Tour of Utah: Kennecott Copper Mine

Ever heard of the Grand Canyon? The Great Wall of China? The Greenhouses of Almería? They all (except The Wall) can be seen from space! And, so can another Utah destination: Bingham Canyon Mine.

Bingham Canyon copper mine, UT, USA: Rio Tinto, Kennecott Utah Copper Corp. Source: Spencer Musick (self).

I’ve always known it as Kennecott Copper Mine, an alliteration only matched by Kennecott Copper Corporation and Utah Copper Corporation at Copperton.

Tongue twisters aside, this pit is ENORMOUS. Dump trucks built for a giant’s playthings trundle down into the 0.75 mile-deep hole in order to excavate (still) “450,000 short tons (400,000 long tons; 410,000 t) of material” daily (Wikipedia). DAILY!

Back when I was a child, I went to the visitor’s center with a day care class. I remember being able to fit our group into a tire from one of those dump trucks they had on display, and remember the fear of standing so near the edge of so deep a drop.

Photo by Jay H on Unsplash

Kevin and I took our boys there a while back. We watched an interesting video about mineral extraction and processing. Like, did you know Bingham Canyon Mine is a ginormous pit because the copper exists as porphyry copper deposits? They have to dig up the dirt, sift through it, burn it, chemical it, burn it again, and send it off to buyers.

At the end, they have 99.99-percent-pure copper. They also have gold, silver, molybdenum, and by-product sulfuric acid. I’ve never learned so much about metallurgy in my life!

Like with all manufacturing, however, mine operations have not been great for the environment. Sifting ponds, runoff, and waste materials have contaminated the Salt Lake Valley’s groundwater. Chemicals released from processing damaged the health of nearby residents, historically. And, it’s kind-of difficult to ignore the fact that they’ve literally changed the landscape of that area -not just with the pit, but with what was in the pit:

What’s not to love about industry, right?

Seriously, though, the Kennecott Copper Mine is worth a gander if you’ve the time. It’s a short, 36-minute drive from Salt Lake International Airport to the visitor center. We went before they had a landslide in 2013; you can purchase interesting rocks!

Photo by Jim Witkowski on Unsplash. This is an old processing area, on the way to Tooele.

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On that note, here are the things I posted over the last week:

Wednesday, October 7: “Tour of Utah: Jordan River Parkway.” If you need some exercise, try it out.

Thursday, October 8: Wrote a sample poem for the A Mused Contest, “EH?

Friday, October 9: Announced the winner of the A Mused Poetry Contest, Fishman. Congratulations!

Saturday, October 10: Start of this week’s A Mused Poetry Contest! Send the over-proud hero plummeting with poetry!

Sunday, October 11: Responded to Di of Pensitivity’s Three Things Challenge with “Dance Club,” and to Deb’s 42-word prompt with “A Surprising Escape.”

Monday, October 12: Responded to Carrot Ranch’s prompt in “A Dark and Stormy Man.”

Shared a quote by Joyce Meyer. Cactus hurt.

Tuesday, September 13: “Saint John City, Part 1.”

©2020 Chel Owens

Tour of Utah: Jordan River Parkway Trail

The Jordan River Parkway is pretty neat. -Not neat like ice castles or natural rock arches, but still neat. It’s a trail that runs nearly 50 miles; so, if you wished, you could start at Utah Lake* and walk till you reached the northwest bend of Salt Lake City proper.

©2020 Google Maps, and -hate to break it to you- this isn’t an accurate line of where the trail goes.

In fact, the trail doesn’t end in some random drop-off in Salt Lake. It becomes the Legacy Parkway Trail and continues on…

Pretty impressive.

Like with some other destinations I’ve mentioned, I’ve been to the Jordan River Parkway Trail. The funny thing is that I took the kids there, in either West Jordan or South Jordan (who named two cities that, anyway?), in order to go to a park. I only knew about the trail being there, not 20+ miles to either side of there!

Look at all I’m learning about my home state!

But that brings up another neat aspect of the trail: there are destinations like parks, access points, and BATHROOMS along it. The only downside I see is that the route travels through the flat, less-scenic, sometimes-hazy and/or gnat-infested areas of the Salt Lake Valley. Legacy Parkway is especially buggy since it skirts marshes and wetlands.

