I have always told my good friend who lives in Ogden, Utah that I would be more than happy to do a 3000km road trip to Utah as long as he gave me a weeks notice at the very least. Well he did and so last weekend at 5:00 a.m. I left Calgary and spent the next 12 hours driving through southern Alberta, Montana, Idaho and finally Utah.
I have to say, I was extremely fortunate with the weather. It could have been a brutally long trip if the skies were clear blue with nothing eventful going on. That however was not the case. Well, it was for the Alberta leg of the trip which is why I drove straight through and didn’t really document it :). Once I entered Montana however, the story got a little bit more interesting.
I have already put on my summer tires for this year given how mild and uneventful our winter has been (I know, its a bit early for Canada). Let me tell you, nothing will keep you more alert than a rogue snow storm rolling over a mountain and coming straight for you when your tires are not season friendly. It looked so amazing that I had to stop and take a quick shot which, in hindsight, was probably not the best idea. Below you can see that shot.
As you can see that storm meant some serious business. It did eventually catch up to me and I was saying some unpleasant things under my breath while leaving my hand imprint on my steering wheel. It took about an hour or so before I finally broke free of the active weather and by that time I had already entered Idaho.
On a normal day, Idaho is probably a lot like Saskatchewan. In other words, lots of open, flat and uneventful farmland stretching as far as the eye could see. Given the active weather that was following behind me in Montana, I was greeted by the most gorgeous skyscape I have seen in a while. The clouds seemed so close that you could reach up and grab them. It was one of the highlights of the drive and I felt a sense of freedom flying down the highway. Below you can see a shot of the sky. Sadly, my photo does not do it justice but I hope that it gives a slight impression of the feeling of driving alone down a road into the vast openness. It was simply spectacular. You can see a thunderstorm was brewing in the distance as well. The temperature in Idaho was definitely not cold enough to allow for the snow to follow me that far south :).
After that amazing scenery blew me away, as I entered Utah, I was greeted by rain and the depressing gray that comes with it. Actually, I love the rain but not after I have driving for 9 hours or so. At that point I was starting to get a bit tired especially knowing I still had another 2-3 hours of driving to do. Hunger was also not helping the cause but I didn’t want to stop and waste any more time. After looking at google maps I thought to myself I could easily do the drive in 10 hours but when it comes to really long distance drives, the estimate is rather accurate given that you have to stop for fuel for both the car and yourself a lot more frequently than normal :). Anyway, I finally made it to Ogden around 6:00 p.m. at which point I spent an hour more trying to find my way around since my phone died at the worst possible time and instead of stopping to charge it (I am going to blame that on my tiredness and hunger instead of my ego) I decided I could just figure out where my destination was just from a vague understanding of directions I remembered my friend telling me once before.
So 7:00 p.m. rolls around and my buddy thought I had driven back to Canada.. but I finally arrived at his door. We got some food and took up some much needed relaxation. The next day, he was kind enough to drive me around the surrounding area and let me tell you it was extraordinarily beautiful. I will definitely have to go back during the Fall and catch the trees displaying their magnificent reds, oranges and yellows. This time around, I told him not to stop as I was rather tired and just wanted to enjoy the show with my own eyes knowing that I would have to do the 1500km drive back up the following day.
I did however ask him to stop at the lookout point to Bear Lake so I could take a shot of this stunning turquoise water (most likely caused by the mineral runoff from the mountains). Below you can see this vast lake stretch across the landscape. It is even larger than the panorama would lead you to believe.
The return leg of the trip was mostly in the afternoon and night time. The abundant smell of skunk deterred me from stopping and attempting some astrophotography but really it was mostly just the ridiculously bright moon that night ;). I made it back to Calgary around 4:a.m. on Tuesday morning and I found out Deerfoot south was completely closed off. That put me in a pretty sour mood but I slept it off and had some nice footage from the road trip to look forward to when I woke up in the morning.
I do have some video recorded with my dash cam as well. I will definitely post some of those videos from Idaho and Montana for your viewing pleasure as soon as I have some free time to rip the videos to Youtube standards.
Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed the photos :).