I awoke on Day 3 to my traveling companion telling me, “We need to get out of the hell hole as soon as possible – get up.” Needless to say, because of a particular overnight staff person, bad location, and some general disrepair, the Days Inn by Wyndham Lehi was not a pleasant place to be. So before 8am we were packed and driving into downtown Salt Lake City for breakfast.
Breakfast, in contrast to our hotel stay was very pleasant. We ate at the Pig & a Jelly Jar.
My breakfast pictured here, was green eggs and ham – a take on an eggs benedict with biscuits, thick cut ham, with green salsa over the top. The ham was heavenly and the dish overall was super yummy, albeit a bit rich. We followed both of our dishes with a set of beignets accompanied by the blueberry and lavender jam. Shanon and I both left the restaurant with a jelly jar of that tasty jam.
Next stop was exploring a little bit of Salt Lake City. On my list, thanks to Atlas Obscura was the Gilgal Sculpture Garden and it did not disappoint. It was completely strange. Gilgal Garden is a sculpture park, created by one Thomas Child, a priest of the Church of Latter Day Saints, who built it (per the official garden pamphlet) based on his desire to “give physical form to his deep felt beliefs.”
In the garden are 12 very weird (to the non-initiated) sculptural arrangements with scriptures on stones in front of them. Each of the 12 arrangements represent ideas from the makers spiritual quest. There is a sphinx with Joseph Smith’s head, an arch of stones, a creepy heart cave and a non-smiling bust of Child’s wife Bertha.
In the welcome note in the garden pamphlet it says “child was aware that many people would find Gilgal Garden strange but helped they would accept its challenge.” I agree – it was strange, but I was curious enough to read all about it to understand what on earth was going on. And as I personally know very little about the LDS, it was impressive to me to see a physical manifestation of the spirituality of something I am so unfamiliar with.
Other views from the city included the state capital, and a plaque where I thought a historic tower still stood. Thank you internet for helping me find historical tall things in Salt Lake City. What is tall in Salt Lake City is the Morman’s Adinistrative Building and the grain elevator (which is confusing as to why the LDS has a grain elevator).
The temple complex for LDS is in the center of the city and everything moves out from there. As did we, heading South on to other things in Utah – like these windmills and the cutest little town off the highway – Helper, Utah.
We were drawn in by the library’s miner statue advertisement on the highway (Utah’s tallest miner, exit here!). We found something well preserved, but pretty darn empty. According to the very nice fellow inside the antique motorcycle art gallery, the town is populated by artists, and him and his brother who have a basement filled with motorcycle parts that would make Pickers jealous. He also told us about how his brother is working on a number of preservation projects to bring the town back to its pre-highway glory days.
The antique motorcycle shop was quite amazing, bikes from all decades and times in American history all meticulously preserved, or kept in original condition. We purchased some postcards and got back on the road towards Moab.
We got into town and checked into our very cute, clean and professionally managed, thematic hotel – The Big Horn Lodge, freshened up, and made our way to Arches National Park.
Arches National Park holds the highest concentration of natural arches in the country. It is a very large park – 76,359 acres and we drove the entire loop to see every last arch one could take in from viewing locations, very short walks, and no special hiking required. It was breathtaking – and my photos do not do it justice.
All I can say is go and take in the beauty yourself with your own eyes. You don’t need to be able to hike any advanced trails to see the natural beauty of the arches and other amazing geologic formations other earth has to offer within it.
Because we were so engrossed in seeing the entire park, and every last rock and limestone formation, the time got away from us. We attempted to get dinner at the Sunset Grill, but the wait was so long we thought we’d go back down into town and try something else. I did manage a great photo of sunset from their perch on top of the hill.
It was a good day, and a great start to the amazing scenery portion of our road trip. There is nothing like some awe inspiring monolithic stone structures to ground someone back on the planet.