"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Into Southern Utah

We've been moving south through Utah for the past week, successfully skirting Salt Lake City and Route 15. Last year we plowed right through SLC on 15 and vowed to avoid it in the future. Our first stop in UT was Brigham City, north of Ogden. Brigham City is a primarily Mormon town, where we've stayed before, both times at the Golden Spike RV Park. The Golden Spike is not really our favorite spot, because the sites are very close together, but it's pleasant, clean and green. The office has one of the best stocked RV supply stores we've seen and the managers are nice.

A few miles west of Brigham City is the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge "74,000 acres of marsh, open water, uplands, and alkali mudflats.” We've come to appreciate places like this as we travel and do our best to visit them, especially at dawn or sunset for the best sightings and pictures.

We drove out to the refuge one evening, but ran out of sunlight before we got very far. From the refuge you get a great view of the Wasatch Range to the east...

and the Promontory Mountains in the west.

We returned the next day in the midday sun. We still saw plenty of birds, including hundreds of avocets, American white pelicans, herons, egrets, and many many hawks, most of which we couldn't identify.

American white pelicans.

Huge flocks of several kinds of birds, just a little too far away to get a real sense of what they all were. Some were avocets for sure. 

Nope these aren't birds....

For the first time ever, we also encountered swarms of biting horseflies that followed our car, circling around it by the hundreds as we drove along. There was no way we were getting out of the car! 
After braving the horseflies at the bird refuge we had a nice visit in nearby Liberty with our friend Dennis and his pack of rescued golden retrievers. Kona was pretty happy about that, and we were really happy about the great salmon dinner he grilled for us. Peaches and ice cream for desert.

It's peach season in Brigham City, with many fruit stands along Rt. 89 selling them by the bushel.  We stopped at one and picked up 6 (not bushels) peaches, of a few different kinds - they were all delicious. Our neighbors at Golden Spike bought two bushels and were spending their day peeling and freezing them in an extra freezer in their RV!  

Our next stop was Jordanelle State Park near Park City, UT, for just one night. We had no electrical hook up because our rig doesn't like 30 amp which is all that was available, but the solar panels were working fine, so we did have electricity. Luckily we didn't need the air conditioners because it was cool at night.

After getting settled we took a little exploratory drive around the area and ended up in Park City, the ski town where the 2002 Winter Olympics were held.

Park City has an upscale, trendy, yet old fashioned Western style downtown with lots of boutiques, bars, galleries and restaurants.  We just picked one for dinner; Rick had a good burger and I had a salad. It was nice to sit outside and people watch as the free trolley rolled up and down the street.  It's shoulder season now for Park City, being after Labor Day, and not yet ski season.

Back at Jordanelle, Kona and I took a sunset walk and encountered quite a few mule deer who bounded away in their typical silent four footed way (called "stotting") toward the lake for an evening drink.

What incredible camouflage they have for this environment.

This park is very popular for boaters in the summer, as it is so close to Salt Lake City and Park City. But its shoulder season for the park too. There were still lots of ski and sailboats anchored on what seemed like a kind of small body of water.  The water level is a little lower that usual, making it seem even smaller.  

Our next one night stand was again further south down Rt. 89, at Palisade State Park. Right before the state park we passed through Manti, UT, with this most impressive Mormon temple on a hill just north of town, visible for miles.  

Manti was founded by a group of Mormons in 1849. The town still has many well preserved historical buildings, which history lovers would really appreciate. 

Mormon Tabernacle

Manti historic city hall.

The park is another few miles south of town on Six Mile Canyon Rd. and is on a reservoir. It was named after the Palisades in New York and New Jersey, close to where Rick and I grew up. No sign of any palisades around, though there were some large red rocks further down the canyon. We're definitely getting into red rock country. 

We had full hook ups here. The state parks charge an $8.00 fee for extra vehicles, so they aren't really a bargain compared to commercial parks. But they're nicer is some ways, like having more space around the site.

The reservoir at the park is almost completely dry. I walked around it at sunrise the next morning and the ground was completely hard, dry and cracked.

There were footprints all over the dried mud like these of birds. You can just imagine how dinosaur tracks got preserved under conditions like this.


Our next stop is Torrey, UT and Capital Reef National Park.  Thanks for joining me today.

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