Saturday, July 31, 2010

white pine lake

We've been wanting to do some longer hikes lately, needing to build up our endurance if we're going to hike Timpanogos in September, and the While Pine Lake hike (trailhead up Little Cottonwood Canyon) fit the bill.  A 9.8 mile roundtrip out-and-back with 2,452 feet of elevation gain - topping out at 10,150 feet - this trail is an easily-followable old mining road so the ascent is not nearly as steep as many of the other hikes we've been doing.  That being said, H noted that "it's not that steep, but it's relentless," climbing steadily ... and then we found some steeper sections too.

Getting his feet in snow makes H very happy

The very first part of the trail we'd done already, way back last fall when we climbed to Red Pine Lake.  But once we turned onto the WPL trail it was all new, climbing up through forests, alpine meadows and a rocky glacial bowl, and crossing innumerable streams and creeks.  Much of the hike was shaded, which didn't really matter since the day was fairly cloudy; we were actually grateful for the clouds when we got to the glacial bowl because it is completely exposed.

Such colors!

Not much wildlife: chipmunks, squirrels and my first sighting of a wild pika - aDORable, like a baby rabbit but with little round ears.  But the wildflowers were absolutely spectacular, the best we've seen this summer.  I still have no idea what the names of any of them are called but the colors included white, yellow, lavender, purple, blue, pale pink, magenta, fuschia. Just stunning.

First sight of White Pine Lake

Also stunning: White Pine Lake.  As we rounded a switchback, the lake lay out in front of us, a dark turquoise blue, ringed with stony cliffs.  It's hemmed in by a rock dam and fed by a pretty mountain stream that rushes down a lush grassy slope.  We didn't linger because we were keeping an eye on the weather (smartly, as the afternoon thunderstorms did eventually roll in) and H and I decided to come back up to White Pine Lake on a perfectly clear day so we could explore, fish (they were jumping!) and basically sit around and stare at all the beauty.  Our guidebook says that WPL is one of the prettiest lakes in the state and I can't see how it couldn't be.

We'll go back and get another shot when the sky is clear

It took us 2 hours to go up and 2 hours and 2 minutes to come down (book said 5-7 hours so we obviously kick ass).  The only bad part about this hike is the footing on the trail.  It's very rocky and loose in sections, so even though it wasn't that steep, the descent took us longer than we expected because we had to watch where you stepped.  Still, some stubbed toes were a small price to pay for the scenic jackpot.  I can't wait to do it again.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

gone fishing

To give our aging knees a break, last Sunday we didn't go hiking.  Instead we trucked on up Emigration Canyon to Ruth's Diner, sat on the shady patio and had a Mexican omelette (H: gorgeous color but kind of light on the purported chorizo, but still tasty) and a "Patio Parfait" (A: granola, vanilla yogurt, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries which I pretended was healthy but am sure it wasn't light yogurt).

Then we wound our way past Little Dell Reservoir, through the rolling hills and to East Canyon State Park - getting good use of our state park pass, you see!  This state park is on a reservoir that is open for fishing, swimming and boating, and has picnic and camping areas as well as these cool yurts for rent (even in winter time as they have heat).

It was cooler away from the Salt Lake Valley and we just had a mellow time of it, fishing (not catching), reading, snoozing, people-watching.  There was a light breeze so you could actually sit in the sun for a bit (or a bit much, in my case) and we had snagged a covered picnic table which gave us shade when we needed it.  After watching all the boaters, we realized we'd have to add another piece of to-be-purchased equipment to our list*: another little beater aluminum boat just for excursions like this.

* Working list includes:  mountain bikes, powder skis, camping/backpacking gear, beater beer fridge, Jeep, teardrop trailer ...

