After sitting inside the Salt Palace Convention Center for about 8 hours a day grading AP World History essays, I just had to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. By the end of the workday, I couldn’t handle any more essays about Columbus, small pox, and corn. Thank goodness that Utah did not have any traces of the Columbian Exchange outside of the Convention Center.
The entire week we were in Salt Lake, this Florida girl was in awe of how close the mountains were to the city. I kept trying to get good shots of the mountains without all the buildings in the way – which is nearly impossible to do at street level. One day we lucked out and were able to get some great photos of the mountains from the penthouse of our hotel. Super VIP courtesy of a very nice worker we met in the elevator. Another thing that had me baffled was the weather in Salt Lake – it was in the 70s one day and the 90s the next. My friends from up North and out West kept making fun of my comments about the “cold” temperatures at night. In my defense, some nights were in the 60s! That’s cold for the summer and we NEVER see temps like that in Florida, even in the fall.
City Creek Canyon. Since we read essays until 5:00pm on most days and we didn’t have a car, finding places to hike was a bit tricky. One of the best places for a quick trail hike post grading was at City Creek Canyon. I actually was able to go hiking over in this area twice! Major win. The first hike started off in Memorial Grove Park where, yet again, bridal parties were taking more wedding pictures. It really was a picturesque place with all the monuments and flowers, so the crowds made sense. Towards the back of the park the sidewalk veers off into a dirt path by the creek. That’s where the hiking part begins and the bridal parties disappear. It was a pretty easy hike until we started going up on the smaller trails off the main path that looked like they could take us to somewhere fun. The “fun” it brought us to was extremely steep and narrow paths overlooking the creek below. We decided it was time to turn around when I ended up in a crab walk just to get down one of steep paths. No lie, the dirt on my shorts can prove it.
The second time my teacher friends and I went hiking in City Creek Canyon, we started off the excursion by walking all the way up to the Capital Building. We followed the road past the Capital until we saw a random a dirt path that led off into the wilderness – or maybe it was just up the mountain a bit, but it was more wilderness than the road. This trail started off really easy, but somehow after venturing off onto a few other side paths, I ended up in the crab position once more trying to navigate down a super steep area without busting it. Luckily, this time around I had some great guy friends who were willing to help me down many of the crazy steep spots we ended up in. I looked completely ridiculous and somehow ended up with dirt on my face and my shorts, but it was a ton of fun.
Red Butte Garden. Our last day of reading essays actually ended a few hours early! Just when I thought I couldn’t handle one more essay about the Irish Potato Famine (which was actually out of the time period asked), we finished! This meant a few extra hours to venture away to even further away places like Red Butte! While some of my guy friends hiked straight up Red Butte Mountain, I spent quite a few hours exploring Red Butte Gardens. I love hiking and exploring, but Red Butte Mountain was a little too hard core for me (1,000 foot elevation gain in 1 mile – aka straight up the mountain – aka way too easy to slip on a rock and eat it on the way down and I would have ended up crab walking down the mountain…again).
So we decided to split up and I could take full advantage of my fancy camera in the gardens! Also, the trailhead was right near the entry of the Gardens! Getting to Red Butte on a weekend was a difficult task involving the Red TRAX line and walking through the quaint University of Utah campus. On weekdays there is a shuttle that picks you up right where the TRAX line ends. The Garden was well worth the walk and the $8 entry fee. I spent hours wandering around and enjoying the scenery. The Garden also had some mini trails for the less extreme hiking crowd (no crab walking involved). The Rose Garden was breathtaking and had every color rose imaginable. There were also benches scattered throughout the park where you could take a break and enjoy God’s creation. This place is right up there in the “awesome flower pictures with super rad colors” category with the Botanical Gardens in Cairns, Australia. And yes, I did just rad and I’m ok with that.
*You can view more of my Salt Lake City photos at my Flickr page.*