Monday, July 05, 2010

Gail's visit part 2: July 3 2010

Gail always wakes up at 5 am. She wishes she could sleep longer but her body just is set to a 5 am wake up. I got up around 7 am, and found her asleep on the sofa on the deck. It made me happy to see her so relaxed that she could just enjoy the cool air at dawn, and then fall back to sleep.
Thankful that the temperature had dropped almost thirty degrees overnight, I got busy making bagels and lox for breakfast. Gail had never had that before; I made it for her to justify my having ONLY capers in my refrigerator when we first moved in to our house. She thought it was hysterical...Jill moves, and the only item that she couldn't do without was a big bottle of capers!
I tried to explain my need for them; this time I demonstrated it.
Happily Gail liked cream cheese with lox on bagels with capers too!
We took our time eating, watching various birds coming and going from the feeder and just chatting about whatever came to our minds.

Another big day was ahead of us; this was the leisurely beginning to non-stop fun.
A bit before ten we left to drive downtown (a fifteen minute trip) to go to the Farmer's Market.

We got a parking place right across the street from the park and the market!

Seriously unbelievable.
But that's just the sort of thing that happens when I am with Gail. We call it being blessed.

The three of us waded into the crowds.

Everyone brings their dogs to the market. There is a fenced dog park within the park, so the dogs have their weekend fun too.
Do you like this sweet old dog's bow? It is a bag for picking up what needs picking up, if you catch my drift.

Who would have thought such an item could be made into a doggie fashion statement?

Many people ride bikes to the market, for fitness, ecological reasons and to avoid having to find parking.
A corner of the park fills up with bikes, a valet service keeps an eye on your ride.

But why stop at just having a bike valet? Hauling around produce while you shop is no fun; use the veggie valet to tend your purchases while you shop. No more lugging bushels of peas and heads of lettuce while you push your way through the crowds!

It didn't take long to realize that we probably could have gotten there earlier before the crowds and just eaten breakfast at the market....

Along with produce and crafts there are folks providing open air concerts. This musician has a piano on wheels...

So he can ride his bike to the grounds while pulling his instrument behind him. How enterprising!

The peonies are at their peak in SLC.

Lots of flowers are blooming...and so tempting to the eye.

The perfect arrangement for the 4th of the July could be easily found.

Overhead the trees were creating their own bouquets.
The time at the Farmer's Market was especially sweet for Gail and me.
When I first moved to SLC and knew no one in town, I went to the market and called Gail.
We talked as I walked, and I took pictures to send to her of what I saw.
This time she finally got to see it in person.
I wish we could have spent a few hours prowling the arts and crafts area, sampling all the delicious fruits, veggies, cheeses, breads, jams etc etc.

But we had an appointment for facials at 11 am!

Another "first" for Gail. When I was planning our activities before she came, she said she wouldn't mind having one, but it was OK if we didn't fit that into the day.

I went ahead and scheduled it.

We went in to the treatment rooms with our student skin care technicians for:
A face steaming.
A facial massage
A deep cleaning cream
Hot towel wraps
Rose petal toners, papaya enzyme peel, geranium rose oil aromatherapy while getting a foot massage

Shoulder massage

A couple of more hot towels

All while relining on the most comfortable bed, with soft music playing.
When I met Gail afterwards she was practically floating.
"The foot massage" she sighed. "I had no idea..."
(We later looked up where she can get similar treatments in Colorado Springs. Oh is an addictive experience getting a facial!)

Next we hit the road again. A quick stop for Mexican food to eat on the way, we drove north.

The sky became the topic of conversations. The bluest blue and fields of clouds were such a treat after the rather colorless sky the day before when the wind and the heat was so high.

Seeing a rainbow circle around the sun was totally unexpected. All three of us gaped at it through the open sunroof of the car.

(I was trying not to point my camera at the sun, but I guess I did anyway. It seems to be functioning fine, thank goodness!)

I did look it up later: It is called a 22 degree halo, not a rainbow. Interesting, huh?

That's one of the things about hanging out with Gail: We always seem to happen upon unusual things of nature.
At our destination: The Great Salt Lake.
You can see the thin line cutting across the water that is the causeway that we drove over from land to the Antelope Island which (of course) is surrounded by lake.

The white sand is mostly salt.

A funny thing about the Great Salt Lake: from the air you can see the edges which are rather marshy and dry into various colors. I have seen every color of the rainbow in the water around the lake.
Gail told me that she definitely wanted to swim in the lake while she was visiting.As she flew in and saw all the colors, she started wondering if it was such a good idea. "It looked icky" she said.
We assured her that where we would be swimming would be a deeper part of the lake.

As we drove across the causeway, she commented that it looked so pretty out there.
We rolled down the windows so she could get a whiff of the land side shoreline decaying plant/shrimp/gull population odor. She started to worry again about what we had gotten her into!

(By the time we arrived at the island, the smell was gone, and she was game to go swimming again.)
I suggested we drive about the island before we swam to see what there might be to see. Twice before Bernie and I have visited the island but each time we headed straight for swimming; this time we would do a bit of exploring first.

When we spotted people hiking up a small mountain area, we pulled over (B. and I in sandals) and decided to go hiking too.

It really was an easy trail.

If you stepped off the trail, you stirred up a cloud of small grasshoppers about a half inch long.

They blended into the ground perfectly; you had to really look to see them after then landed again.

