo Canyon, some 40 miles east of Ogden, Utah.
The sign proclaims that Ogden has "No mountains to climb."
It is unsure what the billboard was talking about, perhaps that a visit to Ogden doesn't require climbing any mountains; or that you only drive through canyons to reach Ogden from that point?
Anyway, it is ironic now considering that more than 8 decades later, Ogden has made a name for itself in outdoor recreation -- including in hiking and skiing on the tops of its Wasatch Mountains.
Also ironic is that Ben Lomond Peak, north of Ogden, inspired the world-famous Paramount Motion Pictures logo.
It is an intriguing to note that the sign promoted both Devil's Slide and Devil's Gate. And, also Ogden Canyon.
(There is a very similar looking Devil's Slide just north of the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park, so this formation is unusual, but not unique.)
Devil's Gate, just a couple of miles east of the mouth of Weber Canyon, was actually considered a hindrance until it was bypassed by the modern I-84 in the mid-1960s.
Before the freeway, Devil's Gate required a horseshoe kind of turn to get through the canyon.
In fact, Devil's Gate was often referred to as "Scrambled egg curve," as many a truck lost their loads twisting and turning too fast through that bend.
Also, Devil's Gate is what made the 1847 Mormon Pioneers arrive in the Salt Lake Valley through Emigration Canyon, rather than Weber Canyon.
The Devil's Gate, where the rough Weber River flowed, was such a formidable barrier for wagons, that it required a detour to the promised land.

              Willard Peak, a great Ogden area mountain to climb.

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