Salt Lake City and Moab, Utah!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Brian and I aren't going on our honeymoon until September, so right before the wedding we decided to plan a little getaway to hold us over until then. We tossed around a few ideas we've looked into over the years — Montana (inspired by a huge Visit Montana billboard that was across my apartment bedroom window five years ago, which led to Montana-based conversations every morning on the way to work), various cities in Colorado, New Orleans, among others — but ultimately settled on Utah, which was decidedly the perfect choice and absolutely breathtaking. The red rocks, that blue, blue sky, the quiet outside space where you hear nothing but your own feet shuffling, and seeing views of mountains and cliffs and nature for days... felt like a dream.

Our first stop was the Bonneville Salt Flats, right outside of Salt Lake City. This place was the coolest rest stop on a highway I've ever seen. Despite the 100-degree temps, we stayed there quite some time, taking embarrassing jumping pics, racing, verifying that the salt is salt (yep, salt).

We had the yummiest lunch at Red Iguana after that, a place we can't recommend enough. We had read great things and were worried we wouldn't get in (their slogan is "worth the wait," and we were so hungry!), but we were able to grab a table right away. The couple sitting next to us said this was their fourth attempt to dine there that week (the line had wrapped around the restaurant every night they'd tried), so we made sure to savor every bite. 


That afternoon we hiked Big Cottonwood Canyon to see Donut Falls. It was beautiful, but there were a lot of slippery rocks up steep paths and tons of little chipmunks that looked and sounded like rats (my biggest fear), so I didn't last as long as I would have liked. I sat back for a bit while Brian hiked to the top of the waterfall, screaming every time one of those chipmunk things came close to me. I kept saying it felt like that part in Parent Trap, where they're camping, and Brian kept not understanding the reference. 

That night we had we had such a nice dinner at Log Haven, a beautiful cabin, a 20 minute drive up a mountain. We were bummed we couldn't eat outside (the views are stunning, but there was a wedding), but the pianist, woodsy cocktails and string lights made for the most romantic feel inside. Brian had bacon-wrapped elk. I had risotto, but more importantly, the best s'more tart (giving-up-desserts-in-2016 update ... it's not going well).

Early the next morning (like, really early, cursing all things, early) we started our trip to Moab. Despite our best efforts to get there while it was still relatively cool, it was 110-degrees by the time we started hiking, and the rangers were cautioning against it. Still, we hiked two hours to see Delicate Arch (the big arch on Utah's license plate), which was definitely the highlight of our trip. I still think the balancing rock (second to last photo) is just as cool, if not cooler, but Brian says I only think that because you can drive up to it ;-)

We spent that night at Red Cliffs Lodge, which has a winery, incredible pool, horses and a restaurant with amazing views of the Colorado River (we later found out that famous Western movies have been shot on the property). After dinner we sat on our balcony and shared a bottle of wine we'd gotten earlier from the winery, and it was so nice to unwind and talk for hours. We'd initially planned on going back to the national park to see the stars, but the views were so incredible from our balcony, we decided to stay in.

On Sunday we checked out the Colorado River, ate at In-N-Out (duh, when in the Southwest) and I had a dirty Dr. Pepper (kind of the reason we planned this trip...). I've been obsessed with the idea of this soda (Dr. Pepper, coconut syrup, lime) for some time and had planned on having dozens during our stay, but time got ahead of us each day, and suddenly it was Sunday and ... we hadn't planned accordingly and ... we realized like everything is closed in Salt Lake City on Sunday. So, right before our flight, we frantically called every soda shop in the greater SLC area looking for a dirty Dr. Pepper, and one came through, and it was glorious. So glorious. I actually think this was the highlight of my trip. I kept saying it didn't matter to me, that we could go home defeated, and Brian insisted it was worth potentially missing our flight over. It would have been. So, so good. 

And that's that! We had such a good time. Our first trip as the Hayeses was perhaps our best yet.

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