We woke again to a snow-covered landscape but happily no further snow fall on us today. The houses high up on the mountain sides looked almost artificial with their stark white snow covered roofs against the barrenness of the mountain.
Mr L and Little Sis are obviously in collusion as they planned our route into Salt Lake City this morning would be over the mountain via the Traverse Ridge Road which climbs 2,700 feet to an elevation of 6,1290 feet. The view from the top of the Ridge Road is certainly impressive and was worth the high drive.
Salt Lake City sits in the Salt Lake Valley, a huge plateau known as the Great Basin, and is boundaried by the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges of the Rockies on the eastern and western sides, the Traverse Mountains to the south, and the Great Salt Lake in the north-west. The Great Salt Lake is separated from the city by extensive marshland and mudflats and apparently has a ‘lake stink’, a smell of rotten eggs, which happens 2-3 times a year, lasting a few hours. Lake stink is a result of the metabolic activity of bacteria in the lake. Why is Salt Lake salty? It is salty because it has 3 rivers flowing in but no outlets to the ocean. Therefore the only way water can exit the lake is by evaporation leaving most of it’s salt behind. In addition the area is very dry and increases the rate of evaporation and thus saltiness of the lake.
First stop in Salt Lake City was the Utah Senate House – amazingly no security and we were able to wander through the building. From there we visited the Pioneer Museum which displays memorabilia and information from the early Mormon Pioneers who arrived in Salt Lake City. Our one observation was that the history retold here was of affluent Pioneers and one did not get a sense of the poverty that must surely have existed. The other point of note was that all the photographs of these early settlers were very austere – smiling for a photograph was clearly not permitted!
We then walked down the steep hill of Main Street to Temple Square. As non-Mormons we are not permitted inside the Temple but were able to freely walk around the grounds and visit the visitor centre. The gardens are immaculate with great water features of infinity ponds, fountains and streams all surrounded by grass and attractive planting. Between the visitor centre and Little Sis, Mr L and I have got a better understanding of the origins and history of the Church of Latter Day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormons.
Lunch was at the very nice Lion House Pantry which is housed in Brigham Young’s house and followed by a guided tour of the house – all very interesting. We then popped down to the fairly new City Creek shopping centre which has a simulated creek running through it complete with fish. It just happens to also have a Macy’s so Mrs L had to pay a visit!
An energetic hike back up the hill to the Senate House to find our parked car completed our day in the city centre. We stopped en route home at the ‘This is the Place’ Heritage Park – this is where, on 24 July 1847, Brigham Young first saw the Salt Lake Valley which would become the Mormon Pioneers new home. We then drove by some of the older houses which were lovely before heading home, once again via the Traverse Ridge Road. Little Sis was designated navigator (she does live here after all), Mr L commented that Little Sis’s navigation skills are obviously genetic…….Mrs L has no idea what he could possibly mean!!
All in all a great day in Salt Lake City. Thanks Little Sis for being a great tour guide.
…….and for any aspiring missionaries you can get your get your missionary kit here – an advert in a local freebie paper!