WEDNESDAY After spending the night at a great LaQuinta in Orem, Utah, south of Salt Lake City, Roger and Susie dropped Terri and I off at the SLC airport where I rented a car. Terri had time before her afternoon flight to Knoxville for some quick sightseeing and lunch. So we headed downtown, and walked around Temple Square.
Temple Square is of course the heart of Mormon Country and consists of a 35 acre, three block area in the heart of downtown SLC. The most visible structure is the Salt Lake Temple, shown here being photographed by Terri. It was completed in 1853. Nearby (but not visible) is the Salt Lake Tabernacle which was completed in 1867; it seats 6,500 people and has remarkable acoustics (said to be designed by Young based on a human mouth) and a 11,623 pipe organ.
You can't go into the Temple, but you can wander the grounds outside that were a simply beautiful flower garden, with every color of flower imaginable.
Thousands of flowers covered the three block area around the buildings.
Several statues of famous church leaders were at Temple Square, including this one of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church. The "founding" is dubious if you've ever looked at Mormon history, and he was an adulterer and under-age sex pervert (29-33 wives, 7 under 18), but at the same time was charismatic and started a religion that's impressive in many ways (other than theology).
The Temple forms the perfect background for the flowers.
And also beautiful is this pool with the Temple again in the background.
At the top of the Temple is this statue of the Angel Moroni whom Joseph Smith alleged visited him and delivered to him the golden plates on which the Book of Mormon was written, which plates of course later mysteriously disappeared without anyone except possibly one friend having seen them.
More flowers, maybe the best display I've ever seen.
Here's Terri photographing the flowers.
Also at Temple Square is the Beehive House, so named for the beehive on top of the house (see next photo); it was the official residence of Brigham Young, the 2nd president of the Mormon Church.
And next door is the conveniently located Lion House where Brigham Young kept his 29 wives and 57-61 (they're not sure) children. Absolutely appalling until you realize that the patriarchs did the same thing in the King Jame's Bible that millions of Christians believe is the absolute truth for living one's life.
Finally a statute of Brigham Young at Temple Square. Certainly one of the great leaders of modern times for shepherding the Mormons on their trek westward from Iowa and Missouri to the Great Basin of Utah, for which is is maybe justifiably called the "American Moses."
After lunch I delievered Terri back to the airport for her flight, checked into an EcnoLodge (reserved mainly for its convenient location near greenways and restaurants), and spend the rest of the afternoon at the SLC REI, always a great place to check out new backpacking equipment.
What a background for an outdoor store!
And now some food photographs, since SLC has numerous vegetarian or vegetarian friendly restaurants that I love. This is probably the favorite of everyone on the trip, vegetarian or not, the Red Iguana, home of "Killer Mexican Food." Terri and I had lunch here and I came back on Friday for another lunch.
Terri and I had margaritas to start with, mine was a jalapeño margarita. Then this entree dish, called Enmoladas, corn tortillas filled with beans and topped with strawberry mole, simply perfect.
And Terri had a chicken dish topped with the same great mole.
For dessert some sopapillas; we were so full we couldn't eat more than a couple each.
I had dinner Wednesday at an old favorite, Sage's Cafe, a vegan restaurant that's always good and has consistently been picked at SLC's best vegetarian place; but maybe they slipped a slight notch on this trip with an entree that wasn't spiced enough.
It sounded and looked wonderful, a Cuban dish called Picadillo, but it was so bland I had to ask for some hot sauce.
On the other hand, this "sister" restaurant to Sage's was perfect for a late breakfast on Thursday after jogging the Jordan River Greenway; it's also vegan and is called the Vertical Diner.
What's not to love about vegan soysage, home fries, scrambled tofu, and vegan gravy over biscuits, with fruit jam. The iPhone picture doesn't do it justice, as it was perfect.
Ate dinner Thursday night at the Oasis Cafe, which is vegetarian friendly.
It was pretty fancy as evidenced by the bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (which strangely I had to ask for after seeing everyone else with some; the water dumbly said some people didn't want it so they waited for customers to ask). The service wasn't so good but the food was great.
My entree was wonderful, Eggplant Parmesan Risotto; only problem was there simply wasn't enough of it.
And finally Friday's early lunch was back at the Red Iguana. This has to be the most popular restaurant in town, there was always a line outside every time I saw it during their open hours, like here when I was leaving. I only got in by showing up when they opened at 11 am (it was right across the street from my motel).
On Wednesday the waitress said probably the mole special on Friday would be mango mole, which I really wanted to try, but unfortunately they did it on Thursday. However, I was quite happy with some of the standard negro mole shown here over Emmoladas.
