Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Day in Midway

Sarah, Mary, Jacob, Danielle, Jake, and Dylan at Homestead Crater
in Midway, Utah, on July 15, 2016.

We spent Friday here in Midway, seeing the local sights. We started with a leisurely morning and a home-cooked breakfast in the condo, waiting for Jacob and Danielle to arrive from their home in Midvale, about 45 minutes away. They finally got here about 2:00, and that's when the fun began.

Mark with his belated Fathers Day/birthday gifts:
a fishing mug and a fishing cap.

We started with a gift exchange. Jacob and Danielle brought with them their Fathers Day and birthday gifts for Mark, as well as their present for Dylan's birthday (July 1), since they weren't able to be with them for those events. And Dylan and Mark each had a belated gift for Jacob's birthday (June 26). Sarah and I had already mailed our gifts to Jacob back in June.

Jacob's siblings, Dylan and Sarah, watch him open his presents,
a fishing knife from Dylan and a $15 gift card from Mark..

Jacob and Danielle gave Dylan a board game, Pokemon Monopoly,
which reminded the guys that they are looking for Pokemon critters 
for the big new Pokemon Go app everyone is going crazy over. Then
their attention turned toward their phones and locating any Pokemon
that might be lurking on the resort grounds. There were several!

Mark grilled up some burgers for lunch on the balcony.

Sarah, Mark, Jacob, Danielle, Jake, and Dylan at Homestead Crater.

After we enjoyed a lunch of grilled burgers and potato chips with green onion dip, the seven of us went out to explore the local color of Midway. Our first stop was the Homestead Crater, located in the Homestead Resort, which was just a few blocks from our resort.

The path to the crater's opening.

The lady who checked us into WorldMark on Thursday told us that she grew up in Midway. As a child, she and others used to climb to the top of the crater, which was actually a tall dome 55 feet tall and 400 feet wide at the base, with a hole caved in on the very top. She said that no one knew what was inside at that time; it was just a mysterious black hole. Then someone decided to blast a hole in the side of the 10,000-year-old caldera.

The entrance to the crater's interior.

That's when the hot spring inside was discovered. With Caribbean-blue water and a year-round temperature between 90 and 95 degrees (even when there are several feet of snow above ground), it is a pure, natural spa. So in 1996 the resort built a tunnel entrance and a small indoor facility, and they invited visitors to enjoy soaking or scuba diving inside the dome (by appointment only). We weren't looking for a swim, so we didn't need an appointment, and we just dropped in. The timing was perfect: as one group was leaving but before the next arrived. We had the place all to ourselves for ten or fifteen minutes.

Jake, Mark, Jacob, Dylan, Danielle, and Sarah check out the
intense blue waters of the mineral hot spring in the crater.

It was, of course, extremely humid inside. Mark put his foot in the pool and reported that it was quite warm. The water really was the amazing blue you see in these photos. Dylan and I took a lot of pictures, but to my surprise, I found myself gripped by vertigo so badly that I could barely function. I've never had vertigo or been afraid of heights in my life, so it was very disconcerting. The floating dock bucked under our combined weight and, as it heaved beneath my feet, I felt extremely insecure, terrified that I'd fall in. In fact, I had to have Mark stand behind me and hold my shoulders to stabilize me so I could take pictures. Then I quickly retreated to the stone floor at the edge of the dock.

Remarkable, vivid blue of the Homestead Crater's pool.

As it turns out, the town of Midway is built over many underground hot springs fed by heavy winter snows on the nearby Wasatch Mountains. Heated by volcanic activity located even deeper in the earth, smaller "hot pots" (dome-shaped limestone formations with their roofs caved in) can be found all over the area. I've even noticed one right in front of our building (see pic below).

A wooden seating area for those who wish to use the pool as a hot tub.

Dylan took this picture of the opening in the top of the crater,
above the water. I took one, but I was too wobbly and it didn't turn out!

After we left the crater's electric-blue pool,
we discovered this staircase to the  top of the dome.

Between my knee surgery and Mark's heart procedure, we had to avoid the steps.
Sarah, Danielle, and Jake also opted out, so Jacob and Dylan accepted the challenge.
They found this cute little bridge spanning the hole at the top of the caldera.

I got this picture of Jacob and Dylan at the top of the stairs...

...and Dylan got this one of me taking the picture at the bottom!

Memorial Hill as seen from Main Street.

After we'd fully explored the Homestead Crater, we went to check out another Midway feature called Memorial Hill. This hill is clearly visible from all over town and it's reached by a narrow dirt road that winds all the way around the hill several times, from base to top.

Jacob and Danielle's car exiting Memorial Hill.

A memorial sits on the hill's flat top, honoring those soldiers who've fallen
during wartime, from World War I to recent conflicts.

The names of the fallen are engraved on the plaques
displayed all around the memorial.

Another portion of the memorial invites quiet contemplation.

I'm not sure, but these may have been flags of the various military branches.

From the top of the hill, the views of the towns below and
the surrounding mountains were spectacular.

In the center of this picture you can see the grayish-brown dome of the
Homestead Crater. Our resort was above and to the right, just out of the shot.

At the end of our exploration, we stopped by Ridley's Market
for a few more supplies.

Sarah, Mark, Jacob, and Danielle inside the market. Ridley's
shopping carts were tiny, and we know why. Very pricey! 

Finally, we returned to our building at the resort to make dinner.
Our condo was on the second floor, on the back side, on the left.

Here's a little, collapsed caldera right in front of our building.

Jacob grilled our traditional vacationer chicken thighs for dinner.

Sarah made the traditional vacation potato salad while I downloaded pictures.

While Jacob and Sarah prepared dinner, Danielle, Jake, and Dylan
were tasked with choosing a DVD to enjoy with dinner. They chose The Host.

After a busy, fun day together, it was nice to go back to the resort and work together on an evening meal, and then, finally, to relax together until Jacob and Danielle had to head back home around 10:30. In the end, it really doesn't matter what we do, as long as we have time to spend as family!

Sarah, Jake, Dylan, Danielle, and Jake relax with a film while
eating dinner. Mark and I ate at the kitchen table.

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