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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

10 Best Utah Labor Day Destinations

Flaming Gorge Reservoir - photo by Dave Webb
Labor Day Weekend is fast approaching and it will bring wonderful opportunities to get out and enjoy Utah destinations.

As the official last holiday of summer, I always think of outdoor recreation when I plan Labor Day activities. But that doesn't have to be the case. There are plenty of theatrical productions, concerts, movies, shopping malls, restaurants and pubs available for those so inclined. For this blog I'll focus on outdoor recreation, thank you.

National parks, most state parks and other popular recreation areas will be crowded, but will still offer plenty of opportunity to have fun. Crowds can actually be part of the attraction. I enjoy interacting with international tourists in Zion Park and other area. But, even more, I enjoy escaping congestion and finding solitude. That is a prime factor as I zeroed in on recommended destinations.

The weather should be nice. Warm but not scorching hot. The weatherman has added a few clouds to the prognosis for Saturday and Sunday, so watch as we get closer, but at this writing it looks like conditions will be wonderful.

Here are some extra helps:
Ok, here are my top 10 choices:
  • Lake Powell - Arrive early and boat away from the marinas to avoid the crush.
  • High Uintas - Highway 150 and road-accessible lakes will be crowded. Backpack to find solitude.
  • Flaming Gorge - Excellent fishing, perfect conditions and not as many people as Powell.
  • Skyline Drive - This is a high-elevation area, not as well know, protected by rough roads. It offer great camping and fun fishing in small lakes.
  • San Rafael Swell - Temple Mountain and Little Wildhorse will be crowded. Get into the backcountry.
  • Grand Staircase Escalante - Hole In the Rock slot canyons will have quite a few people but you can drive jeep roads or hike to get away from it all.
  • Canyonlands National Park - This place is huge and backcountry roads are rough, but it is a great place to escape on busy holiday weekends.
  • Capitol Reef National Park - There is scenery here the rivals Zion, but far fewer people.
  • Monument Valley - I never get tired of this scenic treasure.
  • Great Salt Lake - Often overlooked, this is a wonderful water for sailing, kayaking and just relaxing on the beach.

– Dave Webb

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Crowdsourced Art Features Landscapes In Utah And Around The US

Zion National Park posted this to Twitter today: Need inspiration to go out and “See America”? Maybe the http://seeamericaproject.com art campaign will help!

The See America Art Project has motivated many people to create art depicting our national parks and other scenic areas, and - hopefully - it will spur more people to visit these places. See the images here. You can buy the images on poster, greeting cards, mugs, t-shirts and other items.

Here is background info:

In the 1930's, as part of the New Deal efforts to put artists to work, our government commissioned posters to showcase the country's most stunning natural features under the banner: "See America." These iconic images put thousands of artists to work, helped link our natural landscape with our American identity, and live on nearly 100 years later as celebrated works of art.

...But there are hundreds more parks deserving of beautiful artwork to bring the great outdoors and our country's history to a new generation. That’s why we're launching a crowdsourced campaign seeking new "See America" posters highlighting the beauty of our natural landscape and historic sites in all 50 states.

Many Utah parks and landscapes are depicted - you can see them here. In any crowdsourcing effort, there are bound to be miss-identifications. Two such images quickly caught my eye. They are mistakenly featured in the Utah section:

Horseshoe Bend, on the Colorado River just below Lake Powell, in actually in Arizona.

Vermillion Cliffs National Monument is also in Arizona. The cliffs extend into Utah, into Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Some landscapes extend into two states and naturally appear on both state pages. These include Monument Valley, Hovenweep, Glen Canyon and Dinosaur National Monument.

The images are impressive.

Moab, Utah, A Bikers' Playground

Matador Network just posted the video below to its youtube channel. It's fun and worth watching.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Soldier Hollow Classic Sheep Dog Championship Runs Aug 21 – Sept 1

This video is a few years old, but provides a great
overview of the festival.
Have you ever seen well-trained sheep dogs in action? It is amazing to watch them take control of a flock of sheep, rounding them up and herding them into a corral.

Sheep dogs, other dogs and critters will be celebrated over Labor Day Weekend when Soldier Hollow hosts its annual Classic Sheep Dog Championship & Festival. Some of the best dogs from around the world are brought to Heber Valley to compete in the events.

Spectators enjoy watching the dogs work, watching other impressive animals, and participating in events.