Monday, July 26, 2010

o pioneer day

Our first ever Pioneer Day has come and gone.  First of all, wicked nice to get another long weekend in the summer!  Second, while we didn't avail ourselves of all the available Pioneer Day festivities, we did attend a couple of them.  This is what we didn't do/see/attend: the All-Horse Parade in Sandy; Liberty Days festival at This Is The Place Heritage Park; Commemoration Concert by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; Days of '47 Pops Concert; Brother Brigham's Ball (an old-timey costume dance); 5K/10K/marathon; the Sunrise Service; the Days of '47 Parade (or the float preview party); the big fireworks display (although several of our neighbors put on their own shows, much to B's dismay); or the First Encampment Hike.  All of these events/performances took place throughout the month of July - Pioneer Day is BIG here!

What we did do was go to a neighborhood breakfast at one of the parks within walking distance of our house.  Although it was put on by a local ward, our across-the-street neighbors went out of their way to let us know that we were welcome.  We walked down to the park, travel coffee mugs in hand, and were immediately introduced around to many, many people, most of whose names I did not retain (I am terrible at names).  Everyone was super-friendly; we had scrambled eggs, excellent thick cut ham and a fruit salad; and when I finally glanced at my watch, I couldn't believe we'd been chatting with folks for an hour.  Nobody asked us about our beliefs or tried to push theirs on us - not even the ward's bishop! - it was a neighborhood function and they were all just happy to meet us.

The other PD thing we did was go to the final night of the Days of '47 Rodeo.  We got great seats (thanks to my work for the free tickets) in the fifth row, right next to the chutes where the bulls and broncs come out bucking.  We got to see a little of everything, the five or six finalists for each event: barrel-racing, bulldogging (steer wrestling), tie-down roping, team roping, saddle bronc riding, bareback riding and bull riding.  The bull riding wasn't much to write home about as only one of the finalists finished his 8 second ride.  But the saddle broncs were pretty exciting - plus a Utah cowboy won the event!  Nothing like a local boy making good to get the crowd loud.

And yet he managed to stay on

We took a bunch of pictures at the rodeo but, as you see, they're pretty blurry what with all the bucking and jumping and twisting and running and hopping around.  You may not care for rodeos, but you have to admit that these cowboys (and the barrel-racing cowgirls) are good athletes.  And the ones that ride the bulls - they're just plain nuts.

Can you imagine NOT wearing a helmet and
then getting on one of these bulls?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

lofty lakes

The best way to beat the heat out here is to gain some altitude: the temperature drops approximately 3.5˚F for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain.  When you go out to the Uintas as we did recently, and spend the day above 10,000 feet, it's really quite pleasant, only getting up to about 70˚F in the heat of the day (as opposed to 96˚F back down at our house).
Reid's Peak (possibly)

We have been on a wildflower hunt of late since this is the time that they are purportedly peaking, although they may be a little late this year what with all the late snow we had.  We drove to the 32-mile marker on the Mirror Lake scenic byway in the Wasatch National Forest in the Uintas and parked at the Pass Lake trailhead.  We were doing the Lofty Lake Loop (because loops are always better) which is a 4.1 mile loop through forests and mountain meadows, along streams and several lakes.  It's a fairly moderate hike, only steep in a few short sections, but since we were up above 10,000', we were huffing and puffing pretty hard during those sections.

Mountain meadow - can't see the flowers, unfortunately

Here's where my dad will be SO proud of me: at 1.2 miles from the trailhead, we came to a junction where to the right was our planned loop, and to the left was the trail to Cuberant Lake, an out-and-back of 1.8 miles each way.  And I suggested to H that we take the trail to Cuberant Lake because I wanted to hike MORE.  I'm not sure that has ever happened in the history of my life, wanting to hike more.  It was lovely, passing along small ponds and skirting scree slopes, and ending at this small lake ringed by mountains.  Made me wish I'd brought my swim suit.

Kamas Lake

We retraced our steps and got back on the loop trail, gaining a little elevation until we got to Kamas Lake. Gorgeous, just gorgeous: crystal clear waters, trees and green slopes and mountains surrounding, nobody there but us and a fairly brave chipmunk.  We continued on, immediately ascending one of those short but steep sections, emerging in a high mountain meadow full of green grass and wildflowers: red (paintbrushes?), yellow (buttercups?), white, purple, pink and blue.  So beautiful under the cloudless sky and bright sun.

