Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Salt Lake City, Utah

I had the privilege of going to visit Joel and Julie in Salt Lake City, Utah.  I have never been to Utah, except maybe I flew over it at some point in my travels.  The only thing I knew about Utah, was the great Salt Lake and the fact that the Mormans settled there years ago.  I was in for a special treat.
I did arrive a bit later than anticipated on Tuesday evening.  I flew through San Fransisco and I have rarely been able to fly through SFO without a delay or a cancellation. 
I have to admit that the last couple of weeks, I feel like I have been in a constant state of worshiping God, because I have been out in God's creation.  I keep thinking how beautiful and wonderful creation is and marvel at its beauty, both in Canada and the US. 
Julie is knowledgeable about the hiking and biking trails around Salt Lake City.  The first trail we did was 1.5 miles (a little over 2 km) around Silver Lake.
Next, we went up Guardsmen Pass to walk on a trail up there.  It had beautiful wild flowers, aspen groves and vistas.
Wildflower meadow looking down.
Wildflower meadow looking up
Wildflower meadow around the corner.
Because I have to do a sun picture!
Julie in her glory in the aspens!
Dead wood or so it looks like.
Looking through the trees.
Joel and Julie have a beautiful view of mountains and Salt Lake City, as well as great opportunities for sunsets.
Facing west

Facing east
Panoramic view from the deck at Joel and Julie's house.
Thursday, Julie took me downtown Salt Lake Cityto see Temple Square.  That's where you get a much better idea of how impactful the Latter-Day Saints are on the settling of Salt Lake City and Utah.  The first stop was the auditorium to listen to an organ concert.  Acoustically, it was amazing.  You could hear a pin drop from the front.  The organist played the organ very well.  

The temple from the outside on the side. 
Reflecting pool outside. 
Front of the temple.
Who are  shaking hands? (Julie's question)
We also went to the state capitol.  It's also a beautiful building and has a number of Latter-day Saints references and influences.
Panoramic view from the front of the Capitol steps.
Friday, Julie and I started our day with a hike to Bell's Canyon with a friend of Julie's, Helen.  It is another beautiful hike.
View of Salt Lake City

Making our way down.
Dense woods
Later that morning, Julie and I went to Antelope Island, which is an island in Salt Lake.  There is a causeway that you drive on to gain access to the island.
Yes, I was standing in the middle of the road.  :)
First stop on the island was the visitor center.  Most prominent wildlife there were these amazingly large spiders!
He's a little fuzzy...
And the nests on the visitor's building.

Next stop on the visit was to the Fielding Carr ranch.  It brought back memories of living on the farm growing up, although much of the machinery there was significantly older than what we used on our dairy farm growing up.  That was also the place where many of the bison were located.

Envision the mama saying, "What you lookin' at!" 

Our next stop on the island was to head up to Dooley Knob. It gave a beautiful view of Salt Lake on all sides.
Looks like the salt dust was blown up by the wind.
We headed back and stopped in at an In N' Out Burger.  I had heard about this place, but thought it was only in California.  This trip was the first time I went to an In N' Out Burger.  I'd recommend it.
On our final day we hiked a trail that brought us to Cecret Lake.  It was also very pretty, but probably one of my favorite hikes.  There were meadows with beautiful flowers. 

Cecret Lake

I put together a couple of the videos I made during this trip.  You can hear and see some of the sights and sounds.  

