Utah Trip – Hiking

Our Utah trip this past summer was awesome. Of course, the highlight was being reunited with Jake, but we also had some great adventures together. One of my favorite things to do in Utah is hiking in the mountains. Unfortunately, I was not in great shape this time because I had just started running again. Consequently, the first hike in Utah’s heat and at a much higher elevation didn’t end well for me. I definitely lost my cookies going up the mountain. Fortunately, Jake and the Mayor took great care of me and we got down the mountain safely and intact.

The medicine I’m on with Calibrate is great, but nausea can be pretty bad, especially with exertion. Hence, I lost the cookies on the first hike. Our second hike was an easier trail with more shade, but the elevation and heat still kicked my arse. This time I was careful it take more breaks and keep my heart rate lower. I didn’t lose my lunch that time, but the hike kicked my butt. We did see a beautiful snake slither across the trail. Thankfully, it was not poisonous. Unfortunately, it was too quick for us, so nobody for a picture.

One of the most unique hikes we did was at the Golden Spike National Historical Park. This park is about an hour northwest of Ogaden on the northern shore of the Great Salt Lake. Rather than a hike up a mountainside, we hiked down to the shores of Salt Lake. Due to the drought, the American West has experienced, the lake is at its lowest level. Consequently, we hiked across the dried-up lake bed for more than a mile to reach the shore of the lake.

It was striking how dead birds or insects would lay preserved from the salt on the lake’s bed. As we approached the shore where the waves were breaking, there was a wide crust of salt running parallel to the waterline. As you looked out over the lake, it was a beautiful blue with haze coming off the water. It was gorgeous! Meanwhile, the waves of the lake had a bright reddish hue that made the lake look otherworldly. I was not tempted to go in the red water, but Jake and the Mayor did. They both said it felt like an Epsom salt bath. When they walked out of the lake, a layer of salt was left behind on their legs. Naturally, they collected some salt to use at home.

Beyond the beautiful hike on the bed of the Great Salt Lake, Golden Spike National Historical Park is a pretty neat place. They still have Victorian-era locomotives that travel the tracks, so visitors can see what they looked like. There is now a plaque where the golden spike used to be commemorating the coming together on the intercontinental railroad. As for the actual spike, it’s now on display at Stanford University.

There are several other hikes you can do at the park. We opted, however, to drive up to the Chinese Arch. It was a terrifying drive with a drop off of thousands feet to the right side. Meanwhile, the gravel road up to the arch was super narrow. While the arch was worth the drive, I’d probably go for the hike the next time around. I wouldn’t want to do that drive again.

My favorite hike this trip, however, was to Gloria Falls in Little Cottonwood Canyon. I love hiking the Cottonwood Canyons because it’s significantly cooler than hiking in and around Ogden. Our elevation at the start of the hike was over 7800 feet. By the time we hit the waterfall, our altitude was almost 9,000 feet. Thankfully, this particular hike is not arduous because if it was I really would have struggled. Once we got to the falls, the air temperature was in the low 60s. The rushing water coming off the mountains certainly had a chilling effect.

Gloria Falls, it’s absolutely stunning and worth the hike. There is plenty of space to take a good rest or eat a picnic lunch, which is awesome. If I had planned better, I would have brought lunch. The hike itself provides stunning vistas out over the forests of the canyon, the mountains, and the distant valley. It’s a popular hike, so you’ll want to head out early to find parking. Also, the last part of the trail is unmarked. Consequently, be sure to download the map from the AllTrails app, so you don’t get lost. Albeit, you’ll likely run into plenty of people on your way up to the falls. Nonetheless, this is a trail I’d hike again anytime I found myself in Utah.

One of the solo hikes I did on our last Utah trip was right next to the Weber Ice Sheet. It is a simple half-mile paved loop around a pond. While the boys enjoyed open skating, I enjoyed walking around the pond and picking blackberries. I was shocked when a beautiful doe crossed in front of me as she went near the pond to eat. When I looped around again, she was standing in the middle of the path just taking it all in. After seeing all the videos of bison goring stupid tourists at Yellowstone, I decided to give her a wide berth. Unfortunately, she was not there when I came back to run the next day.

