Tuesday, October 30, 2012

hiking in solitude

We had a little snow storm last week that dropped a tantalizing amount of snow in the mountains (and a couple of inches on our lawn, which didn't last long): nearly three feet north of SLC, at Powder Mountain and surrounds, and about a foot and a half in our own Cottonwood Canyons.  On Saturday we decided that we should go up and tromp around in it.  One of our very first hikes when we moved here was up at Silver Lake, trying to find Lake Solitude; we never found it that day, but since then we've skied that area enough that we figured we could locate it this time.

Just leaving Silver Lake

We started up at the Solitude Nordic Center in Brighton, by Silver Lake, taking the well-beaten lake path around to where the hiking/MTBing trails split off.  We'd brought our snowshoes but decided not to use them - this would ultimately be the right decision, although we did break trail in a couple of places where they would have been useful.  But I was wearing plastic bags between my hiking boots and my wool-socked feet and a little knee-deep snow wasn't going to be an issue.

Snow in the trees - so pretty

Just like the first time we tried to find Lake Solitude, we started following a trail ... that we eventually lost.  But we recognized Solitude Ski Resort's Sunrise chair, crossing under it and walking across the top of North Star to Zip-A-Dee, which comes out above the Summit chair.  From there we knew what to do, making our way through the trees to little Lake Solitude (not quite frozen over).  H suggested that we make this hike a loop and since a loop is always better than an out-and-back, I readily agreed.

Under the Summit chair

Our route - up Mine/Shaft and through the Headwall Forest to Sol-Bright - had been traveled before: we walked in ski-, boot-, snowshoe- and deer-tracks.  We went over the pass between Solitude and Brighton, continuing along the less-trodden Sol-Bright trail and then turning off on the well-packed trail back to Silver Lake.  It was a beautiful day, sunny and fairly warm, and we had the place pretty much to ourselves for a couple of glorious hours.

Along Sol-Bright

Saturday, October 27, 2012

new boots

Oops! A couple days got away from me without posting - sorry about that.  We've been doing stuff, I promise.

Case in point:  H and I were 3+ years overdue to buy new ski boots so we recently found our way to the Sport Loft (4678 S. Highland Drive, Holladay).  It was purely by chance that we landed there - after an internet search for "Salt Lake City ski boot fitters" or somesuch - we're very glad we did.  It was quite an experience.  Neither of us has ever had custom boot fitting before and we didn't know what to expect.

Trying not to move during 
the vacuum process

What you get at the Sport Loft, which has been in business and run by the same family for 40 years, is the undivided attention of Earl and Jeremy Middlemiss, father and son, for three hours as they ask exhaustive questions about your skiing (current equipment, days on the hill, skill level, technique), measure your feet and observe your stance.  Then they try you in three or four different brands of ski boots, each time asking careful questions about the fit at multiple places on your feet.  When a boot is decided upon, the next step is to pad your feet, depending upon your physiology's idiosyncrasies, and then heat-mold the boot liners around your feet.  We each also got custom orthotics to correct our stances and, in my case, compensate for my fallen arches.  My new boots, Fischer Trinity 110s, went one step further and I had to stand motionless in a heat/vacuum contraption for fifteen minutes as the shell was customized to my feet.  H got to take his new Lange RX-130s home with him that night.  My boots had to cool and cure on a flat surface for 24 hours, so I didn't go back until the next day to try them on and get the bindings on both pairs of skis adjusted.

New boots!  So pretty!

Custom boot-fitting at the Sport Loft is not particularly cheap but the level of service you get is seemingly unprecedented.  Earl and Jeremy paid attention only to us for the duration of our fittings and took their time answering all our questions.  When I went back for my boots, Earl walked out to the car with me and insisted on carrying not only my boots for me, but also both pairs of my skis.  He even picked out new ski socks for me!  There was a ski instructor (19 years at Alta, this year at Canyons) in the shop finishing up his fitting when H and I showed up initially, and he told us that without a doubt, Earl and Jeremy are the best fitters anywhere.  H and I were certainly impressed with the personalized service we got and now, more than ever, we're excited to get on the hill and see what our new boots can do.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

rocky shores

It was still kind of overcast and chilly on Sunday so we headed back up to town to give the Hogle Zoo another go.  It was busy but not packed and we headed in.  Quite a bit has changed since we were there last: the whole center of the zoo is under construction for the new 4.5 acre "African Savanna" exhibit, which will house giraffes, zebra, ostrich, small antelope and lions, presumably not all together.  The drawing of the proposed exhibit looked nice, a much better habitat for the giraffes (speaking of the giraffes, a new baby was born just a month ago) and the lions will be a new addition to the zoo.  During this construction, a number of animals have been moved, unavailable for viewing or maybe transferred to other zoos: the bison, peccaries, camels, black bears and mountain lions.  We do hope they bring the bear and the cougar back as it's important to have native Utah animals on display.

