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American Road Trip Adventure: Day 8

October 4th, 2013 (12:41 pm)

I took a long road trip in August and early September. I was traveling to a conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, and we made it a family vacation, to show our son more of this big, amazing country. I didn't want to advertise to every burglar on the internet that our house was empty, so I waited until I returned home to start posting blog entries.
P1130612 Panorama with Bob 40%

Wednesday, Aug. 21
Salt Lake City, Snowbird, and Sandy, Utah
56 Miles

P1130556 Tram with JM&Bob, crop 40%
After days of driving, we were in Salt Lake City. My activities at the National Federation of Press Women conference would begin on Thursday. But we'd left ourselves a free day Wednesday, and decided to drive up into the mountains overlooking the city. Our destination was Snowbird, a ski resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Little Cottonwood is not far from Sandy, the SLC suburb where my family once lived for three years. I was at college at the University of Virginia for most of that time, so I wasn't there enough for it ever  to feel like home. But I knew the area well enough to have some idea of what would be fun to do. In fact, my sister Maria worked at Snowbird for several years, and it was always one of my favorite ski resorts to visit off-season, mostly because of the tram.

The Aerial Tram at Snowbird whisks passengers up 2,900 vertical feet along a one-and-a-half mile cable, all the way to the top of Hidden Peak, with an elevation of nearly 11,000 feet. The views on the way up -- and at the top, of course -- are spectacular! You can look down on the ski resort itself, around at the dramatic slopes, and through the canyon at the city and suburbs on the valley floor, far below.

P1130663 Purple Flowers 40% cropThe last time I had ridden the tram, years earlier, I'd spotted a deer on the mountainside below, and pointed it out to the other tourists. After that, we all started seeing deer and other wildlife below -- except for the only child there day, a boy of about six. He kept asking "Where's the deer? Where's the deer? I don't see one!" and becoming desperate to be the one to pick out some kind of animal. Finally, he couldn't stand feeling left out, so he made one up. He pointed to the slopes below, and he sang out: "I see a monkey!"

Now it was August, and we saw no deer or other wildlife on this trip. And not a single monkey. At the top, there was no snow this year, though I have been there in summer when snow was deep enough for skiing at the high elevations. Even without snow, the temperature was cold enough on top so that Jon Morgan and I wished we had brought jackets. We stayed up there for a while, gazing at the view and snapping a lot of photos. I was experimenting that day with my camera's panoramic feature, and trying to wrest my camera away from my son, who thought I should let him use my camera, because his doesn't do panoramic shots.
P1130574 Mtns, from tram 40%
We caught the next tram down and spent some time checking out some of the activities at the resort. It was a weekday, and school had already started in the area, so things were pretty slow. From the tram we had seen the tracks for a small roller coaster on the grounds of the resort. Unfortunately for Jon Morgan, it was still under construction. He did enjoy bouncing high on the bungy trampoline. Bob and I perused the menu offerings at the booths that were set up for the resort's Octoberfest celebration. (My sister used to run the Octoberfest when she worked there!) It was still morning, a little early in the day for either of us to feel like drinking beer, and most of the festival was closed until the weekend, anyway. Instead, we had lunch at a pizza place inside the resort.

Then we headed back down the mountain to see if we could locate my old house in Sandy. I couldn't remember the address, and the street name and the layout of some of the surrounding streets had changed since then, but I was able to find it without much trouble. We took some pictures, and then climbed into the Cadillac to drive back to the hotel.

P1130590 red tram crop 40%

P1130604 Valley View, 40%
P1130628 Layers of Mtns 40%
P1130616 Panorama with cables 40%
P1130710 Mtn seen from Hidden Peak 40%
P1130629 JM Silhouette 40%
P1130726 Panorama with trees 40%