The subway

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Several weeks ago Kiwi and I were lucky enough to be invited last minute to join some friends to visit Zion national park. We had a back country permit – which takes a few months to apply for, meaning we could do the subway route.

We didn’t know much about it, but were keen to visit Zion and spent some time walking. Driving down we enjoyed listening to all our old cd’s – road trip!! And watching the scenery, change from mountains, to more rural landscape, to more mountains. The rocks getting redder as we drove further south.

We arrived at Zion and had a drive aorund a small loop showing us some of the canyons and ridges that we would be walking in the next day. We set up for the night next to a small dried river bed on the dusty sand. Camping for a night is always fun, I can last about that long before I miss my shower and bed! After a big dinner where we discovered ‘English fries’ total lies, these were like refried potato bites or tator totes, that tasted horrible, and were definitely not ‘English’! I think I confused the waitress when I asked, by then my accent often does that. We settled for the night and the night sky was spectacular. With a clear sky and little light pollution we were able to see the milky way and several large shooting stars.

Bright and early the next morning we headed further into the canyon and set off for the day. The subway route can be accessed either from the top  which involved abseiling through the canyon, swimming through some very cold water and walking down the canyon – this sounded great fun be we didn’t really have the right equipment, so we went top up. This involved walking along the river for most of the route. Normally I HATE having wet feet, especially when walking, but as it was so hot and sunny, walking in cool water was refreshing. The landscape was beautiful, we were surrounded either side as we walked further into the canyon. At the end of the trail the canyon narrows and looks a bit like a subway, inside is a waterfall and pools of cool ice melt. We were so hot we jumped in screamed several times and then dried within half hour of walking again, we later found out that it was just over 40 degrees in the sun. We slowly walked back out spotting trout in the river and admiring the scenery.

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Moose spotting

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Last weekend in an effort to escape the heat – not that I’m complaining, Kiwi and I ventured up Big Cottonwood Canyon to check out some of the ski resorts and for a little wander. The ski resorts are currently unsurprising mostly closed, but the large grass runs are still visible giving us a good idea of what they might be like once the snow arrives.

We had a walk around silver lake and twin peaks lake. Silver lake is an easy hike that has a pretty board walk all around the lake. the lake itself had a lot of algae in it and a lot of marsh land, very pretty but smaller than I had imagined. We ventured off the main board walk and climbed up a naked ski run to get to twin lakes. It was quite strange being on a ski run with no snow, there will still piste signs and you had a fair idea of how high up the snow must cover in winter.

The hikes were both pretty and a much pleasant temperature. Whilst walking we didn’t see many of the windflowers that are often found around this canyon but we spotted plenty of wildlife. Whilst up on the trail we encountered a strange mice/rabbit creature with no tails. These turned out to be Pika’s, and we had found a colony of them jumping around a rocky area. They make the weirdest sounds. Whilst walking we bumped into lots of enthusiastic hikers who were keen to know how much further the walk was as well as where we were both from – I guess we must sound odd given neither of us have an American accent. Mine certainly sees the more obvious, apart from when people think I’m Australian! And someone asked me if I was from Newcastle last week – I have a very standard English accent with a west country twang, so I was quite bemused.

Some of the walkers had told us that they had spotted a moose further down, so with great excitement we scurried down the trail to walk around the lake, moose spotting. We weren’t disappointed, we spotted our first moose from the other side of the lake – they are huge! As we got closer we found two more chilling out in the grass. They are extremely large, and pretty creatures. We also saw evidence of a beaver damn, although sadly no beavers, and as of yet no bear spottings.

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The good bits #12

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So far August is hurtling past, and amid the long hot and sunny days we have been exploring our new home.The kitties have settled well and are enjoying having more windows, and importantly large window sills to sprawl along. They seem to approve and already have several favourite spots.

First impressions of this city are that is is vibrant, so green, and has lots to do, especially outdoor activities. the weather has been glorious, for once I feel like I’ve had a proper summer, its consistently 30+ degrees, with a few instances nearer 40 – which has been a little too warm for my delicate rose skin. Aside from avoiding the mid afternoon, I have however been enjoying living in shorts and flip flops, and making the most of the local outdoor pool, ice cream and abundance of vitamin D. I created a summer wardrobe, although if I’m honest I’m really looking forward to ‘fall’ which is my favourite time of year. I cant wait to be cold enough to wrap up warm again!

Kiwi and I have begun exploring our new state, with a few trips south and west. Visiting one of the islands on the great salt lake, eating our body weight in ice cream shakes (almost) and hiking to some darling hot pools.

We also had a fantastic time in the UK, and reminisced about home (well for me anyway) complete with bbq’s, Pimms, camping and enjoying a few days around our old stomping ground. It’s hard to believe I landed in the US a whole year ago – it’s  a bit longer for Kiwi. In some ways it really doesn’t feel like I’ve been gone that long, but I guess we have crammed a lot into the last year.

As we approach Labour day – this is effectively like August bank holiday weekend, it’s officially the end of the summer but as Americans get less holidays its even bigger! we will be exploring more of the national parks whilst the weather is still good. We are looking into ski season passes for the approaching season and finding some local treasures.

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