Snow at the end of July!

The next lake was Lofty Lake, nestled in a wide, grassy bowl and being fished by a couple of happy young anglers.  Then we climbed a little more and the terrain changed to rocks and rock slabs.  The views were spectacular, looking down at all sorts of jewel-like lakes, and we even found a small patch of snow - which made H very happy.  (He's already getting excited about next ski season, by the way.)  We finished the loop (plus our side trip) in about 4 hours.

Random notes:
  • H had the clever idea to freeze a half full bladder from the hydration packs the night before and top them off with water in the morning: I remembered to do it (H forgot) and (a) the ice between my shoulder blades helped keep my core cool; and (b) it's awesome to have COLD water on a hike.
  • Sadly, many of the mature lodgepole pine trees in the area are dead, killed by a devastating cyclical infestation of mountain pine beetles.  There's really nothing the Forest Service can do except try to manage the dead trees as best they can.
  • We saw our first mosquitoes at the start of the hike - by a stream, in the shade - and I ended up putting a little repellant on, but they didn't bother H at all.
  • We stopped at a scenic spot, the Provo River Falls, on our way out to have a snack and watch all the folks splashing around in the river.  It's like an easy access Step Brook Falls, for you Maine folks, and the water was way colder than the water in any of the high lakes we'd just been to.
  • Starving after our hike, we went to the Spin Cafe in Heber City (recommended to us by Captain Mike) for a pulled pork sandwich (me) and a burger (H) - yum.  The sides were good too: fresh curly fries with house-made fry sauce and a tasty Mexican bean, avocado and tortilla soup.  The cafe has a full bar and makes their own gelati too.  It looked dee-licious but I was far too full to try.  Next time, for sure!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

free food!

But first we went on a great hike: up to Desolation Lake in Big Cottonwood Canyon, in an attempt to escape the heat in the valley. Valley's hot these days, y'all.

And this trail isn't even known for its wildflowers

We parked at the Mill D North Fork trailhead and retraced some of our steps from our winter hike to Dog Lake.  This time the trail was lush and green with wildflowers everywhere.  Since we were following a creek, it was fairly humid and we were sweating pretty good by the time we got to the trail junction (1.7 miles): left to Dog and right to Desolation.  The trail was in the shade nearly all the way, aspens and evergreens providing a cool respite from this summer sun.  It climbed steadily but never steeply and the footing was great - soft and solid.  These trails - connecting with the Great Western Trail and the Desolation Trail - are popular with mountain bikers and we often had to step off the trail to let them go by. Except for the loose and rocky bits right at the crest of the Spine, I think I could ride [down] what we hiked [up]. I just need a mountain bike.

Yeah, that's not pretty at all

After another 1.9 miles we arrived at the lake, nestled into a pretty bowl.  It wasn't desolate at all - several other hikers and numerous mountain bikers didn't dissuade a curious young mule deer from checking us out.  There's no swimming allowed (yeah, right - like people pay attention to that) because of the watershed issues, but the little lake was extremely inviting and crystal clear.

Bambi! I think he was interested in our snacks

We had a quick snack and then continued up a series of switchbacks until we reached the Great Western Trail up on the ridgeline.  From the ridge we could look right down into the Canyons ski resort and Park City - I wouldn't have thought we were far enough up Big Cottonwood Canyon for that, but geography has never been my strong suit.  We followed the GWT along the ridge a-ways and then turned right at a small cairn, following a lesser used trail down into Beartrap Canyon.  Our guidebook had warned us about this "faint, unmarked trail" and if that cairn hadn't been there, we totally would have missed it.

There's actually some mountain bikers up there on that ridge - trust me

The Beartrap trail (2.2 miles) was much steeper, lushly overgrown and humid in spots, again following creeks and springs through forests and meadows.  We emerged on BCC Road about 1.5 miles up from our car and had to walk back down along the road; we could have retraced our steps but it's always better to make a loop when you can, even if it means a little asphalt.  This was the hottest part of the day - even the "cool" canyon temperatures were nearly 90 and there's no shade on the road - and we were pretty worn out from the heat by the time we reached the car.

