Alpine Solace

Driving through the sun-baked, barren land of Southern Idaho in 97 degree temperatures we surmounted several mountain passes that had more semblance to sets of rolling hills despite their elevations of almost 6,000 feet.  The journey was to be a short one from the Almo, Idaho to Salt Lake City, Utah.  After hours of rolling hillsides with exposed rock, dispersed sage, juniper and pinyon pines we pulled into Ogden, Utah where we quickly honed in on a small Thai restaurant for lunch.  Despite the soggy tofu that appeared to have been fried the previous week we were delighted to be eating a hearty serving of fresh vegetables; something we had begun to miss due to the lack of produce to be found in the tiny town of Almo.   In Almo you might find a tomato, a potato and a browning head of lettuce at best.  We had ten days worth of laundry to take care of (talk about desert essence!) so we found a functional, albeit dilapidated laundry mat to perform our domestic duties in.  We ran several more errands including an expensive trip to the grocery store to resupply before heading into Big Cottonwood Canyon to find a campsite.  The instant change in scenery and temperature was a welcome reprieve after hours in the suffocating heat.  Towering escarpments of quartzite lined the canyon as the sage and juniper turned to tall, inviting spruce trees.  We worked our way through switchbacks and higher into the canyon as the sun set behind us, the light fading and the canyon becoming dark and mysterious.  Immediately upon parking I stepped from the van and was greeted by cool mountain air and the smell of evergreen trees.  At an altitude of 8,000 feet we had driven into a juxtapose environment only a short distance from the hot, hurried bustle of Salt Lake City.

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