Since my post was so lame yesterday, I wanted to redeem myself a little, if possible, tonight.
For Christmas MT gave me a membership to Red Butte Garden. I've been there a few times over the years and I think it's a neat place. The garden is large and has lots of hiking trails in the hills in addition to more formal garden areas. There is also an amphitheater where concerts are held in the summer. It can be really difficult to get tickets to those shows, and members get early purchase opportunities. The membership is pretty reasonably priced: I only have to go up there about four times and the membership will have paid for itself. No, I haven't been there four times in one year, but I after spending a little over an hour up there today, I don't think four visits will be a problem.
We Salt Lakers have been trapped in the February inversion pattern most of the month. The cold temperatures are trapped in the valley by a layer of smog and fog and yuckiness that makes it hard to breathe and really detracts from the beauty of the city. I haven't seen the Wasatch or the Oquirrh mountains in days. I miss them.
Red Butte Garden is located on the campus of the University of Utah, right on the foothills of the Wasatch Front. There was still some haze there, but for the most part, the air was a lot cleaner and I could see the mountains and blue sky and sunshine! It was glorious!
I've never been to the garden in winter and I can tell you it looks a lot different in winter than it does in summer. I know, I know. Captain Obvious strikes again. What I mean, though, is that it will be fun to watch the garden change as the seasons change. I'm officially making it a goal to get up there once a month.
Here are a few photos. These first two just show how nicely the paths were cleared of the snow and to show off the pretty blue sky.
There is a large pond with some waterfalls. There was quite a bit of the pond that was frozen. I wouldn't want to walk on it, though. I could see some animal tracks in the snow so some critters have been walking across the ponds. Here are a couple of photos of the water. The in top photo, I am facing east toward the Wasatch mountains. In the bottom photo, I'm facing west toward the valley. Notice the difference in the air.
I like this next photo because there are different colors and textures to the trees and bushes. Toward the front you can see something that looks like it might be a tall grass or something that is currently dormant. I can't wait to see what those plants look like when they are green.
I probably spent a little over an hour walking around. There were trails that were closed off because of snow. I had no interest in going into the snow so I just stayed on the cleared trails. There was quite a bit of snow up there. Here's a photo of a viewing platform that had been closed. I took a photo just to give an idea of how much snow there is. Keep in mind we haven't had snow for over a week or so.
It was such a pleasant way to spend some time! There were birds flying around and chirping in the trees. I saw a few squirrels running around and chattering. I saw several quail, the most terrifying bird I have encountered. (Read my post "When Animals Attack" and you'll see. I didn't even have my golf clubs to protect me from the quails this time.) One time today I was going to sit on a bench that was facing the sun and just take in a moment of vitamin D. I heard something skittering around in the bushes. I thought it was a squirrel, but no, it was a quail. The damn thing hid in a bush and I could see it's eyes looking out at me with it's little quail dangly thingy quivering behind the leaves. It freaked me out. I had to leave the area.
I couldn't/wouldn't get close enough to the quail to take a photo, but I found this one on the interwebs. The quail I saw today looked like this:
Quail look cute and small and innocent, but they'll get you if you disturb them. That's been my experience, anway.
Finally I headed home, back into the yucky air.