Monday, April 23, 2012

The Utah Memoirs.

Little Cottonwood Canyon
Little Cottonwood Canyon
Darren and I just returned from an amazing trip to Salt Lake City, Utah last week! The intent was to partake in some spring skiing, explore the area, and just take in the general vibe of the city. Well, I will start by saying that the attempt at skiing was pretty much a debacle. We had designated the first few days for exploration and to take care of some planned business. But with a forecast that predicted sunny and 60 for the duration of our trip...this would leave the latter half of the visit free and clear for the slopes! As it turned out, Mother Nature had other plans. With a last minute change of weather, we were left to deal with downpours of rain on our remaining ski days. And that is all I will say about that.

Utah is beautiful. The Wasatch Mountains are incredible. Unfortunately, I was hard-pressed to view them outside the context of an over-developed, over-populated Wasatch Front, which is literally busting at the seams and is now sprawling up many a mountainside. I have, in my naturalist mind, a hard time reconciling this. But get up in those mountains and you truly leave the world behind. The Cottonwood Canyons are awe-inspiring, and our many drives through them, are etched in my memory.

A delish plate of raw food at Omar's:
Curry Rice & Dandelion Greens Salad
As for the city itself, Salt Lake City and it's suburbs, are far-reaching, to say the least. It's breadth was wide beyond my expectations. The city itself is clean, and current with the times. The restaurants are great, if you can weed through the sea of chain venues. In fact, it seems Salt Lake City has a growing Vegan/Raw Food movement. We dined at Omar's Rawtopia (, in the south end of the city. A fabulous restaurant with delicious organic Raw Food options! I wish we had something like this in Connecticut.

Sugarpost! A Metal Art Studio we
discovered thanks to a Geocache
skillfully hidden in this gate
A light rail system and some interesting retail zones have convinced me that a good groundwork was set when this city was planned. Oh, and planned it was! Around a temple. A giant Mormon temple that sits on 10 prime acres, smack dab in the middle of the city. Literally. It certainly is an amazing piece of architecture, set in a gated square so full of fountains, sculptures and luscious garden beds, that it rivals the city squares of Europe. And as we learned from a local, the extensive street numbering system that is carried throughout all of Salt Lake City, is based on the streets' relationship to this temple (i.e. the streets are number based on how many blocks, north and south, they are from the temple at ground zero).

The Church may number the streets, but the State monopolizes the vistas. The Capitol sits high atop Capitol Hill, overlooking the downtown area in grand splendor. The main thoroughfares, wide enough to turn an ox-cart, have been laid out such that they each terminate with a magestic view of the Capitol. Quite beautiful, and quite a thing to discover over a few days' exploration.

Many mysteries and curiosities about Salt Lake City and the Wasatch Mountains were solved for me on our trip, although some remain. Like... Does the Great Salt Lake really stink? Why do all the Mormon women wear skirts in Temple Square? Is Utah powder really the greatest snow on Earth? I do not know. But I do know that Utah has not seen the last of me.