Day 23: Utah (Part 5)

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June 25, 2014 by Briana

Day 23 (6/23/14): Timpanogos Cave National Monument | Salt Lake City, UT

I broke out my electric griddle this morning and made a hearty breakfast of pancakes and turkey bacon.  We were going to be doing a long hike later in the day, and I didn’t want us to get hungry in the middle of it. Our hike took place at Timpanogos Cave National Monument at Mt. Timpanogos in the Wasatch mountain range. We wanted to see the cave, so we had made reservations a few days ago for the cave tour as it requires a ticket ($8 per person at the time we went) and often sells out during the summer.

We started hiking up Mt. Timpanogos around 1:30pm and didn’t reach the cave entrance until about 2:45pm. It was a steep 1.5-mile hike up the 1,092 feet to the cave, probably the steepest, most strenuous hike I’ve ever done in my life (and I’m not new to hiking). We got quite the workout though, and luckily, it paid off. Not only did we enjoy the rugged mountain terrain and stunning views of the Pleasant Grove valley below, but also the cave itself was amazing!

The cave is still alive or active, meaning that it’s still growing and evolving. Therefore, you’re not supposed to touch any part of the cave as the oil in our hands will damage it and change the structure. There were multiple caverns that often required bending, crouching and ducking to avoid brushing the wall growths to be able to pass through the narrow and low passageways. So many different sizes and textures of cave formations! They were fascinating and extremely tempting to touch with their wet and often slimy-looking surfaces.  But alas, no touching allowed, photos only.

At one point, the Ranger giving the tour turned off the lights in the cave, and it was literally pitch-black. You couldn’t even make out shapes or your own hand directly in front of your face. However, as creepy as the blackness was, it felt as though I was being embraced by it, which was a strange, somewhat comforting feeling. In a way, it seemed like “What you can’t see can’t hurt you.” But then the lights were turned back on, and I was reminded that I was underground, in a cold, damp series of caves. The temperature inside the caves is an average of 45 degrees Fahrenheit, the typical temperature of a refrigerator. Brrrr!!! Good thing I brought a sweater!

After exiting the cave and hiking back down, we were reminded how high up in the mountains we were with the surrounding scenic views.  The icing on the cake though for our time at the Timpanogos Cave National Monument area was seeing a family of bighorn sheep crossing the road directly in front of our truck! How incredible is that?!

We then headed into Salt Lake City where Justin gave me a tour of his old neighborhood.  He showed me his old house that he grew up in, his elementary school, his high school, plus many of his old hang-outs, such as Scone Cutter where I tried a scone and Hires Big H restaurant where we had a cheeseburger and fries (with Utah’s famous fry sauce of course) for dinner.  He then took me over to Iceberg for a milkshake (shakes are big in Utah, and many restaurants offer them).  Justin’s favorite shake flavor from Iceberg: Bubblegum! 🙂

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We’re the Bennetts, Justin & Briana, and it’s time for a change! We've left our jobs and everything else behind to start fresh somewhere else. They say it's all about "location, location, location," and what better way to figure out the best location for us than to explore the entire country searching for it? We’ll be driving across the continent with a truck and travel trailer on the cross-country road trip of a lifetime! Tag along with us and our two dogs, Meaty and Saucy, as we explore North America searching for our next destination!

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The view from the top! The High Bridge Trail led us up above Box Canyon Falls over a suspension bridge where we could see the river flowing through the canyon, spilling down through the narrow rock walls, and forming the towering waterfall plunging far below.  Had we not kept exploring from the base of the falls, we would have missed this vantage point above.  Moral of the story... always keep exploring, or you’ll never know what lays ahead.  Tag a hiking or travel buddy who’s never satisfied, always wanting to venture on and see everything possible! Behind the scenes of Box Canyon Falls. Swipe 👈🏻 for more pics of the waterfall, walkway, and viewing areas.  Does this remind anyone else of that scene from Jurassic Park III with the birdcage? We kept expecting a pterodactyl to swoop down and try to grab us.  Haha! 🤣 While in Ouray, we visited the town’s own “wonder of the world,” Box Canyon Falls.  A short hike took us through the box canyon to the dramatic waterfall which we were able to view from the partially enclosed walkway as well as down below at the base of the falls.⠀
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There’s a $4/adult entrance fee for Box Canyon Falls, but since it’s considered one of the must-dos in Ouray, we were willing to pay to see it.  What’s been your favorite tourist attraction that you thought was worth paying for?
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