And then we went to the Porcupine and since it was my turn to buy, H suggested we have lunch to go along with our pitcher of Full Suspension: a turkey club sandwich for him; and most of a Thai chicken pizza for me (he finished it off).  When we got the bill, we were amazed to see that as per the "Manager's Promo" listed on the check, they'd discounted for both our meals, charging us only for the beer.  We have no idea why - maybe because I was wearing my Porcupine hat? - but you better believe we gave the bartender a BIG tip.  Could it be possible that we're slowly gaining regulars status?

Monday, July 19, 2010

free beer!

We didn't hike this past Saturday so H did a 2-hour morning ride and I dragged B around Dimple Dell for over an hour.  It really is almost resistance training for me, taking the dog for a walk in the summertime: as soon as she's taken care of business she doesn't want to walk anymore as it is Too Hot, and she dawdles and lollygags and drags her feet until I'm basically towing her.  It's fun, really.

Towards the middle of the day we decided to head up to SLC as our calendar informed us that it was "British Field Day" at Liberty Park, a vintage car and motorcycle show.  It's been hot out here - middle to upper 90s (and then some) - and at the park it was not only hot but also humid (probably around 20% but still).  We were definitely sweating as we wandered through the park, looking at Triumph and Morgan motorcycles, adorable original Minis, sleek Jaguars, Austin-Healeys (but no Astin-Martins) and big, butch Land Rovers.  It's funny that all the cars looked like they only got taken out of the garage once or twice a year, but the Land Rovers were clearly used on a regular basis.

The next stop was the Beerhive Pub (128 S. Main St.).  This bar is within walking distance of my work and apparently it's the pub of choice for the firm's younger non-Mormon lawyers.  Although it looked closed from the outside - downtown SLC is a ghost town on a hot Saturday afternoon - there were several people set up at the long bar, and several more came in while we were there.  I couldn't find a link to the Beerhive's web site (if any), which is a shame because they've got a LOT of beers.  Easily fifteen on tap ($4/pint), mostly local Utah brews, and then lots and lots and lots in bottles, some esoteric, some high alcohol, many expensive

Staying true to ourselves, H had a Full Suspension and I had a Moab Dead Horse ale.  The best part about the Beerhive is the ice bar: a strip of ice that runs the length of the bar so you can keep your drink cold.  The weirdest part: the bartender we had.  Dude was a little manic - friendly enough but jittering all over the place.  On the plus side, he didn't charge us for two of the beers we had.  Whether that was by accident or on purpose we couldn't tell, but since that hasn't happened to us since we left our regular brewpub in Maine ... well, gift horse/mouth.  When that happens, you tip big and feel grateful.

Correction:  H has reminded me that the manic bartender did, in fact, tell us that he'd give H his beers for free as the Full Suspension keg was almost out and he was trying to use up a pitcher of the stuff.  So we're not totally opportunistic freeloaders.  And we still left a big tip.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

united nations

Anybody who knows H and me will be entirely unsurprised to hear that we have gotten a big monthly calendar which we have hung on the wall in the mudroom and which we continually update with all the things there are to do around here.  Not the hiking, but the culture type stuff like soccer or football games, REI sales, small town festivals, live music, special exhibitions, etc.  The goal is not to necessarily do everything on the calendar, but we always want to know what our options are so we never sit around saying, "Gosh, what should we do now?"

Last weekend was a case in point.  After all the after the going in to work and the weeding and the bike riding and the saving of kittens and cyclists on Saturday, we still couldn't go hiking because of a 20% chance of thunderstorms here in the valley.  Captain Mike told us that if there's any percentage chance of inclement weather in the valley, then there will definitely be inclement weather in the mountains.  And we listen to Captain Mike (who, by the way, we're hoping will soon take us back up to the very first real hike we did out here last fall in the Uintas because he says the wildflowers there are just incredible).  Since we couldn't risk going hiking, we took a look at our calendar and found: a Samoan festival in a West Valley City park; and a Peruvian festival in a Centerville park.  These were my submissions to the calendar, obviously, each promising food, music, crafts and lots of people. 

