Did someone say "Utah Adventures?" I focused our efforts primarily on northern Utah but I did slop across the borders of neighboring states. I will concentrate on some of those meanderings in this final installment.
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I wrote about my quick jaunt to Nevada earlier so I won’t rehash that story again. It wasn’t about the salt so much — although that was a great sight and I’m glad I traveled through the flats — it was more about the Time Zone anomaly. Yes, I drove five hours to stand in a Time Zone jog created solely so that gamblers arriving from Salt Lake City wouldn’t have to change their watches. I don’t know why I’m so enamored by that anecdote but that’s the sad truth behind that particular journey.
I’m a fan of roadside Americana too. Naturally I had to pay my respects to Wendover Will on the Nevada side of the line in West Wendover. The town was kind enough to provide a nice pullout so that oddballs such as myself could photograph Will safely without worrying about traffic.
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Terrain varies so drastically in these parts with everything from searing deserts to forested mountainsides. I was truly impressed by Bear Lake on the Utah-Idaho border. Several 12MC readers had suggested Bear Lake, and I thank each of you because it was quite simply spectacular. We spent a morning at Rendezvous Beach State Park on the Utah side. It was the historic site for at least two of the old raucous Rocky Mountain Rendezvous held in the days when fur trappers and mountain men roamed here. Our adventure was rather more tame. We had a nice picnic lunch, splashed in the water and then drove into Idaho.
The kids had enjoyed their previous cavern adventure so greatly that we decided to try another one, Minnetonka Cave, in the Cache National Forest. It involved a ten mile drive into the forest and up a mountainside but the views were well worth the effort. The caverns were nice too but I figured one cave photo from the previous article was enough.
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The kids also wanted dinosaurs but we were too far away from Dinosaur National Monument. We settled for the closest similar thing available: Fossil Butte National Monument in southwestern Wyoming. This site featured a seabed from an era somewhat after the dinosaurs so the fossils were of fish primarily, a herring-like species called Knightia in greatest abundance.
Another shout-out to the 12MC audience: thanks to Scott for suggesting National Park passport stamps. We’re now the proud owners of passports and we’ve collected a couple of stamps along the way. I’m sure this collection will grow in the future.
Worthwhile things often require effort.
We learned that a scientific dig was in progress but visitors had to hike up a steep hillside in the scorching sun to get there. About two-thirds of the way up our older son decided he no longer wanted to be a paleontologist. It’s too much work, he complained. Those thoughts disappeared quickly as scientists allowed him to chip the stone with their tools. He uncovered a beautiful fossil of two fish crossed over each other. Fossils cannot be removed from the park but he was excited to see that his find was numbered and cataloged for further scientific study. The thrill of the hunt and the satisfaction of the find put his future career back on track.
County Counting results
I consider the last several days a successful set of county counting adventures. I recorded fourteen new counties previously unvisited, I attached the former Salt Lake "island" (which I’d previously visited only by airplane) to the rest of my visited counties, and I didn’t leave any unvisited doughnut hole counties behind.
Here is the tally of new additions.
- Idaho: Bear Lake, Franklin
- Nevada: Elko
- Utah: Box Elder, Cache, Davis, Morgan, Rich, Summit, Toole, Weber, Utah, Wasatch
- Wyoming: Uinta
That’s not bad for a week’s worth of work, given that I also had to make a family of non-counters happy.
Other Parts of the Utah Adventure