Sunday, August 21, 2011

Utah - Part 1

We’re back in Ottawa after a wonderful, beautiful and remote week in Utah! We were completely disconnected from really everything. No email, blackberries, newspapers and only the few minutes of news we caught at the hotels. It was great! Let’s start from the beginning.

As I wrote before, Nolan left the Sunday before to attend an Agile conference in Salt Lake, which was really the reason for us to decide on Salt Lake and Utah for our vacation destination. So twice within one week I got up at 3:15 am (!), this time to get myself to the airport to catch a flight to Detroit, and then on to Salt Lake. Everything went smoothly, except for the first two hours of my flight to Salt Lake which was very bumpy, but the second half was indeed smooth sailing and I was at Nolan’s hotel before noon. After a quick nap, Nolan came back from the conference, and together we explored the city. He had seen some of it, but not much. We walked around and saw Temple Square (the main gathering place for followers of the Mormon church), the Capitol and some other sights.

Temple Square

A large convention centre at Temple Square that holds 21,000 people (!!!). Very interesting given the fact there are no pillars. An engineering feat for sure!

Capitol Hill, where Utah's laws are made (or so I think)

Some funky fountains, playing in the wind

Me getting excited about this trip!

SLC is an interesting place. It is relatively poor (or so it looks), especially the down town area. The climate is warm, we are in the desert after all! But all in all we got a nice impression of the city, and topped it off with some excellent pizza! Interesting thing about SLC, and really all of Utah, is that it is so dry. But everybody (well, almost) has green lawns and blooming flowers. They irrigate everything all the time, which you really need to do in order to obtain some green space. It seems very intensive, especially for farmers. Obviously, you see most of the farming taking place in the near vicinity of a water body.

The next morning we went to pick up the rental, when we stumbled upon a farmers market, which was the perfect place to pick up some fruit and veggies for the road. At the rental place, we got ‘talked into’ a GMC Terrain, which is a larger SUV, 4WD, which turned out to be a good pick. It was spacious and had enough power to get us through the mountains. No regrets and definitely better than the Charger they offered!!
The GMC Terrain, served is well

Some sights leaving the city

We left SLC through the University area, which was an important part of the Olympics of 2002. It was not really all that impressive… We then left the city and got into some more mountainous area and headed down to Park City’s Olympic Park, the second venue for the Olympics. Here they hosted activities such as ski jump, bobsledding, luging, etc.

Olympic Park

Then on to our next stop, a ski resort with some decent hiking trails. We went up in the gondola, not realizing what kind of ‘valley’ we would actually cover… But we made it, and the hike was definitely worth it!

Pictures from our hike and gondola ride

We then went on to Park City, which was a total tourist trap and needless to say we did not spend a lot of time there. We were planning on spending the night there, but followed our instincts and kept going to Heber City. Smart choice as it turned out! Dinner at a steakhouse was good. I even nibbled on some bbq’ed meat…
Heber City storm coming in

BBQ'ed meat!

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