We made it back to the house in time to shower and finish packing up so I can catch my flight to Vancouver, BC.  Joel and Julie were fantastic hosts.  I enjoyed my time in Utah and would recommend visiting there for the rich Morman history and the wonderful hiking and biking opportunities.  I felt quite spoiled, having so many opportunities to visit a number of places this month!  
Next up, Penticton, BC. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Saskatchewan, Land of the Living Skies

July 7th I made my way to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where Nick and Myrna picked me up.  It was a pretty uneventful trip and all went quite smoothly.  I have not been able to keep up much with the Pan Am games, but at the Toronto airport I was able to catch some of the highlighted races.  Of course the ones that Canada won!  Go Canada, Go! 
I used to struggle a lot more with shopping in consignment stores.  I have gotten past that and it can be fun to find treasures.  Wednesday, I went to one of my tourist highlights in Saskatoon, PBR!  It's a consignment store for COSTCO.  You can get some pretty great clothes and other items for a portion of the price.  You do have to look for the reasons why people returned items.  Sometimes it's the wrong size, but sometimes there are flaws.  Last year, they would have huge cardboard boxes that had lots of clothes just dumped in and you just go sifting through finding what you liked and your size, if they had it.  It was something I enjoyed doing.  I loved the surprises.  This year, they have begun to organize it more.  They have rods where they hang the clothes on hangers by size, so now you go to your size and look for what you like.  It does go quicker and you have a better idea if there is something you like.  They have just begun doing this and I noticed there were still cardboard boxes with piles of clothes in them, but they were not out for the public.  Anyway, I did walk away with some clothes for at least half the price of what I would have paid if I bought them originally.  It is one of my requests to visit when I go to Saskatoon.  :) 
Kim and Orisi have a puppy named George.  George and I became fast friends.  :)

You can just imagine he's saying, "Please, please, please, rub me!"
Standing guard
Wednesday afternoon we left for Jan Lake.  It takes about 4 hours to drive there.  It is a very peaceful place and a good way to relax and wind down.  I am very grateful Nick and Myrna invite me to come, plus the fishing is fun! 
My view as we were driving up to Jan Lake. 
We went fishing every day we were there.  One day the smoke from the nearby forest fires did change our plans in where we were going to fish.  It got pretty thick and almost felt like we were in a fog.  The winds blew in a different direction the other days and it was fairly clear skies. 
Facing the front on a very smokey day.
The ride is pretty smooth on the pontoon. 
Wind blown second mate

Captain and netter of caught fish!
Wind blown selfie
Myrna caught the first fish, a walleye.
There it is! 
My first fish, a walleye also! 
Next,  I didn't get pictures of all the fish I caught, but of the fish I caught, they were  just about all on the same day!
Cleaning and fileting the walleye.
A decent size fillet.
There is quite a bit of wildlife that can be seen.  It's also very pretty.  You'll notice that I love sun pictures.  :) 
Morning sun through my bedroom window
Almost sunset, orange because of the forest fire smoke.
Evening sun.
Twoonie  :) 
Before you look at these next pictures, there's a bit of a story behind this.  The day before, Myrna looked and saw something black in the water and said, "Is that a bear?"  When we got closer, it was just a piece of wood.  That evening while I was sleeping, I had a dream that I was on the pontoon and a black bear climbed onto the pontoon.  I decided to swim to the island, wondering if the black bear could swim faster than me.  I made it to the island with the bear following me.  I turned around and swam back to the pontoon, started it and left the black bear in the water.  So, the next day what do we see?

This bear was not interested in coming on board the pontoon.  As a matter of fact, he was huffing and puffing so loud we could hear him.  I think he was scared of us.  I didn't catch him when he reached the island, but quickly ran into the woods. 
The last morning there, I was sitting in the porch and listening to the birds and sounds around the cabin.  I took this video.
Our time at Jan Lake was over and we headed back to Saskatoon.  I went with Nick and Myrna to a wedding of friends of theirs.  I taught Tammy when she attended Chilliwack Christian School!  There were some other folks there who used to be students in my classroom and parents of students.  Yup, it was like digging deep to bring up those memories.  They were all gracious and I enjoyed reconnecting with them. 
The last day in Saskatchewan I went golfing with Nick, Scott and Kim.  It's been quite a while since I swung a golf club.  It was still fun. 
Teeing off at the first tee.
There is canola and flax fields there that are blooming right now.  It's very pretty. 
Canola field
Flax field

I have left Saskatchewan and am now in Utah, Salt Lake City.  Yup, feeling totally blessed!