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JimK

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JimK last won the day on May 29

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  1. On 5/30/20 I did something that was memorably touristy. I went swimming in the Great Salt Lake. This is not something local Utahns normally do. The Great Salt Lake is a weird place. As you know it's a terminal lake, approximately 75 miles long and 25 miles wide. Streams and rivers flow into it, but nothing leaves except through evaporation and that makes it five times saltier than the ocean. It's a good habitat for birds, bugs, brine shrimp, and sail-boaters, but not much else. Parts of the lake smell like a salt marsh on a bad day:-) In short, the Great Salt Lake looks pretty, but might best be enjoyed from a distance. Nonetheless, it was 92 degrees out and I was looking for a new way to get cool. I accessed the lake from a location off I80 about 15 miles west of SLC. This is the site of a semi-abandoned concert hall called The Great Saltair and there was plenty of free parking nearby. I had to walk about 1/2 mile across the beach to get to the lake shore, where this photo was taken looking back at Saltair. Just as I approached the water a wind/rain storm blew over. It was pretty ferocious and scared all the other crazy tourists off the beach. I had to hunker down and lay on the ground during the worst 10 minutes to evade stinging sand and very low visibility. It was mostly a wind event, but the brief period of moderate rain felt good after many dry and warm weeks here in the Salt Lake Valley. The sun came back out and I set up my camp chair in 6" of water. I did enter the water and went swimming two times. At the end of the day my hat, shirt and swim suit felt like tin foil they were so crunchy with dried salt. This fellow was determined to try to get a good photograph of that sailboat. He's standing in about 2' of water even though he's 300 yards offshore! I think the deepest this huge body of water ever gets is about 15'. This is looking towards the west. The water felt like about 80 degs very close to shore. A couple hundred yards out it got colder, maybe 72 degs. Also, it got clearer and rather nice for wading the further out you went. Off topic, this is a sunset photo of the Salt Lake Valley from a couple nights ago. A little later on the same evening, with a little zooming the Great Salt Lake can be seen along the horizon. 29 May 2020, this is my wife's idea of a good place to get cooled off. That's Big Cottonwood Canyon Creek.
  2. I've been working a lot around my son's house in SLC making a retaining wall and some related improvements. But today 27 May 2020 took time off to play some golf at nearby Old Mill Golf Course. Nice public course in the foothills with great views and a lot of vertical change in some of the holes. This was the first time I played golf in Utah. Naturally I borrowed my son's clubs. Some time I have to make a dedicated post about all the toys I've borrowed from him this winter/spring:-) Downtown SLC is in the far right background to the north. First hole, looking west: Mtn view, ridge to left is entrance to Big Cottonwood Canyon, ridge in background is entrance to Little Cottonwood Canyon. Regarding social distancing, I paid in advance online. Reported at first tee no more than 15 mins before tee time. No practice green and no driving range allowed, made it tough since I hadn't played since last year. Played with three others I did not previously know. They were friends with each other, but not family and each drove their own golf cart. I carried my bag and walked, nine holes only, in two hours flat. $15. Good time, pretty day. I didn't score well, but had a enough good shots to bring me back again in the near future:-)
  3. Photos from late May 2020, Salt Lake Valley. The Wasatch Front got three or four inches of new snow on 23May20. Meanwhile down in the valley it will break 90 degrees several days this week. Hard to see, but later same day I watched these two hang gliders float above the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon for about 30 minutes while I was taking a walk. One is upper center, the other is center right in this photo. Mt. Timpanogos (11,752') from Lehi, UT, 24 May. Higher elevations in the Wasatch Mtns received new snow the day before. Click to see panoramic view from Neff Canyon trail head near Millcreek, UT.
  4. A couple photos from recent days: Sunset over Salt Lake Valley Three tractors in Granite, UT 17 May 2020, Had an unusual double activity today, first time to do biking and snowshoeing on the same day. Went bike riding on the Jordan River Trail in the AM from about mile 25 to 30 and back. This was mostly through the town of Murray, UT. Lots of tight turns in the trail with many Sunday strollers and a suburban/urban feel. Not so great for riding, but still interesting. I took it slow on the mountain bike. Scenic pond beside the trail in Murray. It's so weird to still see plenty of snow in the Wasatch, while it's been over 70 degrees in the valley almost every day for the last month or more. Amphitheatre waiting for an audience. Family of geese, there were three chicks hiding in the grass. Believe this is a cormorant bird, stays under the water for 10-20 secs at a time looking for food. It's a medium large black bird. It's been very warm and dry for over a month here. This was a fresh, but small brush fire beside the trail. Then around 4PM my wife and I went snowshoeing up at Guardsman Pass near Brighton ski area in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Temps went from 82 in the valley to 64 degs up on the pass. The road over Guardsman Pass to Park City was still closed and when we came to the closure gate at about 9000' there was a good 2-3' of snow on the road. It was a good place to snowshoe...in shorts Representing Washington DC sports teams. This is a panoramic photo of the upper part of BCC. Brighton ski area is to the left, Solitude is to the right. Lots of snow cover still on north exposures.
