Kennecott Mine, Antelope Island, Golden Spike, and our farewell to Utah!

We’ve said “see you soon” to Utah quite a few times since our first visit the first of week May – but this time it’s, “so long, farewell!”

Utah is gorgeous and we have so many happy memories from around the state. Sand Hollow, Zion, Lone Rock, Monument Valley, Moab, and these 2 weeks at Jordanelle.

(Updating this section Aug 27 because I found these pics!!!) Before leaving, we had a last family afternoon on the water on Jordanelle and it was just awesome. The kids were so happy. RR convinced AB to play Star Wars and it was just so a happy beautiful afternoon! We ended that night with s’mores and the perfect sunset – woohoo!

AB looks up to RR a lot – it’s so cute!

One morning this week AB woke up and B said did you lose another tooth!? She didn’t even know haha it had fallen out during the night .

Then, our weekend fun started in Midway at a park we saw when we went to the Crater last weekend.

I will be sad when we are beyond playground years! We have spent so. many. hours of the kids’ childhood at parks! Recently their fave games are grounder, infection, tag, and America ninja warrior.

The kiddos and I also did a hike on PC Hill while B finished up work for the week. It was gorgeous!

I always pictured Park City (since it’s such a famous ski resort) to be much bigger! I bet it looks so different in winter.

In the mountains out west we have seen many towns put their town letters on the side of the mountain and we finally got to see one up close. Here’s RR dancing around the P in PC!

Yay for greeeeeen!!! And pretty blues!

The kids are such fast hikers these days! I really couldn’t keep up.

On Saturday we went to the Kennecott copper mine in Salt Lake City and the boys really loved it!

I could really picture RR being an engineer for a complex project like this is. But all I could really picture the whole time we were there was him and his dump truck that he was attached to for years…. and him and his sand trucks at the beach. (We still have those and play with them!)

B kept thinking the same:

(There is RR in 2008. He stayed attached to that truck for years haha. I have about 1000 more pictures of him with it through the years but I couldn’t find them quickly enough to post. )

But the dump trucks at this mine were as big as our old house in Stoney Creek! Look at the example of the tire, shovels, and truck bed:

RR really loved this “field trip” to the mine and watching the trucks at work!

The girls liked…. hmmm…let me think….. the colors! πŸ™‚

Out of this open-pit mine they extract copper silver and gold. Learning how they do it and all the complex steps it takes to make it ready for market was pretty amazing! To think of everything that is made and done thanks to the minerals found in this pit is mind boggling. This is the largest man made excavation in the world and has produced more than 19 million tons of copper in its history. Its a national historic landmark and a very important part of our history – since the first excavation in 1863.

Next, we were off to Antelope Island State Park to see the Great Salt Lake! RR has been looking forward to seeing the lake since reading Notgrass America the Beautiful in our first years of homeschool together. (Just like Mesa Verde! So many of the things on our bucket list are thanks to Notgrass.)

After checking out a few viewpoints, the kiddos were anxious to get in!

Let me set the next scene for you. πŸ™‚

Picture this: The beach is so large it takes us about 5 minutes to walk from the car to the water. It is sooo quiet. We’re far from the city and there are no boats or activity anywhere near us… Just little lapping waves, and a few people floating in the water down the beach from us. It’s so quiet the only noise I can hear is the wind. At the edge of the water there is a massive amount of brine flies which we were warned about. They don’t bite and they don’t make any noise…. they just fly up like a dust cloud when you walk past… gross…but we pressed on.

The kids and B waded out ahead of me while I settled our stuff. (All that black and brown at the edge of the water in the sand on the 4th and 5th pics — is not different colored sand — it’s all flies!)

It took them awhile to get deep enough to float but when they do I heard the happiest screaming and laughing. As I head out there — I’m just cheesing so big as I listen to their happiness. It feels like “home” to be in warm salt water again. This water is SO much saltier than the ocean so they are floating like little ducks and they think it’s hilarious. B is like a little kid exclaiming how he can’t put his legs down and that he feels like a cork bobbing around. And then what happens next will always be remembered as the Great Salt Burn.

The timing was impeccable. The second my ripple reaches the girls – it’s as if I have brought a wicked curse on them. Their happy little faces drop like a rock and they both start screaming and crying “ahhhhh what’s happening!? it’s burning!” Every little cut and sensitive area they had just lit on fire as the salt started healing their wounds and I can assure you that people back in the city wondered what animals were being attacked on Antelope Island.

I got them out as quickly as I could and we cry-walked the 5 minutes back to the showers with each stranger we passed asking us if we needed help. Well at least we found where all the friendly people are πŸ™‚

The girls calmed quickly after the cold shower and all was well again. Phew!

We looked at the boys through the binoculars and they were all smiles. It was a great day for the boys! We were happy for them πŸ™‚

After the great salt burn crisis, we explored around the island and enjoyed the beauty and quiet.

We even got a little taste of what we hope Wyoming will be like with some sights of some special wildlife! Pronghorn antelope on the left of the pic (darn I only had my cell not my camera):

Mule deer with antlers:

More antelope:


What a gorgeous area!

Today on the way to Idaho we made a stop at Golden Spike Historical Park. (B enjoyed this park thanks to one of his fave shows – Hell on Wheels – which was the nickname given to the “towns” that moved with the railroad and provided all the social life for the workers.)

It was very fun to hear about the momentous occasion when the east and west railroads were connected here in Utah in 1869. Right here:

It was also sad to see how the pride of man and economic push led to the end of the frontier west and the natural buffalo herds…. and as a result, the life of the nomadic hunting natives as they had known it. This advancement could have been accomplished in better ways.

Like many other historical achievements we’ve learned about, there’s both positive and negative that resulted from the progress. The completion of the railroad across the country also resulted in communication through the telegraph from coast to coast. And it was a much-needed morale builder as the country tried to move out of the Civil War.

It was truly back-breaking work for the men who surveyed, graded, and laid the track. Sometimes they only achieved about 8 inches a day if they were cutting through granite mountains. We read that the record was 10 miles of track laid in a day! Most of the work on the railroads was done by Irish and Chinese immigrants until the Civil War freed-up more men.

The engines that are replicas of the original 2 that met here in 1869 were in their “house” and not on the tracks as usual because an engineer was out sick. They were still cool to see. Trains can be beautiful apparently…. because we all agreed they were!

This Ranger was one of the best ! And it was a privilege to have met her . She was an encouraging, homeschooling veteran πŸ™‚ !

It was a great end to our Utah time!

Thanks for the memories Utah! It’s been great. So long, farewell!

2 thoughts on “Kennecott Mine, Antelope Island, Golden Spike, and our farewell to Utah!

  1. Pam Mullen

    Your caption picture is amazing with the kids in the water and no one else visible for what looks like miles around! So different that our beaches. I could get use to some of that peach and quiet.

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