All in all, we had some great hikes during this last Utah trip. Ones that I’ll certainly explore again. I’d love to spend more time hiking and exploring both Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood Canyons. Also, if my parents travel with us again, I think they’d really enjoy Golden Spike National Historical Park. Now back in Florida, I can tell you that I miss waking up in the mountains every morning. I love being up on the mountain exploring everything and every view it has to offer. There’s something almost spiritual about it! Anyway, I love Utah and I love hiking in Utah!

Hill Aerospace Museum

Yesterday morning we headed over to the Hill Aerospace Museum near base. It’s a neat museum featuring the past and present of aviation in the Air Force. Since we forgot our masks, we started our tour outside where they have an impressive collection of aircraft. An added bonus was the two F-35s that flew overhead as we walked the display.

The museum is broken up into two galleries inside. One features the bombers and aircraft of World War 1 and World War 2. While the other features the fighter jets and helicopters. We had hope to see the Raptor they obtained in 2020, but it’s not ready to be displayed yet. Nonetheless, the fighter wing of the museum didn’t disappoint.

After the museum, we headed back to the AirBnB for a wonderful lunch cooked by Jake and Mel. They made us spaghetti with sauce and garlic bread. It was wonderful. Once we finished eating, we headed over to Jake’s to start the process of packing up his apartment. While my parents and I packed up the kitchen, the hubby dropped the Mayor off at the rink for two hours of stick and puck.

We managed to pack up his whole kitchen and his artwork before Jake got home. The Hubby, Grandpa and Jake were then able to bring the stuff to his new storage locker. Today we’re hoping to pack up one more room for him. We’re trying to do it in bite size pieces, so he had ample time to spend with us and Melly.

For dinner we headed to the Prairie Schooner Steakhouse. The boys and I had lunch there last year and it was super cute. In fact, the boys really enjoyed eating under a covered wagon with the trails of animals nearby. Thus we wanted to share the experience with the Hubby, Mel and my parents. The food was good. They cooked my steak (the cowgirl) perfectly. After dinner, we headed back to the Airbnb to watch some IT Crowd while we played Uno.

If you go:

Hill Aerospace Museum

Prairie Schooner Steak House

Antelope Island

Yesterday we were able to get back out to Antelope Island, which is one of my favorite places here. Albeit that’s not what we had planned for the day. We had planned to eat breakfast at Scrambled, but they’re now closed on Mondays. Consequently, we ended up eating at Chris’ Cafe. The diner was super cute and they had a nice tribute to our fallen soldiers.

Pretty much the entire table had pancakes for breakfast. I enjoyed my pancakes although my dad’s were a bit hard. The hash browns and eggs were really good, but the bacon was a bit suspect. Nevertheless, it was a super filling breakfast that held all of us over to dinner. Since we were so far west on Antelope Dr. already, I bought passes to Antelope Island state park as we finished breakfast.

The park costs $15/day per car, which is reasonable. The island is normally surrounded by the Great Salt Lake on all sides with a causeway connecting it to the mainland. This year, however, there was no water on either side of of the causeway until we got super close to the island. It’s incredible to see just how low the lake levels are this year. Last year, the water was much higher and functioned like a mirror when you took picture. It was so beautiful.

The water level was low and there was a great haze over the lake. Consequently, we could hear the F-35s overhead, but couldn’t see them. Our first stop on the island was the visitors center. One thing I loved in the visitor center was a map they update daily showing where on the island you can find the resident wildlife. They also had maps showing the historically low lake levels and historically high lake levels.

My hope this year was that we’d see both bison and antelope. Thankfully, we saw plenty of bison on our drive around the island. One of my favorite places on the island is Buffalos Point. This is where we took the incredible sunset photos last year. We also saw several bison. Afterwards we started our drive back to the mainland. Fortunately, we found a small herd of bison on our way out. The Hubby pulled over so we could take some pictures of the bison. As we drove off the island, we saw there were two bison and Antelope!! Woohoo! Again he pulled over, so I could get pictures of the animals. They’re so beautiful.

We spent most the day relaxing at home. Although we did take the Mayor to stick and puck at the ice rink on the Weber State Campus. While he skated, the Hubby and I walked the trail at Beus Park. This was a short half a mile trail around a pond. After our brief walk, we headed back to the rink to watch the Mayor skate.

