Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Salt lake City with Our Girls May 8-12

We had a wonderful, though short, weekend with our girls; Beth, Emily, and Katie. They arrived around midnight on Thursday, May 8th, and settling in quickly, were probably asleep before 2AM.

We were going to let them sleep in, but Em and Beth were still on work schedule time and the commotion got Katie up and going early too. Friday morning after a big breakfast we went out and explored the Gateway complex. There were crowds of people, even school-age kids, which surprised us. It turned out that we were in time to see David Archuleta from American Idol drive down Rio Grande Dr standing up and waving in the back of a limo with hundreds of screaming fans to cheer him on. He was in town to sing the National Anthem at the Jazz game, and had given a concert the night before at his high school (where he is only a junior in Murray, a southern suburb of SLC.) The girls didn't really know him but thought it was fun to be part of the experience.

From our mall, we walked through Temple Square (the headquarters of the Mormon church) and admired the still gorgeous blooming bulbs, buildings, and fountains. There were a few brides there getting pictures taken in front of the Temple which added to the fun.

(I had learned from a tour guide that couples come from all over the world to be married in the SLC Temple, and that these ceremonies are performed Tuesday through Saturday, one right after another. So it is almost unusual not to see a Bride in Temple Square. The grooms are harder to pick out!)

We walked back to our condo through downtown Salt Lake City, admiring the architecture, street art, and warm atmosphere of this metropolis. Once back at the Gateway, we picked up our car and drove through the neighborhoods surrounding the Capitol, eventually making our way to the trail head for Ensign Peak. We climbed Ensign Peak for a view of the city and then took biking/hiking trails on the hills behind and above Ensign, that really gave us great views of the whole valley to the south all the way to Provo and also looked down into City Creek Canyon to the East and the Wasatch Mountains beyond.

We ate mid-afternoon at the Red Iguana, claimed to have the best Mexican food in the city. We only had to wait about 10 minutes for a seat which was really unusual as it is a small restaurant and is crowded even at that time of day. The Mexican food was delicious and we were so glad we had finally made it inside to enjoy it's delicacies.

Then we headed to the SLC Bees Baseball game where we enjoyed a beautiful evening of outdoor baseball, another Bees win, hot dogs, peanuts, fries and Wasatch beers to wash it all down.

The girls loved watching the game and enjoying the views of snow-capped mountains over the outfield fence. We even stayed to watch kids run the bases after the game. At home we watched the animated "Bee Movie" to end our day with popcorn and drinks.

Saturday we started the day listening to noises coming from the Olympic Legacy Plaza, outside our windows, and going out to look from our plaza, saw tents set up with a stage and chairs and the street lined with boxes of oranges, bananas and water.

As we watched we saw runners arriving so we walked down to the upper walkway of the mall and heading towards the theater plaza, we saw trickles and then hundreds of runners and walkers cross the finish line in the Race For The Cure. We stood and cheered them on, especially the survivors, and it made a great start to our day.

We had wanted to ski at Snowbird but when I called, the beginner runs were all closed and they weren't recommending even intermediate skiers on the runs still open, so instead we drove to Provo and took a scenic drive along the Wasatch mountains with stops at the Sundance Resort, Heber City, Park City and the Olympic Park. Returning to SLC through Emigration Canyon just like the Mormons!

Our first stop was at Bridal Falls, the largest waterfall in the state

Next we stopped at Sundance Resort, famous for the Sundance Film festival in January. It is a small resort that hosts conferences all year, with a special emphasis on Nature and the Arts. There was a photographers conference at Sundance so some of the buildings were closed to the public, but we enjoyed climbing the steps past cabins and wandering the paths throughout the resort, listening to the rushing water in tumbling streams and enjoying views of the mountains.

Our stop in Heber City was just to pick up lunch at a Subway and some allergy medicine for Katie. The drive into the city included some great views along the reservoir with mountains behind.

We drove to Park City and ate our lunch at the city park at the north end of the old town. It was a beautiful sunny day, although a little chilly up in the mountains, and we played Frisbee to warm up after lunch. Then we drove up through old town and found a place to park on a side street. We walked over to Main street which was blocked off for the bottom 2 blocks in order to hold car races. The cars were like boyscout carved wooden cars only big enough for kids to ride in down the hill ending in a wall of hay bales. They also had adults riding down luge-like sleds on wheels. Just above the starting line a band was providing music for the event. It looked like a family band with the lead singer a girl just in high school. We walked up the street past the races, and music, and then on up past lots of charming stores and restaurants. At the top of the street and hill, we crossed over and walked down the other side, enjoying all the other visitors, locals and pets out enjoying the day. There was a commotion by the top of the racing area (we think someone must have gotten hurt) so we turned aside and bought some delicious desserts to share at an outdoor table in a nearby plaza. Newly fortified, we continued down hill to our car and on to the Olympic Park.

