Salt Lake City

May/June 2015

During the week in which I flew to San Diego to be with Kathy, I had to find a place to stash my house. I choose to leave it in Salt Lake City as Kathy would be flying back with me after San Diego and we needed to be in the Grand Tetons one week after we departed sunny Southern California. SLC was the logical choice, as it is pretty much the closest big city to where we needed to be.

There aren’t exactly many options in Salt Lake City. There are no public campgrounds with great access to the airport (not sure I would have felt comfortable leaving my house there, should one have existed), so that meant commercial. I don’t like commercial RV parks, and I especially don’t like KOA’s. There are two commercial choices in SLC – a KOA and another place. So I chose the other place. Pretty easy decision actually.

Some commercial RV parks allow you to pay a (greatly) reduced fee to park your rig off in a corner if you aren’t going to actually be staying in it. Unfortunately, the place I chose didn’t have that option, so I had to pay full price for the week I wasn’t going to be there. Fine.

Pony Express RV Resort

I love how a lot of commercial RV parks have the word “resort” in their name. Makes them sound fancy. Most of the time they aren’t. Including the Pony Express RV Resort, where I parked my house.

I only stayed there the night before my flight and the night that Kathy and I flew back to Salt Lake City. Two nights was plenty. It is a “meh” RV park for sure. Though I did take advantage of their nice laundry facility. ‘Cause you have to wash clothes when you have the opportunity, right? 😉

Spruces Campground

Kathy is very familiar with Salt Lake City as her best friend lives there. She also is very familiar with the outdoor activities around SLC and has always wanted to camp in Big Cottonwood Canyon to the southeast of town, so we did. Spruces Campground to be exact. For three nights.

This is a Forest Service campground at 7400 feet elevation, high up a twisty canyon (on the way to Solitude and Brighton ski areas). After some driving around, we chose a campsite next to a mountain stream. There is something about the sound of rushing water that soothes the soul. And also helps to drown out the noise from the twisty road.

This isn’t normally a place that you would expect to have good (if any) cell service, but we had very usable Verizon and AT&T. This is due to the numerous cell towers that we passed on the way up. Not the typical large towers one is used to seeing, but rather shorter, stubbier versions. I guess a lot of rich people ski here and demand constant service. Not that I am complaining!

One night Dave and Kelly (who I had previously met in Flagstaff and then ran into in Page) came over for dinner. And to meet Kathy. Always awesome seeing them!

Lake Blanche Trail

The Lake Blanche Trail is very popular, pretty damn tough, and offers spectacular views. So we did it one day. Spent 7.5 hours doing so. Started at 6200 feet and climbed to 8800 feet. Spent a bit of time at the top. Total of 9.62 miles, including wandering around at the top. Gorgeous, gorgeous, hike, that pretty much kicked our butts.

Twin Lakes Trail

At the top of the hill we were staying on is the Brighton Ski Resort, home of a ski area with the same name. Notice how I say it is at the top of the hill. Well, Kathy decided she wanted to ride her road bike (which she FedEx’d from Austin to Salt Lake City) from our campground to the top of the hill. A very steep hill. Then go for a hike. So I drove to the top and waited for her to arrive. Then we stuffed said bike in the Jeep and took off hiking.

Personally, if I had just ridden up that hill, I would have been ready to collapse. Not Kathy. She was ready to hike.

We started at the Silver Lake Information Center (turns into a nordic ski center in the winter) and hiked a few miles on the Twin Lakes Trail.

Twin Lakes is a reservoir at about 9500 feet. The trail up wasn’t clearly marked, but after a bit of wandering we discovered our destination. A still semi-ice covered lake that had mountains for a backdrop. I brought my computer, so this became my office for a couple of hours. Until the wind got too be too much and we headed back.

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