Saturday, March 6, 2021

Home Adventures Travel Getaway: Island In the Sky

Getaway: Island In the Sky

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Whale Rock at Island in the Sky in Canyonlands

The largest of the Mighty 5 National Parks in Utah, Canyonlands covers 337,598 acres with a hit parade of features that make Southern Utah distinct. The park is divided by the Colorado and Green Rivers into three distinct districts: Island in the Sky, Needles and the Maze. Author Edward Abbey, a park ranger in Arches National Monument and a frequent visitor to Canyonlands described the park as “the most weird, wonderful, magical place on earth—there is nothing else like it anywhere.” It definitely lives up to his description.

Rising into the sky then falling dramatically 2,000 feet to the confluence of the rivers below, you do indeed look down upon birds on the wing.

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Shafer Trail switchbacks

The Island district is the most accessible with multiple short hikes, myriad dramatic vistas, many turnouts and miles of paved road. There are few visitor facilities but many opportunities for solitude as only 500,000 people visit this park each year. With 1/5 the visitors of Zion National Park, you can be sure of some space and peace. Willow Flat is the lone campground here, with a mere 12 spaces.

Many short hikes get you out of the car, into the elements and lead to views of untamed land disappearing on the horizon. Mesa Arch, a portal clinging to the cliff edge and framing the La Sal Mountains, is a favorite spot for sunrise photos, a half-mile hike with huge pay off. Whale Rock is fun to climb, your sneakers clinging to the steep sides of the sandstone monolith. Grand View Point Trail leads to the very tip of the Island, an easy walk to the edge of the mesa.

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Mesa Arch 

The Green River overlook allows glimpses of eons old goosenecks, giant bends in the river exposing rock bands resembling layer cakes. Look carefully and you can spy the White Rim Trail as it hugs the mesa edge. This winding 100-mile track made by Uranium miners in the 1950s is accessed by the Shafer or Mineral Bottom switchbacks, requires a 4-wheel drive vehicle and a backcountry permit for camping. An unforgettable Jeep drive or supported bike ride, the White Rim Trail brings you into the heart of nowhere, unfolding the hidden, secret heart of wilderness.

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Green River Overlook

Island In the Sky Visitor Center is four hours from Salt Lake and 40 minutes from Moab, a small town that makes a great base for exploring Canyonlands.
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Island in the Sky Visitor Center

Photos in this post by Pippa Keene

Why is the Pleasant Grove theme park Evermore suing one of the most powerful women in music? Long story short: a playground for those who would choose lore over folklore is taking on Taylor Swift over the name of her most recent album. Both parties have their reputation on the line in a battle of undercover Swifties and novelty mug disputes. Will Evermore hit the gold rush? Or did they cross the wrong mad woman? The full story is at the link in our bio. ...

Even in the exploration boom of the 1800s, nobody dared to explore the terrain flowing through the Green and the Colorado Rivers.⁠

That is, nobody until Major John W. Powell said the 19th Century equivalent of “Hey man, hold my beer while I try this.”⁠

Read more about his dangerous expedition at the link in our bio!⁠

Photo of Powell’s expedition courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division⁠
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A brand new issue of Salt Lake magazine is coming your way! ⁠

We can't wait to share these stories with you. This issue includes our annual Blue Plate Awards celebrating those surviving and thriving in the restaurant biz. Plus, we take a road trip to Wyoming and ask why the only Utah passenger on the Titanic didn’t survive her journey.⁠

A note from our editor Jeremy Pugh, including beautiful tributes to Mary Brown Malouf from our friends in the community, is online now. Read more at the link in our bio ❤️⁠

Subscribers: Look for this issue in your mailbox soon. The magazine will be on newsstands March 1! 📬
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Today, we are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2021 Blue Plate Awards! ⁠🎉⁠

These prizes honor the growers, food evangelists, grocers, servers, bakers, chefs, bartenders and restaurateurs who do more than put good food on the table—they make our community a better place to live. This year, just surviving as a local business deserves an award, but each of our Blue Plate winners did more than that. They made us grateful for every person involved in the essential act of feeding us.⁠ 🍽⁠

At the link in our bio, we have the full list of winners, a celebration of feats of COVID creativity and a tribute to restaurants we lost this year. If you’re hungry for more, pick up a copy on newsstands March 1! Plus, check out our Instagram for spotlights on some of the Blue Plate winners. ⁠

This year’s Blue Plate Awards are the first without our beloved Executive Editor Mary Brown Malouf. We dedicate them to her, our town’s biggest food fan, critic and champion. xoxomm⁠ 💙
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2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @ricobrandut for Staying in Beansness⁠

Last summer, it seemed that Rico would be another victim of rapid gentrification in Salt Lake. Luckily, Rico was able to find a new home in Poplar Grove and now plans to add even more employees. It’s a last-minute happy ending for a community leader who literally wears his mission on his sleeve, courtesy a tattoo in bright red block letters: “pay it forward.” 💙⁠
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2021 Blue Plate Award Winner: @spicekitchenincubator for Keeping the Spice Flowing⁠

This year Spice Kitchen Incubator, already an essential resource for refugees, became, well, even more essential. 💙⁠
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2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @thestore_utah for Special Deliveries ⁠

As grocery delivery becomes the new norm, The Store offers a personal touch that only an independent grocer can provide. Last March, high-risk and elderly customers began calling in their grocery lists over the phone, and The Store’s general managers personally delivered food to their homes. 💙⁠
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2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @cucinaslc for Preserving Neighborhood Connection⁠

Cucina’s outdoor spaces became a place where the neighborhood could gather safely. Owner Dean Pierose offered free coffee in the mornings and encouraged his regulars to linger and commiserate together, preserving a semblance of society during a socially distanced time. 💙⁠
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2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @oquirrhslc for Betting the Bottom Dollar⁠

When COVID-19 hit Salt Lake City, Oquirrh co-owners Andrew and Angelena Fullers' dream was seriously damaged. But the Fullers keep trying to follow the rules. 💙⁠
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2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @hearth_and_hill for Opening Doors⁠

As the pandemic ravages independent restaurants, Hearth and Hill has reaffirmed its commitment to small businesses in Park City and used its large dining room as an informal gathering space for the city. 💙⁠
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2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @fisherbrewing for Creative Canning⁠

This year, Fisher found ways to utilize their beer, taproom space and canning capabilities for good. They created special lines of limited edition beers in custom cans to help raise funds for local businesses struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. 💙⁠
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A wind storm #tbt for your feed today. 🌬️🛹⁠

2020 was a long, long, loooong year, so we asked local photographers to share what the new normal looked like through their eyes. The link is in our bio!
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Just hours after being sworn in, President Joe Biden signed an executive order calling for a review of the boundaries for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. The monuments—designated by Barack Obama in 2016 and Bill Clinton in 1996—were reduced by roughly 2 million acres by former president Donald Trump, and the executive order is seen as move towards restoring the original boundaries.⁠

Read the full story through the link in bio.⁠


📸Bears Ears National Monument: Courtesy of Utah Office of Tourism
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What’s your favorite park in Utah? ...

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