Those fences are electrified so the 
zoo's neighbors don't worry about escapees

But on to the real reason we went to the zoo - the new Rocky Shores exhibit.  The newest completed exhibit, they've done a really nice job of creating interesting habitats for the new river otters, sea lions, harbor seals, polar bear and grizzly bears.  Rizzo, the polar bear, has a big habitat to herself, with plenty of room to swim and coming up close to the viewing area to the delight of all the people watching.  Next door, the seals and sea lions share a pool, although it's big enough that they don't have to interact if they don't want to; the two young sea lions were having a ball, wrestling with each other underwater, porpoising up out of the water, chasing each other; the older sea lion, who I think is blind, kept out of their way but was clearly at home, swimming easily through the habitat.

Bear on the move

Most impressive were the three grizzly bear cubs, two females and one male, who don't seem much like cubs anymore.  The zoo acquired them from the wild near Yellowstone after their mother killed a camper and had to be put down.  These siblings are going to be huge and their habitat is better fortified than any others in the zoo.  One of the cubs was more active than the other two and walked up to the viewing window several times to look at the people looking at him; his claws were easily over two inches long and extremely intimidating.  It's very clear that these are wild animals.

Can you see those claws?  Yeesh ...

We ended up spending a couple of hours walking around and looking at all the animals.  I think they've done a very nice job with the Rocky Shores exhibit and would expect more quality work for the African Savanna exhibit as well.  The Hogle Zoo doesn't have much space to work with so I'm glad to see them making the most of what they have for their animals.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

columbus power plant

We keep hoping that it'll warm up enough to go MTBing one more time before the season ends, but this weekend was not that weekend.  So on Saturday we did a new hike up Little Cottonwood Canyon - well, not really a hike but more like walking and exploring someplace we hadn't been before.  H had printed off Charles Keller's "Faint Trails in the Wasatch" article from the October Rambler (online magazine put out by the Wasatch Mountain Club) about the ruins of a power plant along the LCC creek which gave the town of Alta its first electric lights in 1904.

Little Cottonwood Creek

Although the walk in to the Columbus power plant is really quite short, between walking up and down the Little Cottonwood Canyon Trail and rock-hopping along the creek (a skill I'd forgotten I had; I get it from my dad who's really good at it) we managed to put in about 5 miles.  To get to the trailhead you go up the LCC road, following the mile markers to around 6.5 miles.  There's a small marking area on the south side of the highway and an old road leads down to the LCC Trail. Turn left at the trail and walk up no more than half a mile.

Nearly all that's left of Hogum Fork

As I said, though, we did quite a bit of walking first since the LCC is so pretty this time of year.  There were some other folks out walking and quite a lot of MTBers - although I would not care to try that trail since it's steady climbing with long stretches of loose rocks.  We were amazed at how many other trails were down in there too; what a lot of the MTBers seemed to be doing was biking up the LCC Trail and then descending on these other trails ... which I absolutely would never do on a bike, what with the roots and rocks and drops over stumps and banked turns.  They all looked like they were having fun tho'.

The wall along the south bank

Before we made it up to the power plant ruins, we found the old town of Hogum Fork on White's Flat.  Back in its heyday, this town of nearly 60 folk had a store, a stable, two saloons, a smithy and a boarding house.  Now there are only scattered stones, old nails and bits of rusted metal and hundreds of shards of pottery to show that anyone ever lived there.

Western wall of the Columbus power plant

The Columbus Power Plant, on the south bank of the creek, must have been a beautiful building but very little is left now.  The western wall is the most intact, with a doorway and two windows still standing, and half a circular window rising above.  They had built a massive stone wall along the south bank of the creek to shore up the plant.  One of two stone and concrete pipes, large enough for me to easily have crawled through, still runs from the creek up into the plant building; the other one has collapsed about ten feet in.  Judging from the remnants of the abutments, it looks as though there had been at least two bridges across the stream.  The water runs so high and so fast in the spring, however, that the bridges must have been difficult to maintain and, once the power plant was abandoned, probably washed away in short order.

