The second day in Salt Lake I committed to getting better and slept in to almost 11am! Though I like getting up and doing things on vacation, sometimes you just have to sleep in.
Once I was up I decided to explore the city I was staying in a bit. So I walked to the Latter Day Saint (LDS/Mormon) temple whose headquarters is in SLC. The grounds are huge. The flowers there were beautiful and it was absolutely massive. Built in the 1800s and just gorgeous. The conference center was also giant and beautiful.
Then I walked down Main Street and saw SLCs beautiful outdoor mall with a creek running through it. The city is cool because it has everything you would want in a big city but is so close to nature and national parks. touring all of the cute shops and such.
As I journeyed around SLC I confirmed Alison’s observation that there are two types of people: Mormon and non-Mormon. Mormon men always wore dark pants, a white shirt, tie, and often a suit jacket. Mormon women always wear a skirt coming past the knees and a shirt covering the shoulders. It was a very interesting cultural experience. The majority of the rest of SLC people seem to be extremely outdoorsy. You see lots of bikers, tattoos, and piercings.
The big plan for my second day was to hike to Dog Lake which is a mountain lake in the Wasatch Range which borders SLC. At 3pm when Alison and Sarah got home we left immediately. Winding our way through the mountains and getting great views of pine trees, a huge mountain stream/river, blue skys, and people enjoying the great outdoors. SLC is also a huge cycling city so we saw plenty of people cycling into the mountains.
I really wanted to snow show in SLC so Alison picked a hike that was supposed to include snow. But at the trail head it didn’t look promising. It was hot, the ground was dry, and it was sunny. So we left our snowshoes behind and headed off.
Alison (in her snow boots) lamented that she wished she was wearing her Tevas and shorts rather than her snow boots (the only shoes she brought) and capris. I also was feeling quite toasty.
The initial views were beautiful of the mountain side and the sounds of the roadway quickly faded away. I saw some birds and even a pair of marmots!
Then we turned a bend and were faced with steadily increasing snow on the trail. At first it was not a big deal to walk through with my ankle high hiking boots. However I did have to make sure to walk where others had packed it down because off trail the snow was pretty deep.
We then arrived at the sign pointing to dog lake and the tracks became much fainter. But we followed them and the snowy trail became even more challenging. I found myself increasingly wishing for those snow shoes. We reached one point and the obvious tracks disappeared completely. Alison volunteered to forge ahead with our single trekking pole since she had the tallest boots.
She found one pair of tracks after trekking through snow that went almost up to the knees. I carefully followed in her exact footprints risking a decent amount of snow entering my boots. Finally we reached an open clearing that looked suspiciously like the picture and was at just about the correct Gps coordinates. We then realized the likelihood that the lake was snow covered.
We were exhausted and the light was fading. So after comparing the lake to the picture we decided that we had made it. Hooray! We celebrated with snacks and a beer. It was gorgeous and absolutely peaceful. I was exhausted but happy. It had been a bit of a misadventure, but definitely a fun one.
All too soon we decided to start our descent as it was getting very cold as the light was fading. We half hiked/half skied and slipped down the snowy part of the trail. I began to realize that my boots were giving me almost blisters probably a result of wet socks plus leather boots.
On the way down I saw a new species of bird that I later found was a pine Siskin! Got some decent ID photos which was exciting.
As I limped back to the car I was still determined to experience snow showing. So we drove a few more miles into the mountains to the Nordic Center at Solitude. There I learned how to strap myself I to snow shoes and walk around with trekking poles. Even though I was wiped it was pretty fun. Hopefully I can come back in the winter to actually snow shoe.
Back at home the amazing Sarah was kind enough to fix us a delicious dinner of chicken, veggies, Brie, and crackers. Which was good since once I was back in the apartment all I wanted to do was collapse.
Overall though it was a challenging, but beautiful and completely worth it day in SLC and the Wasatch.