We’ve had a brief reprieve from the hot weather with a few days of thunderstorm showers in the afternoons and evening, and Hubby’s been itchin’ to go for a drive in the mountains in his convertible–with the top down. Since my hair is so short (not even an inch long yet) it certainly can’t get too blown and snarled the way it used to, which is usually my excuse for not taking the Mazda. So we decided to go. This is about the time of year the wildflowers are at their best in the Alta Basin on Little Cottonwood near the ski resorts, so we decided we’d drive there.
Our plan was soon thwarted due to construction in that area–they’re always repairing roads it seems. After sitting in the blazing hot sun for five or ten minutes in a long line of cars and not going anywhere, we took our cue from a car ahead of us and likewise turned around and drove back to Big Cottonwood Canyon–closer to our house anyway–and see what was going on at one of our favorite places to take out of town guests. It’s Silver Lake, where Brigham Young held the first Pioneer Day celebrations in 1847. Even the scenery on the way to the lake is fantastic, and there’s no traffic pileup on the way to this canyon!
I didn’t get pictures, but just before we reached the lake, we passed the Silver Fork Lodge and Restaurant. They have outdoor seating in a rustic mountain setting and the food is pretty decent. Since we’d already had lunch, we ordered desert instead. We decided to share the molten chocolate cake they called a “lava” cake. It’s a flourless cake that has four main ingredients: butter, eggs, sugar, and chocolate, here’s a picture of one on Facebook. Ours was served with a generous serving of ice cream and whipped cream on the side. Yum!
I worked in the yard weeding in the morning, and decided I was too tired to walk around the lake as we normally do. Eating that rich (aka decadent) cake changed my mind. Maybe two walks would have been even better to burn off all the extra calories, but I wasn’t pushing my luck. I’m beginning to feel the healthiest I’ve felt for a very long time.
The lake is about eight-and-a-half-thousand feet in elevation. Not only is the air a little thinner but the temperature is quite a bit cooler, a great place to cool off when the temperatures soar into the triple digits, as it does at least a few days every summer. If I hadn’t been walking, I would definitely have enjoyed having a light sweater along.
It’s hard to imagine a more serene setting. Besides a walking trail about a mile and a quarter, other recreation opportunities include fishing and boating, and though it’s hard to see him in the distance of the pic below, there’s a man waist deep in the water fly fishing for the four varieties of trout around here. I like that the path changes as you go through the woods alongside the lake where in the summertime you see little chipmunks and ground squirrels, and in you’re lucky, beavers building dams. On the drive up Cottonwood Road a gray fox crossed the road in front of us.
And should beach-side fishing feel too strenuous, holding that rod and reel and all, you can try prop reel fishing like a couple of young men were doing here. They’re sitting outside camera range having a refreshing drink while they keep an eye on the little red ball floats. Yes, people do catch fish here.
No wonder Brigham Young advised his people to keep the site a secret. Apparently not many heeded his advice, however, and now it’s one of the most popular summer destinations for the locals. The Brighton Ski Resort and Solitude Ski Resort are both nearby.
In the winter, it becomes part of the Solitude Nordic Center system of cross-country skiing trails and you have to pay a day fee to use it. In the summertime it’s free and a great way for children, seniors (like us) and even the handicapped to enjoy the outdoors.
Sometimes spontaneity is the key to a lovely afternoon. And of course a convertible can make it fun too. We live so close that we can drive to it in less than a half-hour. Let me know if you decide you want to come see for yourself; as Tom Bodett says in the commercial, we’ll leave the light on for you.