Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Drive on the Wild Side

salt lake city, emigration canyon, ruths diner

My Dad loves eating breakfast at Ruth's Diner in Emigration Canyon, Utah.  The breakfast fare is pretty good but the drive down the canyon from Park City, UT to the diner, for me, is a nail biter.
Emigration Canyon is a very historic drive.  It is the route where the pioneers came into Utah and decided to make it their home.  But it's a canyon, and while going up the canyon is quite lovely and scenic, coming down is a very quick descent.  And it can be a whole lot quicker with the sheer drop-offs which border the roadside if you aren't careful.
The first time my Dad drove us down Emigration Canyon was a number of years back.  It was nerve-racking back then and I remember sitting in the front passenger seat of his SUV and moving as close to the center console as I could get.  In essence, I plastered myself against it and used the cupholders as hand holds much as a rock climber would when climbing Mount Everest.
This time going down the canyon, everyone decided to put me in the backseat right behind the driver.  They reasoned that having me sit 2 feet over would lend some "stability" to my senses as I wouldn't be able to see how the roadside drops off hundreds of feet down.  I thought it sounded like a good plan and climbed in the backseat.  I even brought my camera and had the grand plan to take pictures of the scenery as we drove down.
We made it around the first few curves and WA-HOO! the plan was working.  I relaxed and started enjoying the drive down ............. and then the road curved the other direction.  In an effort to redirect my gaze, my Mom tried pointing out scenery ahead of us.  It didn't work.  I had already seen the thousand foot drop to the bottom of the canyon and I started to panic.
I asked my Dad to slow the car down because it felt like we were doing 60mph down those steep, winding roads.  He replied "I'm doing less than 30mph.  If I go any slower we could almost walk down faster.".  My husband reached over and pried my fingers off the arm rest one-by-one and held my hand.  My Mom was still trying very hard to redirect my gaze forward instead of down.

She asked my husband to point to where she was looking in an effort to force me to look elsewhere.  My husband laughed as he replied "Ummm........ I don't think that's going to work.  Christie is wrapped around my head so tight I look like I'm wearing Davy Crockett's coonskin cap.".  Yes, by this point I'd grabbed ahold of him with a deathgrip and wasn't letting go.  If I was going down, he was going with me!
We made it to a "scenic lookout" area where we could park and walk around.  It took a couple of minutes for all of us to get out of the car, probably due to my husband having to detach me from his scalp first.
After walking around for a few minutes, my nerves settled down and I was able to enjoy the beauty of Emigration Canyon.  As I looked out over the mountain range, my Mom asked how I'd have felt riding in a covered wagon or having to maneuver a pull-cart up and down those mountains. 
I think I would have been such a famous redheaded pilgrim, they would have had to install 2 historical markers along the trail.  One would have designated where I saw the first drop off and started screaming in a full-fledged panic attack, and the second plaque would've been for my fellow pilgrims for having to listen to my screams all the way down the mountain range.......

by: Christie Bielss

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