Eat, Drink, and Be Merry- Tomorrow you might be in UtahQuote from a shot glass at the souvenir store
Utah was a place that I had mixed feelings about visiting. I knew that it was supposed to be beautiful and that there are mutliple national parks there to visit, but at the same time I was telling myself, “Its Utah, why would I go there?” I finally convinced myself to go, along with two of my friends, to visit our friend who is living in Salt Lake City. We went for five days and got to explore a good amount of the Beehive State, but there is still so much more to be seen.
My two friends and I flew from Boston to Salt Lake City (SLC) after work one Wednesday afternoon and were going to work remotely from SLC for a couple of days while we had our little adventure. Thursday was a pretty uneventful day. We walked to a coffeeshop next to our friend’s apartment building, called the People’s Coffee, and got some drinks and food. On this first day I had the turkey panini and a cold brew coffee. I am not really a fan of turkey or paninis but this one definitely changed my mind! On the panini, there was turkey (obviously), avocado, red onions, tomato, and provolone cheese. It was delicious. The second time we went, I had the peanut butter toast which was life changing. It had apple slice, cinnamon sugar, honey and peanut butter. This is now the only way I will eat my peanut butter toast.
For dinner, we endured a 15 minute walk in the dry heat of Utah to go to a cool restaurant called Lake Effect. Here I got a drink called Hot Girl Summer, made with peach vodka, prickly pear, citrus cordial, watermelon, mint, lime, absinthe, kahlani, and soda. (One interesting thing I learned while here was that in Utah, the alcohol is strictly measured. There are caps on all the bottles that fill to 1 ounce and then pour into your drink. No double shots here, if you want two shots you have to buy two separate drinks. And not at the same time. We all kept saying if this was something that happened in Boston, there would be riots everywhere!) For our appetizer we got the Tin Can Nachos with chicken. These were pretty good. The top was perfectly cooked, but as you got to the bottom the chips were burnt. The vibe in this place was awesome, though. They had live music and big groups of young people were coming and going for the whole time we were there, so you could tell this was a favorite spot of the locals.
The following day, Friday, we headed to Moab after work. Before leaving though we had lunch a this cute place called Campos, which sadly just announced the closing of their North American locations. I got avocado toast with Goat cheese, bacon and a scrambled egg and an iced americano. Super good! We rented a car and drove down the 4 hours to the small town of Moab, nestled between mountains and HUGE rocks. The drive there was filled with no cell phone service, driving through canyons and up mountains, and through endless miles of desert. There were very few places to stop, so we filled up the gas tank when we found a station. This drive was incredibly beautiful. And when we finally arrived in Moab, my jaw dropped. This little town was stunning. Red rocks as far as the eyes could see.
After we checked into our hotel, we rested for a bit and decided to go see some things since it was still light out (the sun doesn’t set until like 9:00 there so it is light out forever, its crazy). We chose to go to Dead Horse State Park and do a quick trip to Canyon Lands, since they were both pretty close together. The state park was a quick trip. We drove to the end of it, where the main view point was and walked around there for about an hour and took some pictures (the first two in the gallery below). From there we headed to Canyon Lands.
Once there, we parked at the vistors center and crossed the street to their first scenic view point and hung out here for a bit while we decided where in the park we wanted to go. We chose the Mesa Arch (third picture in gallery), which was a pretty short walk to get to see. This was the first arch we saw and personally I thought it was really interesting. Through the arch you could see the La Sal mountain range in the distance, which were still spotted with snow. Along with the mountains there were also some rock pillars that were just like there, sticking out of the ground. After this walk, we decided to go back to the hotel for the night, since we were all pretty tried and had a long day of hiking ahead of us.
Saturday we woke up early with the intention of getting to Arches National Park in the morning to avoid the heat of the day, which was predicted to be around 100. We got dressed and went down to breakfast at the hotel. The hotel honestly had pretty good food available for breakfast, including french toast sticks, carnitas, a variety of fruits, etc. By the time we had finished eating and go in the car to drive over to the park, which was only like two miles from our hotel, it was almost 9:30. It didn’t cross our minds at all that the parks got full, but when we got to the entrance that was exactly what the signs were telling us. We had to turn around and come back in 3 to 5 hours.
We changed our plan for the morning and decided to hike to Corona Arch instead. This one wasn’t part of any of the parks so it was a lot less crowded which was nice. This hike was three miles and contained a variety of elements that made it hard but also easy enough that you didn’t feel like you were dying. It starts with a climb up through some rocks and then levels out to a desert sand area with shrubs scattered around. From here you round a corner and then come to a chain railing that you need to use to climb up the rocks. This leads you to a ladder to climb which bring you up to another level of rocks. After this ladder you get an unobscured view of the arch in all its glory. We continued our walk until we were right under the arch and then hung out here, in the shade of the arch, for what seemed like hours. We took pictures, drank some water, and then just enjoyed the view in front of us before trekking back down to our car.
When we got back to our car, we sipped some more water and then drove back to our hotel because I forgot my camera on the couch in our room. So we grabbed that and some more ice for our cooler, then headed to Arches for the second time that day with our fingers crossed that it wouldn’t be full this time.
It wasn’t full and we got to enter. The drive into the park is super cool because you are driving up the side of a mountain and then it opens up into the park. There are cliffs and rocks and pillars everywhere you look. Some points have names, like the Three Gossips, but there are too many to give names to them all. Our first stop was at the Balanced Rock, which is a stone pillar with what seems like a huge rock balancing on top of it. It was really interesting to see because it just doesn’t look like the giant rock should be supported but it is. This was just a quick spot to get out and take a photo, so we did that and then got back in the car to head to our first hike, the Delicate Arch trail.
We were told this hike was going to be easier than the Corona Arch we had done earlier in the day. For the most part it was, and it 100% would have been if it wasn’t for the outside temperature being 104 with basically no shade at all except for the occasional overgrown shrub. This trail starts out with a hilly, gravel path that turns into a giant rock with a pretty steep incline. It took us like 30+ minutes to climb that part because the heat was just so overbearing and we stopped every time we saw any amount of shade. Once we eventually made it over the rock, the path flatted out a bit and continues on for a while until you finally, FINALLY, come to the last bend in the path that opens up to reveal your destination, the Delicate Arch.
When I say I have never been so relieved to see a pile of rocks, I mean it. That 2 mile hike up to this point was torture but the view at the top was totally worth it. That’s the most cliché choice of words, but I don’t know how else to describe it. Through the Delicate Arch, you can see the La Sal mountains and a lot of the hills and rock structures that are featured in the park. The arch is so huge, which I was not expecting until I walked right under it for a picture!
On the way back down, things started to get difficult for us. The exhaustion from the mornings first hike and our climb up were setting in. All we wanted to do was get to the car and into the air conditioning, we took fewer breaks on the way back. When we got back to the car my friend and I took the ice cold water bottle from the cooler and dumped them all over ourselves. After this, my other friend finally made it back to the care and declared she was going to throw up. She didn’t look great, so we believed her and decided that was the end of our hiking for the day. No one complained obviously. We began driving out and stopped multiple times for false alarm warnings of potential vomitting, with only one event of actual throw up.
Once we got back to the hotel, we just sat there for a while enjoying the cool air and recovering before deciding to go to the pool and order dinner. For dinner, we chose a place called Pasta Jay’s because loads of carbs was our ideal form of recovery for that evening. We each ordered our own pasta and then got two pizzas to share. I ordered the house made manicotti with chicken and shared a pesto pizza. This restaurant was super good and the perfect way to end our incredible day of hiking.
On Sunday, we were leaving Moab and heading to Park City to spend the day. This drive was equally as beautiful because the desert landscape and red rocks slowly turned into lush, green mountains everywhere you looked. We arrived in Park City just in time for lunch and went to a bar called the Spur. We ordered a lot of food here- pizza, wings, salad, and of course hard seltzers. For the wings, my friend and I decided to try a flavor that we had never had before, Maple Jalapeño. These wings were excellent, super crispy and not too spicy at all. The pizza I ordered was called the goat and it was goat cheese and fig, which is a heavenly combination.
After lunch, we walked around the street fair that was happening outside on Main St. I bought a Father’s Day gift for my dad and thought about picking up some other things but deciding against it in the end. Before we left Park City though, we had to get ice cream. We found a cute shop and sat on a bench in the park to enjoy the end of our weekend before the journey back to Salt Lake.
Utah was absolutely incredible and I will definitely be going back to finish exploring Arches and to see more of what the state has to offer. I really want to go in the winter to Park City and snowboard there for a weekend. My friend said it is a completely different vibe in the winter. So after many days of great food and even better adventures, we said good-bye to Utah and flew back to Boston late Monday night. I can’t wait for my next adventure and stay tuned for updates on where it might be! My guess is Cape Cod, because where else would I go in the summer?