Sunday, December 30, 2012

Fifth Day of Christmas: Crater Swim, Cheese and Neffs

Our daughter-in-laws parents were out from California visiting Luke for a week.
Well...they are visiting Jeff and their daughter too of course but let's be real.
The trip is really about seeing our mutual grandchild.
He is their one and only grandchild as well.
I suggested that one day while they were here we go out to Midway (about 45 minutes from my house) and go for a swim in the Homestead Crater.
In the picture above: Rachel, Debra and Bruce just before entering the crater behind them.
It was pretty foggy inside while we were there as the water is about 96 F degrees and outside it was in the 20s.
(The picture above is borrowed from a photobucket site.)

How it works:
One calls to make reservations for an hour long swim, then when one arrives you sign a release form, fork over $11, then head inside the crater.
You find a small changing stall, change, then hang up your bag of stuff, get issued a life vest and head for the water.
Silly me...I asked the attendant if there was a bathroom.
He said "Back in the activity center there is one.  You do know you are inside a crater, right?"
Craters don't typically come with plumbing!
A bit of info on the crater:
  The crater itself was first discovered in the late 1800s when Simon Schneitter discovered the hot spring on his land and started touting its medicinal properties. He wound up opening the first resort in 1896, called Schneitter’s Hot Pots, which is now the Homestead Resort.
The crater began forming about 10,000 years ago when snow melting from the Wasatch Mountains seeped down about two miles into the earth. The water, once there, was heated by nearby volcanic activity and pushed upward again. As it made this journey it acquired minerals that eventually led to the limestone formation of Homestead Crater. Other than the water piped into the pool at the Homestead Resort, the only other way people used to be able to visit was to be lowered down by a rope. But in 1996 a man-made tunnel was created using dynamite to allow for easy access for visitors.
Rachel filled us in on the Crater's guest star role on the television show the Bachelor.  The Bachelor took one of the Bachelor-ettes out to Homestead and walked her over to the crater opening, which for the show had had a iron grid covering removed. He then asked the girl to trust him and together they rappelled down the hole.  Inside they had a swim all alone (save the camera people of course...)
So romantic.
I wonder if they remembered to take down all the signs along the way to the Crater for them or if the girl was unable to read.
Hee hee...
After our swim we took a fast tour of the local highlights and on our way back noticed a building where artisan cheese was being sampled.
Had to stop of course.
(This year there are icicles EVERYWHERE.  The other five winters we have lived here we barely saw any.  I know they are dangerous and represent damage, but they sure are pretty.)

Cute building...

The building was surrounded by dairy cattle.
Nice view they've got there!

There was a handout with a photo of the dairy farming family and their cows in summer.

I thought about my friends Judy and Elmer in Canada and their now third generation dairy farming family.

I splurged on five kinds of cheese.

"Squeaky" cheese is big in Utah.
The curds squeak on your teeth as you eat them.

Bruce bought a cheese spread that was made with garlic and maple syrup.
I had never thought about putting those two flavors together before.
They work together wonderfully!
A lunch of grill cheese sandwiches back at their house (where Bernie had been staying with Luke as Jeff was at another event...) and by then it was almost three.

Bernie and I drove the eight minutes back to our house, but before we turned onto our street, Bernie decided to drive three more miles up the road from our house to see how winter was looking up in Neff's Canyon.
It was looking awesome.

Neff's has a lot of trails and is our neighborhood Pooch's Poop Pee and Play Park.
Oh how all the dogs LOVE to race around in Neff's Canyon!

I have only hiked the canyon three times.
Frankly the trails are narrow and go through a lot of dense forests; I wouldn't feel safe going hiking there by myself.
Thank goodness one can get quite a satisfying look from just standing in the parking lot.

When I do hike here, this the beginning of the trail up into the canyon.
Neff Creek runs through the canyon and actually winds up running through our back yard area in spring time too.

On a clear day one can see all across the Salt Lake Valley floor.
The yellowish haze on the horizon is what we call an inversion:  The valley is surrounded by mountains that block air flow.  When the temperatures fall the air doesn't move enough to clear out the smog created by both nature and man.
Some times it looks quite hellish with an orange haze that looks especially like smoke at sunset.
Those of us who live a little above the valley floor are envied for being out of the inversion, which can cause breathing difficulties.

Neff's Canyon is definitely above the inversion and the air up there is pristine.

Oh and we saw our grand cats Cheeto...
and Meowsie too.

And that was pretty much it for the fifth day of Christmas!


ellen b. said...

Wow...swimming in a crater. That's pretty awesome, except I'd have to put a suit on. Oye!
Love enjoying your winter wonderland icicles and all! Watch out below!

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

What a great outing...swimming in a crater. I likely would have passed by the dairy farm (thinking 'same-old')...but the cheese looks most interesting. I picked up a bunch of cheeses at a local farm cheesery before Christmas. We are enjoying cranberry cheese, Greek cheese, nutmeg and pumpkin cheese, etc.

And on the sixth day of Christmas?

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Vee said...

Oh I missed this one. Swimming there must be a great experience. It really looks like fun. And I laughed out loud at your snarky comment. My sentiments exactly. How is it that so many kiddos get to be numero uno on both sides of the family? Such a chance for extreme spoiling. I had one of those children and my grandson is one of those children. As far as I can tell, there's not too much rottenness involved. ☺