Since the park trail was super easy, I was craving a hike. The Hubby and I decided to hike the mountain behind the house. He’s been hiking the many paths on the mountain each morning. The hardest part of the hike was the scramble up to the Bonneville Shore trail. Once we got up to the main trail, it was a pretty easy hike. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous as you could see all of the valley and the setting sun. For dinner we had leftover tacos and nachos. Today we’re headed to the aerospace museum.

If you go:

Antelope Island State Park

Chris’ Cafe

Ice Sheet at Weber State

Photography:

The wildlife photos were taken with my Canon T6i and a Canon 70-200 f/2.8 lens. We were never closer than a half a mile to any of the animals photographed, which is smart because bison can be mean.

Snowbasin

Yesterday morning we headed to beautiful Snowbasin. The boys and I did this hike with Melly last year and we all loved it. Consequently, I was eager for us to do it again. To get there, we had to drive through the beautiful canyon. The drive through this canyon takes a bit longer as it’s one lane each way and there’s some road construction. Nevertheless, it was a spectacular ride.

Snowbasin was quite busy when we got there due to a Xterra trail race that was happening that morning. Additionally, they also had a Germanfest starting at noon. Surprisingly the top of the mountain was not crowded. The ride up the gondola was breathtaking with fall colors all around us. Fortunately or maybe unfortunately, we were all able to fit into one gondola car. Goalielocks and the Mayor in that close of quarters is never a good combination.

While we went to hike to the summit, my folks walked the area near the ski lodge. The trail up to the summit is fairly easy. Albeit it didn’t feel easy on the way up. The hike starts at 8,500 feet, so it’s only a gain of just over 500 feet. It, however, felt like I hiked an elevation gain of 1,000 feet. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful hike up to the summit of Mount Ogden.

We spent twenty minutes at the summit taking pictures and enjoying the beautiful views of the Great Salt Lake to the west and the valley and mountains to the east. As we sat, the boys started a game of seeing who could hit the sign with the most rocks. It was a funny moment and a great way to catch our breath before heading down the mountain.

After Snowbasin we headed back to the AirBnB to enjoy our leftovers from Hibachi. Post lunch Grandma, Jake, the Mayor and I headed to Walmart to pick up packing supplies and few additional items. I was anxious to get some chapstick as my lips were killing me. The air is so dry out here that I also had buy some hand lotion.

The rest of the day we chilled at home. For dinner, I made beef tacos. I cooked up three pounds of beef and we don’t have too much meat left. We’re trying to eat at the AirBnB as much as possible since it’s cheaper and healthier. After dinner, we played the game Hot Seat, which was a ton of fun.

If you go:

Snowbasin

Games:

Hot Seat

Utah Day One

Utah day one was a big success despite the lack of sleep the night before. Fortunately, our flights out West were smooth sailing. Thank you Delta! Once we got into SLC, I went to get the rental car set before my parents flight landed. Luckily, the logistics we planned worked out perfectly.

I ordered pizza to be delivered to Jake’s apartment as we drove North to Ogden. Since it was around 2:00 by the time we got to Ogden, it was still too early to check into our AirBnB. Thanks to Uber Eats and good timing, our pizza got to Jake’s about a minute after we arrived. Speaking of Jake’s place, it’s absolutely perfect for him. It’s a really nice place.

After hanging out at Jake’s for a bit, we headed over to our AirBnB. The place is just over 3 miles north east of Jake’s place, which is perfect. Thankfully, the AirBnB is as perfect in person as it looked on the website. Moreover, the owners decked it out completely with everything you could need and more. I love the place!

We spent the evening at home, I had groceries delivered via Shipt. Afterwards, we headed to Smith’s to buy meats for dinner. The house has a nice gas grill, which we were more than happy to use. For dinner, we had burger, brats and Luke’s grilled potatoes. It was really nice to be able to eat outside under the stars without sweating off my weight in water.

Today is Mel’s birthday, so we’ll be celebrating her all day as we acclimate to the altitude. We’re hoping to the mountains behind us tomorrow morning before heading to Antelope Island for family pictures in the evening. Hopefully, this time we’ll actually see some Antelope on the island! Utah day one was a success. I love Utah!

