Dreaming of snow

It’s now the end of August and it’s been a hot summer. Here in central Florida we still have at least 2 more months of heat (although if we are lucky the humidity won’t be so bad in October). I’ve been reliving our trip to Park City in January, dreaming of when it will be cold again, when I found these pictures I took at Shoe Tree Park on our trip. We kept seeing trees full of shoes as we drove around town and while Brett was skiing one day I took a hike over to the park. It’s just one street over from the main drag in Park City so it was easy to find.

There’s no real reason the trees here are full of shoes but it dates back to the 1970’s. Urban legend is that a group of guys were drinking one night and started throwing their shoes in the trees and it became a thing. It’s now part of Park City’s character. The city thins the shoes out of the trees  each fall as new shoes are added.

There is an actual park here with a river and picnic tables. It looked like a small winter wonderland the early morning I was there. I was the only one there but I’m sure it’s busy in the warmer months.

Taking a break with a new friend. Man, I never thought I would miss being bundled up but I’m ready for some cold weather.

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Surrounded by snow covered mountains

Across from Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City is Heritage Park. We stopped by for a quick walk around the park but did not go into the historic village (there was a fee to get in and we didn’t have enough time since we would have to leave for the airport soon).

It was beautiful here and you can go horseback riding in the summer. It’s amazing it’s only 15 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City.

I found a frozen pond and thought that was cool. Wasn’t sure how far down it was frozen so I wasn’t risking walking across although it was tempting.

The monument tells the story of how the Mormons settled in the area. The view from it was amazing, surrounded by snow covered mountains. Back home we have been in the 80’s since the beginning of March so the cold is only a distant memory.

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Not too cold for a quick walk at the zoo

On our last day in Utah in January, we checked out of our rental and headed over to Salt Lake City. We had half a day to kill before our flight so we stopped at the Hogle Zoo. It wasn’t too crowded because you know, who goes to the zoo in Utah in the middle of winter? But, there were a few other people there and it was sunny and mild, around the high 40’s. The animals were all out running around.

The meerkats were staying warm in the sun.

Lots of red pops from the plants. The berries looked interesting and I found out the red bulb was some sort of sumac. I haven’t seen these in Florida.

A few of the wild critters roaming around. Yes, another magpie and a Canadian goose high up on a building.

A cool statue.

Some house sparrows all puffed up trying to stay warm.

The zoo had amazing views of the mountains from every spot. There was an interesting park across the way from the zoo. What is that statue? After walking around we headed over to find out.

More from my winter vacation.

Shots from Deer Valley ski resort in January. The sun had not come up over the mountain when we got there, although it wasn’t that early. I think the slopes had just opened up.

I watched Brett (in the orange jacket) head for the ski lift and then I went off to hike around and look for some things to take pictures of.

I headed up to a nearby hotel that has amazing views of Deer Valley. We stayed here several years before in October when everthing was orange and yellow so it looked very different.

Much later we took a ride around the area before going for an early dinner.

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Snow in the middle of nowhere.

We booked a snowmobiling trip while we were in Park City in January. This was my first time snowmobiling, although Brett was driving and he had been before. We got to the Lodge a little early (it was about 45 minutes outside of Park City) and discovered this beautiful area behind it.

We rode out for a while to flat area where we could ride around. Then we started to head up a mountain.

The view from up high. It was beautiful up on the mountain. We were with a group of about 10 other people and my only regret was that we could not stop more often to take pictures. We had a lot of ground to cover in our 2 hour tour.

Pano with my phone of the area.

The token “vacation” picture of us at the top. Then we zig zagged back down the mountain and back to the lodge. It was a lot of fun and it felt like we were way out in the middle of nowhere.

Jordanelle State Park

Late one afternoon Brett and I headed out of Park City to see the outskirts of town. We were originally headed to Cottonwood Canyon to look for a place to hike around in the snow. We passed this beautiful lake and I told Brett we had to turn around and go back and check it out. It was Jordanelle State Park. A very busy park in the summer with campers and swimmers, there were only a few people out in the snow when we stopped.