  5. On May 7 Salt Lake County, UT moved to "Moderate Risk" with respect to public health orders. For retired recreationalists like my wife and I that meant we were free to venture farther from home for sightseeing and such, while still practicing the 6' social distancing rule. At the same time many state and national parks in Utah are reopening. So yesterday, 13 May 2020, we decided to take a very scenic, but long day-trip to Goblin Valley State Park. As the crow flies, it's about 50 miles west of Moab in southeastern Utah. The roundtrip for us was over 400 miles! But it was a low stress and very rural route and the weather was great with a mix of sun and clouds. The highest temps we experienced were in the state park where it was about 80 degrees. Driving over Soldier Summit (elev 7477') it was in the high 50's. From our location near SLC this trip was a lot of driving, but when we got there I just about lost my mind with photo opportunities. This place was one of the weirder geological oddities I've ever seen with thousands of sandstone goblins or hoodoos ranging from 5' to 500' in height. It felt like you were in the middle of a giant sand castle that was going through a slow motion act of creation and erosion all at once. It seemed so crazy-fragile, like only compacted dust was holding up giant, round sandstone boulders weighing thousands of pounds. I couldn't believe we tourists were allowed to scramble all over every inch of the place. Parts of it would crumble underfoot or turn to dust when you scratched it with your fingernail. This was the place where some boy scouts got into trouble back in 2014 for pushing one of the formations over: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/ex-scouts-leaders-who-knocked-over-ancient-rock-get-probation-n56596 I can see that someday they will have to manage visitors and keep folks to a designated path, but for now it's the wild west. Sorry for the big photo blast, but I can't help posting a couple dozen pictures. Goblin Valley State Park, UT is really wild! IF YOU CLICK ON THESE PHOTOS THEY WILL ENLARGE. Prelude: Driving from SLC to Goblin Valley SP includes about a 125 mile stretch of US 6 from Provo to Green River, UT. This is desolate, but wide open country that I find relaxing to drive. This is a train near Soldier Summit, notice the greenish dirt in the left hillside? Does it have copper in it? US 6 cuts through Price Canyon east of Provo. The big rock in upper center is called Balance Rock. This is on the outskirts of Helper, UT. Entering Goblin Valley State Park. By this point the weather turned beautiful. The first mind-blowing sight in the park is The Three Sisters formation. I guess these are about 100' tall. Another angle. This is a view of Goblin Valley from the observation point parking lot. There is a couple square mile area to explore here. Many of those "goblins" are the size of a large house. Looking north from the middle of the valley. It's a wild place to take a stroll and you probably wouldn't want to be here in the middle of the summer - too hot and dry. Three baby sisters? Precariously perched rock. This place seemed so fragile, like you could topple that rock with a couple karate chops to the belt. This looked like some sort of time portal... and reminded me of an old Star Trek episode. This girl was super excited. It was like the world's largest playground/sandbox. This cave piqued my curiosity. View from the inside. My wife was also captivated by Goblin Valley State Park. Obligatory shameless tourist photo. There were about 40 other people exploring the valley with us. Social distancing was easy. We brought our own food and only stopped once for gas on the trip. The land of giant mushrooms. This is in another part of the park near a campground. I called this no-see-ums hill because some kind of insect bit me three times here. It felt like a mild bee sting, but I couldn't see what did it. These yurts are normally rentable for overnight stays, but they were not available due to covid. This is a panorama shot of part of Goblin Valley. Very cool place. Not sure if this video will work: https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMJt9EH3Kwk6qT2k3sQBm5Uq5HZ_0VPGYZe4VkB
  6. 5//9/20, I continued my exploration of the Jordan River Trail (JRT) today. I rode 15 miles from mile 11 to about mile 3.5 and back again. This is a very beautiful section of the JRT about 30 miles south of downtown Salt Lake City and about 15 miles north of Provo, UT. This is a view looking to the east of Thanksgiving Point Golf Club near Lehi, UT. The JRT crosses that bridge in center and goes to the right (south). There is still snow in the mountains all around the Salt Lake Valley. This is the view to the west. It was another beautiful 70 degree day in the area.
  7. Just above I posted a photo from the internet of an interesting LDS temple in Wasatch foothills near Draper, UT. We probably should be calling them temples, not churches. Not sure I'd call the Draper temple beautiful, but it is striking, especially when lit up at night. Most of their temples are a much more utilitarian, low slung, rectangular design like the building to the right in above photo. They probably have a system down to keep construction consistent, cheap and durable. Also, many of the locations of numerous temples along the foothills are in areas of high value real estate and surrounded by large homes.
