Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Provo Canyon to Midway

If you drive two miles north and east of my home, you intersect with University Avenue as it turns into Provo Canyon, surely one of the most picturesque drives in the world and very popular year ‘round. Each mountain has a totally different look from any other, but all obviously have experienced earthquake activity in the past. There are parks lovely enough for summer wedding receptions. Canyon Glen Park is probably the most-used by families and Church groups with its running creek, campfire spots, electricity access, adequate parking, sheltered eating spots, restroom facilities, playground and area for Frisbee or even volleyball. There is Nunn’s park which branches out into all sorts of areas big enough for family cookouts. It would be hard to find a spot that wasn’t a beautiful background for a family picture. It’s not unusual to see someone tubing down the Provo River, and almost always there are men in waders fishing. In the summer it’s quite likely you could see a big puff (!) of black smoke followed by a very loud CHOO CHOO sound, quite a thrill actually, to see an old-fashioned real train engine chugging up the mountain side. You can pay a fee and ride the train from Heber to Bridal Veil falls and the other way around. They have even used it at Christmas time as the "Polar Express Ride". Bridal Veil Falls is pretty any time of the year. In the wintertime, it is frozen in place, as if Jack Frost waves his magic wand quickly, creating a gigantic icicle molded along the side of the mountain. There is some sort of a walkway up there I hear, which was used in the movie Savannah Smiles. There even used to be a fancy hilltop restaurant accessed only by a tram, but it kept getting destroyed by avalanches and such and no longer exists. "They" say it is the most-used falls in the USA as far as people practicing climbing such areas goes. I wouldn’t know. Every few months the Search & Rescue teams have to go up there and save somebody.

A little farther up the canyon, you come across Deer Creek Reservoir, which now has a little resort where you can dock your boat and also store it during the winter if you wish. They have a restaurant there, rental for water Skidoos and such, even a little parking fee-collection kiosk. On a beautiful summer evening drive, you can see probably two dozen brightly-colored sail boats riding the waves.

When Salt Lake City hosted the winter Olympics in 2002, they developed a cross-country skiing venue called Soldier Hollow which is past Deer Creek but not as far as Midway. Midway is a unique town. I don’t know what it’s midway between, but it doesn’t matter because when you get there, you don’t care about anywhere else. You just want to look around. In the old part of town, all the little houses have very sharp roofs and chalet-type shutters, each with just a little difference from any other. As you meander to the newer part of town, you run into some incredible summer mansions and a resort that actually has a man who makes fantastic ice art displays in the wintertime. Around Labor Day each year, they have “Swiss Days” where people have booths and sell quilts, crafts, and all sorts of things they’ve spent the year making. It’s a big deal.

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