Salt Lake City, Utah – Part I

We left Elko on Sunday, June 11 for Salt Lake City, Utah and drove through territory we had never traveled before. The terrain did not change much from Elko with snow capped mountains, green hills, valleys rich with sagebrush and green grass, and full rivers flowing occasionally alongside the freeway. Up and down the mountain passes we went with much the same scenery until we crested the mountain outside of Wendover, Utah.

Bonneville Salt Flats

Our jaws dropped when the Bonneville Salt Flats spread out before us as far as we could see. I really got a feel for the size of Bonneville Lake before it broke through causing a mother of all floods that created the Snake River on its path toward the Pacific Ocean. What a geological wonder.

We stopped at the Salt Flats Rest Area where a raised platform allowed visitors to take in the expanse of the salt flats.

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Salt Flats Rest Area

The salt was glaring white as snow and bare of any plants or trees. Here is the view from the platform looking west.

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View Looking Toward the West

As I walked up the steps to the overlook four or five teenagers discussed what they should graffiti on the roof support walls. A modern day ‘register rock’ or wall where travelers document their presence. 

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Graffiti on Platform Support

A few people ventured out onto the salt flats. A woman stood at the foot wash rinsing her feet.

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Couple Walking out to Salt Flats
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View North

We continued on to Pony Express RV Resort where we had reservations for four nights. I had overlooked this park when researching available locations until my first pick claimed they were booked solid. Pony Express turned out to be the perfect place for us, except for the constant wind blowing, and the freeway noise.

Utah Capitol Building

Windy, cold, and rainy weather greeted us on Monday. Undeterred, we headed downtown with the intent to hang out at the planetarium until the rain subsided. We arrived too early, so we drove up the hill to the Utah State Capitol Building and wandered around gawking at all the marble columns, walls, and intricate details.

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Utah State Capitol Building
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Use of Marble Inside the Capitol Building is Extensive
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Looking from Supreme Court toward House of Representatives

In the Hall of Governors, portraits of the governors are displayed and statues of historical Utahans are given prominent floor space on the fourth-floor gallery, and murals depicting Utah life and industry are abundant. 

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Philo T. Farnsworth “Father of Television”
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I was Impressed with the Eyes on Unca Sam, a Ute Indian, Hunter, and Fur Trader.

Symbolism seemed to be everywhere, from the beehive, which is the state’s emblem and represents industry and unity, to laurel wreaths which represent victory, vitality, and success. We forgot all about the planetarium.

Then there were the creatures standing guard high up in the four corners of the fourth-floor gallery. A lion with wings? Does anyone know what they symbolize? Perhaps protection?

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I Wonder about the Symbolism in this Creature.

The chandelier hanging in the rotunda was especially impressive.

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Rotunda Chandelier

In the Governor’s office used for public activities, sits a desk that was built with wood recovered from one of the trees felled during a tornado.

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Governor’s Office. Notice the Tornado Desk.

The magnificent building seemed overkill for a legislature that is in session for only 45 days out of the year. However, besides the governor, lieutenant governor, senate, house, and the state supreme court, the building also houses the highway patrol and the state treasurer’s office. So it seems they make good use of the property. And who can fault the state for wanting to showcase the many riches the state has to offer? 

Mormon Temple and Square

A trip to Salt Lake City would not be complete without a visit to the Mormon Temple Square.

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Mormon Temple

We joined a tour where two ‘sisters’ volleyed their presentation, which consisted of a bit of history, the faith’s origin story, and detail of the temple’s building, and a bit of proselytizing thrown in. They also cleared up a few rumors about some of the Mormon practices, such as baptizing dead people. They don’t, people who have died can be baptized through a proxy. In other words, a family member is baptized in the name of the deceased. The sisters did not push or insist that their religion was the only religion, but encouraged those of us on the tour to ask questions, research, and take one of the free Book of Mormons for more information. The best part of the tour was the organ, which contains 11,623 pipes. The organ pipes and Tabernacle Choir tiers dwarfed the person who played the organ.

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Tabernacle Choir Organ

One of the most interesting bits of history that I never thought of was how many of the Mormons traveled across the country to Utah with only a hand cart to haul their belongings. I thought the emigrants in covered wagons were hearty folk. I can’t imagine the hardships endured by the people who pulled handcarts.IMG_2266

We may have never made it to the planetarium, but we enjoyed seeing the capitol building and taking the tour of the Mormon Temple Square. Next week’s post will include Antelope Island and Park City, Utah.

Until then, safe travels.

 

16 thoughts on “Salt Lake City, Utah – Part I

  1. I’ve seen most of the things in your pictures, as I go to SLC about once a year to visit with my son. It is a very interesting place. I haven’t yet grown tired of returning to the capitol building or the Mormon Temple. I have also been to the Planetarium many times. It is also very interesting. Maybe you can get there the next time you’re “passing through”.

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  2. I visited the Utah capitol building in 2008 after the earthquake retrofit and renovation. My tour guide was a cousin, a long-time Salt Lake resident. He said the creatures you photographed were a form of gargoyle placed there to protect the building. Symbolism might be the key word here, because the lion’s mouth is open, but it doesn’t function as a water spout. My guide had no answer to my question of why the eagle wings were copper-colored.

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  3. Great post, Linda! We had an unfortunate experience in the 1990’s with the homeless in SLC, right outside Temple Square. Luckily, I was sent back there several times for work and really enjoyed it. We are definitely going to go back in the future! That Capitol building is just amazing!

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    1. Thanks for the comment. We did see several people waiting in line near a mission like place in another part of town, but not near the temple. The planetarium is on our list for the next visit. I’m sure the city has other sites to offer that we can explore, too.

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      1. Gary Lea

        Salt Lake City has had a very good reputation for taking excellent care of its less fortunate citizens. It is very easy to find yourself in a part of town that may look a little seedy. Some of these people will go on to get on their feet and become contributing members of the SLC community. There is a mental health facility (outpatient) at 500 W 700 S that may look a little strange sometimes. The people you see there are being well taken care of and are generally harmless. There are other areas around town, mostly churches, that take care of the homeless. These areas only operate at certain times. If you get caught in a place that seems uncomfortable, go to another site on your list, then come back later.

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