Sun Tunnels is a magical place in the remote Great Basin Desert, outside of the ghost town of Lucin, Utah. Created by Nancy Holt in 1976, this land art installation was quite a feat. The concrete tunnels are nine feet high, eighteen feet long, and weigh twenty-two tons! Nancy collaborated with engineers, pipe manufacturers, drillers, truck drivers, and astronomers on this complex, riveting project. Arranged in an x-shaped configuration, the tunnels align perfectly with sunrises and sunsets.
I had the opportunity to witness NASA’s motor test of Orbital ATK’s SLS Booster, that will one day journey to Mars. It was the experience of a lifetime! The test was done in the middle of nowhere, in Promontory, Utah. The countdown leading to the motor firing was exciting, and I’ve never experienced anything like the feeling of the intense heat from the rocket fuel. The plume of smoke that developed was pretty monumental, and stories high. Every so often NASA puts on a spectacular show like this. I will do my best to let you know when the next one will be!
I know that there are a lot of people in Utah right now who are pretty bummed about the toxic algae bloom that is currently affecting Utah Lake, the Jordan River, and some canals in the area. Here is a wonderful alternative! Millsite State Park is a very clean (looking) reservoir with a boat ramp and swimming area. There is a campground with pavilions, and many activities to be had, including fishing (offering rainbow and cutthroat trout), boating, bike riding, ATVing, and endless hiking in the nearby Ferron Canyon. A public 9-hole golf course is adjacent to the park as well.
I’m not sure how the word “little” got into the title of the Little Sahara Sand Dunes, as there is nothing little about them. I’d say grand is more like it! Located in the Sevier Desert of Southern Utah, Little Sahara is one of the largest dune fields in Utah. The dunes are a 124-square-mile system of giant, free-moving sand piles that move to the north and east between 5-9 feet per year. The 60,000 acres of sand dunes, trails, and sagebrush flats are managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
The Valley of Goblins is one of my favorite southern Utah destinations. It contains thousands of sandstone goblins and interesting formations, within three square miles. Beyond that, there are six miles of additional hiking and biking trails. From the moment you first arrive at Goblin Valley, you might feel overcome with a sense of adventure, and a desire for exploration. There are three different valleys to explore that contain walls of eroded cliffs, some cavelike areas, and you can even stand on top of the goblins and climb them (just don’t purposefully knock them over!).
Antelope Island is the perfect sunrise or sunset viewing spot. It is well worth the 40 minute drive from Salt Lake City, and it flies by (especially when you sleep on the way back, like I did, whoops). There’s something invigorating about getting up early and taking a drive, pouring orange juice into fancy Denby teacups, and eating homemade cinnamon rolls, while watching the sun come up with the people you love. Definitely one of my top ten favorite Utah memories so far.