Salt Lake City was everything is wasn’t supposed to be. In my mind the summers are supposed to be mild and comfortable. By contrast, it was 100 dry, throat parching degrees and the noseeums and mosquitos were murderous! I forget when we are there in the winter that it is a pretty arid climate because all of the deceptive snow. But we soldiered on as we always do and set out to see a mysterious part of the city that I had always been curious about, the Salt Lake Temple of the Jesus Christ of Ladder Day Saints. Located at Temple Square in the heart of the city, it is the largest and most visited Temple in the world.
Although we could not enter because we are not Mormon, we could tour its gorgeous grounds and visit the visitor centers that are located in the North and South of the square. Entering the square was like entering the gates of another city. Ten iron gated acres of the most meticulously maintained flora I had ever seen. The grounds are lovingly cared for by LDS volunteers who are assigned a square area to pamper which they all do so well.
The North visitors center consisted of three floors. On the first floor where you enter, you will find an awesome artists depiction of the life of Jesus from the time of his birth to the crucifixion. You can walk along the slightly concave wall of art until after the depiction of the crucifixion where it leads you up a ramp that spirals to an amazing spherical room that is painted to look like outer space complete with the planets, sun , moon and stars. In the center is Jesus Christ himself standing 11 feet tall welcoming you in. It really is a peacefully serene experience. When you speak, even in a whisper, you can here your own voice bouncing off the the walls which further amplifies the ethereal feel. On the basement floor was where the LDS philosophy and Mormon Bible teachings are showcased. It was interesting to stroll through the dioramas and depictions of the Mormon faith.
The Assembly Hall and The Tabernacle were also points in the square not to miss. Its almost unimaginable to think that the Tabernacle can hold 8,000 people as they listen to the choir and the organ’s 11,000 pipes.
We had to get away from the heat and bugs! We were roasting! So I sought out the help of my well traveled aunt who lives in Park City and she pointed me to a neat little hot spring just north of where we were staying in Honeyville. I know, hot springs in 100 degree weather, no thank you right? Well, Crystal Hot Springs also happens to have a cold spring right next to it. Pretty crazy! So the “hot springs scientists” mix the two until they get vary degrees of temperatures to please any aching muscle. Three pools and four hot tubs with varying temperatures and the highest mineral contents of any spring on Earth are what result. All of that was impressive, but the creme de la creme was the towering water slide that is the crown jewel of the park. The slide was a LONG and winding tube that emptied into a cool pool. It’s just what we needed in the dry heat.
But I’m not going to lie. I was ready to get to a cooler spot. So the next day we headed towards Boise, ID. As we got closer I attempted to book our stay but in call after call, I was told campgrounds were booked. We had not planned on this. So, as a last resort we hunkered down at the local Cracker Barrel after we filled our bellies with biscuits and jelly. This was our second time “urban camping” and we’ve decided that we do really like it. If you take the time to make sure the area is safe it can be a fun little adventure.
We had planned on another night in Boise so we had to find an additional place to stay the next night. We had been thinking of joining Harvest Hosts for a while and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it out. Harvest Hosts is a membership program that allows you to camp in your RV at participating farms, wineries and museums across America for free in exchange for supporting your host. You can support your host by buying a bottle of wine, helping feed the animals on the farm or touring the museum. The cost to join per year is only $40 and you get to pick from hundreds of hosts from coast to coast. So we picked a winery in Burl, ID as our first Harvest Host. We drove up to Snyder Winery and let me say that the other hosts sure do have a lot to live up to. It was perfect in every way. Gorgeous gardens, picturesque scenery and amazing wine. Claudia, the owner and gracious hostess, really hit it out of the park! We sat on the patio and watched the kids blow bubbles in the garden while we had a wine tasting and chose a blend to purchase. Claudia was so fun to chat with and made us feel so at home. We will definitely be adding more of these to our camping repotoire!
In the morning it was time to start making our way down to Colorado. There was just one stop though that I could not pass up, “The Niagra of the West”, aka Shoshone Falls.
The area is loaded with waterfalls of various sizes to hike to and play in. A very arid climate is quenched with underground springs that explode out of the cliffs bordering the Snake River. It was truly gorgeous. But the most exciting part was finding our own private waterfalls to play in. After we left Shoshone Falls, we took some less traveled trails along the springs and encountered a hidden gem off of the trail. Climbing to its source was a little tricky and prickly due to the shifting rocks and thorn bushes but we made it to the top and had a blast playing in its showers.
Idaho really did surprise us and we are looking forward to getting back to explore more. But we needed to get back on the road to get hubby to his meeting in Colorado Springs and make a pit stop at Rocky Mountain National Park. Hmm, Does anyone know if that one is any good? I must YELP it. Ha!!