Most of my photos are done on my iPhone, but occasionally my sidekick will bring his good camera. I just found these pictures today. We walked around Sydney a lot in 5 days. The highlights included: the coastal walk Bondi-Coogee on a warm day, Coogee-Bondi on a blustery cold day, walking across the bridge (free) in lieu of the expensive bridge climb, waking up early and hitting the Sydney fish market, the botanical gardens, a night at the symphony at Sydney Opera house, and trying interesting cuisine. Carmen was playing at the Opera house too, but I didn’t know so I didn’t have tickets and it was too late. It looked absolutely awesome in the brochure. Also, we played Carmen in high school and we “took state” orchestra with that piece so I really wanted to go. I did figure I could sneak in and play along since I was wearing all black anyway. I like to attend world class performances any time I can. If you think they must be too expensive, think again. I have heard the most famous violinists for not much more than you’d pay for a movie ticket. You can pay a lot to sit in “the right” seats, but there are seats at many price points and it is something to consider if you want an experience. Classical musicians truly are underpaid and incredibly talented.
We went to a football game in Salt Lake City this weekend. I wasn’t going to go until the last moment since my kids would miss 2 days of school and a Thursday night was highly inconvenient. Anyway, I dragged the 4th grader along to keep me company on the 5 hour drive from Boise. We had a blast meeting with family for the football game and then planned on hiking up in the Big Cottonwood Canyon of Salt Lake City on Friday morning with just the 2 of us. Well, the little one cried that she was too tired and just wanted to go home. We compromised and decided to go shopping in downtown. By shopping, I mean walking around the shops before the 5 hour return. When we got downtown, we discovered it was the Comic Con Convention. My interest was peaked to go pass by and see what interesting people we could observe. Now, Comic Con is probably the least likely place on the planet I would intentionally attend, but I couldn’t resist since we were already there. Well, I discovered that Henry Winkler was there among other “celebs,” I said: THE FONZ??? Yes… Okay, I’ll go see. Well, $40 to get my picture taken with him. Um… NO! I wouldn’t pay 40 bucks to have my picture taken with anybody. I’ll only pay that for an entry fee to hike a park and take a picture with a tree. Comic Con was interesting, but mostly I find most of that stuff as dry as they would find a hiking blog. 🤓 We didn’t have much time there, but it was pretty epic for that sort of thing.
Growing up near the highest concentration of national parks in the United States and near some of the most iconic world images was awesome. Frankly, people didn’t travel a ton then and there was NO internet so we didn’t know much else. It was a rural area. It still is, but there are many more services and conveniences now. 🙏 We were mostly all white people and Native Americans. I used to literally go to sleep to the beat of the pow wow drum. We knew we had hot summers, cold winters, and the wind blew you over sometimes. We also knew we had cool red rocks, but we longed for the green landscapes we saw on tv. When I was 15, I came to Zion with Rotary exchange students who had come to Utah from all over the world. I had a really fun weekend and it was the first time seeing my home with new eyes. I was leaving for my own exchange to France and they were finishing up their time so we had a weekend party/convention. Later, when I was 18, I lived and worked in the park. It was an awesome summer of working and hiking. Let me tell you, there is nothing like waking up there. It is so awesome. If you get the chance to visit, stay in close proximity or inside the park. If you haven’t ever visited, there is plenty of time. These landscapes were millions of years in the making, but don’t wait that long. Make the effort!!! People of all ages will enjoy it. This summer, I enjoyed watching pictures be taken of a very flexible yoga poser and selfie takers near ledges with thousand foot drops. I was ready to leave before witnessing the aftermath of that, but yep you’ll get a great selfie there. 🤓
This weekend, we went on a last minute, before back to school jaunt to Northern Utah. We didn’t want to travel too far so we decided to go to Logan, Utah. This is an off the beaten path small city. I knew my parents would be up for a little getaway from the other end of the state so I invited them and they met us there. All I wanted to accomplish was hiking ⛰ and getting ice cream🍦. Since we had a birthday that week, we had to help grandma choose a present so that took up a lot of time. We got headed up Logan canyon a bit late, but it was cooling off from a hot day so it was fine. Having never hiked this destination before, our intended trail didn’t work out since we didn’t give ourselves enough time. 3 miles up a cliff face we weren’t familiar with and an appointment for ice cream didn’t leave us enough time. Not getting ice cream in Logan is not an option. They have a great creamery on the campus of Utah State University. It’s a must do in the area. We still managed to go for a nice stroll up the canyon and make it for Aggie ice cream as night fell. 🍦🍦🍦🍦🍦🍦🍦 Figuring out how to deal with a multiple scoop order was not fun though.
In modern times, members of the LDS (Mormon) church like to reenact our historical settlement of the Western United States. My own ancestry arrived in Utah in 1847 so it is both a personal history and a history of a religion. Anyway, 2 of my daughters participated in this event this summer. I was nervous and excited to send them on a 3 day mountain/desert walk with a few hundred other trekkers and friends in the faith. They would all be wearing period attire or our best 2nd hand store attempt at it and camping in tents. We prepared their personal effects over a long time and then I dropped them off to go on trek. 3 days of walking can cause some hardship and wounds so it was not an easy task to prepare for. One of my children was resigned to the fact that it was happening, but lacked enthusiasm. The other one was probably excited to escape me for 3 days so she was down with it. Anyway, they came back safe and sound. Unlike my walking all over Sydney and ending up with sores on my ankle, they came home unscathed. As this wasn’t a thing Mormons really did in my youth, I never did trek. I’m sure they will never forget their experience.
Utah has some really weird names of towns. I could list off some of the more unique ones which relate to the local culture, but I won’t. Other unique ones are Native American words. The top word referring to a meteorological event is actually the name of a town near Zion National Park. It is pronounced HUR-i-KUN. Depending on who you encounter, it could also be pronounced: HAIR-i-KUN. Don’t worry, you are very unlikely to encounter a “hurricane” if you are visiting the area. I do not know why it is named that! When I was living in Salt Lake City many years ago, we had a tornado. It was a rare event. I remember being in my front room watching the trees on their sides and thinking that was quite odd. Later that day on the news, the explanation was that we had had a tornado. Tornados are not normal in Utah either, but I have never known of an actual hurricane.
It has been very hot! 🌞 To beat the heat, we have been at the pool a lot. The thing to do in Boise is to float the river and we did that for the 1st time. ⚓️ We also went to a water park. I am apparently too old cause what brought me immense joy as a youngster brings me little now. We used to go to the waterpark in Las Vegas🎰. My dad or mom would make the 3 hour drive from Southern Utah and we’d play all day until 10 pm closing. Then, they’d drive us home. They had some serious energy and ❤️ to do that cause I can barely tolerate a few hours and a 30 minute drive. My cool dad would also chaperone my brother and his friends to many wild eighties heavy metal 🎤 concerts in Vegas. As I just bought my daughter her 1st rock concert tix, I have been contemplating this. Personally, I have been to very few rock concerts, but many many classical performances as a 🎻 musician that is my preference. As a sidekick to a much livelier older brother, it was always fun to hear the wild concert tales. 🎟 Did your parents sacrifice anything similar to cater to you? 🤓