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Friday, November 7, 2014

Flaming Gorge Freedom Festival

July 5, 2014

Flaming Gorge does a freedom festival every year, and we thought that we would take Grandma Christensen and Uncle Matt up to go see that beautiful countryside.  Our drive was beautiful and took us through colorful rock landscapes, past sparkly reservoirs, and on into fragrant pine forests.  Flaming Gorge area is a good 1.5 hours from our house, so we're glad the drive is so pretty.
We stopped at a lookout point for a few pictures.
Our first destination was one of my favorite historical sites in the Uinta Basin, the Swett Ranch.  I love the solace and the history of this simple place.
 We walked around the property and since it was the Freedom Festival, there was a tour guide giving tours of the structures on the property.
 We didn't join the tours so much, but we got to go in the buildings that are normally locked up when you go there any other time.
The tour guide had a tame dog that liked us and he liked lounging on the picnic table located on the front porch.
P.S.  I want one of these dugout root cellar things.
One of my favorite structures on the ranch is this hidden root cellar.  It is somewhat cool, somewhat creepy, and completely impressive to me.  It is built into the side of a hill, it stays quite cool in there, there are shelves for food storage, and they even brought electric light to it (you can tell the wiring is old- not up to today's codes).  Swett Ranch was one of the first places, if not the first place, in the Uinta Basin to get electricity and telephone service.

 After touring the Swett Ranch, we were off to a nearby car show and then the Flaming Gorge Dam tour.
Lily and Amara loved the sparkly purple corvette.
 Steve's mom and Matt had to leave early because they had a long drive to make to get back home that day, so they didn't get to go on the tour with us.  Our tour was fun and educational.  This dam is massive!  You start off the tour at the top of the dam, then they take you down on the longest elevator ride you've been on to the bottom.  Did you know the cement is so thick that it is still curing, and this dam was built in the 70s (if I remember right).
Flaming Gorge from a different view.
The bridge in the background is where the dam is.
 On our way home, we stopped to take a short hike on the Bear Canyon Trail.  I'd love to spend more time on that trail when I have more energy.  We only went a short distance and we experienced the glory of nature. 
Yes, this was another "see and do" activity for the contest we entered.

Can you see the deer looking at us?  She didn't stay long, but we saw her first, so Steve got a good photo.
 Coming down the canyon, there was heavy smoke near Steinaker Reservoir.  A forest fire had started and was burning rapidly.

 We got to see the helicopter load his big bucket of water in the lake and then dump it onto the flames.  That's one thing you can count on in Utah during the summer.  It's fire season!

 By the time we reached Vernal, we were ready for some good eats.  We finished off the day at Winger's Roadhouse Restaurant.  And for dessert, our good-natured and resilient driver, Steve, ordered the Cookie Zookie (a giant, warm chocolate chip cookie with a scoop of ice cream, chocolate sauce, and whip cream.  A good end to a good day.

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