at the beginning of the month i got to spend an awesome two days in utah with my friend jesse and her husband jonathan. jesse worked with me at bridges until she and jonathan moved west last summer, and i have missed her immensely this last year. she is one of the funniest, most hilarious, most genuine people i know, and i miss her face in the office every day, so i was beyond ecstatic to be able to spend a few days with her.
jesse and jonathan live in salt lake city, but because it was my first visit to utah jesse had a whole list of places in the city and surrounding areas she wanted to show me. i knew i wanted to visit temple square and go on a hike, but otherwise i let jesse take full rein in plotting our journey.
the main town of park city looks exactly how i picture old west mining towns, and i loved it. we had lunch at wasatch brewery and then took a little stroll along the main street, pausing so i could pose with franz the bear and also to check out a heated bench [it was awesome and kind of burned our bums].
from there we visited the olympic park just outside the town. we learned about the history of skiing in utah, wandered through the exhibit on the 2002 olympic and paralympic games that were hosted there, and i even got to sit in a bobsled. we also saw the bobsled track and the ski jumps which were wild to see up close.
great salt lake.
yes, there is an actual lake in salt lake city, so obviously i needed to see it. we parked on the outskirts of the lake and walked across the flats up to the edge of the lake, pausing many times to admire the view. fun facts: the lake is the largest saltwater lake in the western hemisphere, and it has no tributaries or outlets.
after our visit to the lake we drove into little cottonwood canyon and up to snowbird resort to have a drink at the bar up there. the patio was still covered in snow, so we weren’t able to sit outside, but it was so fun to drive up the canyon and see the different plant life around us. i only took about 45 pictures out the car window on the drive up.
i couldn’t visit salt lake without visiting temple square, the headquarters of the church of the latter-day saints, so on friday morning we ventured downtown to check it out. the temple grounds are vast, and although the temple itself is not open to visitors we were able to check out the visitors’ center and listen to an organ recital inside the tabernacle, one of the most acoustically-sound buildings in the world. fun fact: the main temple is about to close for the next 4-5 years for renovations, and there is a chance that it will open to the public briefly at the end of the renovations, so keep an eye out for that!
the final big thing on my list was to go on a hike. i have been so jealous of jesse’s pictures from her hikes and other outdoor adventures, and i knew i wanted to be able to see one of those trails for myself. jesse planned a hike to donut falls in big cottonwood canyon for us, and we were both surprised when the access road to the trailhead – and the trail itself – was still covered in about a foot of snow! we trudged on anyway, and it was very fun to hike in the snow in may [my southerner’s brain took a while to adjust to that!]. we didn’t make it to the actual falls because of some ice, but it was a great hike nonetheless and absolutely beautiful.
time with jesse.
more than anything, i am most grateful for two full, fun days with such a great friend. jesse picked me up from the airport at midnight, schlepped me all over and across the valley and into canyons, and then took me back to the airport at 3am, all with a smile on her face. it was so great to have that time to catch up with her in person, and i am already looking forward to making it happen again soon. she’s one of the good ones.
i also owe a special shout out to the denver airport. during my layover on the way to salt lake, i randomly ran into an old friend from undergrad. neither of us knew the other was there, and we were both walking while on phone calls when we spotted each other. and then, on my way back to memphis, who should sit next to me in my gate area but tim howard! he was on his way to do the guitar smash for that afternoon’s 901 fc match, and he very graciously watched my bag while i threw something away. apparently cool things happen in the denver airport; who knew?
and now it’s time to plan my next adventure.