The Arches National Park, Utah: Sparkle kitten

The Arches National Park is in the Southeastern part of Utah.  Many years ago this was covered by a large sea and became a dry seabed.  A very deep layer of salt and sediment was left behind, forming layers of sandstone 1,000’s of feet deep.  Some sediment was up to one mile deep at points.  The sandstone was pushed and folded like a carpet as the earth’s crust shifted.  It was then pushed up far above the original sea level.  It was then shaped by wind and water, and then eroded down.  There are many colors of rock in this park.  You can walk up into many areas and see different rock formations, including some boulders balanced on other rocks.  The day we went it was very hot, and the higher you drove into the park the hotter it got.  It is very pretty here, and there are four other National Parks across Southern Utah to visit (we also saw Zion but couldn’t get to the other 3 since it was so hot!) .  The Arches National Park was our 26th National Park within the past year!!!  (this doesn’t even count National Monuments or State Parks!)…  We missed an Island Park in Florida, an Island Park in California, Lassen Volcanic in CA because of snow, two in Washington, and three in Utah.  Otherwise, we hit everything else in all of our 36 states!  Hurray!

Temple Square: Einstein07

These are two photos from Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah.  One is the inside of the Mormon Tabernacle where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir practices.  This is the organ in the chapel and the choir practices on Thursday nights.  The other photo is of the LDS/Mormon Temple.  It was finished in 1893 and is still used today by the church of the Ladder Day Saints (the Mormons).

State Capitol Building of Utah is in Salt Lake City: Sparkle Kitten

A picture of Seraph Young voting as the first woman to vote in the Utah Territory in 1869 is on the wall.  The Utah State Capitol Building has Georgia Marble inside. Brigham Young was the first Governor of the Utah Territory.  Most of the artwork in the State Capitol was painted by an unemployed artist during the Great Depression. This room is the State Reception room and is used on formal occasions.  There are lots of pieces of antique furniture here.  This State Capitol has many windows, especially in the ceiling so it has lots of natural light.  The State Capitol Building is on top of a hill, and very easy to walk around.  It is in what is known as “Temple Square” in Salt Lake City.  Einstein07 Especially liked the statues below so he took a picture of each one.  They stand for Immigration and Settlement, Land and Community, Science and Technology and ARt and Education.  The “BEE” is the state symbol and was chosen because the BEE represents “Industry” – not because there are lots of “bees” in Utah (as we found out – FINALLY!)

All work & No Play for Summer? Not in Draper, Utah!! Sparkle Kitten

OK I think these pictures speak for themselves!  After going to the world’s largest open pit mine (almost!!) and ALMOST falling off a cliff in the mountains, and baking in the sun – we thought we deserved to see the other side of Draper, UT.  This water park was right next to our hotel.  How could we NOT go?!!!  After all, it IS summer?!!!

Did you Know? The Golden Spike was put in here!: Einstein07

Related imageImage result for golden spike transcontinental railroad

We drove by the spot in Promontory Point Utah, Transcontinental Railroad joined the Eastern part of the United States with the Western Part.  To mark the occasion, a golden spike was driven.  It’s just a little ways North of Salt Lake City, Utah.  We were too late to visit the monument site, which would have added two hours to our drive, so we are just putting a note in our blog because it’s so cool.  We will try to visit the spot the next time we are in Salt Lake City. May 10, 1869 the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific met in what was the Utah Territory and made it possible to travel across the entire country by train.  The actual golden spike is held at Stanford University.Image result for golden spike transcontinental railroad

