Monday, June 27, 2016

Layton’s ‘Snow Horse’ gallops into view during most spring seasons

By Lynn Arave

ALMOST every spring, a white shape seemingly trots into view of the Layton area along the Wasatch Mountain side.
The “Snow Horse” is a pioneer landmark and has been noticed in the area most years around the end of May/early June for more than 165 years.
A pioneer legend states that if any part of the snow horse is still visible by the Fourth of July, there'll be plenty of water in the valley throughout the summer. Another variation of that legend is that tender crops should not be planted until the snow horse is clearly spotted, because it's a sign there will be no more frost.
A copy of the photograph of the snow horse that hangs inside Layton City's municipal offices, at 437 North Wasatch Drive.

A more modern variation is that some parents don’t let their children wear shorts, or play in outside water each year until the Snow Horse has been spotted, a confirmation that warm weather has arrived.
The “Snow Horse is located at about 8,500 feet above sea level on the appropriately named Snow Horse Ridge, just east of the Layton-Kaysville border.  Deep ravines along the mountainside, where snow accumulates and remains longer than the surrounding area is what creates the unusual shape. Most years the horse’s legs became thinner and thinner as the snow melts.
                   There was a headless snow horse in the spring of 2013.
This Snow Horse was a “no show” in both 2015 and 2007, because of the meager snowfall then. This past winter’s deeper snow levels will hopefully let the horse form this year.
Some believe they can also spot a smaller colt-like shape following the horse. Others claim it is a bat-like figure that sometimes appears too.
Layton City Hall contains a photograph of a typical Snow Horse. Snow Horse Elementary School in Kaysville is named after this seasonal landmark, though it is ironically not visible that far south at the school itself.
-There are also other so-called mountain shapes sometimes reputed to be sometimes spotted in the North Davis-Weber County area. Some profess to see a 7 shape on the north face of the mouth of Farmington Canyon.  A banjo shape can sometimes be spotted in the spring from the Hooper-Clinton area around the mouth of Weber Canyon. Also, some claim to see a Scotsman's smiling face on Ben Lomond Peak, north of Ogden, each spring.
-A prime location for viewing the “Snow Horse” is around Layton High School, or near Gentile Street in Layton. However, if you know where to look, the figure can even be spotted from as far north and west as Hooper.
-To best see the “Snow Horse,” count two major peaks going north (left) from the Francis Peak radar towers. Then, on that second peak, look down a long slope and there's where the Snow Horse resides.

(-Written by Lynn Arave and originally published in the Ogden Standard-Examiner.)

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