Salt Lake City

05-Jul-2011 11:28, Canon Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, 7.1, 75.0mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 200
 
Day 4:
05-Jul-2011 10:35, Canon Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, 5.0, 20.0mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 200
 
We started the day a bit early. Before arriving at the park, we had reservations for 4 nights. After the first day, we decided three was enough and we should get to Salt Lake City the day before our flight back home, instead of starting at 4 AM for a six hour drive on the day of departure. We thus had cancelled the stay at the Grant Village, which is closer to the south entrance. It also made sense to drive through the Grand Teton National Park on the way back to SLC. The thunderstorm from last night had done wonders to the morning skies. There was more steam rising from the hot springs and fog everywhere. Mixing this with the vast landscape presented great opportunities for photography. Also there were hordes and hordes of bison pecking the green everywhere. This was when we had our real close encounter with a bison. There were a few cars park on the side and we pulled over. A couple of bison were just few feet from the cars. During the next five minutes, one of them slowly stepped out and up to the road and went around our car. It was literally a feet away from us. A bison typically is about five-six feet tall when standing on its legs. These bisons are considered wild animals and they can charge at you for no reason. The typical understanding is they don’t harm if you don’t mess with them; that is not always the case. You are advised to be at least 30 feet away from a bison. Better be safe than sorry. Have a binocular handy and that will get you closer safely.

05-Jul-2011 12:29, Canon Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, 8.0, 125.0mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 200
 
As we drove out of the park and entered the Grand Teton national park, little did I know that I would be seeing some of the most spectacular scenery thus far in my life. The Grand Tetons is named after the Grand Teton peak that has a height of about 14k feet. There are other numerous peaks blanketing the landscape and along with pristine lakes make up for grand sights. You can imagine there will be lot of trails and animal life, but we stuck to the road. The drive lasted about four hours and we stopped at Jackson for a quick lunch. The city of Jackson, WY must be a dream city to live if you are okay with the harsh winter. The city has the Tetons for the background and the snake river winding along route 89. The river itself is wide and is more of a rapids throughout its length than a calm, serene flow I would have imagined.
The temple's newer Conference center
The temple's newer Conference center06-Jul-2011 11:33, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 4.0, 8.898mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 80
 
We reached SLC around 6:45 PM local time. I had been to SLC a few times before and knew it pretty well. We had dinner at one of my favorite Indian restaurants in the US – Bombay House on St. Parsley’s street. The saag shorba (Spinach soup) was awesome and so was the bread and the mixed vegetable curry. The pista kulfi was excellent to top it off for the evening. We stopped at the Gateway shopping center on the way back. This center was built during the 2001 Winter Olympics that SLC hosted. The city is well planned and centered around the Mormon temple. The Gateway has this musical fountain that runs pretty much throughout the day and is a big attraction to families and children. Many (adults even) try to run through the 100 feet or so without trying to get wet and it should be fun, but is certainly fun to watch. The center has plenty of shopping and restaurants including a big Thai restaurant and a California Pizza Kitchen among others.
Gateway center at SLC
Gateway center at SLC05-Jul-2011 22:13, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 4.0, 6.1mm, 0.013 sec, ISO 1000
 
06-Jul-2011 11:30, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 4.0, 10.775mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 80
 
Back at the hotel, we had a nice view of the city and the temple spires rising above the buildings from our room. The next morning, we had a few hours before our flight at 1. We visited the Mormon temple and two sisters took us for a tour. One is not allowed inside the temple even if you are of Mormon faith, unless you are ‘prepared’ for stepping into it. The preparation takes time and interviews. We did visit the Tabernacle choir hall. This nearly 135 year old building has the main organ as its centerpiece. This organ has about 11,000 pipes and functions to this day. The whole hall didn’t have any speakers in the past and is capable of addressing about 20,000 people just because of its acoustics. One of the sisters went up to the pedestal and dropped a pin which can be clearly heard 170 feet away at the back of the hall.We ran out of time to visit the city hall. The flight back home was timely and we reached home slightly after midnight.

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