Jump In the Salt Lake and Swim!: Einstein07

Salt Lake City is named after the Great Salt Lake that is here!  This lake is salty like the ocean.  Many years ago, this area was covered by an ocean.  When the ocean evaporated, salt was left in the mountains.  That salt washes down when it rains and when the snow melts.  Parts of the Salt Lake are saltier than others, depending on how much additional fresh water is added.  In the north, the lake is almost 35% salt.  The amount of salt in the lake takes up more room in the water, and makes your body more buoyant.  You float much better – even here in the southern part where there isn’t as much salt as the North.  We went to Antelope Island State Park.  This park has a special bridge that was built to get to it.  The smell is pretty bad as you cross the bridge, but it isn’t as bad once you get to the lake.  Very few things grow here; mainly special shrimp, bugs and the birds that eat them.  You can see all the bugs on the ground as I’m running through them on the “beach”.  The birds fly by with their mouths open and scoop up the bugs if you scare them.  We didn’t see any antelope, but further back on the island there are both antelope and bison.  It’s really nice, but this is “no-see-um” season so we had to watch out for the bugs.  Yes, we were covered in salt when we got out of the lake.

Epic Escape Room, Arizona: Einstein07

A place called Epic Escape is in Phoenix, AZ.  They have “Escape Room” games where you have a mission and have to solve clues, to unlock locks, to get more clues to help you solve a problem.  We played the Whimsical Library game.  We didn’t quite make it in the 60 minutes allowed, but we got close.  I think it would be fun to see how adults did against a team of kids.  Sparkle Kitten and I think the kids would win because we work together better than adults.  We are going to go to anther escape room in another city and try a new game.  They have some that are more physical and some that are more mental.  This one was more mental and we had to try to find all the clues we could, and then figure out what the meant.  It was fun!

Arizona State Capitol Building, Phoenix: Sparkle Kitten

The Arizona State Capitol is in Phoenix.  It’s very peaceful and relaxing here.  There are orange trees along the road.  Einstein07 took an orange that was laying on the ground (in case the police are looking at this!)  The Capitol is split into two parts; one part is the historic old Capitol that was built in about 1900 and the other part is the modern new part that was built more recently.  There aren’t many trees in Arizona and the climate is very arid so they don’t use mulch made from trees (like pine strawor pine bark).  They also don’t have the same kind of bushes as we do.  You can see they use rocks for groundcover (they have lots of rocks in Arizona). They use cacti and palm trees for landscaping.  There are lots of different kind of cacti so it’s very interesting and pretty.  Many different kinds of rocks are found in Arizona; the rocks contain ore (Arizona is the copper state) and things like quartz and turquoise.  There are pillars with the different kind of rocks outside the Capitol.  Also outside the Capitol is a monument to the USS Arizona which was destroyed during the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  Pearl Harbor marked the United States entering WWII.  The mast from the USS Arizona is here.  The


New Mexico is Over and Out, We’re In Arizona!

We didn’t find Coronado’s Seven Cities of Gold (either), but we DID find crystal colored white sand, underground, glistening, gypsum caverns and our first circular Capitol building! New Mexico is beautiful and all the people were nice.  We’re coming back to catch Albuquerque’s  hot air balloon festival.

Oldest Standing Church in the USA, Santa Fe: Sparkle Kitten

San Miguel Mission is a Spanish church in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  It was built in around 1610 and is the oldest known church in the United States.  It was burned during the Pueblo Indian Revolt in 1680 but rebuilt when the Spanish reclaimed the area.  There is a wooden statue here of Saint Michael that dates to 1709.  There are also very old paintings, which were done on bison and deer skin, from the 1600’s.  The original adobe walls are still underneath and you can see them through windows into the floor next to the alter.  This church is located on the East side of the “Santa Fe Trail” in Santa Fe.  It is in the “Barrio De Analco District”.  This district is where some of the Warrior Indians, who were traveling with the Spanish soldiers later, lived.  They grouped together in houses that had been previously occupied by Pueblo Indians of the 1200’s.  Even though the Church is Spanish, you can also see houses from the Indian Barrio that are still standing and thought to be some of the oldest homes in America.  They are made of adobe. The new picture here is the “Oldest House” today.  The old picture shows it in the 1800’s (although it is much older than that and the foundation is from 1100) Image result for oldest house santa fe