After a ten hour drive across California, Nevada, and into Utah, it is always nice to step out of the car and take in the fresh mountain air. At a quick stop, on the way into Salt Lake City to pick up my older brother, Danny, my family drove through Zion National Park, a gorgeous piece of land full of red rock mountains, twisted and towering over one another. Zion was Utah’s very first national park, with an intriguing past full of adventure. My family and I were pleased to encounter ancient culture throughout our trip. After stopping at a small craft stand on the side of the road and buying a handmade dream catcher, I felt like I was connected to the people. These rocky peaks were once home to nomadic Natives, who lived off of the land. Throughout our exploration, my family and I discovered the geological history of this region. Over years and years, wind, sand, and rain shaped the sandstone into canyons with narrow pathways, deep-running streams, and grass-sprinkled plateaus. The vast expanse that is Zion, which spans across three counties, was a view and an experience I’ll never forget.
Our main destination on this trip was Park City, Utah. As we drove through the mountains into Park City, I imagined the lush, green mountainsides that we would be approaching. In the open air, the mountains were a sight I’d never seen in my life. So different from Californian mountains, the green peaks awed me. Upon our entrance to the hotel, the Marriot Summit Watch Hotel, we noticed a very cool piece of art that we had to investigate after getting settled in. We unpacked our bags and instantly ran out of the hotel to Main Street, which was dotted with antique stores, adorable little cafes, and hidden art galleries. Among the more modern aspects of the city were historic characteristics, which gave this vacation spot its unique personality. Standing along-side the modernized chairlift was the rusty, but preserved, original lift, which dated back many generations. The town preserved its mining history by sounding the “quitting time” siren each day. One breathtaking and inspiring piece of art stood right next to our hotel—the shoe tree. What interested me so much about the tree was its history. Over several years, the tree had seen a lot of stories, just like the ornaments which hung from the limbs. Among the creeping, finger-like branches hung tons of shoes from all over the world, in all styles, from all generations. The shoes became a tradition when, in the 1970s, a group of campers threw their shoes into the tree. Over the years, visitors and residents alike have tossed their shoes into the tree to commemorate their travels, their experiences. The tree is home to everything from flip-flops to hiking and ski boots, along with memories and stories, which once belonged to travelers of all ages.
Over the course of ten days, my family explored the beauty and vastness of a state so close to home. It was a long drive, but it was worth the view at the peaks of the red rock mountains. The forest-covered peaks of Park City embraced me as I breathed in the fresh, organic air. Overall, Utah allowed me to explore a new aspect of the country that I never would have seen or experienced—one that was unique, striking, and, most importantly, historic. Utah is a place of wonder, beautifully crafted by its past, present, and future; it is a place of antiquity and grandeur, one that people of all ages would enjoy.
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