The other end comes up inside the power plant

Anyone who is interested in the history of the area should go check out the Columbus ruins.  It's a pretty place and just a short walk for us now, and it's humbling to think how difficult it must have been for the miners and loggers and millworkers who used live up there not so long ago.  [Note:  All history in this post was learned from Charles Keller's "Faint Trails" article and his book, The Lady in the Ore Bucket.  Any errors are mine.]

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Last weekend (and also this coming weekend, so get on it) Snowbird was holding their Customer Appreciation Days where not only are the "Summer Activities" still open (alpine slide, ropes course, etc.) but if you bring a hygiene or non-perishable food item for their food drive to benefit the Utah Food Bank, you'll get a free ticket for a tram ride.  (You can also obtain a tram ticket for a $3 donation which goes to Wasatch Adaptive Sports.)  The tram tickets are usually $16.00 each, so we thought a couple of cans of soup for a ride up 2,900 vertical feet was a very good deal.

There's a little snow in them thar hills

The forecast was for clear and chilly, with wind blowing 5-10 m.p.h.  We layered up (I wore one of the more terrible outfits I've come up with in recent history - note to self to buy running tights that won't bag in the knee like my mid-weight long-johns do) and so of course it wasn't nearly as cool as predicted.  The tram drops its passengers at the top of Hidden Peak (approx. 10,980 ft.) and most people mill around, looking at the fabulous views, and then get back on for the ride down.  We were going to do that too, but first we had two more peaks to bag.

Very fabulous outfit, on Hidden Peak

Our first goal was Mount Baldy which is the dividing line between Snowbird and Alta.  The Mt. Baldy Trail is a 1.5 mile walk along an unmaintained ridge trail; you have to walk down from Hidden Peak a ways, and then back up to the Baldy summit (11,068 ft.).  H is always talking about how he wants to ski the Baldy Chutes from the summit down into the Ballroom at Alta - which is tough to time because there's either too much snow to open the chutes, or not enough snow to open the chutes - well, after standing at the top of the mountain and looking down into said Chutes, I'm pretty sure there's no way I'm ever going to ski them.  I realize that they'll be more manageable packed full of snow but still, holy hell, STEEP and NARROW with lots of ROCKS on either side.  H just stood there, peeking over the edge, and laughing nervously.

I wish you could really see how steep this is

We walked down the eastern ridge of Mount Baldy, which is where the Alta skiers boot-pack up if they're coming from the Sugarloaf side.  The trail was short but steep, rocky and loose in several spots; it's probably much better to hike with ten feet of snow on top of it.  We crossed the saddle to the Sugarloaf chairlift, then followed a faint trail up the western side of Sugarloaf Peak itself (11,051 ft.).  There was still some snow here, covering the steep, rocky switchbacks.  The views from the top were wonderful, looking across at the spiny Devil's Castle, down at Cecret Lake, out in the distance to the snow-covered Uintas.  The sun peeked from behind the fast-moving clouds long enough for us to even take a good self-portrait.

Smiles atop Sugarloaf Peak

Now all we had to do was get back up to Hidden Peak.  We descended from Sugarloaf to the saddle, then continued walking down, down, down along a dirt Snowbird access road before it finally started switchbacking up.  We forgot to take the GPS with us, unfortunately, so I can't tell you exactly how many elevation feet we went up and down over the course of our 2.5 hour hike, but it seemed like rather a lot.  By the time we got back up to the tram station, we felt we'd earned our tram ride back down to Snowbird Base.  And that was our little excursion: three* 11,000+ peaks in one afternoon.

* Rounding up Hidden Peak just a bit is allowed.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

nature, history

This past Saturday was the first rainy-ish day, pretty much since July.  (I'm sure that's not actually true but we really haven't had very many precipitous days this year.)  Since hiking and MTBing didn't seem like that much fun in the mud and rain sprinkles, we checked out our city options: we haven't been to the Hogle Zoo since they installed the new Rocky Shores exhibit and we also hadn't been to the new Natural History Museum of Utah.  When we did a drive-by at the zoo, it was completely packed even with the threat of rain - so off to the Museum we went, where we got a parking space right in the front row.

