The Nature of the Salt Lake Valley

One of the things that was hardest for me when I moved back to the US from Germany was going from a very bipedal lifestyle to a very sedentary lifestyle, so this time around I was determined not to let that happen. Thankfully, Salt Lake County put in the effort about twenty years ago to pave a long path along the Jordan River, which runs north and south through the west  side of the valley. It’s more a creek than a river, but it’s pretty good considering that Utah is a desert. And my neighborhood conveniently ends right alongside this trail, affectionately known as “The Parkway,” because along it there are several small parks.

So I’ve taken to walking the dog and riding my bike daily around these parks and along these trails. And if Utah is great for one thing, it’s nature.

Yep, everything is dead. No longer do I have the luxury of the evergreenness of a temperate climate. But it’s still beautiful.

When I was nine-ish, this Parkway was brand new, and it was the coolest thing among my sisters and my friends and me to ride our bikes along it for as long as we could stand, or as far as the Parkway extended. During my teenage years and post-uni, I still walked or rode along it on the occasion. My first time back on it this time, I decided to ride to the end of it. I rode for an hour in one direction and the whole trail was unrecognizable. There has been tons of development while I’ve been gone.

Here is an example. There you see the vast Jordan River, with a specimen of its ample variety of bird species. And just behind it, an office building parking lot and an apartment complex. Four years ago, that was a dirt patch. Kind of mind blowing, I mean I’ve lived a majority of my life around this area and it’s completely changed. But I actually find that comforting; my home is not stagnant.

The best, absolute BEST part of my biking tours was this:

Highland freakin’ cows. Now I know exactly where to go on the days that I’m missing Scotland the most.

Coming home from Germany was extremely hard for me: I had some hard core culture shock. This time around, it’s not nearly bad, because I’m learning to see the Europe in America. Cell phone plans and driving culture aside, it’s there, and it makes life a little more beautiful.

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