Some other activities at the festival include:
  • Splash dogs – Where pets compete for distance, diving from a dock into a 40 foot pool. This is open to all dogs, from great danes to toy poodles.
  • Police K-9 dogs and their handlers.
  • Raptors - Earthwings brings exciting birds of prey: hawks, owls and falcons to the soldier hollow classic for both daily shows and 1-on-1 opportunities between their shows.
  • Native American rug show - for four days Linda Meyers and the good people from adopt a native elder, will bring you beautiful tapestries and the Navajo weavers who produce them.
  • Kid and family activities.
  • International food.
IFA Country Festival

The IFA Country Festival is held in conjunction with the Soldier Hollow Classic. It celebrates the products, activities and traditions of rural America. The festival provided this information:

This year the Soldier Hollow Classic's I.F.A. Country Festival will offer an even wider assortment of crafts, activities and demonstrations. Dozens of top artisans from throughout the west will offer a wide array of handmade products. Demonstrations will include weaving, spinning, sheepdog training and police K9 demonstrations. Our Navajo Rug Show, sponsored by Adopt-a-Native Elder, features finely woven traditional Navajo textiles and demonstrations by Navajo artisans. Families will also enjoy a wide array of animal demonstrations and activities including an the Earthwings Raptor Show, Wild Wonders Animal Show, and daily bagpipe performances by the Salt Lake Scots! See the daily schedules for days and times of individual performances.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The World's 25 Best Ski Towns

Adventure.NationalGeographic.com has another best in the world article, this time listing the 25 best ski towns. As expected, Park City is included.

With summer winding down, leaves will soon be turning and ski enthusiasts will be pining for snow. It won't be long before the first flakes fall in the high country. Now's the time to plan ski trips and to make lodging reservations.

The ski magazines will soon be out with the best of lists and Utah annually places very well. We usually dominate for best snow and best accessibility. Deer Valley often tops lists for best overall resort, with Snowbird and other Utah resorts close behind.

Here's the ski towns list. See the article for details about each location.
  • Girdwood, Alaska
  • Fernie, British Columbia, Canada
  • Zermatt, Switzerland
  • Bozeman, Montana
  • Chamonix, France
  • Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
  • Whitefish, Montana
  • Crested Butte, Colorado
  • Aspen, Colorado
  • Niseko, Japan
  • Kitzbühel, Austria
  • Bend, Oregon
  • Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
  • Taos, New Mexico
  • Park City, Utah
  • Truckee, California
  • Whistler, British Columbia
  • North Conway, New Hampshire
  • Banff, Canada
  • Steamboat Springs, Colorado
  • Telluride, Colorado
  • Jackson, Wyoming
  • Wanaka, New Zealand
  • Stowe, Vermont
  • Ketchum, Idaho

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Visit Salt Lake City, Where You Are Free To Leave At Any Time

Salt Lake City is the "Crossroads of the West," the gateway to attractions in every direction. It is about halfway between Yellowstone and Grand Teton to the north and Utah's Mighty 5 national parks to the south.

The city stars in a new tourism video which reminds views they are free to leave at any time, but if the choose to stay there is plenty to see and do.

The unique campaign is attracting media attention and news reports, which undoubtedly will boost its success.

We pulled the video at right from TheOnioin.com, which also ran this article about the campaign

It will be interesting to see the numbers.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Big, New Dinosaur Trackway To Be Made Public Near Moab

"New" is kind of a misnomer for a bunch of rocks holding fossilized dinosaur footprints. But this one is newly discovered, and will be new to the public when it opens, probably in October.

KSL TV has this report about the discovery, and about the work to prepare the walkway for its public debut. The video at right is from KSL, and we offer excerpts below.

Moab area dinosaur tracks were in the news earlier this year when someone stole a footprint from a well-known trackway. That person has since been arrested but the track was never recovered (because it was dumped into the Colorado River and divers couldn't find it). It will be interesting to see how this new site is presented and protected.

Here are the excerpts:

The tracks were first discovered by a Moab resident in 2009 but the location of the discovery-site has been kept secret. Scientists from the University of Colorado and the Bureau of Land Management studied the site north of Moab and excavations began last year.

"Over 200 tracks that we're aware of so far that we've uncovered,” volunteer Lee Shenton said. “And at least one case where there's 17 consecutive prints from the same animal.

“I think it's going to be something really important. It has at least a dozen different animals."

What Mathis finds fascinating about track sites is they “record behavior of dinosaurs in ways that the bones or body fossils cannot."

The BLM is raising funds to build a trail to the dinosaur tracks. The agency hopes to have the site open to the public by October.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

14 Family Friendly Spots In Salt Lake City

MiniTime.com has this interesting article recommending places and activities that appeal to families in the greater Salt Lake City area. Here are the spots they mention. Read the article for details about each one.
  • Wheeler Historic Farm
  • Tracy Aviary
  • Clark Planetarium
  • Big Cottonwood Canyon (scenic drive, picnic areas, hikes)
  • Rio Tinto Stadium (sporting events)
  • Smith's Ballpark (sporting events)
  • Nearby Mountains (biking trails)
  • Brigham Young Park Concert Series
  • Hale Center Theater
  • Off Broadway Theater
  • Red Butte Gardens
  • Bonneville Municipal Golf Course
These are all fine spots that are highly recommended, but the list is certainly not comprehensive. The list could easily have included these nearby places:
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