Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mirror Lake, Utah - Magical Beauty High In The Uinta Mountains

Mirrored Mountain - Mirror Lake, Utah
High up in Utah's Uinta Mountains--almost two hours drive east of Salt Lake City--is Mirror Lake, a natural freshwater lake at 10,050' elevation. It sits beneath Bald Mountain, Reids Peak, Mount Marsell and Heyden Peak in the Wasatch-Uinta-Cache National Forest.

It's easy to see why the lake is named Mirror Lake. The peaceful waters clearly reflect the landscape around it. The fresh scent of pine greets you upon arrival. There is a magical quality about this place. It's simply beautiful!

Mirror Lake is a popular spot for camping, hiking and fishing. It's also a great place to see the starry night sky. If you like experiencing nature, this is an exceptional location for that.

The scenic Mirror Lake Highway, which provides the only access to Mirror Lake, is closed from roughly early-autumn to late-spring, as it gets covered in snow. Summer is the best time, and really the only time, to visit. The 2016 season is fast coming to an end--if you missed it, you'll have to wait until next year.

Mirror Lake has quickly become a favorite Utah destination of ours. It's an easy escape from the city and the hot summer temperatures. It's a getaway that feels far away, yet is close enough for a quick day trip if that's all that time allows.
Mirror Lake Fisherman - Mirror Lake, Utah
Trout In Hand - Mirror Lake, Utah
Boats At The Lake - Mirror Lake, Utah
Red Boat On Mirror Lake - Mirror Lake, Utah
Color Leaves - Mirror Lake, Utah
Lake In The Uinta Mountains - Mirror Lake, Utah
Stars Over Mirror Lake - Mirror Lake, Utah
Night At The Lake - Mirror Lake, Utah
Our Galaxy - Mirror Lake, Utah

Friday, September 9, 2016

A Railroad Birthday - Utah State Railroad Museum & Heber Valley Railroad

Heber Valley Railroading - Heber Valley, Utah
My son, Jonathan, celebrated his 7th birthday a couple of weeks ago. He loves all things railroad. In fact, all three of my kids are train enthusiasts, but Jonathan, especially, loves trains. So we made this a railroad birthday for him.

The first stop was the Utah State Railroad Museum at the historic Ogden Union Station. This is a great place for any kid that likes trains. There are old locomotives on static display on the outside and an interactive railroad museum on the inside. It's designed well for kids. There are even some elaborate model trains. My three kids could have stayed all day, but we had more fun things in store.

After returning home and opening gifts and eating cake, it was time to head to the next stop. We drove down to Heber City to ride the historic Heber Valley Railroad--specifically the Monday Night Train (as it's called).
Station - Ogden, Utah
The Monday Night Train runs from the Heber City station to the Deer Creek Reservoir through the scenic Heber Valley. The old passenger coaches were pulled by a diesel locomotive. The local folks call this the "Heber Creeper" because it's a pretty slow train. Halfway through the trip the locomotive changes ends, and so what was the first car becomes the last (and vice versa) for the journey back.

Before boarding there was a cowboy "gun fight" at the station. It's pretty loud for little ears, but otherwise entertaining. During the train ride there was a fiddler, plus sing-a-longs and even dancing in the isles to keep everyone entertained. Dull moments were rare.

All three of our children had a blast on this day of trains. But Jonathan, especially, had a memorable time. This was a special birthday treat for him, something he'll fondly recall for years.
Girl Sitting At Union Station - Ogden, Utah
Steam Locomotive On A Trestle - Ogden, Utah
View Through Model Boxcar - Ogden, Utah
Diesels Through The Model Mountains - Ogden, Utah
Handcar Joy - Ogden, Utah
In A Capola - Ogden, Utah
Joshua Waiting To Depart - Heber, Utah
Western - Heber, Utah
Cowboys Outside The Train - Heber, Utah
Brothers On The Rolling Train - Heber Valley, Utah
Silly Brothers On The Train - Heber Valley, Utah
Monochrome Girl - Heber Valley, Utah
Field Watering As Seen From The Train - Heber Valley, Utah
Deer Creek Reservoir - Heber Valley, Utah
Locomotive In The Siding - Heber Valley, Utah
Train At The Switch - Heber Valley, Utah
Heber Valley Locomotive - Heber Valley, Utah

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Back To School!

Back To School - South Weber, Utah
It's September and that means kids are back in school. For us it's a little different because we homeschool our children, but our kids are back in the full swing of school work.

Every year we see on social media friends post first-day-of-school pictures of their kids. Some of them are really creative. We wanted to do something like that for our kids this year. Being a picture-taker myself, I took care of the photography. My wife, Amanda, arranged everything else. I think the pictures (below) come out pretty well.

One great thing about homeschooling is that it gives us flexibility. We are able to have adventures when others are tied down to a more rigid schedule. That's not the main reason we do this, but it is a great benefit.

Even though school is in, we will continue to have many great journeys and experiences. Keep checking back to this blog to see this Utah family's adventures throughout the school year and beyond!
Joy Back To School - South Weber, Utah
Jonathan Back To School - South Weber, Utah
Joshua Back To School - South Weber, Utah

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Fall Is Here! Well, Not Officially...

Utah Highway Junction - Ogden Canyon, Utah
The temperatures are cooler--I even wore long sleeves yesterday. The leaves on the trees are beginning to change color. Halloween decor is in all of the retail stores (and even some Christmas stuff). Starbucks is now selling the delicious Pumpkin Spice Latte. Autumn has arrived!

Well, not officially. The first day of fall is September 22, so we have a couple of weeks to go. But unofficially it's already here in Utah.

I love the changing season as summer gives way to autumn. The weather cools to a more pleasant range. Nature puts on an amazing color show. The crowds seem to disappear. It's a great time to experience the great outdoors!
Pumpkin Chestnut - South Weber, Utah
And the opportunities to do that abound here in Utah. You don't have to go very far. And there's a lot of variety--from crystal-clear high-altitude lakes surrounded by pine trees to red-rock arches in a vast desert.

But don't wait to get out! Winter is right around the corner. Snow is coming, and it will be here before you know it. The fall colors will be largely gone from the trees in a matter of weeks.

Enjoy this time of change. Experience the beauty around you. Find a highway and explore some place you've never been before. Now's the time to do it.
Early Autumn - Ogden Canyon, Utah