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Posts tagged ‘Utah’

The Great Salt Lake

While visiting Page, AZ was very cool, the internet coverage very much sucked.  This wasn’t a big deal initially due to our stay overlapping with the Memorial Day holiday, but by Wednesday that week we’d had enough – the slow data speeds were driving us crazy and impacting our ability to work effectively.  Knowing that there was a great alternative state about two hours northwest near Zion National Park, we decided to leave Page and relocate to Sand Hollow State Park in Hurricane, UT.

The site worked perfectly for our needs and we had great views of Zion, but … it was a huge bummer to be so close to a fantastic national park and not have time for a visit.

Working while overlooking Zion National Park

Working while overlooking Zion National Park

With a looming deadline in Salt Lake City (Kelly’s long scheduled haircut), we pushed hard from Hurricane and late in the day arrived to Great Salt Lake State Park, which was our base for the week.

Located about 15 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City, this location was conveniently situated, but home to crazy aggressive – and big – mosquitoes.  Further, the lake levels were quite low, which coupled with hot temperatures seemed to be an incubator for intermittently stinky sulfur odors … all of which took away from an otherwise ideal and quaint place to squat for the week.

Brigham Young University

Brigham Young University

University of Utah

University of Utah

LDS Salt Lake Temple

LDS Salt Lake Temple

LDS world headquarters building

LDS world headquarters building

Tasty dinner in Salt Lake City

Tasty dinner in Salt Lake City

Lilly in playing in a river on a very hot day

Lilly in playing in a river on a very hot day

Our campsite at Great Salt Lake marina

Our campsite at Great Salt Lake marina

No Zion For You

A week ago Kelly and I departed for Zion National Park hoping to spend a week with her family hiking the trails, enjoying the sights, and generally appreciating the natural wonders of the area.

Of course we knew all about the government shut down and how in all likelihood, the park would be closed.  Despite this probability, with cautious optimism Kelly and I set GPS coordinates to the park and began our two-day journey.  Unfortunately, the grid-lock in Washington continues and we were not able to visit Zion as we had intended.

Also impacted were Kelly’s brother and his girlfriend (who drove down from Boise, ID) and Kelly’s Dad and his wife (who drove up from Phoenix).  Suddenly, all six of us were wondering what plans to make as an alternative.

Fortunately, anticipating the on-going park closure, Kelly found a very suitable Plan-B … the solution being Sand Hollow State Park, just outside of St. George, Utah.  While no Zion National Park, the location was quite nice actually, and we all made the best of an otherwise pretty shitty situation, especially since this trip was also about spending some time with Kelly’s family.

Our Site overlooking the lake

Our site overlooking the lake

Looking out at the other campsites

Looking out at the other campsites

Sand Hollow State Park offers a fair bit of recreational opportunity for those who seek it – we saw lots of off-road ATV’s and also some over the top dune buggy vehicles.  Additionally, there is a lot of fishing activity on the lake.

Not interested in any of these activities, we sought out hikes and also made the quick drive to Zion National Park.

Kelly’s brother and his girlfriend joined Kelly and me for a hike through some of the public lands surrounding St. George.  This area is a haven for mountain bikers and hikers alike … and it’s easy to understand why.  The geography of the area is wicked-cool and the views are not too shabby.  A variety of slick rock, single trail, and fire roads provide hours of exploration for anyone seeking as much.

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Slick-rock everywhere

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Views from the trail

Pausing for lunch

Pausing for lunch

Once Kelly’s father and his wife arrived, we all went to visit Zion.  Highway-9 is the primary east/west road through Zion National Park and remains open during the shutdown.  Park Rangers (who I’m guessing are not receiving any pay) quickly brief everyone and explain the rules – chiefly – that no one is to stop and/or exit their vehicle.

Entering Zion National Park

Entering Zion National Park

Mountain goat relaxing above

Mountain goat relaxing above

The park was eerily quiet.  What I’m guessing is an otherwise bustling area was nearly devoid of anyone.  It was odd to see a marquee park such as Zion so empty.   Driving the highway was pretty spectacular, but I know from experience that the real beauty of the parks such as this reside far from the main roads.  At one point, we noticed that Kelly’s dad was sleeping .. perhaps unimpressed by the scenery – or more likely, tired from the long drive from Phoenix, Gene assumed full-on nap mode.

Tired or bored?

Tired or bored?

As for me, I found that driving through the park simply is not sufficient.  Kelly and I will definitely need to schedule another visit sometime.

Back at the campground, Kelly’s dad – fully refreshed from his nap, assumed dog duty before receiving the box of stray gold balls Kelly and I have been collecting for him.  Living next to and walking Lilly along a golf course provides ample opportunity to gather otherwise forgotten balls.

Kelly's dad - perhaps momentarily overwhelmed.

Kelly’s dad – perhaps momentarily overwhelmed.

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All in all, the government shutdown proved to be on only a minor hassle.  Lot’s of people are far worse-off than any of us in our little family gathering, so despite our disappointment to come all this way and miss Zion, things could be far worse for me/us and I continue to remind myself of that.

Thursday morning we all packed our bags and departed.  Kelly and I relocated to Nevada for a few days before beginning our drive home.

Sand Hollow State Park

Sand Hollow State Park

Note:  for those that might care … AT&T voice and (4G) data signals available at the park can easily accommodate remote working.  Conversely, my Verizon MiFi really struggled to carry a decent data signal, even under amplifier boost.