Tuesday, April 29, 2014

50 States - Utah

Even though we have been to all 50 states, that doesn't mean we've stopped traveling. One case in point is Utah. We first went through there in 2006 on our cross country trip where we spent one night in Salt Lake City and did the whole Church Of Latter Day Saints tour. Salt Lake City is one of the cleanest places I've ever been. Even the bums have a certain fresh-faced glow to them. And the LDS tour guides are preternaturally perky.

 

And the salt flat are the flatest place I've ever been and I used to drive across Florida once a month.

 

On a later tour of the Southwest, we went from Monument Valley up to Mexican Hat just touch base on the each of the four corners (Four Corners itself was closed but that is another story).

 


But we still felt we hadn't gotten the full Utah experience so this year's Spring trip was to hit all five of the national parks in Utah. Of the five, Zion was the most gorgeous and lush. Full of steep canyons and thick woods, it was a hiking paradise. The compact limited access park had a well run shuttle service and a simple but gorgeous lodge.

 

From there it was a fantastically scenic drive to Bryce Canyon. Unlike Zion which is at the bottom of the canyon, Bryce is usually viewed from the top. To see the inside of the canyon, we took one of the tourist mule rides down to the pine tree floor and then back up. Far easier than hiking it but I ended up sore anyways.



 

Going through Capitol Reef was a last minute audible and allowed us to check of perhaps the least known of the five Utah parks. Put it still had stunning views and marked the transition from semi-arid to deep desert.

 

Arches National Park in Moab is a big draw for the eponymous arches and they are impressive, both day and night. I particularly fell in love with Skyline Arch, perhaps one of the more under-rated ones.

 

Less than an hour from Arches is Canyonlands, a far more rugged park which literally does not have running water. We went to the Islands In The Sky section just because it was closest to Moab and were amazed by the views. Canyonlands also has its own arch, Mesa Arch which was the match of any of its cousins down the road.



 

Utah just has amazing scenery nearly everywhere you look.

10 comments:

DemetriosX said...

The summer between my freshman and sophomore years in high school, I spent 2 weeks at BYU for a debate clinic. I have a few very strong memories of that time. None of the people we hung out with were in the least bit Mormon, so we were all sort of fish out of water. (OTHO, we were also mostly 15, so how much Mormon-disapproved fun could we really have?)

That was the summer of '77 and I saw my first Asteroids machine, heck first video game machine of any kind, in the student union. One of the guys there was a real computer nerd, so he bought some time on the mainframe and we played Adventure and Star Trek. Most evenings we would walk into town (with a bomb shelter on every block) and go to Pizza Hut. My biggest memory of that is ELO's Telephone Line getting a lot of play on the jukebox. That song can still send me back to Provo. And it rained every night at 6, like clockwork.

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