This was the prettiest spot we saw during the week we were there. Even prettier than the area where we went snowmobiling. We spent about an hour walking around here and taking in the sites. The lake was only frozen in one small corner of the lake.

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Antelope Island critters

As soon as we drove into Antelope Island in Salt Lake City we saw a northern harrier sitting on the fence. I had only brought my shorter lens with me since I hadn’t really planned on doing a lot of birding. I got out of the jeep and walked over to the edge and he still sat there. I was thinking “I really wish I at least had my 300mm lens”.

Farther down the road I made Brett pull over again. There were tons of ducks napping on the bank of the lake. I think they were northern shovelers but maybe there was some other ducks mixed in.

I crept down the side of the bank and it looked like they were all northern shovelers. We get a few in central Florida during the winter but I had never seen this many in one place. There had to have been over a thousand. Every once in a while a group of them would fly off and circle around, landing back on the bank.

Winding our way around the island I was hoping we’d see some buffalo. We saw several when we were here several years ago.

Here was one, feeding down a hill. We waiting for a while for him to look up but he just kept on eating.

We saw another one out in a field and he was walking towards the road. We stopped and the car coming towards us stopped and watched. He crossed the road and walked close by our jeep as he headed the other way. Brett was ready to take off if he turned and headed towards our jeep.

It was a sunny mild day and hardly anyone at the park. Probably only tourist like us visit the park in the winter. After an afternoon driving around and a little hiking, it was time to head to Park City to see some snow.

Antelope Island

My view from the plane as we headed to Salt Lake City and then Park City for a week of snow. I knew we were getting close as we passed over the mountains covered in snow. As we headed into Salt Lake City, I could see the sheets of ice over the Great Salt Lake. It’s not the salt water that is freezing but rain that has frozen on top as it’s falling over the lake.

A must stop before heading to Park City is Antelope Island. We were there in October of 2018 and it was a lot browner than our last trip. There wasn’t any snow in the area but you could see it far away on the mountains.

Looking back after driving over the long causeway into the park, everything looked brown and dead. It’s a weird thing to see since I’ve been living in central Florida for so long now. Many trees lose their leaves but most of the grass stays green.

The views from anywhere in the park were spectacular.

We did a short hike up to Buffalo Point where you can see all around the island.

Pano from my phone on the causeway as we headed out. We did see some ducks and buffalo on our drive through. More on those later.

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Winter vacation sneak peak

After 2 years of not going anywhere, we booked a trip to Park City, Utah so Brett could snowboard and ski. I’m not a skier but was planning to do a lot of walking around in the snow and just seeing the sights.  Luckily our flights last week were uneventful and on time. We also spent some time doing some tourist things in Salt Lake City. I took a gazilion pictures (okay maybe not that many but almost 1,000) and I’m started to edit them now so I’ll have a lot of vacation posts coming but here’s a sneak peak.

Our first stop was Park City Mountain so Brett could snowboard. After dropping him off here, I headed over to the old historic Park City area to walk around.

The old strip is full of restaurants, shops and artist galleries. It was quiet the morning I was there so I was able to walk around without bumping into too many people. It’s usually packed at night.

We made several road trips outside of Park City including one morning to go snowmobiling.

We spent some time at Antalope Island in Salt Lake City. This buffalo decided to cross the road right in front of us. He was not fazed by cars. Everyone was going slow and stopped to let him cross.

There wasn’t any snow in Salt Lake City but you could still see it on the top of the mountains all around the city. We found a spot to hike around there not to far from the University of Utah. The views are amazing almost anywhere you are in that city.

Needless to say, more to come on our trip.

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Coming home from Utah

As we were heading to the airport in Salt Lake City, we noticed there was snow on the top of the mountain. It must have snowed up there the last night we were there. I was snapping these with my phone as Brett was driving.

On the way home I had a window seat. It was cool to fly over the snow. Bye, bye Salt City. I’ll definitely be back again.

Heading back in to Tampa late that night.

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