H being a good sport, we slathered on the sunscreen, set the GPS and headed off to Centennial Park in WVC.  We found the park - a big one, with a waterpark, great ballfields and a huge rec center - but no Samoan festival.  Nothing, nada, not even a banner*.  Hmph.  Luckily, we knew from our calendar about that Peruvian festival and off we went to Centerville (a suburban town a little bit north of SLC).  We found that park and lo and behold, there were some actual festivities: about four people in traditional costume (traditional Peruvian incorporates day-glo colors?) thinking about doing a dance, some limp empanadas and a bucket of chicha, and some extremely sedate festival goers sprawled under any shade trees they could find.  Perhaps we missed the fun and raucous part of the festival - we were there at the very tail end of it, afterall - but what we found wasn't really doing it for us.  At least this one actually existed.

Sunday was much the same weather-wise and we opted out of hiking again.  But we did consult the calendar and then head up to Snowbird for some free bluegrass music at the Mountain Music Festival.  Sitting on a stone wall in the wonderful sunshine, drinking 24-oz. PBR tallboys (and kicking ourselves for not having brought our own cooler as they were clearly allowed), and listening to The Badly Bent, a bluegrass band out of Durango, Colorado ... it doesn't get much better than that.  It might have taken a while for us to find it, and what we did end up with was all-American, but we did manage to come up with some culture that weekend.

* BTW: the newspaper reprinted the blurb about the Samoan festival again this week, this time giving the dates as July 14-17.  Might have been nice to have gotten it right the first time, folks.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

a solid treat

On Saturday, after the going in to work and the weeding and the bike riding and the saving of kittens and cyclists and the futile running about (more on that later), we rightly decided we needed a treat.  We thus found ourselves at Nielsen's Frozen Custard (3918 Highland Drive, Holladay). 

I am only recently attuned to the delights of frozen custard: we didn't have any growing up in Maine - we had real ice cream, soft-serve and frozen yogurt, but no frozen custard. H, on the other hand, was well-versed in frozen custard, having grown up near an Abbott's in upstate New York.

What Nielsen's is known for - and they are well, well known - is their "concrete," a blend-in/Blizzard-ish mix of frozen custard and any number of toppings.  The ordering process is posted on the wall: pick your size, regular or mini:  H got regular, I got mini; choose your flavor custard: H got vanilla, I got chocolate; pick your flavoring and/or topping[s]: H got hot fudge, I got crushed Butterfinger candy.  Then the whole mess is blended together, but without any milk so it's thick ... hence, concrete.

Our concretes were delicious - much better than the Iceberg milkshake I had - as frozen custard has a much richer, creamier mouth-feel than soft serve ice cream.  Our only complaint was that it was SO hot out that they melted really quickly and so we had to eat them really quickly, with no time to savor.  That's okay, though: now that we know what we're in for - yummy deliciousness - I expect we'll go back quite often.

Monday, July 12, 2010

it's a jungle out there

H had to go into the office for a bit this Saturday.  While he was doing that. I took it upon myself to weed the backyard.  For two hours.  This is what it looked like after one hour:

The green things along the trellis are actually tomato
plants, beans and morning glories; the green
things in the stone path are weeds.

You see why I whinge and moan about weeding so much?  It's not a big backyard (thank goodness) and half of it is covered by the deck (thank goodness).  The right side, which you can't really see because it's in the shade, is a mulched bed with mostly flowers and it's not too too bad.  The remainder is a disaster.  I managed to cover most of the yard with weed-block fabric a while ago and it is doing its job like a champ; wherever I haven't put weed-block fabric is like the Garden of Eden, if said Garden were nothing but weeds.

I keep telling myself that it's just our first year in the house - first just over six months, technically - and that I don't have to have everything perfect immediately.  It's good to take your time, assess the space and figure out what you want to do.

