When Brigham Young and his Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints crew happened upon the valley where Salt Lake City sits in 1847, the isolation of the area appealed to them and they settled immediately. Surrounded by the city’s namesake, the Great Salt Lake, and two mountain ranges (the Wasatch and Oquirrh), it’s afforded quite the protection, which comforted the persecuted Mormons.
You can usually smell it before you see it. When it finally appears, the mountains rising up from its many shores catch your eye more than the still, bluish-green waters of the largest lake between the Pacific and the Great Lakes. The water reflects the sky so well that as your eye attempts to find the end of the horizon, its near impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins.
The Great Salt Lake is one of the biggest attractions in Northern Utah for good reason — it’s a unique, beautiful place and definitely worth a stop if you’re in the area.
After covering a good chunk of the West Coast last year and this past spring, it was time for the Addingtons to check out uncharted (for us) territory: The wild west. I had the opportunity to present at a conference in Salt Lake City in late September, which put us smack in the middle of a beautiful and largely unpopulated part of the country and close to numerous iconic national parks.
And so, we adventured — driving on quiet 80-mph highways and two-lane scenic byways, hiking up and down mountains, taking 1,000 pictures of big blue skies and deep canyons and craggy peaks and curious hoodoos and expansive arches. But always sleeping in a comfortable bed and drinking delicious local beer each night and eating giant sandwiches and salads because I wouldn’t take a vacation that didn’t include those things.
By the end, we had traversed Utah, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. All places with few people, crappy cell service and some of the most amazingly beautiful sites.
I’m continually intrigued by the western half of the United States. Only residing on the East Coast, it’s a whole different world out there. I’m also grateful to have such beauty in our own backyard and always cognizant that many had their lives, lands and culture stripped from them to make it possible.
Here are our stops: