Monday, April 30, 2012

Z is for ...

Zion National Park!

Why did the mountain lion cross the chasm? To eat the photographer on the other side! Hahaha! The photo inspired that cheesy joke.
I've been to  Zion National Park only once--when I was 18. It was spectacular and magical. I'd love to go back with a pad of paper and pen record the sights, sounds and feel in poetry and story form!

Woohoo! Congratulations for sticking with me throughout the entire alphabet. It's been fun and hectic in one! Remember to post your overall thoughts and feelings about the A-Z April Challenge 2012 May 7th!

What nature thing do you find inspiring?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for ...

Yuba Lake and treasure hunting!

There are many  gorgeous camping spots here in Utah, you'd have no problem camp-hoping around!
Besides fishing, boating, sailing, you can visit The Little Saraha Sand Dunes Recreation Area as well as the Pony  Express National Historic Trail. This, I think would interest the kids: like hunting for shells, you can find semi-precious stones on Topaz Mountains and then go for a ride through Loop National Scenic Byway.

At Topaz Mountain: I'm interested in taking my family  there, because imagine all the treasures  you could find? Check this site out for one persons's findings.

Location: just east of I-15, about 110 miles south of Salt Lake City

Have  you ever gone treasure hunting?

Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for ...

Xterra Utah Off-Road Triathlon (2012)!

The first time I'd ever heard of a Triathlon, I wondered what it was. It sounded sporty. It is something sporty! It all began in 1996 in Maui as Aquaterra. It's like a marathon but involving 3 different activities: swimming, mountain biking, and trail running. Whew!

You may enroll in the Championship race, or just for the  Xterra experience!

Have you ever been in a Triathlon?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for ... Watched Series Virtual Book Tour!

What a book!

Book Review: Protected by Cindy Hogan

Sequel to Watched, Cindy Hogan out does herself. Again.

Fifteen year-old Christy Hadden hates life back home. At her school trip in
Washington, D.C., she had a glimpse at  what it felt like to belong--until the murder. Now in Montana, she slips back into the little nobody she feels she is until Alex--the love of her life--finds her. And so does the danger...

Hogan is extremely creative and a goddess of character creation as she  whips up many  well-rounded profiles as  well as personalities for Christy when she is swept into the FBI's  Witness Protection Program.

I loved learning with Christy as she fought for reformation to fit the character of a snobby cheerleader way out in Florida--far from the cozy comfort of her home, but I felt as if she submitted emotionally to this a bit easily in regards to her former life. Though Cindy Hogan mentions Christy's mourning after the fact, I  would've loved to have felt a bit of Christy's mourning for the sudden loss of her family soon after she  was taken into safety.

It feels as if I'm missing something  when it comes to a very particular set of black-ops FBI agents who are the parents of an important character. They feel out of place since they let their distaste for Christy  sway their attitude  toward her. I could only hope that the author has done this quite intentionally for the next book's  twist.

This story kept me turning the pages as I became fascinated by the turn of events as  well as Christy's transformation into Michele, and  later Ari. It's because of authors like Cindy Hogan that I couldn't put the book down!

Read my review  on Hogan's first book in the  Watched Series here--you don't  want to miss it!

Purchase Protected here!
See what virtual tour Sarra's thoughts were on Hogan's Protected: 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for ...

Valleys in Utah!

*Enjoy the tour!

Love Utah . . .

If lived in Utah, what would you do?

*photos have been removed

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for ...

Uinta Moutains!

Admittedly so, the  Uinta sunsets are breathtaking . . .

Fantasy forest. Have you  seen Disney's Sleeping Beauty, the forest she lives in reminds me of the one you  see below. There are many flat rock cliffs and platforms with trees growing everywhere.

I love driving through this range to step off for a breath full of gorgeous view.

*photos have been removed

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for ...

Timinogos Cave!

This wondrous cave is located in Utah, 92 American Fork--number, (801) 756-5238 if you're ever interested in a cave  tour. Sorry, no spelunking allowed! But  satisfy your adventurous  tooth witthe 1.5 mile hike up  the steep 1000 feet  of elevation to  its  entrance!

I found  this awesome blogger's full safari report on  Timpinogos cave. She braved the steeps, lost  a runaway water bottle all while with   two kids and a baby pack--whew! (I've done  that  climb with a baby pack and some kiddles  too,  it's scary stuff.) I wonder if  they'll ever put  up a railing or if anyone has ever fallen off  to their deaths? *shiver*

Okay, I just  did some digging and  there have been quite a few accidents. I would close  this place down nd build a safety rail, putting up a warning before the hike doesn't  do it  for me--it's  just  not worth a person's life!

What  dangerous fun have you done?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for ...


I've always   been fascinated with this   building. It dates  back all the way to the year of our Lord 1100, located within the heart of the Great  Salt Lake. Kidding, it was  completed by the Los Angeles and  Salt Lake RailRoad as  a resort! It was  glorious  and beautiful and full of awe. Everyone west of New York traveled and  stayed at this  place. It burned in April 22, 1925, but rebuilt and never the  same. The Great Depression   saw to that.

From 1963 to 1986, the Great  Salt lake rose 20 feet! This  submerged   Saltair under 4 feet of water.

Several years  ago, I used to go dancing there. It was such a fabulous  experience! You could go out onto the pier and hear the water lapping underneath.  So romantic.

Do you have old buildings  in your  state that have  survived di sasters and you find mysterious?

Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for ...

Refuge, the Bear  River Migratory Bird  Refuge that is!

There  are more than 200 species of birds that visit this 74,000 acres of land. Lucky them, don't you think? (Imagine if the government set aside that much land to house people who are under  duress? To keep them safe and comfortable and happy?) I think we need a National Human  Refuge! Hahaha!

Interesting to learn that these wetlands are drying up because of the surplus of vegetation called Phragmites. It is a common  reed. When I hear  the word  reed, I think of the Nile  River and wonder  if the Ancient Egyptians had a Phragmite problem that drove their  birds away?

 Interesting, isn't it?

Like the Phragmites, is there too much of a good thing going on in your  life that is sucking out the life of you?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for ...


Was very popular as well as a necessity for early Utah settlers. The women would  quilt and mend clothes as they traveled west to Utah. They used  quilts as cushions for the wagon drivers, to cover up when cold, comfort, and dust control.

"As the journey plodded on  quilts were needed for far more serious purposes than simply comfort and dust control. In some cases they became targets for arrows when they were hung on the exposed side of the wagons for protection during Indian attacks."*

I never knew that, did you?

What artsy stuff does your state's history have?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is for ...

Pine trees! Namely the blue spruce, Utah's state tree.

In 1933, this magnificent tree was chose as our state tree by Utah State Legislature. This tree grows wild in the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains (they love 6,000 to 9,000 feet elevation climates) and can be transplanted successfully into your yard in these surrounding areas.

The needles are silvery blue. They can grow as tall as 18 to 21 meters high tall!
Utah has a national champion in Ashley National Forest. It is 186 inches in circumference, 122 feet tall, and the crown spread of 36 feet!

It's no wonder this tree was assigned as Utah's State Tree!

What's your state tree?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for ...

Old Ephraim!

Story goes that a near 10 foot bear terrorized the country side, feasting  on livestock. He was a whopping 1,100 pounds!

In 1913,  Old Ephraim took a liking to  Frank Clark's sheep  over a stretch  of 10 summers! Frank had found where this grizzly bear wallowed and laid a trap there, however, the bear picked it up and set it aside without setting it  off.

Finally, Frank had a lucky break and tricked the bear after a decade  of trap-setting. He had set a trap in the bear's newest wallow, and the bear failed to see it. That's when it met it's doom with a terrified Frank who  carried his trusty rifle.

Frank regretted ever killing this great bear--it was the last  of its kind to ever roam Utah.

Here's  Old Ephraim's skull at USU Merrill Library.

I've been to  the grave site (top right image), and the estimated place where the grizzle bear was felled. I shiver thinking about what Frank Clark faced those many years and especially the night the bear was killed.

What grizzly animal stories does your state have?
Story of  Old Ephraim found here

Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for ...

Natural hot springs!
This heated water comes from the ground's crust. People have always gathered around  and taken  advantage of these oases since before the Vikings.

Clothing is optional.  NOT in Utah, but always be careful if you're bringing the kiddles along anyway!
I've passed several  natural hot springs here in  my state, but have  never had the true desire to dip into something that might house single-celled organisms. *Shiver*

Yes, that's a bathtub there. There are many images of Cyrstal Hot Springs of people inside this very tub. It's a popular one!

Have you been  to a  natural hot spring? Share your experience!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

M is for ...

Mountain biking!

One of the first things I noticed about Utah when I first  moved here are the  mountain bikers. They love their long distances up lonely  mountain roads.

There ain't no  mountain high enough or ledge low enough from these super-bikers! Look at 'em  go!

Utahns love their bikes so much,  most cities have commissioned bike paths!

I have a confession: I don't know how to ride a bike! Silly, isn't it?

If you had a  mountain bike and in an area with views like Utah, how far would you travel?

Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for ...

La Sal Mountain Loop!

This mountain range stretches from the Colorado River al the way to southern Utah in Moab.

In the summer of 1776, Spanish missionary and explorer  Silvestre Velez de Escalante thought that these snow-capped mountains were a strange thing to behold in the summer. He called the Sierra  La Sal  means Salt Mountains in English.

To put things into perspective, here's a satellite's view of the range.

Do you enjoy hiking, picnicking, mountain climbing, fishing, hunting or off-roading?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for ...


Okay, why is the  killdeer called  killdeer? Because when scientists first heard its call, it sounded like it was saying, "killdeer." Funny, isn't it?

These birds nest flat on the ground! Imagine that? I wonder how they survive predators. I found this clip on youtube, do you think  its defensive tactics work  very well? After a long display of "broken" wing tricks, if the predator doesn't leave, it flies away. Me thinks, what about them eggies?

What sort of cool birds live in your area?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for ...

Jazz--Utah's beloved basketball team!

I'm not big into sports, but I've learned something very fascinating about  Jazz! Did you know that they began in 1974 as the New Orleans  Jazz in New Orleans, Louisiana? They decided to move to Utah in '79 after five seasons. It's a mystery to me of the whys, but these guys are amazing, because they've built themselves up from nothing to strong!

What is your state's beloved sports team? Do you know their history?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for ...

Island. Yes, there  is an  island  in Utah's Great Salt Lake. Surprise!

Home, home on the range . . . Yes, antelope do roam here  in this  little palm-tree paradise.
In 1845, John Fremont and Kit Carson discovered this lone  island as they explored the Great Salt Lake.

These, along with several others, have been spotted on thiisland: Bison, antelope, coyotes, mule dear, and the jack rabbit.

One of my favorite things about this lovely piece of land are the beaches--wading beaches. You can bring your little ones (as young as 18 months!) here and let them wade  in the water that gradually lends  into the huge lake.  It  is SO gradual, that there  is no threat of undertows or sudden drops. The only thing   is that the water  is saturated with salt and brine  shrimp. :P

Have you been on an  island before? What was  it  like?

Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for ...

Heritage in Utah!

Utah  is rich  with  many different cultures. It all started with  people looking for a new, but safe  home for religious freedom. Th ey staked their little metaphorical flags  here, bringing with  them  their European cultures as they integrated with   the native denizens.

They celebrate early traditions from city to towns across the state and  hold pageants, plays and other events that share  Utah's   heritage as well as culture.

Utah  loves its  historical buildings; many of which    have been turned to bed and breakfasts or museums.

 A bit of  history:
"Believing the Mormons were rebelling against the laws of the United States, President James Buchanan dispatched 3,500 troops, nearly one third of the entire U.S. Army, to suppress the rumored rebellion in Utah. Buchanan believed that Democrats and Republicans, Northerners and Southerners, could unite in an attempt to restore order to Utah, and he could thus divert attention away from the crisis over slavery and the tensions between the North and South."

What kind of  history does your state share?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

G is for ...

Geology of Utah!

One of my most favorite science studies is  geology! If I  grew up to be a  geologist, I'd want to live in Utah--I'm halfway there (but I'd rather be a writer). Utah has an interesting  and wide array of land formations that would keep one busy.

The color scales on the right of the image show the ages of rockscapes in Utah. I find it wild and intriguing ! We are actually planning  on touring  many parts of Utah as a family soon. It'll rock! (Don't you love puns?)

Here is a short clip of several of the same parks that have different personalities from one spot to another:

Crazy, isn't it?

Click here for  Goblin Valley  gallery.

Location: just about anywhere in Utah!

How does nature lure you to explore?

Friday, April 6, 2012

F is for ...

Flaming Gorge!

This beautiful lake is 80 miles long, would take you about 2 days straight to explore the entire perimeter if by boat and weather. It's a fabulous place  for people who love camping in tents.

So the child in me asks, "Why is  Flaming Gorge called  flaming gorge?" Well, it dates back to 1869 when John Wesley Powell and his 9 men had decided to explore the Green and Colorado Rivers. After seeing the sun reflecting off  the red rocks, they named it.

I want to see it  for myself!

Location: 6 miles East of Manila, Utah on the Utah/Wyoming border.

What kind of magnificent camping spots have you been to?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E is for ...

Elk! Funny, but I never  knew that the Rocky Mountain Elk is Utah's state animal, and I live here. Shame on me.  *gasp*
One day, my husband and I w e r e   driving through the high Uinta Mountains and w e  spott e d an  e lk. I want e d to tak e  a pictur e  of it.

Gu e ss what h e  did? H e   hik e d about a mil e  or 2 out and took its pictur e.  H e  cam e  back as quickly as h e  could, panting and told m e  it was only a baby and how lucky h e  was that th e  mama wasn't around! 

So, if you want to see a Utah  e lk, driv e  through the high mountains in the lat e  spring, you just might com e  across one !

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for ... (and a bit of IWSG)

Just a quick note for IWSG, last month I spoke on my lack of confidence regarding my writing.
I've been pondering over this matter trying to figure out the underlying problem and guess what?
I've found it, thanks to this very simple, yet profound message (talk about eye-opener):

now onto our special A to Z program:

Deer Creek Reservoir State Park!

If you love boating, water-skiing, sailing, wind-surfing or anything waterly, this place is for you! Oh, and  there's camping too... This amazing lake is 6 miles long with a stretch of 2,965 acres all around . It is open in the summertime from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm, and  8:00 am to 5:00 pm in the winter.

Don't you fret none! There are modern-day conveniences so you  do have flushing toilets as well as a few little yummy restaurants!

Location: up HWY 189, UT 84604

Do you enjoy any kind of water sports?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for ...


Yes, there are  cougars in them woods! Back when Europeans began settling Utah in 1857, they started hunting  cougars down since all the way to 1966--they were  considered vermin.

They live throughout the entire state of Utah. You might be lucky enough to see one while hiking through the surrounding forests, but never do it alone. It makes me shudder to think that these big  cats roam so  close to home as well as bears.

What kind of dangerous  creatures live in your state?

Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for ...

Bald Eagles!

Did you know that Utah is one of the top 10 winter stops for these guys? Yeah, they aren't permanent residents, but they sure love to visit when it gets very chilly here, starting in November until around March time.

A few of the best places to spot them is the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge (which I will talk about come alphabet R!), Willard Bay, a few areas by Henefer, Morgan, and let's not forget Flaming Gorge (yes, I will cover this under F, too)!

Have you ever spotted a bald eagle in your lifetime (and no, I don't mean at the zoo, either)?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A is for ...

(Welcome to my ABC's of Utah! I am Elizabeth Mueller, author of debut novel Darkspell, YA Paranormal Romance and co-host of this magnificent Blogging Challenge! If you should have any questions, feel free to contact me or any of the other super-friendly co-hosts!

My theme is Tour de Utah--featuring everything I find interesting about my home state. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Don't forget your sunscreen, you're in for one wild ride for the next 29 days!)

 Now on to the show ...

Arches National Park!

If you click on the photo's source, you just might be blown away by all the beauty there! I know I am.  Can you believe something as gorgeous as  that exists in my state?

 Over 300 million years ago, a  salt bed was deposited over the Colorado  Plateau  which now lies under these beautiful spires, fins and monoliths of stone. After much flooding and wind-shaping with the aid of the salt, we can now enjoy this beautiful sight.

Many people from around the world have  camped and hiked, and yes, even biked here!

Location:  5 mi (8 km) north of Moab, along Hwy 191.

Seen any impressive natural  formations you'd love to share?