I'm thinking a couple of big raised beds.  Two or three them so we can plant more veggies/drought-resistant native plants (while there is a sprinklerhead in the back, it's busted so we've just turned it off and I have to water the current veggies by hand).  The soil is actually quite good here - way better than what I had at my house back east - and if we rake up the gravel path, there should be a fair amount of usable soil in addition to all that simmering under the weed-block.  Then the rest of the yard can be river rocks (H is partial to the reddish ones) with perhaps some larger pavers for a walkway.  On top of loads and loads of weed-block fabric, of course.  I certainly don't want to have to keep up with these weeding marathons.

What do you think?  Who among you is landscape/garden-minded and can offer me some ideas?  I need low maintenance, low water and strong afternoon sun tolerant inspirations!

Saturday, July 10, 2010


B should really get all the credit.  If she had waited longer to poop on ourwalk this morning, we would have gone our usual route.  But she pooped early and I didn't feel like toting the little plastic baggie around for our whole walk so we changed course and went to the closest park (where there are lots of garbage cans). 

After depositing the baggie, we continued around the path on the edge of the park and as we headed towards some large pine trees, I saw some movement.  Two movements, actually: two fuzzy, gray and white kittens jumping around under the trees.  Unable to resist, I called "here kitty-kitty" and the kittens made a beeline for me, pulling up short when they noticed the dog.  I made B sit, told her to "leave it!" and kept her on a short lead, and the kitties came right up to me.  The littler one started purring right away, punctuated with growls at B (who, to her credit, was being Very Very Good); the slightly bigger one allowed me to scrinch behind his ears, but he growled incessantly: "Don't even think about it, you dog you." 

B and I continued on our walk and the kittens ran back to their tree.  As we went around the park, I looked into peoples' backyards, hoping to find some sign that this kittens belonged to somebody.  They were thin but not scrawny, obviously used to people and too little to be out on their own.  Someone had obviously dumped them.

When we got back to the house, I cut some holes in the top of a paper carton, lined it with a towel and entered the address of the city's animal shelter into the GPS.  The kittens were still there when I got back to the park but this time they'd climbed the tree and were huddled there together on a branch.  I lifted them out of the tree which they didn't mind, except that a man walking a husky stopped to watch, at which point the slightly larger one started hissing and plunged his claws into my shoulder.  It's been a long time since I've held a kitten: they can be sharp!

They didn't much care for being shut in a box, complaining and reaching their teeny little paws out through the ventilation holes, but when we got to the shelter they were calm and curious and the little one started up his massive purr again.  The animal control officer asked me where I'd found them - and I also mentioned that I'd put signs up at the park, describing the kittens and where I'd taken them - and then took them out of my box and back into the shelter.  And that was it: kittens in my life for just under an hour.  I would think that someone will be quick to adopt them - they clearly weren't feral - and I'm glad they didn't spend any longer out on their own.  I'm also glad B pooped when she did or we never would have found them.

Oh, and H had a good samaritan moment of his own while all this was happening.  He had just covered 5 miles out of his planned 30 mile bike ride when he came upon a cyclist who was walking: flat tire.  He offered to help; the guy asked if he had a spare tube.  H did, and even though it was his only one, he gave it to the guy - and luckily made it the remainder 25 miles of his own ride without needing it.

We decided that between the two of us we'd racked up SO many karmic points today that we could treat ourselves to some ice cream.  But that's another post.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

pause to regroup

I realize things have gotten a little sparse around here.  It's not that I'm sick of posting; it's just that H has been working a lot (poor guy) and we haven't been able to rack up many new adventures to share with all y'all.  We are working to remedy that, never fear: upcoming hikes, my decision to explore those shave ice shacks, summer festivals ... it's all in the works.

In the meantime, I'm certainly no food photographer but check out this [slightly overexposed because of the flash (but better than the blurry shot with no flash)] photo of summertime in a bowl.  These little gems are compliments of my work friend, Susan from Vermont; her husband, known as "Farmer Bob," apparently has an epic backyard garden and these are the last strawberries of the season.  She tells me that the raspberries are on the verge now - I'd better make sure I tell her that I like those too.

