Leaving Yellowstone, Wyoming put on a great colorful show displaying all non evergreen trees from yellow, orange to red. We also left the snow and cold behind. The scenery changed to a more arid and barren landscape, slowly transforming to a more desert like setting. We were welcomed to Utah with a very pleasant warm weather and the girls were happy to get rid of the fleeces again. The girls also just love the desert with all features from sand, rocks, boulders, hoodoos to canyons forming the greatest of natural playgrounds, where they can run, hide, climb and explore peculiar formations and caves.
We started off in the Vatican for the Mormons – Salt Lake City. Even this city has hosted an Olympic but we gave that a miss and will also spare you the details. The city was settled by the Mormons and everything is centered around their temple square. The Mormons certainly run the show in town and most of Utah as well. It was impressive to walk around in their massive constructions of all sorts. We also enjoyed an excellent organ concert until we had to leave for our restless kids – the Mormons compete with Austria having the largest organ with some 11600 pipes, impressive. The Mormons had volunteers everywhere, were extremely helpful and non intrusive, but we also felt monitored in a spooky way. According to Forbes magazine the city also host the headquarter of one of America’s largest corporations – once again the Mormon Church.
Just when we intended to see a few more National Parks such as Arches NP and Canyon Lands NP, we learned that the US budget negotiations had stranded which meant that the government and all government run businesses would close down. This unfortunately also meant that all National Parks closed down, which left us in a big vacuum. We then further learned that there are plenty of State Parks around which also have an extraordinary scenery to show. We have now visited the State Parks of Goblin, Dead Horse Point and Gooseneck, and the native American run Monument Valley. They all have their unique features to show. Many of these have hosted classic movies, such as John Wayne western. We were also told how to sneak into Canyon Lands NP on a dirt road and got a nice overlook but did not dare to enter into the canyon when the road turned into a steep serpentine downhill dirt road littered with old car wrecks.
The last few days we’ve had a bit of a cold wave, with wind and rain, and some frost at night. With a good tent and sleeping bags we’ve done well and the kids never seem to get cold in the tent, but they resist putting on enough clothes during in the mornings when it’s freezing cold. To improve Lina’s sleeping we have now completely got rid of her pacifier, which has worked out far better than expected. She’s now more than willing to give her pacifiers away. We asked if she wants to give them to Santa Claus but she insist to give them to her grand father, the person she certainly misses the most from back home.
We’ve found some unique wild camps setting up our tent all alone in the desolate remote tranquil desert, with 2500 years old native American petroglyphs on the massive walls towering behind. When the cicadas stop their sound at dusk there is absolutely no sound to hear, just a complete silence, nothing we’ve experienced before. The night sky not littered with any background light, is completely dark just spotted by the immense numbers of stars which can be seen along with all easy to spot satellites passing by. The central disk of the Milky Way also show every night as a milky stripe over the sky. Yes we are certainly enjoying the beauty of nature with all our senses.
Yesterday we had found one of these places and just put the kids to sleep in the tent when a huge truck rocked up with the Korean invasion. Six Koreans of all ages, shapes and sexes, all in their individual neon colored down jackets jumped out bloating the dark and the silence with keeping their truck on with their head lights in our direction. They invaded the whole cliff side with all their different gear setting up their tents meters from ours not taking much care for others. They kept their voices down but on the other hand they kept on snoring and coughing throughout the night. Life is not always perfect but it was certainly interesting to observe them in action. Lina certainly woke them all up by screaming for half an hour at 5.30, so maybe they learned not to make camp too close to others at least for their own sake.
Emma is also busy making very nice drawing for us, about what we have seen. I include one of some Indians we met.