The last time we went to the Natural History Museum (almost two years ago to the day), it was in its old space.  The spectacular new museum, nestled in the foothills near the U, at 301 Wakara Way, opened last November.  Built out of local Utah stone and copper, the building is both gorgeous and efficient, utilizing solar panels to feed a portion of its electricity needs, rooftop plantings, water-runoff systems to supply water for the grounds and low light pollution fixtures.  The building was designed to blend into its foothills surroundings and although we didn't see it on a sunny day, it's truly beautiful.

This would have been stunning with a blue sky

Inside, the collections have plenty of room to spread out and be explored: the utterly impressive paleontology  exhibit (I didn't recognize hardly any of the dinosaur names what with all the new discoveries), native anthropology, geology, entomology and vertebrate animals, minerals and gems and botany.  It's all quite impressive.  I did wish for something about Utah's water issues - where it comes from, how it's used, where it goes - I would think that since we're the second driest state in the country, it would be something to talk about.

There's a cafe and a museum shop that are open to the public without an entrance fee; and outside, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail runs right across the museum's walkway.  There's a lot going on up there at the Museum, plenty to learn and do in a beautiful setting - everyone should be sure to check it out, rainy Saturday or whenever.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

not bad for a hole in the ground

What else we could see was Dead Horse Point State Park and the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park.

View from DHPSP

I know it's not quite as impressive as the Big Ditch, the Grand Canyon, but dang if it's not amazing in its own right.  So many colors and you can see forever - both out to the horizon and down-down-down to the river below.

Brave little tree, determined to grow right there
(on the edge of a cliff)

We had lunch at one of DHPSP's lovely picnic tables and were entertained by the active and bold chipmunks who have clearly learned that picnicking people = food.  They were sorely disappointed when we didn't drop anything.

The Shafer Trail coming up from the White Rim
to the Canyonlands access road

I think I love this part of Utah so much because it is just so different than the New England landscape I grew up in.  Both are beautiful but I just love the openness of the sky, the quality of the light and the desert colors.


That evening, our last in Moab, we had dinner out on the porch of Pasta Jay's on Main Street (we did have to ask them to turn the heaters on - it cools off quick in the desert once the sun goes down).  It wasn't the best meal ever - the pesto cream sauce on my gnocchi was salty and far too rich; the others, who had tomato-based sauces, fared better - but recounting the stunning scenery of the day more than made up for it.

Friday, October 12, 2012

arches redux

We went back to Arches first thing (well, after breakfast and a coffee run) and headed straight out to the end of the auto road, where you can walk out to Landscape Arch, picnic at Devil's Garden, etc.

The view from the parking lot is even good

It was a gorgeous, clear day - but about 25 degrees colder than the day before.  When we got out of the car to walk down to Pine Tree Arch, the wind whistled through the stone fins and I immediately wished I'd worn (a) longer pants and (b) socks.

Brrrr in the shade!

Although a tour bus had just dismounted and its hordes were milling around at the trailhead, we got down to Pine Tree Arch alone and amazingly had it all to ourselves.

Contemplating Pine Tree Arch

H and I were really thrilled that the skies were so clear after our previous Moab trip had been so hazy with the wildfire smoke.

Looking out past Pine Tree Arch

We swung by the Delicate Arch trailhead to check out the petroglyphs and the historic Wolfe Ranch.  Amazing to think that a whole family - grandfather, parents, children - lived in that tiny one room cabin.  But it was a good place to raise stock since there was a year-round water source, so you work with what you've got.

L and P pose in front of their new Utah vacation home

The park was starting to get busy again.  It was time to move on and see what else we could see.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

return to moab

The Three Gossips and the Sheep

When H's parents arrived Wednesday afternoon, they were pretty tired from a long day of travelling but they rallied and went out with us to the Porcupine to celebrate our third move-iversary - three years in Utah already!  We didn't stay out late partying, though, because the next morning we were getting up and going back to Moab.

Double Arch - so cool

We had rented a condo this time so B could go with us, staying at the Cedar Breaks condos on 20 South 400 East, just four blocks off Main Street.  The condo was fine, suiting our purposes, but the walls were very, very thin - if we'd had loud neighbors, it would have been bad.  We had a late lunch at the Moab Brewery and then tried to do a long scenic loop through the La Sal mountains, finally turning around after our dirt road dead-ended.

View of L and P from Double Arch

Arches National Park was our first stop Friday.  We took our time, stopping at every single scenic turn-out and overlook and walking out to lots of arches.  For some reason, H and I hadn't gone out to the Windows area on prior trips: the parking was tight on that side so we walked out to Double Arch instead, which is just spectacular.  There were lots of tourists, both European and American, and lots of bus tours and by the time we got out to the near overlook for Delicate Arch, the place was swarming with people.  But the great thing about having our national parks pass is that when Arches gets too busy, you can leave and come back first thing in the morning the next day!

L and P at Delicate Arch overlook

We had packed sandwiches and beer for lunch, and found a shady picnic table down along Potash Road by the Colorado River, not far from the petroglyphs.  We followed Potash to the end, discovering where the Shafer Trail starts up but deciding that we didn't really need to take the rental car up it.  After a break back at the condo, we had dinner at Zax on Main Street, sitting in the busy bar and enjoying the Full Suspension on tap.  The evening brought card games and cocktails back at the condo, with a return to Arches to look forward to for the morning.

Potash Road petroglyphs

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

pardon the interruption

But our houseguests - H's folks - just left and we're sorting through the 100+ Moab area photos from our long weekend down there.  Yes, we were just there but we really love that part of the state so much that H's parents wanted to see what it was all about.  And if you give me a day or so, I'll share with you what it was all about too.  Thanks for your patience!

Friday, October 5, 2012

two canyon day

H had a full day planned for us on Sunday.  First he got on his road bike and rode from our house to the top of Emigration Canyon and then back down again, so B and I could meet him at Ruth's Diner for breakfast.  B waited in the car, of course, but she was pretty happy to get a car ride.  We opted for a table inside as H was a little chilled; the patio was full of breakfasters, despite it being in the shade.  I had the French toast (I think they add vanilla to the egg batter, which is a nice touch) and H had the Ruth's Big Breakfast (hash browns, cheddar cheese, two eggs, bacon and sausage) because he'd earned it after 33 miles.

Still some green leaves holding on

It was still early enough when we got back to the house that we decided a hike was in order.  We got our gear together and were back out the door, leaving poor B to pout at being left behind, and on the White Pine   Lake trail by 12:15 p.m.  We passed just a few people on the lower part of the trail, before the turnoff to Red Pine Lake, and after that only saw hikers coming back down.  Although generally past peak, the foliage was still pretty colorful, especially the aspens contrasted against the dark evergreens.

Spectacular aspens

There were a few people up on the shores of the lake, fishing, camping, enjoying a snack.  The lake itself is very low, although whether it's because of the dearth of snow this year or just because it's the end of summer  we don't know; it wasn't the spectacular turquoise color we'd seen the first time we hiked up there two years ago.  It's still awful pretty.

White Pine Lake

The breeze was brisk up there at 10,000 feet so we didn't linger too long, wanting to avoid getting chilled.  We descended quickly: the trail is steady but never really steep, and the grade means you can move right along even with the rocky footing.  We heard a pika; H saw two deer moving away from the trail as he went by; and right before we got back to the trailhead, we heard a ruckus in the trees - a sort of grunting moan - which turned out to be at least two young moose.  We didn't get a picture because the underbrush was so thick, but now we know what foraging moose sound like.  Hike stats: 8.2 miles (per signage) or 9.8 miles (per book) or 10.5 miles (per our GPS) round trip; approx. 4 hrs. 20 min.

Nice day for a hike

When we got back to the car, we decided to head up to Alta to pick up our 2012-2013 season passes.  The guy in the sales office was super-friendly and - surprise! - originally from Maine, moved out here four years ago.  We got our passes and then got the cooler from the car, toasting the upcoming ski season sitting on a picnic table outside the lodge.

By Sunday night, after the dishes from dinner were done, we looked at each other, wondering where the weekend had gone.  Keeping busy, keeping active, getting outside - it goes so fast!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

back in the valley

It wasn't Moab but we got back on our MTBs Saturday and did our favorite mile loop on the Round Valley trails in Park City.  The weather was great - warm enough but cool in the breeze or when the sun went behind a cloud - a far cry from some of the blistering days we slogged through this summer.  I don't know whether it was the cooler temperatures or whether I had some confidence leftover from Moab or whether I was happy to be on trails that I was familiar with, but I rode really well (and didn't crash at all!): faster and stronger and better than I have been riding.  I even think I'm up to riding eight of the sixteen Rambler switchbacks (but not eight in a row).

Cruising through the sagebrush

After our ride we had quick beers, then drove home over Guardsman Pass.  I much prefer going over the pass - through Deer Valley, over the ridge and down Big Cottonwood Canyon - to driving on I-80, which scares the bejeezus out of me.  It takes about the same amount of time, maybe five minutes longer over the pass, but is well worth it for the fact that I don't have twelve heart attacks from all the crazy highway drivers. Bit of news: they have paved Guardsman now, where it used to be dirt from the Midway road up to the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon.  The asphalt is extremely rough and H says there's no way he'd want to ride a road bike on it, but it is paved.  I'm sure it's for erosion and dust control but it still makes me kind of sad.  I like dirt roads.

Ride stats:  Distance: 18.61 mi.; time: 1 hr. 54 min.; H's max. speed: 29.5 m.p.h.; total climbing: 1,447 ft.

Monday, October 1, 2012

bikes in the desert, pt. 4

Sunday, our last day in Moab.  For breakfast, we walked a few blocks north on Main Street to the Eklecticafe (353 N. Main), an incredibly funky little breakfast and lunch spot in an old ranch house.  There are only about three tables inside, but there's seating on the lovely wide porch and plenty of tables in a shaded patio to the side.  It's a mellow place: you stake out a table then go inside to order, where they give you a plastic vegetable to put on your table so they know who gets what when they bring out your food.  There are several jars of serve yourself water and coffee urns for the refills.  Despite all the tofu on the menu (they seem big on tofu, brown rice, seaweed and soy butter, but have the real stuff too), I went with the biscuits and gravy and H ordered the huevos rancheros.  The food was good - homemade country gravy for sure - but the portions were way too big.  Neither of us could finish our plates; H, who is a good eater, scarcely put away half of his.  We felt guilty for wasting so much food - next time we'll split something.

We biked around that on the slickrock

After we went back and packed up our room, we had time for a short MTB ride, driving north out of town for sixteen miles, then turning in at the Mill Canyon Road.  We parked in the enormous dirt parking lot and jumped on our bikes, heading down the Lower Monitor & Merrimac Trail.  The Monitor and the Merrimac are the names of two enormous rock formations that look rather like the Civil War ironclad warships; we weren't heading out that far, but the trail we took had great views of them.

Heading towards the slickrock

This short (6.62 mi. per our GPS; 7.5 mi. per the trail description) lollipop (an out-and-back with a loop at the end) trail got mixed reviews from us.  The out-and-back portion was a pain in the neck because it was riddled with deep pockets of sand that forced us to get off and push.  But once we got out on the slickrock, it was just wonderful.  This is great slickrock for beginners:  wide and rolling, with no cliffs or technical sections.  It was really fun because even though the trail was marked with blazes, you could ride around and pick your own line across the rock.  The trail encircled a huge chunk of rock looming out of the slickrock, then looped around by a seasonal creek bed - at the bottom of which we saw big animal tracks, bear or mountain lion perhaps as they seemed far too big for coyotes.

Trail-side self-portrait

We finished up our ride, finished up a couple of PBRs and piled back into the truck to head for home.  We had one more stop to make, though: lunch at Ray's Tavern in Green River.  Now, there's not much going on in little Green River except for melon stands (Green River melons are fabulous) and Ray's Tavern (25 Broadway), and both were hopping on that early Sunday afternoon.  Ray's serves really good burgers and great hand-cut fries (and beer).  Yes, there are some other things on the menu - I think I heard someone order a grilled chicken sandwich - but you stop at Ray's for the burgers.  There were all kinds of folks stopping there: locals, old folks driving through, bikers, folks out on the patio with their dog.  I had a cheeseburger with fries, H had a bacon-cheeseburger with fries (there is coleslaw for people who don't want fries but the fries are fantastic).  They didn't ask how we wanted them cooked and they were delicious, charred on the outside and still juicy.  I would totally stop there again.

Eat at Ray's!

And that was our long weekend.  After demolishing our burgers, we headed north, retrieved B from the kennel, still damp from her bath, and went home to do about eight loads of laundry ... and figure out when we'd get to go back to Moab.