15 July 2012 – Utah

We woke up at 8, ate breakfast, and went to the Red Butte Garden.  It is a botanical garden on the edge of the University of Utah campus.  It was a lot bigger than all the other botanical gardens I’ve been to, and all of the garden part was outside with no glass around it.  They had an herb garden, fragrance garden, rose garden, and various other things mixed in.  The Wasatch Mountains were pretty close to us, and they made a nice background for a picture providing the sky didn’t overexpose them.  As well as the garden, with the plants and flowers, they had hiking trails on the mountains you could do.  We didn’t really have time for them though, so we just did a small part of one of the trails and went back inside.  Inside they had photographs of different places in Utah.  A lot of them were from Zion National Park.

My camera battery was running low, so we went back to the hotel to get a spare battery.

Then we went to the Natural History Museum.  It is right next to Red Butte Garden, and on the University campus as well.  We ate lunch here and looked at a lot of their exhibits.  They had a lot of dinosaur bones and a good number of fossils.  I’m usually not a big fan of fossils, but the ones here looked a lot cooler to me.  The dinosaurs were pretty interesting as well and I liked it.  After a while though, I got kind of sick of it.  They also had sections on the Great Salt Lake, the first people of Utah (Indians), Colorado Plateau, gems, biology of Utah, and various other things.  I got a little frustrated on the colorado plateau info.  As much as I like the national parks and red rock of southern Utah, I’ve never really understood how the rock formed.  Overall I liked the museum, and Dad thought it was excellent.

We went back to the hotel for a short amount of time, and then decided to go to the Red Iguana restaurant.  It is known for its mole sauce.  They gave us chips and salsa before our entrees came out.  The salsa was very unique and had a different taste than all the other mexican restaurants we’ve been to.  For the entrees, Dad and I both got mole dishes.  He got Negro Mole, and I got Poblano Mole.  All the food was very good.  We drove back to the hotel for the night.

16 July 2012 – Utah

We woke up around 7 and got ready for the day.  First we went to the state capitol.  Once we got there, we decided to do the tour.  The next tour group was a bus full of old people.  We started out with them, but we shortly decided to split off.  Dad and I went to the top floor though, and they were there soon enough.  We ended up joining them the rest of the trip.  We got into the house of representatives room, the senate room, supreme court, and the gold room.  We wouldn’t have been able to get in all those rooms by ourselves.  The guide was very knowledgeable about things and told us some interesting information.  She was amusing and the old people were nice as well.  The group was a lot better than it seemed like it would be at first.  Once the guide referred to Dad as being young, which I thought was funny.

Next we drove to Big Cottonwood Canyon.  We had a map with a few hiking trails on it, some of which were in this canyon.  It didn’t have a hike Dad had seen online though, which was called Doughnut Falls.  After a while in the canyon, we found out where it was.  The waterfall was nice, and there were a lot of people there.  It’s the most popular trail in the canyon.  It was just 3/4 of a mile to the falls.  It was a nice short hike to do before lunch.

For lunch we went to Silver Fork Lodge Restaurant at the top of the canyon.  Dad got a soup and salad.  I got a sandwich that came with a salad.  Everything was good.

Next we went on a hike to Dog Lake, using the Mill D North Trail.  It was 2.8 miles one way with 1,500 ft of elevation change.  We kept going up and up the mountain and came down on the way back.  There were lots of flies on the trail so whenever we stopped they would buzz around us a lot more.  The last .6 miles of the trail were steeper than the rest.  The lake was good, it wasn’t great though.  Mainly,  it was getting up there that was nice.  The cottonwood trees and the wildflowers next to the trail were nice.   Once we were at the lake, we started hearing thunder.  We made it back to the car before the rain came.

Next, we went to Park City.  It was raining, but once we got to Park City, it wasn’t anymore.  We walked on Main Street, stopping at a few stores.  There was some kind of big event going on with a lot of kids and parents.  On our way back to Salt Lake City, we stopped at the Olympic Park, and I saw ski courses, and ski jumps.  I thought the ski jumps were especially ridiculous, and this was the first time I was seeing one.  In the rest of town you could see ski courses, since that is a big part of Park City.

Once we were back to SLC, we went to a Denny’s right by our hotel.  The food was ok.  This was our 2nd time going to one.  We went back to the hotel for the night and got ready to pack.



17 July 2012 – Utah

Dad and I woke up and got everything packed up in the car.  We left the car at the hotel, but checked out because we didn’t know if we’d be back by 11 or not.  We walked and used the mass transit system, to get to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.  Dad stayed outside while I went to the top (10th) floor to take pictures.  I was expecting it to be an open area outside with 2 restaurants, but it was inside instead.  I went to the end of the hallway to take pictures (through the glass) of the Salt Lake Temple in the morning light.  I went to the other end too and took a couple of pictures.  I went back down the elevator to the main lobby.  It was very ornate and decorative.  I found out later that it used to be a hotel, and was turned into office buildings.  This looked like a more ornate version of the hotel lobby we stayed at in Washington DC.  I went back to Dad outside.

Next we walked to the Church Office Building.  A church volunteer gave us a tour and we went up to the observatory on the 26th floor.  The building has another 2 floors above there that aren’t open to the public.  From the 26th floor we got a good view of everything in the city.  I liked seeing the state capitol, temple square, and the university from up there.  It was also nice to see a long way in the distance to the mountains on both sides.  I didn’t understand everything she pointed out, but oh well.

After the tour, Dad and I sat outside to call a list of places to see if they had shot glasses.  We found one that did, Glytz, and walked a decent amount to get to it.  I got my shot glass for SLC there.  There was also a vegan bakery that my friend told me about, so I wanted to go there.  Sometime on the way there, I realized we we’re cutting time kind of close.  We needed to be back in Temple square at 12:00 to hear an organ concert.  We ended up walking a little more than we needed to on the way to the bakery, because Dad put the address in his iPhone wrong.  I got a lemon raspberry bar at the bakery, and we continued until we got to a train station.  By the time we got there it was 11:43.

We made it to the Tabernacle just in time for the concert.  There were a lot more people there than I expected.  Dad said it was twice the amount he expected.  The concert lasted 30 minutes and the first piece was one I’ve heard before.  We both liked the concert.

Next we leisurely made it back to the train station and went back to the hotel.  It was nice to not be walking so fast for a change.  We went to The Gateway to get lunch.  We ended up choosing Tascanos Brazilian Grill.  We both got their most popular entree, which has 2 parts.  First, you go a big salad bar they have.  It also has a good number of hot items as well though.  In total, there are about 40 items at the bar.  For the 2nd part of the meal, they bring out meat on skewers.  It was all grilled on an open flame.  It had lots of flavor with different sauces and spices.  They had bacon wrapped chicken too.  It was definitely good quality meat.  By the time Dad and I had the stuff from the bar though, we were getting full.  We got a decent amount of meat and some nice grilled pineapple before we stopped.  I had gotten a pineapple drink for the meal, and Dad got water.  It was time for us to start heading toward the airport so we payed and left.  It was definitely a unique meal.

When we got to the airport, we realized we forgot to fill up with gas.  Once we went back in town to do that, we went back to the airport.  We boarded our flight and immediately changed when we got to Denver.  Then took that flight back to Nashville.  When we exited the airport to catch our shuttle to the parking lot, it felt like we walked into a wall of water the humidity was so high compared to what we were in out west.