out to the great salt lake

We adventured out toward the Great Salt Lake with friends. We stopped at Golden Spike Historic Site, where the transcontinental railroad completed it’s route across the western U.S. They brought out the two engine cars and we got to see (and hear) them driving along the tracks.

Spiral Jetty is not too far from there, out on a dirt road. It’s a land art piece that is at the edge of the lake, except with current drought conditions it’s about a half mile from the water line. The kids enjoyed walking the spiral path and looking for lizards who love to sun themselves on the dark volcanic rocks there.

The Great Salt Lake is very salty indeed there, so much so that the bottom of the lake is huge, hard crystals of salt that are tough on feet. It’s pink from the halophilic (salt loving) bacteria and very beautiful and strange looking. The pink waves and white land is so striking! I dug out a few crystals while I was walking around.

They make for sharp stepping and cuts and scrapes.

In a few places there was foam from the waves which was also sparkly with super high salt concentrations. Fascinating!

The kids enjoyed it until the salt began bothering their scrapes and cuts and stinging.

We even spotted some more wild horses!

Afterward we stopped at Willard Bay on the way home which is another part of the lake but is very much less salty so better for swimming. We washed off the salt and the kids played games in the water until it was undeniably late and we headed home.


Snow Canyon with friends

We camped this weekend in Snow Canyon. It was beautiful, though a bit less rain would have been nice.

We hiked and explored in Snow Canyon, in red sand and petrified dunes and twisting trees.

We played card games huddled under the awnings of the trailers during the rain storms.

The kids biked and scooted and dug in the sand and played soccer and found secret hiding spots.

We ventured into nearby Zion National Park for a day and went to weeping rock and then far out to where less people and trails are, to the Many Pools area. There had been so much rain recently and the snow is still melting so the pools were bigger, more and there were streams between most of them this time. We didn’t spot any frogs or tadpoles but it was overcast so much harder to see the bottom of the pools.

It was early for wildflowers still but we saw a few paintbrush and other flowers like this desert sage blooming already. The kids were smelling the leaves of various plants and deciding if they liked the scents or not.

We also spotted ravens, cottontail rabbits, songbirds and a few lizards.

The kids saw lots of sandstone and volcanic rock and were quite interested in how it’s formed and how different the volcanic rock is, smooth, rough, bubbly, pockmarked.

We all went out to dinner one night and Gavin lost his first baby molar! He was quite surprised.

On our last afternoon a few of us stayed later and found the lava tubes and climbed down into the caverns and then back out. It was really neat! We took flashlights, lowered ourselves into the opening and then descended into the dark tunnels and caverns below. It was dark down inside the caverns. We came out of a different hole nearby when we were done exploring.

Here’s the entrance we went into:

Someone on the trip asked Gavin what his favorite part of camping was and he answered, “Going new places that I’ve never been before and exploring.” His least favorite part was, “Being away from my computer.”

I asked Lilah the same thing. Her favorite part was, “Being with our family is most of it. Also exploring and climbing on rocks.” Her least favorite part was, “Getting in freezing cold water.” She kept walking in the wet sand after the rain and checking the temperature of puddles.



They started with coolmathgames.com.

Then we made a visit to the pediatrician.  Afterward we played with legos and listened to Ella Fitzgerald.  We discovered a new favorite song:  Chew, chew chew (Chew Your Bubblegum)! We’ve been singing it off and on all day.

We watched Fossil Rock Anthem, a parody of Party Rock Anthem that’s about geology and that led to some other kids fossil videos on youtube.

After lunch we went Tracy Aviary.


We watched the ducks and pelicans and identified a few species.  We looked at the Andean Condor, Andy and the golden and bald eagles.  One of the golden eagles was having lunch while we watched.  We read about how the eagles they have at our Aviary were injured in the wild and wouldn’t have survived on their own.

We made our way toward the the flamingos, swans and macaws and met a peacock on the walk.  Lilah was so proud that she was able to say still enough and silent enough not to scare it away.

Then we had a nice long rest in the shady Owl Forest to look at all the different owls and watched some Patagonian parrots fly from keeper to keeper for treats.  We even got to see an owl fly in practice for their bird show.  It was beautiful.


Lilah did some feather collecting.



We spotted a quail bunch wandering and the kids crept slowly and quietly after them to get a better look.



After we got home, we ate and then headed to our neighborhood park for a bit of swinging and biking to end the day.