OVERWHELMING! That's a feeling I had upon entering this huge urban city after spending so much time in the wilderness. It's a shock to the system. Crowds of people, densly packed buildings, wide streets, traffic signals, bright lights, and even skyscrapers -- all combine to assault the senses.
This time, though, I'm inclined to skip the popular Mormon tabernacle, concert hall, and temple. Instead I found some quirky attractions to visit... such as this small park downtown, the Gilgal Sculpture Garden, that displays works by a local artist-mason of the Mormon faith.
The garden is filled with unusual figures, like a Sphinx with Joseph Smith's face and grasshoppers from the Mormon plague story. There are dozens of sculptures and stones engraved with inspirational text -- all depicting Mormon inspirational legacy.
Another strange sight (or sighting?) that I came across was high on a pole on Broadway: a strange dome covered flying saucer with two Mormon missionaries complete with white shirt and ties -- and one was a blue-skinned alien with antennas.
Another creepy spot I found was the small pyramid of Summum, a religion that practices mummification. Access inside is restricted but they do offer the service to anyone willing to pay and commit to a three month process. Sunflowers line the iron fence, and a drinking fountain that offers "Divine, Consecrated, Sanctified" water is available to the public. I was not tempted to sample a drink, though. Who knows what's in that water?
I recall that actor Steve McQueen once said: "I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than any city on earth." And after my visit to Salt Lake City, I couldn't agree with him more! It will be good to get back on the road.
Week 11, Miles 770