Blog2013-2 - saraharnoff

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Climbing a Mountain in Wendover for Some Reason

Februrary 1, 2013

Wendover is a border town just off of I-80 on the Nevada-Utah state line comprised of motels, desert and salt on the Utah side, and casinos, discount liquor stores and buffets on the Nevada side. The town is mostly populated by a hodgepodge of truck drivers relaxing at the slot machines and/or strip club, travelers resting on their way to or from Salt Lake, casino/motel workers and people like me. I went to Wendover last week to escape the horrible inversion that was plaguing Salt Lake City with toxic air, lose some money gambling, and get my hands on liquor not available in the sparse selection of Utah state liquor stores. The entire time I was there, Wendover was engulfed in thick fog which gave it an eerie, even more depressing aura than it already has. There is one main street passing through Wendover, and at the top of the hill a little way before it connects back up with the interstate, there is a small mountain that I assume is where the teenagers of the area go to drink and engage in other hooliganism. I climbed that mountain in thick fog, had a Smirnoff at the top, then climbed back down to go lose $60 at a casino and eat terrible buffet potatoes. The pictures of that hike are below. I love Wendover for it’s unique atmosphere of isolation and desperate desert charm, but every time I pass through, I’m sure glad I don’t live there.

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Deep Freeze SLC: Icicle Extravaganza

January 18, 2013

January is deep freeze month for Salt Lake City. The storm last week that blew out the inversion and dumped 22 inches of snow on us has also made temperatures struggle to get higher than 20 the last couple of weeks and it has plummeted into the negatives at night a few times. So we break out our space heaters, wait for the smog to get blown away and watch the icicles grow. We don’t really get a lot of wicked huge icicles here in the winter, but during deep freeze month they get gnarly. And they don’t get much gnarlier than those at historic Fort Douglas, where I decided to trudge around and find the most ballin’-ass ice spears I could. Those buildings have seen nearly 140 winters, and though I doubt this one is the worst, the ice and snow still leave their mark.

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Salt Lake City Inverted

January 4, 2013

So we have this little thing called an inversion during the winter here in the Salt Lake valley. Basically what happens is a pocket of cold air gets trapped in the valley and slightly warmer air is sitting on top of it. Now, the only way for the cold air to escape is for a storm to come in and blow it away. But when there are no storms for a couple weeks, we get this gross mixture of water vapor from the lake and pollution that just hangs around, turning the city into a weird post-apocalyptic, asthmatic hack fest. Seriously, I’ve coughed so hard these last few weeks I thought some of my organs ruptured. As lovely as that sounds, the air here really does get horrible during an inversion. As of Wednesday, we had the worst air quality in the nation and the second worst air quality of any city in the world, only beaten out by Hong Kong. But Huzzah! Thursday brought us a much needed winter storm which cleared the valley out quite nicely and dumped a foot of snow on us (and it’s still coming down heavily!). Now we just get to watch the storm pass and wait for the smog to build up all over again. I’ve provided a nice visual for you below (as you can see, the smog makes everything look horribly under-exposed), as well as some links.

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