The day had gotten a way with us a little time-wise, so we didn't go into the museum at the Olympic Park, but enjoyed looking at the ski jumps and luge and bobsled runs. Just as we were getting ready to head for home we noticed someone was coming down the bobsled run. Beth and Emily ran across the empty parking lot to get a closer look and were rewarded with another bobsled run. They wanted to take a few other pictures so we drove the car to meet them on the ski jump side of the museum. Then we headed back to I-80 and Salt Lake City.

A friend had told us of the Emigration Canyon turn-off which took only about 20 minutes more than the freeway so we turned off and took winding canyon roads back into the city, coming out on the hills where Brigham Young and the earliest Mormon pioneers first saw the Salt Lake valley, near the present day University of Utah.

Streetlights cooperated and we were down the hill and into the Parc condo in plenty of time for showers and getting ready for a fun evening out on the town. We drove back up to the University and parked near the Pioneer Theater and walked a few blocks to our restaurant. We ate at a fun Greek Restaurant, Aristos, in their outdoor patio. It was a little chilly by the time we were finished but we were dressed warm enough and enjoyed eating outside. We then walked back to the Pioneer Theater on the U campus, where we saw "The Producers". We all enjoyed the show as well as the short walk around campus that we were able take before the show began.

(This is a picture I took of the Tabernacle back in February- notice the snow instead of flowers)

Sunday morning we got the girls up to go hear the taping of "Music and The Spoken Word" by the Mormon Tabernacle choir and orchestra. It was a beautiful special Mother's Day show. The girls had bought me a bouquet of flowers at a grocery store after the show Saturday night and had made me a corsage from the flowers which I wore all day. After the taping, we hustled through Temple Square, still enjoying all the flowers, and exited by the Lion House (Brigham Young's wives home) where we had parked our car. From there we drove to Mt Tabor for a regular worship service that turned out to be celebrating Pentecost, Confirmation, Mother's Day and saying good-bye to a member. It was a full service that took 1 and 1/2 hours.

We drove to Eccles stadium at the U of UT campus

(where the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2002 winter Olympics were held), and walked around the Olympic torch

and glass panel arch before heading back to the Gateway where we had lunch outside at Rumbi's Grill, enjoying the lovely warm weather and the bustle of visitors to the mall.

We hustled home, changed, and drove up to Ogden for an afternoon of bouldering, climbing rocks that had fallen off the mountain. We started on trails and then following Katie, tried to climb up the last 50 feet to the boulder field but kept running into Green Scrub Oak blocking our way. We finally found a trail that came to the bottom of a pile of boulders and then just started climbing up. I stayed with Beth, who is afraid of heights, and we proceeded at a more cautious pace. Katie was in the lead with Wayne trying to see who could get to the top the quickest and Emily was in-between. Beth and I eventually caught up with Emily and found a large boulder where the 3 of us could sit and enjoy the views of the valley about 700 feet below us. Kate and Wayne had made it to the sheer rock wall, "the cliffs of insanity", from which all of the rock we had been climbing on had fallen.

It took us all afternoon and everyone was sore, hungry and thirsty by the time we made it back down to our car (despite the snacks and water we had carried with us and enjoyed from our seat on the large boulder). The girls all napped on the 40 minute drive back home while Wayne and I listened to the Twins on XM radio.

We were able to watch the end of the Twins game on our computer when we got home and visited with Wayne's parents (as well as Ellie and Scott in the car on the way to bouldering). We walked to Squatters, our favorite brew pub, for dinner and came home to watch "An American President" while Katie studied for her last final that was coming up the following Tuesday. A nice quiet way to end a full Mother's Day!

Monday Katie slept in while the rest of us had tea, breakfast, and played games. Then some opened birthday gifts, and we shopped in the Gateway for last minute gifts and souvenirs for the girl's friends.

They got all packed up and we walked to Jason's deli and Ben's Cookies where we got picnic lunch to go. We drove to the Great Salt Lake Marina Park and had our lunch, played Frisbee

and climbed the boulders of the sea wall as well as skipped rocks and waded in the lake. Then it was time to take them to the airport and say goodbye. It was a busy and wonderful weekend. We only wished that there had been more time to do all the other things we had wanted to share with them, and we wished that Ellen and Scott could have been here, too. But now we have a great excuse to return to UT again with the whole family!

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