Left on the Mountain

Yep, you read that right I was left on the mountain. It all happened at the Farmington Creek Trail just south of Layton. I picked this trail for our Thursday hike because it features: a car cemetery, two waterfalls (including the one you could rappel down to), and a moderate degree of difficulty. Admittedly, I am not fast on my ascent up the trails. Due to the Graves disease, I’m mindful of my maintaining my heart rate and regulating my body temperature. This, of course, is not always easy when hiking. Consequently, my ascent was slow, measured, and littered with water breaks.

On the flip side, the hike for my boys was quite easy. Goalielocks soon pulled away from both the Mayor and me as he ran up the trail. I was jealous at the ease with which he tackled the mountain. In protest, the Mayor sped ahead on his own. Fortunately, when the Mayor got to the first waterfall, he waited for me. On the other hand, I couldn’t find Goalielocks. The challenge became the fork in the trail. Unfortunately, the park service hadn’t clearly marked the trail. Fortuantely, we were able to ask local hikes which way to go. Meanwhile, we had no idea which way Goalielocks had gone at the fork.

I decided to follow the trail to the second waterfall hoping we’d find Goalielocks on the trail. Undeniably, I was nervous that nobody had seen him. At this point, we were so deep into the canyon that we didn’t have cell service. As we continued the trail, the Mayor again took off down the path. Meanwhile, I vacillated between anger, frustration, and awe. As I rounded the bend, I saw a vintage car overtaken by the forest with bullet holes all over. It was quite picturesque. At this point, the Mayor came back to me expressed his discontent with the hike, and headed back to the car.

Now they really annoyed me. Yet, I was determined to see the waterfall. I continued down the path looking for the ropes that would take me down to the base of the waterfall. As I searched the area, I finally got a call from Goalielocks who was at the car waiting. Eventually, I found the ropes that could take me down to the waterfall. However, with unreliable cellphone service and nobody near me, I wasn’t willing to risk a fall or injury by rappelling down to the waterfall. Consequently, I started making my way back to the car where both boys were impatiently waiting for me.

Since I knew they were safe at the car, I was in no hurry to finish my hike. The canyon and trail provided beautiful vista after beautiful vista that I wanted to take it all in. Also, the ascent wore me out as it was a vigorous hike. When I made it back to the first waterfall, I took a seat on a large boulder near the side of the stream and relaxed for a bit. In this spot, the mountain stream and shade cooled the air. It was a magical spot to rest and recover before tackling the sunny part of the descent to the car.

While I was sitting at the waterfall, the Mayor made his way back up the trail in search of water. I had brought my backpack, filled with water bottles and oranges to keep us nourished throughout and after the hike. However, since I was the only one willing to carry it, all of the supplies were with me. Consequently, when he got thirsty he had no choice, but to seek me out. Naturally, he received quite a tongue lashing from me once we met again on the mountain. Soon after we met up with Goalielocks, who had come up the trail looking for me out of concern it was taking too long. Of course, I had been almost four miles deep into the trail, so it wasn’t going to be a quick return.

Goalielocks took a left at the first waterfall, which took him on a significantly shorter trail. Eventually, both of the trails meet up near the second waterfall. However, his trail was overgrown as it approached the waterfall trail. Goalielocks headed back the way he came since he wasn’t sure where the trail led. The hillside where he hiked was filled with vintage cars, known as the car cemetery. On our descent, I learned that he had told his brother where he was going. Unfortunately, the Mayor neglected to tell me this. I was super annoyed with the Mayor at this point. I want to rappel down to the waterfall and I couldn’t because I was alone. Naturally, we spoke at length, on our way back to the Airbnb, about the importance of staying together during hikes.

Despite all the drama on the mountain, this was definitely one of my favorite hikes. The trail affords incredible views of the Great Salt Lake, the valley, the mountains and the canyon. Everywhere you looked, it was absolutely beautiful. Moreover, it was an incredibly peaceful hike as the trail was not crowded. I look forward to hiking this trail again with Jake and my hubby. Hopefully, we’ll get to see some fall colors on the hike and even have the chance to rappel down to the waterfall.

Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*I read The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath. This is an interesting book.

