Our last few days together this last visit were spent down in Saint George and Las Vegas. I wish we'd had more time! Two weeks positively flew by and I was left wanting more. Which, I suppose, is a good thing, but it still hurts to leave someone you want to spend more time with.
We went on a little hike behind Brandon's parent's house (beautiful red rock!) and discovered a raging little creek that had only been a trickle the week before. Between the setting sun, blue sky, the red rock, and the green vegetation, it really was beautiful.
Off to the Saint George LDS Temple just after dark. It's a beautiful building with so much history. We were somewhat puzzled by the weather vane on top, as that is somewhat unusual for LDS temples, but weren't able to conclude whether that was normal or simply due to the renovations that are going on inside.
After spending some time with Shauna, Duane, and Angie we drove down to Vegas to help Jaime (Brandon's oldest sister) with a wedding and reception that was happening that evening. It was quite fun. Granted, we were only stepping in at the last moment when much of the planning and preparations had already taken place, but it sparked a small desire to manage many of the little details that go into these kinds of events.
Just as the events were actually starting, we skipped over to the Strip to see some of the sights and eat dinner at Max Brunner. Max Brunner is an interesting place where just about everything is served with chocolate. The air is full of the smell as pipes full of liquid chocolate navigate through the room. We both ordered hot chocolate and then split a baked mac and cheese and lava cake. All delicious, but even with us splitting, we both felt sick (as in, I know I'd feel better if I threw up right now) after and agreed that we should never have ordered the hot chocolate...or felt compelled (challenged!) to finish it.
We walked our sick feelings off around the casinos. They really are incredible buildings and entertainment centers. In many respects, it's like going to Disneyland, but for adults. As I am not interested in gambling, I simply wished that all of the colorful and fun sounding slot machines were instead video games, which I am far more interested in.
|Outline of Brandon.|
|Clouds over Detroit.|
Sadly, this all came to an end at midnight, like Cinderella at the ball, when Brandon took me to the airport and I caught a red-eye to Detroit (after the red-eye to Atlanta was full!). Detroit to Cincinnati and the sky was finally lit up enough that I could catch the above picture.
It was such an incredible time for being out in the West with Brandon. I look forward with anticipation to being out there again.
As a side note, when I first went out to Utah for school, I was not at all excited about being in Utah. I was excited to go to BYU, excited to study dance (ballroom and then folk), but not excited about being in the Mormon "bubble", not excited about the dry air, and not excited about the general lack of vegetation. Several years into my undergrad I was still excited to be at BYU, perhaps even more so, but still not enthused about those other details. Finally I burned out on BYU and just as I was about to graduate, an appreciation for what Utah was started to dawn on me. An athletes dream come true. Year round access to some of the amazing terrain to be had. If I wanted to climb mountains, done. If I wanted to run a flat course, done. If I wanted water sports, done. If I wanted snow sports, done. Sky diving, hang gliding, dancing, you name it. I left somewhat sad for the late realization of the opportunities that I'd perhaps missed, but not sad to leave BYU and Provo.
A year later I moved back, under completely different circumstances, to Salt Lake City. It's amazing to me how much of my frustration with the cultural bubble in Utah was really just a frustration with the culture and city layout of Provo, UT. Salt Lake was wonderful. But, I needed to leave again.
Now, having spent some quality time enjoying several more of the incredible things in the area, I find myself wanting to be back in Utah. It's still not my favorite state, and for all it's natural beauty, I prefer the beauty of the Pacific Northwest or the plethora of green found in the Midwest or East, but I am far more fond of the state than I ever have been. I look forward to climbing more of its mountains.