Mr. Noodle

Mr. Noodle
Mr. Noodle

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A 20 mile bike ride along the Jordan River

Dan and I working on getting fit, so we have decided that, weather permitting, we will get out and do something active every weekend. We loaded up our bikes, water, and a picnic and drove down to Utah lake to cycle the Jordan River trail.

Mr. Cupcake rode in my under-the-seat pouch.

The view from the place where we stopped for a picnic.

We got close enough to these wind turbines to hear them swoosh.

My friend Steve once told me that hills (on a bicycle) are good. I didn't believe him at the time (probably because it was a painful endeavour) but on this day we did climb some steep hills and were rewarded with a view of the valley.

On our way back, some horses and a donkey were next to the trail on the other side of the fence. This donkey was lounging.

Sheep! I love seeing so many sheep in this state. In North Carolina we seldom saw livestock - just hog barns. There was an occasional horse corral but mostly it was crop land. Here there seems to be a good growing climate for grazing animals.

Looking south towards Utah lake.

It was quite a pleasant day, really, with an easy 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite applying sunscreen however, we did get sunburned and are nursing those burns still.

Doing this made me wish we had one of those "101 Hikes in Utah" books or a book on cycling trails/routes. Not wanting to spend money just now (we're going to Scotland in October), I went instead to the library yesterday and got all kinds of books on hikes, cycling trails, trees, wild flowers, and birds. Birds! While we were on this bike ride, I saw a bird about 12" long, black body, yellow/orange head with a long black beak. I don't know much about birds but I'm starting to take an interest. Dan has the Audubon bird app on his phone and when he looked it up, he figured it's a yellow-headed black bird. I couldn't get close enough to take a picture, they fly away so fast! We also saw a goose couple and their 5-6 so-cute goslings swimming in the river. On the way up the hill at the end of the trail (our turn around point by the wind turbines), I saw a gorgeous lizard I haven't looked up yet. About 8" long with dark stripes along the body - the body was brown/beige and the tail was a sage green.

I love being out in nature. I don't recall if I mentioned it here but when we lived in North Carolina, I felt like that place had no spirit to it. You have to remember I have spent most of my adult life living on the west coast in the rainforest among a culturally-saturated Coast Salish territory where the First Nations People and environmentalists were united in their love for Mother Earth. There was none of that in North Carolina, not where we were. The indigenous populations had been wiped out generations ago, and in a region that grows tobacco, well, yes this will sound judgemental but there was little care for the environment that I could see. Compared to what I was used to, at least. Heck, even Korea 12 years ago was composting food from every apartment building - long before North American cities even thought of it!

We had a friend visit us in North Carolina last September. Someone who we knew from Vancouver Island but who was raised in Virginia. I mentioned to her my thoughts about not feeling any spirit in the land in NC and she knew what I meant. Given the region's history, it's possible that there is just too much blood and suffering in that land (slavery, civil war, continued segregation and systemic racism) and that it has never really recovered or healed. That makes a lot of sense. That was also a big reason for me wanting to return to the west. The west is where my heart is.

It's also far less densely populated, which we like. It hasn't been settled for as long as the east has, so it is relatively young by modern society standards. People here understand the beauty of the place and work hard to preserve it. (I say that, but there are a number of mountaintop-removal sites and a highly productive oil and gas industry in the Uinta basin). Nevertheless, there is a culture here of getting out and being in nature, be it hiking, cycling, skiing, camping, snowshoeing, and everything in between. It's very motivating.

It's also nice to feel safe walking around in this city (I am digressing, I know). I'm sure I mentioned this before. I used to live two blocks from work in Kinston and people would be concerned about me getting home safely if I walked. Having been the victim of a peeping Tom when I lived in Japan, having all the people walking by our house and looking in all the time in Kinston freaked me out, I was always on edge. I never felt safe there, in that house.

I'll awkwardly wrap up here because I do want to end on a positive note. I love it here. In terms of ticking all the boxes, Salt Lake City is the best place I have ever lived. Cowichan Bay is a close second, but the circumstances under which I was there (waiting for immigration, away from Dan) mean it couldn't be first. I do miss living with chickens and having my other best friend to hang out with every day. :-) Salt Lake has given me a launching pad for my career which I had, until last year, all but given up on; I found community in gardening; I have lost 28 pounds since we have been here and it has come of fairly easily, thanks to diet and being more active!; the house we live in is great and comfortable; Dan works more reasonable hours and I get to spend more time with him; financially it is far better for us, my work notwithstanding; and as of Friday, the vodka Dan made for Sugar House Distillery was on sale to the public. They sold 200 bottles the first day. Things are good. 

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