I had no problem spotting a whip tailed lizard who clearly had been snacking happily on those delicious grasshoppers. Look at that fat tummy on that happy lizard!
Bernie had no trouble at all capturing it. He said that this was only the second whiptail that he had ever caught. Gail moved right in to get a good look at the reptile as well. Earlier in the week she had sent me a picture of herself holding a beheaded rattlesnake that had been killed next to her car at work. She is not a squeamish type of person at all!

Don't you love those long nails?

A kiss for luck, and the lizard was soon on its way again.
(No, Bernie didn't actually lip lock the thing. We used to call our cats "lizard lips" when they would bring home lizards; Bernie knew what I would have been calling him if he did kiss it!)

The short hike was TOTALLY worth it.

Bernie and I have been to the tip of Baja, and both agreed that the rocky edges reminded us of the Mexican coastline.
There were a few other people around the area; we all took turns taking pictures of each others in the various scenic places.
Isn't it nice that people are still willing to do that now days?

All three of us were born and raised in San Diego. We kept exclaiming how if this was a place in Southern California it would have been crawling with tourists.

The sky, the rocks, the every direction was another beautiful scene.

When the Mormon pioneers arrived in Salt Lake, they saw the shining lake from afar.
Their leader, Brigham Young, famously sayed "This is the place!"
Of course anyone seeing the view would say the same thing...and be quite chagrined to later learn that water is incredibly salty.The lake has no outlet; it is the remaining body of water from when the area was a great sea from Idaho down to Arizona, eons and eons ago.

Bernie looked for natural bonsai slowly growing in cracks

One young man had found a perfect perch to enjoy the view and think for a bit. He graciously offered it to me as I came by, but I declined; I was still too busy exploring and taking pictures of every scene.

The clouds: they just kept forming and re-forming beautifully overhead.

Eventually we walked back down the trail, somewhat regretfully. I do know that the peak gets snow in the winter time; I will be back for more picture taking next winter for sure!

Don't you love natural plant groupings that look like they were planned?
(Well, they were, of the Master Gardener!)

Even the individual rocks scattered about had natural embellishments to delight our eyes

I had never wanted to go camping on Antelope Island after hearing stories of insects that seem determined to have people for dinner. But on a day when the temperature was a perfect 82 degrees with a nice steady breeze, I was willing to re-consider the idea.
I think I could have just sat and stared at the water for hours!
Back on the road we saw Antelope Island's namesake.
Just a dot in the meadow...

Thank goodness for zoom features on cameras!

One beachy cove on the island had showers and changing rooms. We got into our swimsuits and hiked down to the water's edge. It is a steep walk through deep sand, then on to harder sand with tiny reddish plants managing to grow in the brine soaked soil.

It is a little ways to get to the water....
Then you walk and walk and walk in the water and it never seems to get deeper than waist level.
The best thing to do is just flop on your back.
The salty water won't let you sink; you bob like a cork on the surface.
Gail was quite pleased; she said she always sinks and can't usually float at all!
The three of us floated in the warm water, enjoying the clouds overhead, paddling together to touch feet, and joke about the tiny brine shrimp (also known as "sea monkeys") that tickled our legs from time to time.
If anyone ever feels that they really need to relax: may I suggest bobbing in the Great Salt Lake?
You may already have experienced how good an epson salt soak feels. Imagine how it would feel to swim in salt, relaxing your body until you feel limp and happy.

We walked back to shower up, passing families in beach gear and Japanese tourist with pressed slacks and shirts. So few people on such a pretty beach.
(I would be less than honest to mention that there are a lot of sand flies near the water's edge. They fly away as you approach and settle back down with each step you take. So, no, sitting at the water's edge would not be such a dreamy experience for long. You either sit in the water or a bit up higher on the drier sand if you wish to linger on the beach. )

Bernie pointed out a lizard's trail in the sand by the parking lot. How cute that the foot tracks are in the form of tiny hearts on the line created by the lizard's tail.

Whether one looked down to see tracks or up to see clouds or off into the distance, every view made me lift my camera up once again and want to share it with others.

As the water sparkled like if diamonds were strewn about, I was so glad that this time I wouldn't be telling Gail about it.

This time we would share the memory together, like we share so many memories of visits over the years. While I wish we lived closer to each other, I find that each time we manage to get together, God seems to scheme to give us exceptional experiences that make unforgettable memories for us to share. We both are in awe of the times together that we have been given over the years.

On the way home, we all discovered that we had missed places when we had showered. The slightly gritty sensation in our ears and on our earlobes...well...we laughed as we showed each other the salt that our fingers wiped off salt that had formed where the showers had not hit.

We stopped for milk shakes and sweet potato fries with fry sauce (one of the signature foods of Utah), just enough to tide us over until we got home and I could make dinner.

At least that was the plan...until we sat down on the deck for a moment...

As it turned out, we both decided we would rather sleep than eat!

To be continued....


Judy said...

Whew...the comforts of a porch after a long day! And what a lot you packed into it. Great memories...and fabulous pic's!

Lovella ♥ said...

Such a beautiful friendship. I am so happy you and Gail had this time together. The sights were beautiful.

ellen b. said...

Wow...such beautiful scenery. It would be fun to bob in a lake where you can't sink :0)

Islandsparrow said...

What a perfect day!! So many of my favourite things - farmer's market, facial and massage, hiking, beaches, swimming - I don't even mind swatting sandflies - we have the occasional mosquito and blackfly - those little bothers come with living on this side of heaven :)

All together, even the porch nap, looks pretty heavenly to me!

So glad you're having this wonderful, memorable time with your dear friend!