Journey From Seattle To Salt Lake City


During our trip to the USA, we explored the far-western states bordering Vancouver, Canada, to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the west. On June 29, 2023, despite strong warnings from authorities to stay inside because of the deadly smoke from the forest fire in Canada, we had to implement our already-booked travel plan. We landed in Seattle at 7 p.m. local time, which is 3 hours later than in Hartford. Seattle is called an Emerald City in Washington State, in the northwest of the USA, bordering Vancouver, Canada. On June 30, we visited several tourists’ attractions in Seattle.

Notable among them are the 605-foot-tall Space Needle Spire at the Seattle Centre with an observation deck and rotating restaurant, the public market known as Pike Place Market, which is the farmers’ original market, the Climate Pledge Arena, and Seattle downtown. Unlike the towers in other cities in the USA, the new experience in the Space Needle was walking in a revolving observatory and revolving glass floor from where we can view the city directly downwards with a risk of dizziness and fainting.

When in Seattle, I also visited the Discovery Centre of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, established to disseminate information as to what they are doing and how their activities are affecting the lives of millions of people worldwide.

“The actions of a man can change the lives of millions” was the catchphrase that caught my attention as soon as I entered the Discovery Center. We viewed their activities displayed in printed and visual forms and watched videos.

As we came out of the public market, popularly known as Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market, my eyes fell on a long queue of tourists on the road opposite this market. Contrary to my guess, this queue was not for a ticket to the newly released Hollywood blockbuster “Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning," but for a cup of world-famous Starbucks coffee.

The reason behind this queue was that that restaurant was the first Starbucks restaurant established in 1971. So, due to the history of the restaurant, tourists visiting Seattle should not miss buying a cup of coffee there. Soon after its establishment, this restaurant chain spread worldwide and will have covered eighty-four countries with 35711 locations by 2022.

Mt. Rainer 

On July 1st, we observed Seattle and its skyline from a viewpoint known as Kerry Park. This park is about 325 feet high. It presents incredibly beautiful scenes of Seattle, including the majestic look of Space Needle and Elliott Bay. As soon as we reached Seattle, my eyes were desperate to catch a glimpse of spectacular Mt. Rainer. It was seen wrapped in a veil from inside our running car. Although our walking tour of Seattle began early in the morning, we could not see the mountain clearly from anywhere.

Thus, when my daughter proposed a cruise ride on the water of dazzling Elliott Bay from Waterfront Park, I immediately gave my consent in the hope that the mountain might give its darshan. My sleepless night in Seattle finally bore fruit when I could have unbeatable and mind-blowing views of Mt. Rainier. It is situated 95 kilometres southeast of Seattle. On a clear day, the majestic volcano dominates the horizon and seems to be backdropping the big city, but on other cloudy days, viewing the mountain is like peeping a bride’s face through a bridal veil. This is a blessing in disguise since it has enhanced the beauty of Seattle as a jewel on its head, luring hundreds of tourists every year. Mt. Rainer is to Seattle what Mt. Fishtail is to Pokhara in Nepal and Mt. Fuji to Tokyo in Japan.

On July 1st, when proceeding towards our final destination, we spent several hours observing Snoqualmie Falls, one of the most popular falls in Seattle, within a driving distance of a mere 56 minute west of Seattle, from the viewpoint above and from the base of the falls. On July 2nd, from Ellensburg, Washington, we resumed our journey today after breakfast and, after 2 hours’ scenic drive, reached Spokane City, the second largest city in Washington. It’s known as the birthplace of ‘Father’s Day'. We visited Manito Park, which consists of several gardens inside. From there, after crossing Idaho State after 3 hours’ drive, we reached Missoula, Montana, at 5 p.m. and stayed in the Staybridge Suite. The time there is one hour earlier than in Seattle due to the change in time zone.

On July 3rd, after breakfast, we resumed our journey, and after a four-hour drive, we arrived at our final destination and our dreamland, Yellowstone National Park (YNP). The YNP, the world’s first national park, was established in 1872 and is so large in area that it is spread over 3500 square miles and is at an elevation of 8104 ft. It is almost the size of Connecticut. It took more than one hour by car to catch a glimpse of two roaring falls and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone from a nearby viewpoint.

Although most of the park is in Wyoming, some of the park areas are spread to Idaho and Montana. It is a recreation area in the wilderness, atop a volcanic hot spot. Besides picturesque and Rocky Mountains in the north and west, it is famous for hot springs, roaring waterfalls, gushing geysers, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, and several animal species, including bison, elk, bears, wolves, and antelope. It is the most important and prestigious tourist destination in the USA, visited on average by more than four million tourists every year.

