The day in Salt Lake City

Vita writing:

We arrived in Salt Lake City by cars. To better understand the history of the city, we took free guided tour around the Mormon temples. Two girls Mormon missionary sisters – one from Texas, the other from Japan – were our guides. They walked our small group through the temples and told us a little history of the city. Mormons were the ones who founded this city. Some part of the city’s property belongs to them. All tours are organized free of charge. The people were very kind and indignant in their faith.
We were surprised by splendid temples and beautiful fountains in surrounding. And most by the beautiful flower gardens in all possible places. Different pelargoniums, geranium, begonias, etc. There is a golden angel Moroni statue blowing a trumpet on top of most Mormon temples.
The day we arrived there were a lot of weddings taking place. We counted at least 10 pairs of bridal gowns, bridal nurses, wedding guests and children. We tried to go through the crowd one by one to feel the atmosphere of the wedding and celebration. All the young couples photographed whenever they found a nice spot near temples, monuments, fountains and flowers. So were we.
At one of the temples we listened to organ music for a while.
We ate our lunch at the old Mormon restaurant Lion House. The food was simple and tasty like a homemade kitchen. The atmosphere was also pleasant because there were many wedding guests dining there. In ancient times, some 70 people were having their meals at the same time during a hard working day.
Right after our lunch we drove to the top floor of the Mormon headquarter building. Mormon Church is coordinated from this high-rise building all over the world, including Latvia. The guide showed us the city very warmly and told us about the main buildings of the city such as the University, the hospital, etc. It was said that at the beginning when Mormons arrived at this place and began to build the city, there were no trees at all, everyone was planted, thousands of them that we could see everywhere in the city now. We were surprised by beauty and wealthy all around.
Later we walked through the museum learning some history and about Mormon’s persistent work over the years.
All the temples and buildings had same definite somewhat modern but in the same time old style. All the paintings were also painted in their Mormon style.
Later, outside the city, we stopped at Lake Salt.
Then we went on to watch the Twin Falls on Snake river. One of them – the Shoshone falls is even higher than the Niagara Falls.
In the evening we reached our motel on the roadside. The landlord, a kind Mexican, suggested the nearby Ziggy’s place for our dinner. Most of us went there and little later the others were gradually joining us. Some of us ordered a place specialty – the Eclipse hamburger. Ilgonis played ermonik and we sang at the table. We had a very nice evening. We felt tired and went to a peaceful motel to bed.

Monument Valley. Antelope Canyon. Powell Lake Boat Ride.

Rihards writing:

Our run continues. We wake before 5 a.m. to watch the sunrise in Monument valley. There were many like us, both in personal cars and driven in tourist trucks by locals.

We drive on bad dirt road, behind the sign that says “Drive at your own risk”, sometimes scratching the bottoms of some cars, but it was certainly worth it. We saw the rock “monuments” from all sides, but soon the clouds covered the Sun for a pity- the views would have been even more photogenic.

We are leaving at 9 a.m. sharp, as we have reservation to Antelope canyon and we can not be late. We are glad that it was possible to see it at all.

Antelope canyon is impressive, though – it is one of the rare places that look even better in photos than in reality. The place was as crowded as the railway station tunnel in Riga, but in much narrower way. The canyon itself is just couple of hundred metres long, hidden in the ground. When we arrived in visitors centre, I did not even notice it. It looked as a gap in the ground. But from inside- it made a long lasting impression. Well spent USD33.

Later we take a boat trip in Lake Powell for leisure. In an hours ride we go to see the lake and one of the canyons. Later in evening we get one more superview- Colorado river canyon Horseshoe bend.

We continue our run- this time to Utah, to mormons. After almost 3h drive, we arrive in camping in woods after 10 p.m., well after sunset, wishing only to grab something to eat and fall asleep. It later turns out that the first three cars have arrived at a wrong camping area in the darkness, but as the tents are already on- we stay where we are. Agnese’s suggestion to move gets ignored. When we arrived in the camping there was no reception either. In addition to that- it was chilly, ~6°C. But otherwise: “А в остальном, прекрасная маркиза, все хорошо, все хорошо.”.

Supersightseeing objects are now done, if we don’t count the Total Solar eclipse itself, of course.

Agnese comments:
We had booked a tour to the Lower Antelopes canyon as it was said that it’s visited by less people than the Upper one which can be crowded. After those masses and queues that were waiting for the lower one, I don’t even want to imagine what happens at the Upper. We had reserved the tour for a particular time, but in reality we got in about an hour or one and half later – at the beginning we were waiting for half an hour for our guide and then half an hour or an hour we had to stand and wait at the entrance to the underground.

With reservable campgrounds in the US National Parks everything is very easy. When arriving at the campground, need to find your number or the name in the map or on a post where you will also find a sheet of paper with your surname and the date till which the reservation is valid. Of course, the note is not reflective so in the darkness a torch will be useful.