I jogged about 5 miles on the Jordan River Greenway on both Thursday and Friday mornings. These photos were taken on Thursday on the portion of the greenway in South Salt Lake and West Valley.
Here's a GPS track on Google Earth of Thursday's jog on a great greenway that follows the Jordan River through residential, commercial, and park areas. I started at Redwood Park and went south to a turn-around past James Madison Park.
What a backdrop for a greenway, the Wasatch Mountains. The Jordan River Greenway starts north of Salt Lake City, runs through the city and on south to Provo, quite a distance and most of it is complete, a real accomplishment for such a densely populated area.
Following are photos, on a gray and overcast day, of some of the sights along the greenway, from wildlife to scenery to flowers to people using it.
A photo of me on the greenway.
I turned around and headed back a ways beyond this trailhead sign.
Here's an ingenious water fountain designed to save money; in Knoxville and many cities the "modern" fountain really has three fountains, one for adults, one for children, and one for dogs. There's only one fountain here at a height adults can bend over and use but which children can still reach and a dog dish attached to the fountain. I'm sure they spend a lot less on their fountains.
At this point the greenway is on both sides of the river; I'm returning on the east side after starting on the west side. This is a train that's part of the SLC TRAX light rail system; it is one of the best I've seen with several lines connecting much of the valley; they're currently building a connection from downtown to the airport.
And back to the start at Redwood Park on the other side of the river.
On Friday morning I jogged another 5 miles on the portion of the Jordan River Greenway located in SLC, from Franklin School to 1700 S Street.
Thursday afternoon I did some history, mainly visiting the "This Is The Place" Heritage Park, which has several items of interest including this memorial to the Mormon Infantry.
500 Mormons known as "The Mormon Infantry" responded to a call for volunteers during the Mexican War of 1846 to show their support for the US; they were then in Iowa. Their subsequent 1,850 mile march to California and then back to Utah has been called the longest infantry march in history (I would think Alexander the Great's march from Greece to India would be longer).
And the National Pony Express Monument. The famous Pony Express route passed right through downtown Salt Lake City.
The route of the Pony Express stretched from St. Joseph, MO, to Sacramento, CA, where the mail was placed on a boat and taken down the Sacramento River to San Francisco, a distance of around 2,000 miles. Delivery times was about 10 days, a vast improvement over the past.
A sign memorializes the accomplishments of the Pony Express. After an amazingly short run, starting in April of 1861, the last run was in October of the same year, caused somewhat by the completion of the transcontinental telegraph.
Here's the sculptured monument of a Pony Express rider exchange.
This is a re-creation of a Pony Express relay station. located every 10-15 miles and at which the riders would pick up fresh horses; home stations were located every 75-100 miles at which riders were changed.
Finally the principal part of the site is a memorial to the end of the Mormon's famous trek westward to avoid religious persecution, from Missouri and Iowa to the Great Salt Lake Valley. It's an impressive story and whatever their religious beliefs, the Mormons were heroic and brave people. And their trek westward certainly compares with the Biblical story of Moses in the wilderness of the Sinai Desert.
Called the "Mormon Exodus," the treks lasted from 1846 to 1869 when the first transcontinental railroad was finished through Salt Lake City. Around 70,000 Mormons traveled over 1,000 miles, in wagon trails or hand cart brigades (shown here), to get to the Great Basin.
This is the "This Is The Place" memorial, located where the Mormons came down Emigration Valley and entered into the Great Salt Lake Valley.
Brigham Young and lieutenants at the top of the monument. It is here that he is supposed to have uttered the famous words "This is the place. We will plant the soles of our feet here."
Sculptures reflecting the various peoples who have passed through/settled in the valley of the Great Salt Lake are located at the bottom of the monument, here the Mormon Exodus wagon train pioneers.
A video of Emigration Valley and the "This Is The Place" Monument.
Inside the Visitor Center is a great panoramic mural depicting the westward trek of the Mormons, here on the trail in the Great Plains.
And starting down Emigration Canyon to the valley of the Great Salt Lake.
A movie of the entire mural, which starts on the Missouri River in Iowa.
After visiting the Heritage Park, I drove up Emigration Canyon from which the Mormons entered the Great Basin; this is looking down Emigration Canyon toward the valley.
A colorful bumper-sticker car in SLC.
Flying back to Knoxville on Friday, with portions of the Great Salt Lake visible behind the plane's wing.
There was fresh snow in the Wasatch Range over the Salt Lake Valley; it rained some Thursday night in SLC but fell as snow in the mountains.
A closer look at the new snow.