Monday, October 15, 2012

Utah's Autumn Glory

2 weekends ago the hubby and I took our friends for a cruise through the Wasatch National Forest and Uintas to show them the leaves.  They moved here from Florida this February, and therefore haven't had a chance to experience Utah in all of its Autumn Glory.
Eli and I are specialists in Utah's Autumn Glory.
We bust out our fall decorations at the absolute earliest that we see as autumn appropriate.
We go for hikes through the leaves and drink apple cider like nobody's business, and on autumn weekends we run errands and drive around town with the windows down, bundled up in scarves and beanies.  And we drive through the mountains.  It is the absolute best.
This year the leaves have been different--the colors appeared sooner than usual and because we had such a hot and dry summer the colors are not as vibrant as usual.
But we love them anyway.

We started our tour by heading up Provo Canyon and checking out Bridal Veil Falls, a childhood favorite of mine.
My family used to go up to the little shop there on the weekends and buy lollipops and hike the trail, which is an old railroad track.  We actually found railroad spikes as kids that my dad obligingly helped us dig out and take home.
I loved the story behind the waterfall and the creepy, Sleepy Hollow atmosphere walking down those quiet, dirt paths with the trees closing in on either side.

There was a tram on a cable that went up to a restaurant on the cliff near the falls, but it burned down, adding to the stories of hauntings and a possible curse.
And then, just a few years ago, an avalanche destroyed everything else.  The remnants of the shop where we bought sandwiches and lollipops is still there, all boarded up and covered with NO TRESPASSING signs.  It is rather tragic. 
The beautiful iron bridge that used to go over Provo River is rusty and twisted and lies on one side of the river, never to be crossed again.
There were a few people there, bundled up, observing the fish in the pond below the falls, and I reminisced about the swarming, murmuring crowd that used to flood the paths.

But instead of being sad about it,
I marveled at the fact that I can even reminisce about these things.  I am blessed with memory, and I am at an age where I can remember "how things used to be."
It is strange, and exciting, and so much fun to be able to point things out that strangers to a place wouldn't recognize in the wreckage, and be able to share my history and stories with them.  That is a big reason I love history itself, as a concept and philosophy, and living, breathing thing--not just a subject or a college major.
It is all about the stories.

We then continued up past Deer Creek and stopped in Midway--an adorable Swiss town where we had thin, flavorful Italian-style pizza at a Mom and Pop restaurant.

Then we took the twisting, gravelly road that takes you to the tippy tippy top of the mountains, to visit Cascade Springs.
Cascade Springs is such a unique place.  My parents took us there as kids and for years I would dream about those tiered boardwalks with gentle springs and dozens of waterfalls, not knowing where this magical place was.
And when I realized, I took Eli there for his first time and we walked hand and hand up and down the paths, allowing ourselves to be wowed by nature's creations.
And we couldn't wait to go back !

I picked up several of the beautiful, colorful leaves while we were there and brought them home to scatter around the apartment.
They are the cheapest and best kind of fall decoration!

After Cascade Springs, we took the back road from Heber to Park City, going through the aspen groves along the way.  Many of them had already lost their leaves, but those that hadn't were a brilliant yellow and the sky was an eye-watering bright blue.

We stopped at the No Name Saloon, our favorite, in Park City for a few GIANT Boulevard Wheats and some jalapeno poppers.

When we got back to the valley we went to the China Buffet (pronounced booo-fay, naturally) and gorged ourselves on cream cheese wontons, Mongolian beef, orange chicken, soup, tea, and much, much more.  It was delicious and overwhelming and put us into food comas for Sunday evening.

In other words, the perfect autumn day.

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