*Gentle Flow with Jennifer at Open Heart Yoga Studio

*I went for a mile run. Yesterday, I ran two miles.

*BBG 2.0. week 10 day 5: Abs, cardio and yoga

*It’s tough to be a parent, especially in this environment. I am lamenting the start of a new virtual school year.

*We have two more weeks until we start virtual school.

*This morning we were in cone of uncertainty for TS Laura.

*Goalielocks has his first official practice this evening. The new season has started. Party on!

*This week I have run seven miles so far!

*Today I ordered my first Butcher Box.

*For dinner, we are cooking a HelloFresh meal. I can’t wait to taste it! We are loving HelloFresh.

*I was left on the mountain. I had no trouble surviving the ordeal!

*Recently, I’ve been collecting checks for our team fund.

*I learned a new word today soupcon. This word means a small amount.

*I took my puppies including sweet Anakin for a walk.

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Replenished

After a wonderful two wonderful trips and a week to recover, I’m finally feeling replenished. Both of our July/August trips were soul-soothing and nurturing. Admittedly, I had a much harder time leaving Utah than I did leave the Keys. I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to leaving my oldest son behind. Thus, in leaving Utah, I left a big piece of my heart there. My goal was to write every day, but I found myself, selfishly, wanting to savor every last minute with my airmen. And even once on the plane home, I found myself cherishing the visit and not wanting to share my feelings. Lest that feeling of deep internal happiness and peace be lost upon sharing my feelings.

My mom warned me halfway through the trip that I should probably take it easy because it was going to hit me like a truck when I got back to Florida. Naturally, she was right. However, there were so many trails to hike so many new vistas and waterfalls to explore, I couldn’t hold it back. After all, the Rockies weren’t going to climb themselves. Of course, this is probably why it took me over a week to feel replenished.

I planned our last two days out west to be action-packed. On Friday, we took it pretty easy comparatively and went back to the Hill Aerospace Museum. We had gone the day before, but Jake wanted to explore it with us. This quickly became one of our favorite spots. Unfortunately, they were assembling an F-117 stealth fighter, so the fighter wing was still closed. All the more reason to go back for another visit when we head back that way later this year. It was fun to take in the history of the Air Force with my man in uniform. It was even more fun to see kids react to him in uniform.

Afterward, we headed back on base to grab lunch at the BX and hang out at his dorm. The BX was nice because it offered variety at the perfect price point. Once we had our lunch, we enjoyed some vintage Simpsons episodes as we ate. The boys were itching to play COD against each other, so they spent the next hour or so playing Xbox. As a mom, I’ve never been so gratified to watch my boys play Xbox. Perhaps because they’ve been apart for so long or perhaps it was the big smiles on their faces. Either way, I was one happy mama. For dinner, we went back to our favorite Rovalis before heading back to the Airbnb. Sadly, I had to pack us up, so we were ready to leave the next day. The highlight of our Friday night was a dip in the hot tub.

I woke up Saturday morning to my alarm followed by a text that Jake had made it to our AirBnB. Fortunately, for me big brother was willing to risk life and limb to wake up Goalielocks. Truly, it was nice not to have to face that epic task. Once everybody was up and ready to go, we packed our cars and headed south to Big Cottonwood Canyon. Jake wasn’t able to hike with us to Donut Falls, so I wanted to be sure he saw the Canyon before we left. This time we chose a hike up the Willow Lake Trail, which was just a few miles west of Donut Falls. As expected, Jake was blown away by the natural beauty of the canyon.

Jake and I stayed together for much of the hike. Goalielocks quickly sprinted ahead, while the Mayor not so quietly complained ahead of us. On this hike, we gained about 1,600 feet. The hike started at nearly 7,000 feet above sea level. My calves hated the beginning of this hike. Jake and I stopped multiple times to stretch our calves. Admittedly, I also needed to take a moment to let my heart rate drop a bit. This hike was through a beautiful birch and conifer forest with views of the surrounding peaks everywhere you looked. When we got near the top, it opened up into a meadow of wildflowers with a backdrop of the forest and mountains. As I told Jake, the view did not suck.

We finally made it up to the lake where Goalielocks had made friends with a mama duck and her ducklings. It was incredibly peaceful at the lake. The trail was never crowded. Since we were now up over 8,500 feet, the temperature was cool and the gentle breeze felt wonderful. After making the effort to climb to the lake, we hung out for awhile taking in the scenery. Next time I’ll bring a blanket and some snacks as there are plenty of spots near the lake to enjoy a picnic lunch. Naturally, the hike back down the mountain was much easier and enjoyed it together. Hiking Utah and enjoying nature with my boys and Melody was my favorite part of the trip.

I booked a red-eye flight, so we could spend all Saturday exploring the area with Jake. As a hockey family, we made the obligatory pilgrimage to Pure Hockey and the local rink in Murray. I found an awesome brewery just south of Pure Hockey for us to try for lunch. We had an amazing meal! I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed supporting the locally-owned restaurants and stores. Anyway back to lunch, I ate the best BBQ wings I’ve ever had. We finished off our day, with a tour of downtown Salt Lake City including Temple Square, the Capitol building, and the mall. By the time, we headed to the airport, we had seen and done a lot for one day.

As the time of our departure drew nearer, my heart grew heavier. I couldn’t help lamenting that this incredible trip was about to be over. Honestly, I drew it out as long as I could by hanging out at the cell phone lot for as long as we could. When it was time to say goodbye, my heart was full of joy and pride, but also a little broken. I don’t suppose it will ever get easier to leave one behind, but I am blessed that he is in a great place. He’s got a wonderful job, boss, and community of support surrounding him every day. Reluctantly, I boarded that plane back to Florida and then spent all of last week recovering. Thankfully, I’m back to my regular routine.

Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*I read The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath

*Vinyasa yoga with Jennifer at Open Heart Yoga Studio

*I went for a two mile run. Yesterday, I ran a mile.

*BBG 2.0. week 10 day 2: Cardio and yoga

*It’s tough to be a parent, especially in this environment. I am lamenting the start of a new virtual school year.

*Goalielocks has his first official practice this evening. The new season has started. Party on!

*Have you ever seen a proboscis?

*Today my hubby sent me the best picture of my sweet Anakin.

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Another Day, Another Adventure

Another day, another adventure. Such has been our trip here in Utah. I love it here. Every day we spend time exploring the surrounding national forests, canyons, and mountains. Each trail gives us a special gift. Whether its a realization about life, a pretty view, or shared memories. Regardless of the adventure, everyone has taught me something or given me something in return. For example, our first hike here taught me that you should save the hard hikes for after your body acclimates to the altitude. Meanwhile, the hike to Donut Falls showed me the beauty and vastness of God’s creation.

Yesterday was no exception. We got a late start to the morning, which was fine because the temperatures have cooled down a bit since the 100s over the weekend. Also I knew the trial we were headed to had a lot of shaded areas. Lastly, we all needed to get some rest as Tuesday was a very busy day. My day started with an early trip into Salt Lake City to drop Melody at the airport. Fortunately, the drive was super easy and I got another hour of sleep once back to our AirBnB. Yesterday’s adventures included the Green Pond Trail near Snow Basin and the Hill Aerospace Museum. Both of these stops on our adventure tour were well worth the time and effort.

The Green Pond Trail is an easy to moderate trail near at the base of Mount Ogden. You do gain about 400 ft in altitude throughout the path, but it is a gradual ascent. The trail itself starts at an elevation near 6,000 feet. Honestly, this probably would have been the best trail for our first hike. Indeed, it is an excellent trail for mountain biking and for kids just starting to hike. Throughout the trek, the meadows and forest surround you. You can see the mountains through the canopy of the trees throughout, which makes for a beautiful vista. Overall, the hike took about an hour and burned nearly 600 calories.

Afterward we headed to the Hug-Hes Cafe in north Ogden. Since we’ve been here, I’ve been trying to take them to local spots. This one reminded me of Perkins as it had a bakery and a simliar lunch and dinner menu. Overall, the food was very tasty and inexpensive. This restaurant is also famous for its giant sugar cookies, so naturally I picked up three for the boys. Post lunch, we headed to Target to pick up some more snacks and a lot of water. We’ve already gone through more than 40 bottles of water throughout our hikes. Thankfully, they recycle here. I wish they had refill stations at or near the hikes as that would be much more efficient.

Once we had our supplies in hand, we headed to the Hill Aerospace Museum. It was awesome! We got there later in the day, so we didn’t have enough time to take in all of the exhibits. Consequently, I’m hoping to go back there today or tomorrow. Also the fighter wing was closed and the boys really want to peruse that exhibit. One thing that I loved about the museum is that it is staffed by retirees, who served in the Air Force and really have a passion for the history of aviation. Naturally, we also stopped in to the gift shop where I bought a rosewood model B-24 that will be displayed in our family room. They did have some wonderful sketches of the planes, but none featuring the B-24 on which my grandfather was a flight engineer.

As for our evening, we went back to the dealership to finish up the paperwork for Jake’s new car. That took way longer than it needed to, but this is always the case. For dinner, we headed back to In-N-Out burger so Jake could try it at last. After enjoying their burgers two nights in a row, we have all decided they need to come to Florida. Their burgers are phenomenal! We spent the rest of the night chilling at the AirBnB and were all in bed early. Today promises to bring more great adventures in the great outdoors.

Places we visited yesterday:

Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*I read North & South by Elisabeth Gaskells.

*We are going back to visit the Hill Aerospace Museum.

*Another day, another adventure is in the cards.

*We are off to hike more magical places.

*There are some homeless folks here, but they seem to have shelters and programs in place for them. You see very little panhandling here.

*We’ll be grabbing dinner with Jake.

*The Mayor continues to be this trips Jester.

*Today my hubby sent me the best picture of my sweet Anakin.

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Magical Places

Utah is full of magical places. Yesterday we hiked to Donut Falls, which is located in Big Cottonwood Canyon. The entire canyon, the national forest it contains, and it’s majestic peaks make it a truly magical place. Since we got late starts to our weekend hikes, we made a concerted effort to start this hike earlier in the morning. This way, we would avoid the heat of midday. Fortunately, the canyon is at over 7,000 ft above sea level, and the temperature was in the mid-70s for the entire hike. The drive through the canyon was spectacular. It is an absolute dream!

The hike to Donut Falls is considered an easy hike, which is true. There are some difficult spots where you have to safely traverse up and down wet rocks, but that wasn’t too bad. At the end of the trail, is a beautiful waterfall. However, I was unable to see the donut. In order to see the legendary donut falls, you have to scale the rocky waterfall. Admittedly, I was not sure I was up to the task. It looked like a steep, wet, and scary climb. We made our way up the path to take a picture overlooking the falls. During this ascent, I decided I could handle the ascent up the waterfall to Donut Falls.

Thus the four of us began our ascent to Donut Falls. We traversed the creek via rocks and logs so that we could get to the climb. Unfortunately, we chose to ascend to the falls on the side, which was a much harder climb. Consequently, Melody and the Mayor decided to go back to shore. Goalielocks and I braved the slippery rocks and made our way up the waterfall. It was tough as the stones were smooth and slick in many places. However, the climb was worth the effort. The views of the canyon and the waterfall from Donut Falls were majestic and beautiful. It is definitely a hike that will satisfy your expectations. After our descent, we spent some time taking in all of the natural beauty of the falls before heading back to civilization.

After our hike, we headed to downtown Salt Lake City to explore and grab lunch. We shopped Trolley Square, the Gateway and 9&9. I wouldn’t go back to 9&9, but did like the antique store at Trolley Square and the Gateway has some fun activities for families. We also made our way to Temple Square. It was hard to get a good picture of the Temple as its undergoing construction to make the roof earthquake proof. Nevertheless, the Temple is gorgeous even when surrounded by construction equipment. The grounds were also a magical place that contained many buildings, such as the Tabernacle where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs. All in all, we liked Salt Lake as it was easy to navigate, but we enjoyed our hike and Big Cottonwood Canyon more.

We had a full day, so after our last shopping stop, we headed back to our Airbnb. For dinner, the boys and I had In-N-Out. The burgers lived up to the hype. Meanwhile, Jake and Mel enjoyed a date night back at his dorm. On Monday, we went to the dealership so that Jake could buy a car. He needs a car to drive to his job and get around his base, which is vast. Tonight we will go back to the dealership and finish up the paperwork for his car.

Monday, we had more of a low key day. The kids all slept in late, which was not surprising given how busy we were over the weekend. When they woke up, we visited the Pineview Reservoir, which afforded incredible views of the mountains and the Wasatch National Forest. The water was cold and refreshing, but we none of us remembered our bathing suits. We grabbed a quick lunch at Subway before heading into Ogden to explore the botanical gardens and historic 25th Street. We didn’t love the botanical gardens, so we weren’t there long. Unfortunately, when we went to the historic 25th street, all of the shops we wanted to visit were closed.

Places we visited Monday and Tuesday:

Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*I read North & South by Elisabeth Gaskells.

*We are going to visit the Hill Aerospace Museum.

*We are off to hike more magical places.

*I’m going with Jake to finish the paperwork for his new car..

*There is no rain here, so no need for an umbrella.

*Today my hubby sent me the best picture of my sweet Anakin.

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Snow Basin Resort

Yesterday our adventures took us to the Snow Basin Resort, which is on Mt. Ogden. After a busy day Saturday, we all overslept. Consequently, we got a reasonably late start to our day. I was a bit worried that the heat and altitude would again be too much for us. Fortunately, I was wrong. We took the gondola up to the ski lodge, where the hiking trail to the summit of Mt. Ogden begins. Technically, you could hike up the entire mountain, but we were not about that life yesterday.

The scenery on the way up Mount Ogden was beautiful with mountains, valleys, and even a lake in the distance. It was a bit hot on the way up as the gondolas are fully enclosed. Once we reached the top of the ride, however, the temperature was significantly cooler, and there was a gentle breeze. The ski lodge was beautiful, with beautiful amenities and A/C. We took a brief respite in the lodge before heading up to the summit. Admittedly, I was quite nervous that this hike would be as challenging as Saturday’s. I think we were all pretty nervous.

Thankfully, this hike got off to a much better and more leisurely start. It wasn’t until the mid-point of our ascent to the summit that it became challenging. First of all, there were a lot of loose rocks on the trail, which makes it hard to find your footing sometimes. This was particularly true on the fringes of the path. Second of all, we were at an elevation of about 8,000 feet, which is a challenging environment for people not accustomed to the altitude. Nevertheless, I still felt much better throughout this hike than our first hike Saturday. The scenery throughout the entire hike was impressive. Moreover, while there were plenty of people and dogs on the hike, it remained quiet and serene. There was an incredible sense of peace on the mountain.

This time we all made it to the end of the hike. The summit of Mount Ogden did not disappoint. As you looked east, you saw the Great Salt Lake and Ogden. We even saw where we had hiked the day before. As we looked to the West, we saw the lake, national forest and several mountains. A top the summit, it was breezy and comfortable. Goalielocks found the perfect place to soak in the majesty of the mountain, while we finished the hike. Naturally, we all felt a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in completing the hike. While this hike had some difficult points, it was well worth the views afforded at the top of the summit. We will be going back.

Afterward we headed back to the AirBnB to change, so we could head to the mall and grab some lunch. Comparatively speaking, the mall was rather lackluster to our malls in South Florida. Nonetheless, it provided a good indoor activity when the heat of the day was at its peak. We also explored several cool stores and boutiques that we’ve never seen before, which was fun. For dinner, we headed East to Taggerts, which has been an institution in the Morgan Canyon for over a century. The service was quick, my soup was delicious and the burger didn’t disappoint.

We ended our day by dropping Jake back off at base, so he could be ready for work today. Our night ended comparatively early last night because we were all utterly exhausted. In fact, two of the three kids traveling with me are still sleeping. It’s almost 11:00 am here, so I’ll probably wake them up in a few minutes. However, after all of our activities over the last two days, I’m glad they’re sleeping in and catching up on some rest.

Places we visited yesterday

*Snow Basin Resort

*Taggart’s Grill

Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*I finished The Song of the Lark, by Willa Cather last night. Tonight I’m starting North & South by Elisabeth Gaskells.

*We are headed to Pineview Reservoir for some new adventures

*I’m going with Jake to buy a car tonight.

*Morning and afternoon meditation

*The truth is I’m looking forward to another day of adventure.

*We’re heading back to 25th Street for dinner at a cool burger place.

*Today my hubby sent me the best picture of my sweet Anakin.

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