The End of the Great Train Adventure: Salt Lake

Our train last night took us through some beautiful country, as it continued to follow the ever-widening Colorado River through Colorado’s western slope.  The sunlight at dusk plays magically on the rocks.  And we saw a double rainbow!

IMG_5316 IMG_5334 IMG_5335Grand Junction isn’t anything to write home about as viewed from a train, but we did have this fabulous sunrise over a rail car:


After fitful sleeping in our Amtrak seats, we arrived at the Salt Lake City train station at about 3:20 am.  The hotel shuttle picked us up and took us to the nondescript hotel (Crystal Inn) in a warehouse-y section of SLC.  We were glad to crawl into real beds.

Got a late start this morning because we slept in, had another sub-mediocre hotel breakfast, and took a little time to work out in the “fitness center” (I put that in quotes because it really should have been called “four old cardo machines and one ancient weight set-up in a broom closet”).  Drove to the Red Iguana for outstanding Mexican food for lunch, and then went to wander around the Mormon Temple.

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I thought it was cool to see the place where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings (in a tabernacle!).


We didn’t spend a whole lot of time there — in my experience (which is limited, granted, but memorable), if you engage with a Mormon on a “tour,” you end up with a hard-press conversion effort.

Drove out to the Great Salt Lake, where we went for a swim at the marina.  This was an incredible experience, highly under-sold by the Utah tourism commission.  Everyone should do this!  You pick your feet up off of the soft, sandy ground, and you float!  And because it’s more saline than the ocean, you float effortlessly.  It’s a remarkable feeling, the closest thing I’ll probably ever feel to being in zero gravity.  And the hazy views out across the late are a great bonus.

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We rinsed off — a swim in this lake leaves you coated in salt — and drove up the mountains to Park City.  We met our airbnb host, Dane, who showed us around his very nice home and our third-floor room.  This is the view from the deck:


After starting a much-needed load of laundry, we drove up to Guardsman Road Overlook:


From here, we started a short but lovely evening hike, first down to Bloods Lake and then a very small part of the way up 10,420 (that’s the name of a mountain — only one I know of around here that’s just named after it’s elevation).  This area reminds me a lot of Colorado — we’ve left the dusty barrenness of Salt Lake City behind and entered a world of aspens and tall pines.



There are also wildflowers blooming everywhere, covering the mountainsides!


A small sampling from today includes indian paintbrush and stinking horsemint …


columbine …


lupines …IMG_5393

and Prescott photo-bombing a flower shot …


The lake was wonderful:

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You could walk all the way around it, which was good, because we wanted to get away from the small party that was taking place at one end (though we had a great time watching one of the attendees try to roll a beer cooler down the steep, rocky trail).  We ate a picnic lunch by the shore, and then I went for a swim.  Brrrrr!


After we finished our hike, we drove down to get delicious gelato at Cortona Italian Cafe — so refreshing.  Then we stopped at our place for about an hour before going into cute, upscale historic Park City for a drink at the High West Distillery & Saloon.

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