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In Utah's northeastern corner, a hidden, hay-scented valley.

In Utah's northeastern corner, a hidden, hay-scented valley

A cache is a hiding place, and Utah'sCache Valley, named in the era when trappers pushed west to satisfy demands for beaver pelts, remains somewhat hidden --a hay-scented valley walled on the west by the Wellsville Mountains and on the east by the Bear River Range.

Situated on the most direct route betweenSalt Lake City and Yellowstone park, it and the surrounding region--sometimes called Bridgerland, after the most famous of the trappers who came here--merit a stop. In July, wildflowers paint the mountains, and festivals enliven the towns.

A farm that brings the past alive

Most visitors approach from the south, onU.S. Highway 89/91. Just south of Logan, you'll spy the Ronald V. Jensen Living Historical Farm; (801) 245-4064.

Mormon immigrants first came here inthe 1850s--many straight from Europe. By 1917, the period that the Jensen farm re-creates, they were well established-- even flush.

Farm buildings and equipment are allauthentic. But what really instills a sense of the past are the Utah State University students who perform as family and hired hands. As you watch and listen, they throw themselves into the work of running a 120-acre farm: chopping wood, repairing plows, canning vegetables.

The most entertaining work, threshing,goes on from July 24 through August 1. Watching mowers move across the golden fields, then seeing grain spin through steaming machinery, you'll share the crews' sense of accomplishment--as well as their satisfaction at labor's end.

Summer hours are 10 to 4 Tuesdaysthrough Saturdays. Admission is $2 adults, 50 cents children.

In Logan, historic buildings, hand-dipped chocolates

Logan itself is a pretty town still focusedon the square at Main and Center streets, where a Mormon tabernacle stands. This stone building was begun in 1864 and completed in 1891. Nearby, at 52 W. 200 North, the Daughters of Utah Pioneer Museum is open 1 to 5 weekdays. (This is also the site of the Cache Chamber of Commerce, open 8 to 5 weekdays, with maps and information; 752-2161.)

Much of W. Center Street is architecturallyinteresting. At 28 W. Center is the Lyric Theater, a pink 1913 number that looks as if it should sport a garter belt. In summer, it's home to the Old Lyric Repertory Company; 750-1657.

This season's productions, running fromJune 25 through August 22, are Noises Off, Catch Me if You Can, The Contrast, and The Lion in Winter. Performances are at 8 P.M. three to five nights a week; adult tickets cost $5.

At 19 N. Main stands The Bluebird, since1923 an archetypal good soda fountain. It offers mirrors, cool marble counters, and cases laden with hand-dipped chocolates whose names promise gooey satisfaction --"caramel brazils,' "honey nougats,' "matinees.' It's open from 7:30 A.M. to 9 P.M. Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 8 Sundays.

Dances, exhibits, and a pageant

Utah State University spreads out in thefoothills east of downtown Logan. From July 31 through August 8, it hosts the Festival of the American West. Outdoors, a Great West Fair runs from 2 to 9 daily. You can watch folk dancing, visit Indian encampments, eat buffalo stew, and learn how to make a log cabin.

A pageant, The West: America's Odyssey,takes place inside the Spectrum Theater at 8 nightly. Manifest Destiny choreographed, it presents scenes of Native Americans, Spanish explorers, Mormons, and railroaders--and ends with the driving of the Golden Spike.

Admission to the fair is $3.50 (free forages under 10), to the pageant $6 ($3 for under 12). For tickets, write or call the festival, Utah State University, Logan 84322; 750-1143.

Up into Logan Canyon

The university sits at one end of LoganCanyon, a 30-mile fissure in the Bear River Range through which U.S. 89 makes its spectacular way. Before heading out, stop at the Forest Service office (860 N. 1200 East; open 8 to 5 weekdays) for Wasatch-Cache Forest maps and information on the canyon's 16 campgrounds. Another in-town source of outdoor information is Trailhead Sports, 117 N. Main, open 10 to 6 Mondays through Saturdays. At Logan bookstores, you can buy a 1986 guide to hiking in the area: Cache Trails, by John Wood (Bridgerland Audubon Society; $3.50).

One favorite canyon stop is Tony GroveLake. Take U.S. 89 north and east 19 miles to the signed turnoff; head west 7 miles to the lake. A nature trail dawdles along its shore, and at the right time (usually mid- to late July), you'll see wildflowers that range from scarlet gilia to bluebells to yellow coneflowers. There are also 39 campsites here ($6 per day).

From the lake's north end, other trailslead into the range. Good hikes include the 5 1/2-mile round trip on the White Pine Lake Trail, and the 6-mile round trip to 9,980-foot-high Naomi Peak.

Bear Lake: raspberries and hisses

Past the Tony Grove turnoff, the highwayclimbs 10 miles to Bear Lake Summit. Then, as the land shifts from pine to sage, it drops to give views of Garden City and Bear Lake itself. Bear Lake, 20 miles long and 8 wide, supports boating, swimming, (water temperature averages 70| in late July), and fishing (better in autumn).

The marina at Bear Lake State Park, 1 1/2miles north of Garden City, has boat slips and 15 campsites ($8 per night). Rendezvous Beach, 10 miles south of the city, has 136 campsites ($8 per night, $10 with hookups) and boat rentals. Reservations are recommended; write or call Bear Lake State Park, Box 184, Garden City 84028; 946-3343.

Visitors in late July and early Augustmustn't leave without sampling the area's pride: raspberries--unadorned, dolled up with cream, or blended into milkshakes. A fresh raspberry shake is summer itself-- in a waxed paper cup. On August 8, Garden City salutes its crop with a festival featuring a parade, crafts fair, and dance.

Just south of Garden City lies Pickleville,where the Larsen family has made an avocation of collecting hisses and applause. Their Pickleville Players perform in a log theater that, like their melodramas, is down-home and pleasing.

June 25 through August, 8 P.M. shows runThursdays through Saturdays: $5.75 adults, $4.50 children under 12. Dutch-oven dinners ($8 and $6) are served at 6:30. For reservations (recommended), call 946-2918 or 753-1944.

Photo: Echoing New England, stalwart, stone-towered Mormontabernacle--fronted by green lawn and a traditional summertime business--has been a Logan landmark since 1891

Photo: U.S. 89 traverses CacheValley, which runs from near Logan into mountains west of Garden City

Photo: Sea of barley falls to old-fashioned grain binder's wheeling blades at Jensen Historical Farm. Blade wheel is mounted to one side so grain isn't flattened beneath hooves of horses pulling the rig

Photo: Performers in lastsummer's production of The Importance of Being Earnest pose in front of Lyric Theater

Photo: Wooden wagon wheel tests true at Festival of the American West, which draws enough craftsmen every year to outfit a second westward migration

Photo: Mirror-smooth waters of Tony Grove Lake lie at 8,050 feet.Lakeside trail leads past wildflower displays and glacial moraines; other trails lead deeper, higher into Bear River Range
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Title Annotation:Cache Valley
Date:Jul 1, 1987
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