Sunday, June 26, 2016

June 20-23

June 20, 2016

Today we drove north to reach Antelope Island, the largest island in Salt Lake.  It is a State Park that was not explored by “anglo” people until 1845.  Kit Carson and John Fremont named the island after observing “several pronghorn antelope grazing on the rangeland”.  It is 15 miles long and 4 ½ miles wide.  The highest peak is 6,596 feet above sea level.  I was surprised to learn that the oldest rocks on Antelope Island are 1.7 billion years old, the same age as those at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  Artifacts found on the island reveal that people inhabited this land more than 6,000 years ago.   

There are several freshwater springs on the east side of the island that support the wildlife.  In 1893 12 bison were introduced to the island. Today there are over 500.  Each year   there is a round up in the fall, where extra bison are sold, to maintain a healthy herd.  It is so good to see them thriving on the island.  We didn’t actually see any antelope, but there is only one road on the island, so our view was limited.  The brochure states that these animals can run as fast as 70 miles per hour, so we were sorry we missed them.  

Other animals that roam freely on the island are mule deer, bighorn sheep, coyotes, bobcats, badgers and numerous birds, including owls, hawks and falcons.  (As soon as I read about the badgers, I thought about the animal we had seen in the City of Rocks.  I’m pretty sure it was a badger.)  We were able to sight two new birds for our list:  the yellow headed blackbird and the ruddy duck.  I was very glad about that.

When we returned to the RV, we decided to go to a movie.  There was a theater in the shopping center next to where we had parked the motor home.  We saw “You Before Me”.  Both of us enjoyed it, because the acting was so good.  I especially liked the female lead, though I don’t remember her name.

June 21, 2016

We drove into Salt Lake City and toured the Capitol Building.  It was very interesting.   
 The outside has 52 Corinthian columns made of local granite.  There are two lions, one seated on either side of the steps.  The brochure states that the lions are a symbol of “pride, strength, authority and protection”. Another symbol of the state of Utah is the beehive, which can be seen through out the building.  Even the locks on the huge entrance doors are in the shape of a bee hive.  The beehive is the center of the State seal and is symbolic of industry and unity.  The state road signs also have the picture of a beehive with the number of the route in the center.

The second floor walls are made of a very unique type of white marble.  Each section has a mirror image of the one next to it.  That such a thing even exists is a marvel to me.  There are 24 solid marble columns in the rotunda, which are the largest in the United States.  The marble came from Georgia.  Other parts of the building have the native marble, which is brown with orange and purple highlights.

The room where formal receptions occur is called the “Gold Room”, because there is gold leaf decorating the ceilings and around the frames of the mirrors.  The chairs are upholstered in green brocade, in Queen Elizabeth’s monarch pattern.  There are four crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, which originally cost $45,000.  In today’s market they would be valued at over a million dollars.

GOVERNOR Rockwell addresses the nation. 

One of the other important ideals reflected in the capitol building is “transparency”.  The people of Utah don’t believe in “closed doors”.  The building belongs to the people of Utah and they can come in without being searched or going through metal detectors.  There are no armed guards.  Citizens are welcome to sit in the galleries of the senate and house chambers whenever they wish.  To demonstrate this quality, each floor of the building has natural sunlight. There are numerous windows in the ceilings.  Even the floor of the rotunda has transparent tiles that lets light filter into the basement floor. 

The Utah legislature only meets 45 days a year.  There are 75 representatives and 29 senators.  The gallery in each chamber has monitors that show the order in which each bill will be reviewed, so that people can plan when to be present to hear the discussion.
The history of the state is familiar to most people.  Brigham Young brought his Mormon followers to settle at Salt Lake City in the 1800s.  But we were unaware that the people had to wait 40 years before their request for statehood would be granted.  It was not until the Mormon Church renounced polygamy, that they were allowed to join the union.

We also learned that the Ski industry is one of the most productive in the state, earning billions of dollars per year.  It stared when two Norwegian brothers named Engen, who were premier skiers in their own country, were asked to travel to Utah to build a ski ramp.  Not only did they build the ramp, but they chose to remain in Utah and began a ski school.  Utah has what is called “dry snow”, which is more difficult to ski on.  So when you learn on dry snow, you can more easily ski on wet snow.  This has made Utah a very popular place to learn the sport. 

One of the most famous of Utah’s citizens was a man named Farnsworth.  He was the inventor of the vacuum tube and television.  There was actually a court case where RCA filed suit against Farnsworth claiming they had invented TV.  Fortunately, all of Farnsworth’s original drawings had been preserved, with documented dates retained by one of his professors.  This proved a far earlier date of discovery than RCA.  So the court declared Farnsworth official inventor of the television.

While we were in the Senate chamber, our guide pointed out a miniature traffic light sitting on top of one of the desks.  He told us that it was a reminder that the traffic light was invented in Utah.  Another “first” that is attributed to Utah is depicted in one of the half moon shaped murals of the vaulted atrium.  It is called “Seraph Votes”.  She was the first women to vote in a state election. 

While we were doing the tour, our guide mentioned different products of Utah.  I found out that what I had called “red clay” a few days ago is actually copper.  It is being mined just north of Salt Lake City.  The guide called the process “open” mining, which a more gentle term for “strip” mining.  I still think it looks awful, from an aesthetic point of view.

When we returned from our tour of the Capitol, Roger decided to take a different route up into the Timpanogos mountains .  We headed up to Silver Lake.  It is located on a gravel road that was very rough and dusty.  But Roger is quite an explorer, who loves a challenge.  So I said my prayers that we don’t get a flat tire along the way.  Though the lake is quite small, it has a lovely view of the mountains.  

We had seen some hand written signs along the route that said “Stray” which confused us.  Then Roger discovered a group of people with trucks and tents, just beyond the end of the road.  He went to see what was going on and discovered it was a filming crew.  The title of the film is “The Stray”.  It is about a family hiking in the mountains and a stray dog.

When we drove back down the mountain, Roger tried to look up more details about the movie.  He found out there were numerous movies with the same title.  So he was very disappointed.  He wanted to go see the movie when it comes out.  He hoped to find the film crew before we leave the area, so he can get more details.

June 22, 2016
Today we drove the loop road around the mountain.  We reached a place called the Alpine Summit that noted an elevation of 8060 feet.  Roger found another dirt road he wanted to explore.  We did discover some beautiful views of the mountains with the contrast of the bright white snow against the dark gray rock, so striking in appearance. I really think it is prettier now than it is when completely covered with snow.   But it make me feel sad that it will soon be completely gone in the hot weather.  

We noticed that there are many more wild flowers at this higher elevation.  I guess the cooler temperature allows them to flourish up here.  The one I particularly love is the brightest true blue color I have ever seen.  There was one small field that was covered with a yellow daisy like flower with thick long leaves.  Aspen trees are almost everywhere you look, small, medium and large sizes.  There white bark with its contrasting black knots is so distinctive. 

Once we retuned to the main highway, we came to a place called Cascade Springs.  Roger had to talk me into hiking the trail and I was so glad he did.  There were little wooden bridges over the small cascading water falls.  Metal display markers pointed out the names of different trees and plants.  Others explained the names of different wildlife that can be found around the springs.  One plaque stated that there is a constant flow of water from the springs which is equal to 1800 average sized glasses of water per second.  Isn’t that amazing!  Especially since the area where they flow out of the ground is only about 75 to 100 feet across. 

There was also a sign that showed where the water comes from.  A diagram drawing
shows that rainfall from an adjacent mountain sinks into the ground, then the artesian spring pours forth water at the base of the next mountain.  What is still a question to me is how the earth self regulates the water so it always flows out at the same rate.  I guess this is another internet question to research.  

As we were returning on the back side of the mountain, we passed a huge reservoir that is also a state park.  There is a swimming beach, picnic area and boat ramp.  There were quite a few boats out on the lake.  Some were water skiing, others just boating or fishing.  It was good to see so many people using the lake on a week day.  Adjacent to the lake were several unusual climbing structures.  They appeared to be used as a training area for rock climbers.  It was different from anything we have seen before.

The last site along our route was Bridal Veil Falls.  This is a very high waterfall which, though lovely, was not what impressed us the most.  It was what we saw on the waterfall that almost shocked us.   There were people climbing up the rocks to a flat shelf about midway up the mountain.  It looked like an almost vertical climb.  These Utah residents are mighty hearty people: bikers, rock climbers, hikers, off road vehicle drivers.  They certainly love challenging nature.  

You know I can’t end a day without a bird being part of the story.  Yes, we did sight another new bird.  While we were in Cascade Falls we discovered several yellow warblers.  They are almost completely yellow from head to tail.  The female is almost the same as the male, but has small rusty streaks of her chest. 

When we got back to the motorhome, Roger started a fire, using logs we had found left behind by some other campers.  He also had purchased some additional wood when we stopped at a filling station to add propane gas to our RV tank.  Fortunately, the evenings in the mountains have been cool, so the fires have been very enjoyable.

June 23, 2016

I’m not sure if I mentioned it before, but we decided to stay in the area for a week, because Roger ordered some cables to be delivered to the local post office, general delivery.   This weekend is a major national field day for the amateur radio operators.  He hopes the elevation at our campsite will allow him favorable conditions.  So we have been parking the RV and rented a car for the week.  We have been using the car to do all our exploring in the area, because it is so much easier.  Then we have a car for church this weekend.

Roger's part for the radio came in so he drove into town to the post office to retrieve.  On the way back he found some young kids that had set up a Lemonade stand.  Always encouraging the free enterprise system he stopped to negotiate a deal.  It was late in the day and they only had about a half of quart reaming to be sold.  At .25 a cup the young sales person figured he had about three dollars remaining.  Roger offered $5 if he would through in the container as he had no way to get the product home.  A deal was made.  The" lemonade" was a concoction of  lemonade and various chunckes of fruit.  (Watermelon, pineapple, coconut). Hes says  Its the best dang drink he has ever had especially on these hot days.  He is going to miss it when its gone.

Today we have just stayed in the campsite.  I have been typing our blog and Roger has been setting up his hex beam antenna. 

No comments:

Post a Comment