  8. 6 May 2020, took another ride on the Jordan River Trail from mile 17 (Draper) south to mile 10 (Bluffdale) and back. This is an area that transitions from suburban to rural during the course of the ride to Bluffdale. Bluffdale is about 25 miles south of downtown Salt Lake City. This is around mile 16 not far from where I started riding and the view is to the west at the Oquirrh Mountains. Oquirrh is a Shoshone Indian word for "wood sitting". A portion of the old Kennecott Copper Mine can be seen to the far right. It's the largest manmade excavation in the world. Nearby farm country. More of the big copper mine can be seen in the background. Baby lambs beside the Jordan River Trail. I'm not LDS, but I admire some aspects of this church group. They have an amazing network of churches here in Utah, usually one per mile, no exaggeration. In this photo taken near Bluffdale, UT you can see three LDS church steeples, left, center, and far right. UTA light rail extends more than 20 miles south of downtown SLC. The Jordan River basin is a little deeper here than up north. As pretty as Utah is, the land has not gone unscarred by development. Gravel pits and past or present mining operations dot the mountainsides every few miles. I suppose these facilities fuel progress and supply many jobs, but they're not so pretty. The sign marks the Galena/Soónkahni Preserve, Draper, UT, at 250 acres, it's the largest Jordan River preserve in Salt Lake County. The site features the Jordan River meanders, sand bars, and oxbows, riparian and wetland habitat, and drier upland habitat. The property includes an archaeological site with dwellings and artifacts ranking among the oldest known in Utah. Native Americans including the Shoshone frequented this area in the past.
  9. 3 May 2020: No home improvement work today, all fun. Took bike ride in AM around Hidden Valley Park in Sandy City, UT. This was 90 minutes of mixed trails from wide asphalt, to narrow dirt, to everything in between. They have relaxed the stay at home order here on May 1 and you can now recreate beyond your own county. In the PM I took about a 100 mile scenic car ride with my wife to Provo Canyon. A lot of plants are blooming. Temps were again above 70 degs today. Hidden Valley Park: Closer to the Hidden Valley watershed. I took a walk over this nearby bridge to take a peek at this segment of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Back on the bike near Hidden Valley Park. The trail eventually widened and was better suited to my low skill level. I eventually went into the Sandy City suburbs on my return trip. I had ridden along that contour trail on the lower portion of the mountainside in this photo. Later today I took a drive to beautiful Provo Canyon and US Route 189. I knew the Bridal Veil Falls was along this route, but I didn't know how super close it was to the highway. What a treat! This is the biggest waterfall I've seen in many years. A beautiful section of the Provo River not far from the falls. We made a two mile side trip to Sundance Ski Area. Very cool, I had never been here before. It's in a narrow canyon off US 189. That's a chairlift to the left in this photo. A view of Mt. Timpanogos from Sundance Resort.
  10. It was 85 degs in the Salt Lake Valley on 4/29/20 and we hiked around Dimple Dell County Park near Granite, UT:
  11. 1 May 2020: My son and I went up to Alta today to do some skinning. We only climbed about 1000 vertical feet from the Albion Base, past Alf's Restaurant, and partially up the lower part of the Supreme lift. Good exercise going up. Coming down was pretty much green circle terrain. We only made one climb and run. Cloudy day, about 48 degs. Still plenty of snow. The whole inbounds area would be skiable if lifts were still running. My son is pointing out the Sugarloaf lift in the far center. Approaching Alf's Restaurant, mid-mountain. We stopped climbing at the small cluster of private homes about one-quarter way up the Supreme lift line. Heading back down we passed an area of downed trees near the base of the Supreme Lift. This is my son on one of the few steeper pitches we skied. This might be my last ski day of the season (day 28), not sure. The snow should remain skiable for another month or more at Alta for those who want to earn some turns.
  12. I feel a little guilty using my son's toys while he's been very busy WFH. Although I am also helping to install a sidewalk and widen his driveway, so I'm only a partial moocher, goof-off, retired dad. And most importantly, his mom has been rewarding him excellent home cooked meals for the last three months. .
  13. So I'm not really a mountain biker, but had a long history as a suburban bike commuter and enjoy riding my hybrid on paved trails/streets in warmer months. Out here in UT I have access to my son's mountain bike and I've started riding it for an hour or two several times a week. Until today I stayed on asphalt. But today 4/30/20 I rode one hour on a mulchy trail near Little Cottonwood Canyon that was super scenic and a great place to get used the the different feel of a mountain bike. I'm not ready for these steeper, sandy trails. I was surprised how nicely the bike rolled on this mulch path. Using an old ski helmet and garden gloves and double underwear. My normal biking stuff is back east. 75 degs out here today. May go skinning at Alta tomorrow if weather cooperates.
  14. I'm pretty much an always-put-the-safety-bar-down type of guy. Just got in the habit because it was always done in my 50 years of skiing in the mid-Atlantic since I was a kid. The irony of it is the lifts in the mid-Atlantic rarely go more than 20' off the ground. In Utah, as in most places out west, folks are a bit less rigorous about using them even though the lifts can traverse much hairier terrain. Everyone is pretty tolerant of me when I announce that I'm putting it down. Believe they cut me some slack because of my gray hair, they don't want the old guy sucking wind after a long ski run to pass out and fall off the chair.

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