Daiquiris, shortcake, cheesecake or just straight out of the bowl - such choices!

Monday, July 5, 2010

is there still snow at alta?

You better believe there is!  We decided to do an easier hike today since we've sort of been slacking off and not getting all that much exercise lately, and rather than try something tough and regret it, a shorter, less steep hike to ease us back into things seemed like a good idea.  Going back up to Cecret Lake at Alta was just the ticket.  We'd been up to the lake on our July exploratory trip to Utah a couple years ago; now that we'd skied up there as well, we were interested to see if things looked at all familiar.

Looking across Cecret Lake to the Supreme lift

We drove on up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Alta, parking at the Alta Town Park[ing lot].  The Cecret Lake Trail is normally 1.6 miles round trip from the Albion Basin Campground but the campground is not yet open, so this added well over four miles to the expedition as we had to slog 3 miles up a dirt U.S. Forest Service road to even get to the campground.  The return trip was shorter since we didn't go back down the road but cut through on ski trails.

Devil's Castle - there were ski tracks in that chute

When we had been to Cecret Lake before, the wildflowers were glorious.  We're still a little early - by a couple of weeks - so they hadn't popped out yet.  And there's still a lot of snow, in the trees and up in the bowls.  The day was gorgeous, clear and blue and sunny, with temperatures in the mid 60s up there (low 80s in the valley); there was a breeze, however, that was quite chilly as it crossed over the snow and lake ice.

Sugarloaf - where we traversed across and plummeted
down with the Maine skiers this spring

It was really quite fun picking out where we'd skied not three months before, although the cliffs are really a lot cliffy-er with no snow to soften them!  After we got back to the parking lot, we each had a beer while gazing back into Alta's bowls and no matter how much he professes to love summer, I just know this little hike has completely whetted H's appetite for skiing.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

iceberg dead ahead!

Since many Utahns shy away from the standard everyday vices - drinkin', smokin' and cussin' - they have raised desserts to an art form as a way to cut loose a little.  Particularly ice cream, or so I hear, and now that it's really summer (90+ all week!), I feel that it's important for me to do the research and report back to you here.  There's little sno-cone/shave ice shacks popping up all over the place, and Nielsen's Frozen Custard ("home of concrete!") calling my name, but the first entry is the Iceberg Drive Inn, now celebrating its 50th birthday.

There are locations all over the state (eleven, in fact), one in Idaho and two in California, but I went to the Original Iceberg at 3900 South, 900 East.  It's hard to miss: red and white striped, right on the corner, with a drive-thru window, walk-up window, inside counter and several umbrella-ed tables out front.  The Iceberg serves your typical fried fare - burgers, fried chicken bits, hot dogs, corn dogs, fries, etc. - but what it is renowned for is its shakes. 

When I started at my job, several people told me that the Iceberg is absolutely, positively, THE place for milkshakes in the valley.  They come in two sizes, "mini" and "regular," and the mini was about twice as big as I needed it to be.  I ordered a chocolate malted shake (a classic, and my total favorite), waited a few minutes and then was flabbergasted when the counter clerk handed me a medium sized cup piled high with ice cream, so high, in fact (inches above the rim) that the medium cup was sitting in a large cup to catch the drips. 

It was huge, this mini, and ridiculously thick.  Like, never in a million years was I ever going to consume this through a straw - which is why the shakes come with spoons.  I actually got in my car, stopped at three different shops, leaving my partially-eaten shake in said car in 90+ degree heat, and it STILL hadn't melted completely after the third stop.  Now that's thick.  (I acutally prefer a milkshake that you can sip through a straw as opposed to a mountain of soft serve whipped with malt and a smidgen of milk, but criminy, am I really going to complain about this?  No, no I am not.)

The best part about the Iceberg celebrating its 50th birthday this year is that if you go in on your birthday, and show proof of it, you get a free shake.  I believe this promotion lasts until March 2011, so you better believe H and I are going to take advantage on our respective birthdays.  Swallowing another year will go down much more smoothly with a superthick chocolate malted.