From farms to lakes and mountains

Leaving the west coast we headed through orange groves, strawberry fields, almond orchards and plenty of vineyards. All were blooming and fragrant. We planned on heading to Yosemite National Park, but a reservation is required and they are booked out about three months. No problem, we headed instead to Lake Tahoe. Well, slight problem…the mountain roads have random partial closures for roadwork due to fire damage. We sat in traffic on uphill switchbacks for long periods of time. There were beautiful views while we waited.

We arrived in South Lake Tahoe on the California side hoping to take a hike along the Emerald Falls Trail. Once again we were foiled, this time by the ability to find precious parking. Instead, we opted for a lakeside late lunch and toasted the still snow-capped mountains surrounding this stunning lake already filled with water sports adventure-seekers.

Nevada shares Lake Tahoe with California, A few miles down the mountain and the landscape quickly becomes high desert and cowboy country. 80 mph speed limit signs and big open ranches with wild horses, elk and long horn cows dot the landscape. Mountains loom in the distance but never seem to get closer. We stopped in Elko which caters to both miners and cowboys. There is also some mural art dotting the towns alley walls.

As we neared the Utah border, the mountains got bigger, closer and were capped with snow. We stopped for a short but steep hike that gave us a view of both the Wendover Air Force Base and the Bonneville Salt Flats.

We drove out to the Bonneville Salt Flats which are vast, sparkling and optically deceiving. This area is a densely packed salt pan west of the Great Salt Lake. It is extremely flat and has for years been a place where land speed events take place. It’s stark beauty is an awesome sight.

The Great Salt Lake, the largest salt water lake in the Western Hemisphere is massive. We did not stop to get a closer look, instead, we headed to the Utah Valley University in Orem. The Fulton Library has a 200-foot-long stained glass installation depicting the history of knowledge. There are 80 panels with 60,000 pieces of glass. The Roots of Knowledge tells the story of the growth of human knowledge in amazing detail. Over 350 students worked with professional designers and artists to complete the project in 12 years. It was installed in 2016. There are several Easter eggs if you look closely. We found Superman, a 1776 coin and a toilet! I am sure there are many more hidden gems.

Mount Timpanogos is the highest mountain in the Wasatch Range (the western edge of the Rockies). It is in Provo, Utah and has 17 trails including some easy ones. We decided it was time for some hiking. But first, food. Downtown Provo is filled with a very eclectic collection of international restaurants. We strolled around the downtown area and passed almost every type of cuisine including Peruvian, Indian and Native American. We enjoyed a nice dinner and noticed Hruska’s, a Czech bakery. We decided to stop for coffee and kolaches (savory and sweet-filled pastry) for breakfast before leaving town. It was a sweet farewell to Provo.

One thought on “From farms to lakes and mountains

  1. So great that you share all of this! I’m “traveling” the US thru your photos and text.
    You will have to show me the Superman and toilet; I only found the coin.


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