“Maybe you weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth, but like every American, you carry a deed to 635 million acres of public lands. That’s right. Even if you don’t own a house or the latest computer on the market, you own Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, [Kolob Canyon]…and many other national treasures.”
– John Garamendi
Just don’t leave your dirty clothes lying all over 😉
I consider this sort of an unconventional trip. Not unconventional in the sense that it was unique by any means (we didn’t hitch hike up the I-15 or anything), it was sort of on a whim…and with my whole family.
Ana and I were over at my parent’s house on a recent evening and they mentioned they would be driving up to Idaho to see my sister’s college graduation the following week. They had driven to Idaho several times, but it had always been when I was busy. They asked if we wanted to come up with them, and to my surprise, Ana really wanted to go. I had figured she couldn’t get work off, but she did.
Bright and early on a Thursday morning, we showed up at my parents’ house and stuffed our bags in the back of the rental Suburban (yes, my family is that big…and we were even missing people lol). We left our dog Luna there for my aunt to come by and feed her, and we all took off up the I-15 towards Las Vegas.
The trip from San Diego to Utah was one I had made several times, and to be honest there isn’t much to be seen. There is a pretty cool canyon you drive through just before leaving the little patch of Arizona that the I-15 cuts through. I’m sure we could find cool things on the way (besides the obvious stop in Las Vegas of course), but since we were speeding up to a graduation, I’ll skip through the boring parts.
We arrived in Provo, Utah where we stayed the night and picked up one of my younger brothers from BYU so he could see the graduation too. Since Provo is a college town, the people there naturally like to brag about the best places to eat, and I wish I could say we try some of them out. We did, however, eat at a local Utah staple: Chuck o Rama lol! …or as I’ve heard many of the “locals” call it: upChuck o Rama. It’s basically a buffet chain with locations throughout Utah and Idaho. I am embarrassed to say when all was said and done, I had dangerously flirted with the “upChuck” side of our dining experience…I know, TMI.
Geographically, Idaho ended up being a flatter, less populated continuation of Utah (*disclaimer: This was my first time in Idaho and we went east towards Idaho Falls instead of west towards Boise). The mountains got further away on either side and the towns and cities we passed felt tiny to this San Diego native. Our destination, Rexburg, was very much a college town, of their 26,520 population, I’m guessing over half of them are students. Unlike in Provo, there were no mountains looming over the school, but the campus was very nice.
Before the ceremonies began, we drove off into the middle of nowhere to grab a bit to eat…well even more into the middle of nowhere. Jade, my graduating sister, recommended driving out to Big Jud’s nearly 15 min away in Archer, Idaho. After about ten minutes of passing nothing but little farm houses, we were convinced we had gotten lost. But my sister assured us we were going the right way, and soon we had found it.
Some of you Food Network fanatics may remember that the Big Jud’s in Boise was actually featured in Man vs Food season 2. However, Archer is home to the original. None of us were brave enough to challenge the infamous Man vs Food burger, but there were plenty of other people at other tables that ordered all sorts of
over-sized burgers and it was exciting just to see them being brought out. The bacon-avocado burger I ordered was quite delicious though; if you ever find yourself up in Idaho, I definitely recommend a trip to Big Jud’s!
We headed south again, little sister in tow, and dropped my brother back off in Provo. We of course grabbed some Ice Cream from the BYU creamery, even though it was windy and almost drizzling outside. We also checked out my mom and dad’s old haunts around campus.
For me the best part of the trip came about four hours south of Provo when stopped for a hike at Kolob Canyons in Zion National Park. The cliff walls of the canyons were absolutely amazing. I couldn’t believe how red the rock was. We drove up to the view point and found an easy 10 minute hike called Timber Creek Overlook Trail that started right there in the parking lot of the view point.
As the trail wound around a shallow ridge, we could see the striking red of the canyons on one side and the distant snow topped peaks of the mountain on the other. The trail ended abruptly on a ledge that overlooked the last outcropping of Kolob canyon as it opened into a very scenic valley on the eastern side of Zion National Park. As you can probably imagine from the photos below, Kolob Canyons satisfied the amateur photographer inside of me!
If you’re anywhere near Provo, an ice cream cone at the BYU creamery is a must! I prefer the Creamery on 9th to the one in the middle of campus by a long shot though…you get to add toppings there.