 Old Faithful Geyser

The park, when we were there, was so crowded that, in my rough estimate, there were about ten thousand tourists throughout the park, and a lot of private vehicles were seen parked everywhere. We spent all day of July 4 watching mind-blowing hot springs and geysers in the park. We viewed the miracles of the other most important part of the park, which I had recorded as an unforgettable moment of my life. One of the main attractions of the park is Old Faithful, so named because it erupts every ninety-minute interval regularly without fail.

This has been continuing since its discovery in 1870 by an expedition team. This geyser is the park’s main attraction, where the eruptions last from one to three minutes and reach a height of 90 to 184 feet. When the volcano erupts, it spews hot water and an incredible amount of steam. Hence, witnessing this incredible event is the first choice for tourists.

Being unsatisfied by watching once, we visited the Old Faithful again on the morning of July 4. The eruption of the Old Faithful was predicted at 9 a.m. The crowd of tourists packed about six rows of benches. Then, exactly at 9 a.m., an eruption took place for about five minutes and went about 40 feet high.

The geyser threw voluminous hot water with steam for a longer time and higher than the day before. The Midway Excelsior Geyser presents a stunning view by discharging 55 gallons of hot water every second into the Firehole River. Nearby is another 307-foot-wide, stunning Grand Prismatic Spring. It is the biggest multicolor hot spring in the park, presenting itself in vivid colours of blue, green, orange, and gold. There are many other big hot springs and geysers inside the park.

The park has its spectacular highest peak, Eagle Peak, at 11350 feet. The gorgeous Hayden Valley is a hot spot for wildlife viewing, such as a large herd of bison, wolves, bears, and elk. Yellowstone Lake, the natural lake called ‘Angler’s Paradise’ at an altitude of 7732 feet above sea level with 350 square kilometres of surface area, presents a mesmerising view.

This is the largest high-altitude lake in North America and the second largest in the world at such a high altitude. We viewed all these amid large crowds of tourists never seen before by both walking and driving a car all day.

On July 5th, while on the road to Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah, we decided to spend the whole day catching breathtaking views of the Teton Mountain range and the beautiful lakes at its bottom, which are inside the Grand Teton National Park. The park, covering 1300 sq km and established in 1929 in Wyoming state, is only 16 km south of the YNP. The park includes the major peaks of the 64-kilometre-long Teton Range. Grand Teton Peak, with 13775 ft, from which the park name was given, is the tallest mountain in the Teton range, and Mt. Owen, with 12933 ft, is the second highest summit in the range.

Teton Mountain 

The park has several lakes. Including the 24 km-long Jackson Lake. Bedside, enjoying the spectacular view of the five tallest Grand Teton mountains from Jackson Lake, which lies at its bottom, we also viewed the range from another lake named Jenny Lake. Likewise, we viewed the Teton range closely from the John Moulton Barn, which lies at a higher elevation. Another notable thing we saw was the Continental Divide in the middle of the park.

A continental divide is a naturally occurring boundary or ridge separating a continent’s river system. After sightseeing, we rushed towards our destination of that day by car, looking at breathtaking scenes all around us, and stopped at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Pocatello, Idaho, at about 6 p.m. local time.

On July 6, as soon as we reached Salt Lake City in Utah State, we first went to the Great Salt Lake, the largest lake west of the Mississippi River with a surface area of 2500 square kilometers. It is one of the saltiest bodies of water on earth. There are no fish in the lake because of the unbearably high salt content in the water. We viewed from its bank the magnificent lake, with a mountain range stretching from north to south in the west. After that, we went on a walking tour of the city, including the downtown area, Utah’s state capitol, Nordstrom, Macy’s Mall, and a grand church known as the Marmon Tabernacle Choir.

The Utah State Capitol is located on Capitol Hill, overlooking downtown Salt Lake City. This State Capitol Building has chambers and offices of the Utah state legislature, office of the governor, and attorney general. Temple Square, one of the tourist attractions of the city, is in the heart of the city. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owns the large complex in Temple Square. This square consists of a temple, a tabernacle, an assembly hall, the seagull monument, and two visitors’ centers. The square was designated a national historic landmark district in 1964.

On July 6, we did wind up our long but exciting and unforgettable journey reluctantly and flew back to Connecticut. We are so overwhelmed with joy that we don’t find words to express gratitude to my lovely daughter Shraddha,

who skillfully devised the travel plan; my son-in-law Abhinaya Joshi, who precisely implemented the plan and took the painstaking job of driving about 2600 kilometres from Seattle, Washington, to Salt Lake City, Utah, all alone; and last but not least, my little grandson, Avay Joshi, who always endeavoured to take care of grandparents and keep them happy. I thought myself most fortunate to observe all of these, which are usually inaccessible for people like us in terms of the high cost of travel to distant corners of the world.

(The author is a professor of business economics.)

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