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

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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.

Deepest Mine in the world seen from outer space: Sparkle Kitten

The Bingham Canyon Copper Mine is the largest and deepest open pit mine in the world.  It’s one of only two man made things that can be seen by astronauts from outer space (the other is the Great Wall of China).  The visitor center here is closed because they had a rock slide!  We found a back, secret way into what was supposed to be an overlook.  You had to go around a mountain, through a canyon.  We got about 2 miles from where the actual lookout was supposed to be.  It was so scary to drive it, that we abandoned the trip until Dad could drive us!  The pictures of the trees are what I took of the long way down from our road!  We were on a narrow, mountain road winding around the mountain with no railing.  Only one car at a time could fit, and mom didn’t want to have to back down the mountain if someone came!  We found a picture of what it looks like INSIDE the mine.  Since this is just a little bit south of Salt Lake City we hope we will come back and see it next time we visit.  For now, we are going to post someone a photo someone took of the inside.  You can see the huge trucks coming around the outside of the mine carrying ore.  Image result for bingham canyon mine

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!

Montezuma Castle, Arizona: Sparkle Kitten

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The picture above is Montezuma, who was the Emperor of the Aztecs in the early 1500’s  The Aztecs lived in the country that is now Mexico, but traveled to the Southern United States.  The other pictures are where they primarily lived, and what some of their dwellings looked like.  When the Spanish discovered North America, and traveled to the part that is now Mexico, they saw all the gold the Aztecs had; they decided they wanted it.  They defeated the Aztecs and Montezuma and claimed what is now Mexico as their own.  The reason this is important, is while they were traveling North into what is now Arizona, in search of the 7 Lost Cities of Gold, they came across huge cave dwellings 5 stories high

.  They were so impressive they thought they must be Aztec, and so they called them “Montezuma Castle”.  They were wrong; the cave dwellings here were built by Pueblo Indians.  We saw the dwellings near Phoenix, AZ.  They are impressive and near the Beaver Creek which provided water for the community.  It is very peaceful here with lots of native plants. Image result for montezuma castle

Book Review, Since You’ve Been Gone, by: Morgan Matson: Sparkle Kitten

Since You’ve Been Gone has 449 pages and I give it 5/5 Stars.  It was really good, and I read it VERY fast because I couldn’t put it down!  This book is about a girl named Emily.  She has an amazing summer planned with her best friend Sloane when suddenly she just goes missing!  All she leaves behind is a list of crazy things for Emily to do.  At the bottom of the list it says “when you’ve completed this list come and find me and tell me all about it.”  Emily’s summer goes from boring to exciting in just 24 hours.  I liked this book because I could really relate to the character Emily.  I could imagine how amazing my summer would get if that happened to me!