Still, a short or long stroll wouldn’t hurt. There’s a parking lot about ten minutes due East from the airport on I-80. From there, who knows where you’ll go?

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Here are last week’s posts:

Wednesday, September 30: “Tour of Utah: Ice Castles at Midway.” They’re cool. Literally.

Thursday, October 1: Shared my first fellow-blogger book review, with “The Sincerest Form of Poetry: Review, Q&A, and Book Release With Geoff LePard.

Friday, October 2nd-ish: Announced the winner of the A Mused Poetry Contest, Bruce. Congratulations!

Saturday, October 3: Start of this week’s A Mused Poetry Contest! Think up a witty poem for an anniversary card and turn it in before Friday morning.

Sunday, October 4: Put Pal and Kid on a dusty trail for Carrot Ranch’s prompt this week.

Monday, October 5: Shared a quote by Coco Chanel. Look for windows.

Tuesday, September 29: Responded to Hobbo’s Mystery Blogger Award. You can still answer my questions!

*The trail at least plans to run as far as Utah Lake.

©2020 Chel Owens

Jordan River Parkway photo © traillink.com
Walden Park photo © traillink.com

Tour of Utah: Ice Castles at Midway

Have I ever mentioned how diverse the landscape of Utah is?

Photo by Sean Pierce on Unsplash

True, all of the state’s about as humid as a dry sponge on the sunny surface of Mercury.

Still, in the most populous areas, temperatures in the summertime reach over 100°F (37°C) while temperatures in the wintertime drop as low as 22°F (-5.5°C). This means we have landmarks like Arches while also bragging about the greatest snow on Earth.

(It also makes road construction a nightmare, something Utahns love to complain about but not appreciate the reasons for.)

On that side note, I wish to introduce a neat attraction that’s approaching its tenth season of operation: the Ice Castles at Midway, Utah.

Photo by Jacob Campbell on Unsplash

From an update last year, when The Homestead Resort hosted the castles:

“The Ice Castles are the work and brainchild of ice artist Christensen, who with CEO Ryan Davis and a crew of trained workers are building four large ice creations in Utah, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Canada.

“He started with a backyard castle in Alpine [Utah] followed by an ice castle in downtown Midway in 2009. Over the years, the Ice Castles have been in a variety of different Midway locations…”

homesteadresort.com

Apparently, the Ice Castles at Midway is one of several locations run by the Ice Castles company. Their website also lists Wisconsin and Alberta, Canada.

How are the castles built? What’s inside them? What else is there to see and do, and how can people see them at night?

“Construction of the ice castles [begins] in November when workers [begin] the huge task of creating the towering castles of ice.

“More than 10,000 icicles will be grown and harvested to create the acre-sized attraction …over …three to four weeks. Each icicle is then hand-placed and sprayed with water.

“This process is repeated until the castles reach approximately 30 feet. It takes the ice artisans approximately 4,000 hours to create the attraction and embed each structure with color-changing LED lights.

“The acre-sized interactive experience will feature frozen tunnels, fountains, slides, and cascading towers of ice embedded with color-changing LED lights.”

KUTV.com, 2 articles

Local celebrity Alex Boyé (and Lexi Walker) filmed one of his music videos in and around the castles, as did popular (also local) The Piano Guys. Lindsey Stirling, who has ties to Utah, filmed at the Colorado location.

The Ice Castles is another location I’ve always wanted to visit. Current prices say an adult ticket costs $14 and a child’s ticket (4-11) costs $10 -during weekdays.

Midway is straight up the canyon about an hour from our airport.

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★★SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: I will be sharing my very first Q&A/book review/book promotion tomorrow!! You won’t want to miss it!★★

And here’s last week:

Friday, September 25: “Tour of Utah: Hole in the Rock.” Go visit, if you fancy a hike.

Also, announced the winner of the A Mused Poetry Contest. Congrats, Dumbestblogger!

Saturday, September 26: The A Mused Poetry Contest, funny commercial edition!

Monday, September 28: Shared a quote about by Jonathan Swift.

Tuesday, September 29: Responded to Deb’s prompt with “Carl’s Popularity Problem.” I blame Charlescot.

©2020 Chel Owens