Utah is like a comfy old sweater to us. We worn/been many times, we know what it looks like(landscape) and how it feels(peaceful) and we love itπŸ’– This time we took a new route. We have been to the biggie nationals like Zion, Bryce Capitol Reef and Arches, and have become distressed by how busy they have become over the years. So this time we took the road less travelled. It was three days of amazing views, hiking and BLM night spots. We could have easily spent 2 weeks. We cut across on highway 162 from Santa Fe and connected onto highway 263 then up the 95. Anything to avoid the dreaded I-40. We landed in the Valley of the Gods. Beautiful red craggy butes glowing in the late afternoon sunlight. Screenshot_20240315-174408_Google.jpgOur bedroom for the evening was down a very hilly red dirt road with a beautiful vista point. We were able to get a short but much needed hike before darkness set in.20240312_164932.jpg20240312_190718.jpg20240312_185323.jpg We could see random tents and rvs in the distance and no wifi but the silence was magic. The next morning we planned to drive the Moki Dugway the adrenalin junky in me needed a thrill and Dale, poor man was willing to oblige me😻 This is an infamous red dirt road winding up a tall bute not recommended for rvs according to online chats and actual signage at its entry. But Gary is so small and we put our trust in him and me in Dale😁 and decided to go for it. As luck would have it for Gary (and Dale) the first part of the 17 mile path was newly paved. We laughed to ourselves about how over regulated the Americans can be all because of the threat of being sued. But as in all things in life you shouldn't be too quick to judge anything because as we started to climb higher, the road turned to red dirt and got narrower and narrower: the higher we went It became harder and harder to look down as you could see where the road had caved in on some places and the turns became increasingly tight and sharp. It was intense....😡 but up and over we went trying not to look down, only out at the spectacular view and both of us white knuckled for most of the way. 8b64a350-e33e-11ee-8a26-fff1dedc87de.jpgHigh fives to each other that we made it alive and we continued on Goblin State Park. Not as well known as the biggie nationals but we must say equally as beautiful. Where as Bryce I always think of as fairyland with its pointy spires pertruding up everywhere; Goblin State I will think of as Gnomeland. Gnome like rounded spires surrounded by craggy butes. We spent the afternoon wandering through them stringing together a decent hike.20240313_132341.jpg20240313_140524.jpg20240313_142505.jpg20240313_141535.jpg20240313_141236.jpg20240313_150519.jpg The state parks campsites were full but we knew there was so much spectacular BLM land just outside the camping area, so as usual we paid for day use and dumped, filled our water and had gloriously hot showers and headed out and found our best BLM campsite yet at Little Wild Horse Canyon. Up a bumpy red dirt road/path up against a craggy glowing red bute and this time not a soul in sight. The ultimate dark sky starry night Once the sunset we slept like baby's that night. Absolute silence....a43079c0-e33b-11ee-b2cf-5fd60026542c.jpga3f40d00-e33b-11ee-b2cf-5fd60026542c.jpg We woke early to an equally beautiful purple/indigo sunrise.20240314_072744.jpg I had read about Little Wild Horse Slot Canyon trail. It was about an 8 mile long loop and written up as fairly technical. Unfortunately I hadn't downloaded the trail so we were erring on the side of caution. When the sun was fully up we headed in for about 40 minutes that turned around and retraced our steps.20240314_081024.jpg20240314_080630.jpg20240314_080251.jpg95001a70-e343-11ee-a419-d7672da0a420.jpg Disappointing not to be able to do the whole thing but it will also make us want to comeback to complete it. We pointed Gary north. It was hard to believe we were only 3 hours from Salt Lake City. For the first hour we saw nothing but those familiar red craggy butes, barren land and some antelope and deer. We saw very few cars or signs of people but then it suddenly changed.20240314_085442.jpg We started to climb and we started to feel the cold, even inside Gary. We went from warm sunshine to swirls of clouds the snow flakes falling. 20240314_114613.jpgWe were relieved it didn't stick to the road as we didn't bring Gary's chains.. We arrived in Mill Creek a suburb of south Salt Lake to our harvest host location. Finally a cidery for me. πŸ˜€ 20240314_171854.jpgSecond Summit Cidery was a busy little place. Well situated it offered ciders beer and food with 2 pickleball courts out back. The night we were there was trivia night 7 till 9; then Jam night 9 till 11 all well attended except for us oldies who needed jammies and our bed by 9. Though it was nice to fall asleep to live music in the background. We hadn't been in Salt Lake City except passing through on the interstate in over 20 years. Wow has this are in the Valley grown and wow had we forgotten just how beautiful the city looks surounded by the snow covered mountains. It took our breath away that first sunny but cold morning. We stopped at Deseret Industries the Mormons equivalent to Goodwill but so much larger and impressively organized. I have passed the point of new return in purchases. Gary is jammed in every nook and cranny but I just can't seem to resist a good deal. It's a good thing we are on our way home😸 Dalee will soon have to sleep at the wheel.😀 The downtown core is totally dominated by The Temple of Latter Day Saints. It is huge ( and under renovation), at least 6 square blocks. We were thankful we had been inside before, taken the tour and had seen the presentation movie on how and why the Mormons got to Salt Lake as there were a lot of buildings surounded by construction fences This area is squeaky clean and organized (even under full blown renovation) kind of reminded me of Singapore. We wandered around stretching our legs but it became increasingly cold as the wind began to blow heavily and besides we were really feeling the altitude. We decided to get back to Gary and warm up. We did the lazy man's tour by driving through different neighborhoods trying to get a feel for the place (this never works). But too cold and windy to immerse ourselves we decided to head north.b02f3210-e33c-11ee-b2cf-5fd60026542c.jpg20240315_131540.jpg20240315_125025.jpg20240315_130626.jpg20240315_133728.jpg20240315_135536.jpg We stopped in Ogden for our obligatory In and Out burger to compare whichever it was better than the Whataburger. After diligently taste testing it was unanimous. Whataburger for the win. πŸ†πŸ†πŸ† This valley road system between South of Salt Lake and Brigham City has always been a challenge for us. Highways with 6 lanes in both directions sometimes one exit only lane, sometimes two, and always construction with something blocked or detoured; crazy making..🀑 The last few times it has been pouring rain and rush hour; this time even though it was sunny and clear Dale had had his fill of american drivers. We were glad to point Gary north once again. Good bye Salt Lake City ;your beautiful, but I don't think we will be back for a visit anytime soon.

This featured blog entry was written by dswanderers from the blog A Wander Down South.
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By dswanderers

Posted Sat, Mar 16, 2024 | Comments