True beauty

Provo, Utah is nestled against the most beautiful mountains.  Our site at the Elks Lodge is just a parking lot near major commercialism but when you look out the window all you see are these spectacular mountains.  I went to the mall nearby and from the food court that was less than spectacular the view from the dining area was of the same mountains.   I could sit there all day looking at the landscape.

Provo is home to BYU and the downtown area is full of fun spots to hang out along with lots of parks and spots to sit and enjoy what is going on.  I think I have found paradise within a big city.  I love the energy of this downtown.  The scenery is amazing and the recreation in those mountains is limitless.  I am starting to think I have found a spot that I might like better than home without the beach, then I find out they don’t even have a Starbucks!  Being dominated by the Mormon Church they don’t do Coffee and so the nearest Starbucks is 4 miles away in nearby Orem.  Hmmm.

Timpanogos Valley view

But the beauty is unforgettable.  We took a short  drive to Timpanogos National Monument to see the caves.  The drive out of Provo is very short and very quickly you are driving on a single lane road right through these steep mountains.  There is a small river and so much beauty.  Our first stop was the caves where you take a 1.5 mile hike straight up the mountain to the entrance of the 3 caves.  The hike is free, if you want to go into the caves it is $8 and I think well worth the money.

Looking down the canyon to Provo

     Looking down the canyon to Provo

 

One of our many rests going up the trail

One of our many rests going up the trail

It is a short hike on a paved trail but uphill, gaining 1000 feet in elevation.  I made it to the top in less than 1 hour which was slow but the beauty was worth all the stops.  At the top you are met by a ranger that takes you into the cave.  Paul didn’t go into the cave as we did not have reservations and the earliest time we could get was 3 hours after we arrived.  Paul found a guy that had an extra ticket so I got to tour the caves while Paul rested outside.

I love caves and am most amazed by those who found them in the first place.  One of the three caves was discovered in the early 1900’s by two 14 year old boys who kept it secret for many years.  Climbing the paved trail was strenous, I can not even imagine climbing these steep mountains, finding a hole and climbing in.

TimpanogosCave4

Heart shaped

                             Heart shaped

The caves are very much alive and the tour took us through areas that were very tight to navigate and exciting.  We toured 3 fairly small caves in comparsion to other caves I have been in but the beauty is very close up and lovely.

TimpanogosChipmunk

This little guy was scurrying around near one of the many benches along the trail and was not happy that I wouldn’t move away.  He was frozen on the rock while I snapped many shots.  As soon as I stopped he proceeded with his day.

Lunch

                                                                                

We made it down the mountain much more quickly than our assent but my muscles are aching from trying to hold myself back from tumbling down the steep grade.  Then it was off to find somewhere to enjoy our lunch.  Picnics are one of my favorite things about being in these great places and today we found a perfect spot right along the small stream.  The road through the park was quite close by, but the sound of the stream drowned out the constant traffic and we couldn’t see the cars so it felt like we were truly in nature all alone.

Birch or Aspen?

                                           Birch or Aspen?

Traveling through the park we reached the summit and saw so many groves of these beautiful trees.  Paul says they are Birch and I’m thinking we are close to Colorado so maybe they are Aspen.  We are definitely not experts neither do I aspire to be.  It didn’t matter which they were, but we are starting to see some color changes!  Fall is coming fast.

Bridal  Veil Falls

                        Bridal Veil Falls

Right along the highway returning to Provo is this very tall waterfall,  Bridal Veil Falls.  At one time there was a restaurant on the side of the cliffs that you reached on a tram that ran straight up the walls!  It caught fire and the local agency’s let it burn because they thought it was too dangerous and the business at the top was failing anyway.  It was a nice stop and fun to watch the kids climbing the rocks up to the lower falls.

A beautiful day for touring, amazing caves, waterfalls, nature but no Starbucks!  I will continue my search for the perfect place.

 

Comments are closed.