Monday, May 13, 2013

"Walking Salt Lake City" Takes Fitness To The Streets

Last summer I bought a copy of "Walking Salt Lake City" by Lynn Arave and Ray Boren (Wilderness Press, $17.95). The fact that I used to work with both of them at the Deseret News was what first piqued my interest.  

I spent a lot of the winter reading the book's fascinating "back stories" and historical notes about the locations, thinking that once spring hit I might enjoy following some of the routes.  Alas, a torn meniscus sidelined my plans, and my post-surgery knee isn't quite ready to take it to the streets yet.  
But I've familiar with a quite a few of the 32 walks in th ebook, after working in Salt Lake City for ten years. And as a Davis County resident, the Farmington/Lagoon trail loop and Antelope Island walks brought back some family memories. When my kids were young, I would take them for a walk & picnic on the Lagoon trail, as my husband worked the graveyard shift and needed some quiet to sleep.   

 I did write about the book for my Standard-Examiner column this week.  The walking routes stretch from Dimple Dell in Sandy on the south, to Antelope Island on the north. They vary in distance from a quarter-mile around the Temple Quarry in Little Cottonwood Canyon to five miles in the Avenues.Each walk has a map, degree of difficulty, clear route directions, background about the location and points of interest to see along the way.
Walking gives you a chance to soak in all of the little tidbits and architecture that you miss when you drive through a neighborhood, Arave told me.
He once considered walking a second-rate workout. “But I discovered that as you age and injuries may prevent running or hiking, walking is the granddaddy of all exercises — for young or old, it is poetry in motion.”
 Through writing about hikes in the Grand Canyon, Arave became acquainted with outdoor author Greg Witt with Wilderness Press. When the company decided to add Salt Lake City to its series on urban walks, Witt recommended Arave, since he worked in Salt Lake City at the time.
Arave asked Boren, a retired Deseret News editor, to co-author it, “because we work well together, and Ray is a great photographer and lives in Salt Lake City.”
Boren and Arave first brainstormed, scouring the Internet and maps for ideas. They did 90 percent of the walks together, documenting them as they went.
“Parley’s Park and the Peace Gardens were unknown to me previously, and yet gems for walkers,” Arave said. “We both had no idea that the Miller Bird Park, a pocket of nature at 1500 E. 1050 South, existed. Even some locals near that area had never discovered it.”
Boren, a Salt Lake City native who has enjoyed walking its streets, said some of the routes they devised made him look at the locations in a different, more segmented way.
“South Temple and the Avenues will always be among my favorite routes, both for their history and their familiarity to me, for I lived on Salt Lake City’s F Street for more than a dozen years,” Boren said. “I also enjoyed rediscovering the International Peace Gardens at Jordan Park, which I had visited often as a child, and exploring more of the Jordan River Parkway.”
He noted that Antelope Island is more rural than most of the other walks.
“We specifically included it as a way of extending the reach of the book to the lake that gave Salt Lake City its name — and to introduce it to visitors and Utah residents alike,” Boren said.
Arave said the Temple Square “Mormon Mecca” chapter was the hardest to do, “as we could only scratch the surface on the detail we saw on our walk there. Mount Olivet Cemetery was such a fabulous place that we made it a separate walking route, as strange as that sounds.”
The “backstories” make it a fun read, even if you never take a step on any of the routes. For instance, there are details about the Gilgal Gardens, with its sphinx-like bust of Mormon prophet Joseph Smith and scriptures carved into sculptures.
“Ray and I had both learned a lot of history during our long newspaper careers and it came in very handy for this book,” said Arave. “For space reasons, not all our backstories made it into print, though.”
Another publishing limitation is that Boren’s photos are printed in black and white. To enjoy their beauty in color, you can check out the “Walking Salt Lake City” Facebook page.
The book is written for both tourists and locals. “We tried to write the book as if the reader knew nothing of Salt Lake,” said Arave.
Since Arave lives in Davis County, one would hope that his next book would feature more Top of Utah walks. But don’t hold your breath.
“I think the publisher is doing the larger cities first,” said Arave. “Ogden would be down the road a long ways.”

No comments: