Salt Lake City, Utah was never really on my list of must-see places. That is, until my best friend, Caity, decided to move out there to get her Doctorate. Even then, it took about a year and half after she moved and a fantastic deal on a flight to get me out there. The deal was through Frontier Airlines and I picked a day at random to leave, and obtained a return flight later on, without a great deal, unfortunately. I flew out on a Saturday afternoon, which turned into a Saturday evening due to my discount flight being delayed (you get what you pay for, I suppose). After the three hour flight, I arrived fresh faced and a little tired, and Caity picked me up outside baggage claim. From there we went directly to dinner with her two roommates. We arrived at The Dodo Restaurant shortly after they picked me up, and I immediately ordered a vodka Red Bull to wake myself up. We ordered our food and caught up on each other’s lives. The food was delicious because I was starving, but otherwise unremarkable. Once we finished, we went to their house to change and get ready for a night out on the town. There, I met Caity’s Australian Shepherd puppy, Milly, who was absolutely adorable and full of energy. Once we beautified ourselves, we all piled in the car and drove to the Sugar House neighborhood, to the Sugar House Pub to be exact. We were meeting up with some of Caity’s Salt Lake City crew to play pool. I love a bar with activities, and this one had pool, darts, AND foosball. We ordered our beer (Uinta Brewing Company Wyld, a heavy but delicious brew) and Caity and I decided to team up for pool, and played first. We were abysmal, but won two games in a row, purely by default because of the other teams’ knocking the eight ball in by mistake. Once our luck finally ran out, we mingled amongst our group and I got to know some of Caity’s buds and her new beau (whom I absolutely approved of). Last call in Utah is at 1:00 AM everywhere, which was fine by me; it was a long day. We made our way home and I passed out immediately. The next morning I woke up to a call from Caity asking me what kind of coffee I wanted; she was at the local coffee shop. We drank our coffee and got ready for the day. Caity, her roommate, Erica, and I drove to Park City to watch the Bears game and explore the area. We went to Collie’s for lunch (burgers and beers), and watched the Bears beat the Vikings. After the game, we explored the main drag of Park City, where they hold the Sundance Film Festival. We popped into an adorable bookstore/café aptly named Atticus Coffee Books & Teahouse. After that we wandered in and out of the other shops on the street, but made no purchases. After we drove back to Caity’s house, we set back out into downtown Salt Lake City and grabbed some coffee to keep us warm as we walked around the Salt Lake Mormon Temple. We couldn’t go into the temple, because we aren’t of that faith, but the outside of it was breathtaking. We wandered around the grounds for a while and took a peek in the information center. We didn’t stay too long in their though, for fear of them trying to recruit us. Dinner that evening was not worth mentioning, but from there we met up with some of our friends (two from our hometown and one from my Study Abroad adventures in London) at Beer Hive, a cozy bar full of delectable local brews. The beer was delicious and the conversation was beautiful; I couldn’t have asked for a better SLC evening.
The next day, Monday, Caity had to work in the morning so I lounged and read my book (Stephen King, of course). She picked me up when she was done, and we went to have lunch at Which Wich, which (ha) was fantastic. Then we drove to Little Cottonwood Canyon to do some hiking. I huffed and puffed up the picturesque trail behind Caity; that mountain air does not stick in my lungs. Each step along the way held its own breathtaking beauty, and I loved every breathless minute of it. We reached the scenic outlook, and took the obligatory pictures. Once those were taken care of, we marched back down the way we came, still taking in the sights and smells (is there anything better than the smell of a pine forest?). Once we got back to the car, Caity and I decided to drive up to the Ski Lodge, where she has a membership, to get some hot beverages. We settled into the cozy refreshment area, Caity with a hot chocolate and I with a hot apple cider. After we finished warming up, we did some souvenir shopping in the few stores within the lodge. Caity bought me a very Caity-esque hat as an early birthday present, which I absolutely adore. From the ski lodge, we drove back to Caity’s part of town and stopped at the grocery store for homemade pizza fixins and Utah brewed beer. After dinner, we settled in for a relaxing night with Netflix so we could get up early for our next adventure.
Tuesday was my last day in Salt Lake City, so we used it wisely. We got up early and headed to Big Cottonwood Canyon. We drove through the canyon to Silver Fork Lodge for breakfast, to fuel up for our hike to Donut Falls. The restaurant, which doubles as a Bed and Breakfast, was the coziest place I’ve ever dined in. The stone walls and wood paneled ceilings, coupled with the giant fireplace made it feel oh so warm and home-y. The picture windows showcased the mountains that surrounded the building, and showed a cute patio, which was covered in snow but showed promise for the summer. The food was amazing and the coffee was the boost we needed to push us through the hike. In fact, when we told our waitress our after-breakfast plans, she insisted we take some to go. It was a perfect breakfast experience and I would fly back to Utah any day just to do it all over.
Caity’s friend, Dave, who was celebrating his birthday that day, came to meet us at the trail to Donut Falls. The road to the trail was covered with snow and closed to hikers, so we hoofed it up the slick, ice-coated street. When we were almost to the actual trail, we came upon a lady moose, just hanging out in the middle of the road, staring at us. She casually walked over to the side and graciously let us take her photo. It was the only (large) wildlife we saw on the hike, but she was a beaut. Caity had warned me that this was a difficult hike, and that I may not be properly dressed, or shoe-ed is maybe a better term (I was wearing her old Bearpaw boots). So I was surprise that the beginning of the trail was so mild, with only a few small hills. Then we came upon a stream that was completely iced over and situated in a small canyon-like area. The stream came from a frozen waterfall that was down a little ways, and I was thinking, “oh what a beautiful picturesque area” when Caity informed me that we would be climbing up said waterfall to get to Donut Falls. I was very apprehensive at first, seeing how I could barely walk on the small ledge of solid ground next to the stream without slipping and clinging to the barren bush branches next to me. Once we got up close to the waterfall, I was even more nervous, as it was made of only ice and the scattered rock.
But, somehow, I mustered up the courage to start moving, with careful instructions from Dave on which rocks to climb on and which to skip. It was slippery and scary, but the view was completely worth it. Looking down to wear we started was breathtaking, and seeing Donut Falls was amazing.
It was in a cave, shedding an eerie shade of light onto the small frozen pool within, and the half frozen waterfall inside echoed against the walls. It was absolutely stunning. I could have sat in there for a long time, if it weren’t for the plane I had to catch and my being cold and wet from the climb. I was sad to have to leave the cave, but we all felt very accomplished for having made it up there. The climb down was a little easier, because we mostly just slid down on our butts, squealing and laughing the whole way. We cheerfully walked back to the road, passing our moose friend on our way. At the parking lot, we parted ways with Dave, who, by the way, caught the whole magical hike on film and his pictures are amazing. Caity and I drove up to Ensign Peak to take my last look at Salt Lake City. We walked up a very steep hill, and from the lookout point at the top you can see the entire City. We took some photos and took in the view, then hiked back down to the car to go get some lunch. We drove to Red Rock Brewery for some small plates and beer before Caity had to take me to the airport. It was an excellent last SLC meal, but I was very sad at the prospect of leaving my bestie. After lunch, we made our way to the airport and said our goodbyes. The good news is, this flight was not delayed, but the bad news is that I pouted the entire way home. It was a beautiful trip, filled with beautiful people, and I can not wait to go back.
*Thank you Caity for showing me your new home! You were an amazing host and I had so much fun.*