Winter Water

If you live along the Wasatch Front you may be enjoying the Jordan River Parkway Trail now that it’s completed. The river that runs from fresh water Utah Lake in Utah County to the Utah’s own version of the ‘Dead Sea’ (the Great Salt Lake) has been here for eons, but the paved trail and bridge sections for runners, walkers and bikers was only just finished in 2017 when the final bridge by the Utah State Fair Park was erected. This sweet path running through our valleys connects to the Legacy trail on the north and the Murdock Canal trail to the south, giving us 100+ miles of paved trails along the waterway. You can fish in it for Channel Cats, Bass, Bullheads, Carp and even trout with simple worm bait, kayak, and paddle board. The group ‘Utah Outdoors’ leads regular trips down the river in the summer, but you have to provide all your own equipment from boat to paddles and mandatory life jackets. There are about a dozen boat launch ramps that begin in the Orem area and lead past downtown Salt Lake. Outdoors types here love our mountains and red rocks down south but often forget about the Jordan River and the trails we have now.

Utah historians agree that the first part of Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, and five days later another party led by Brigham Young cross the Jordan River and bathes in the Great Salt Lake. The religious explorers likened the Utah river to the River Jordan in the Middle East across the planet where the Sea of Galilee drains into the Dead sea. Soon Utahn’s named the Jordan River here and groups of settlers began camps along feed creeks and rivers to the Jordan along Big and Little Cottonwood Creeks, Parley’s, Emigration and Mill creek. The river was used to float granite rock from the Little Cottonwood quarry to North Temple to be hauled up the street to Temple Square. The railroads also used the slow moving river to float logs and ties as they built rail lines through the urban areas.

Salt Lake City has announced that a second Tracy Aviary will build a second location along the river as it’s second campus in the next year and City officials plan to fund rope courses, climbing walls, canoe and bike rentals in a new park planned @Highway 201 North to about 4500 South.  There’s funding for this and police from several different agencies are also stepping forward with help to monitor homeless camps and heavy crime spots at and near those camps to make the trail safer for recreation seekers and just folks wanting to experience nature here along this slowing winding river. Grab an E-bike or just a group of friends and take a stroll this winter to see the wildlife along the banks and in the trees. Get some fresh air when you can during a low inversion day and you’ll come back as it gets warmer to maybe actually get in the water with a kayak or boat.

Tech Bucks

Don’t laugh too hard at me. The last time I played a video game I chased a small ghosty thing that ate tiny dots along a grid as I moved a stick up, down and sideways directing it along the screen. I visited my nephew recently and he’s playing an online game on his laptop where he puts together cars. Mind you, he’s 13 and knows nothing about driving a car, but he can tell you just virtually everything you want to know about from cam shafts to pistons. The good news is he wants to be a mechanic when he gets out of school, and I guess this is a great way to get him on the right career path-even if he does spend hours upon hours wasting away in the interwebs and has never held a screwdriver in his hand. I applaud all you geeks and tech folks. Computers were introduced at my college when they had green screens (no colors). You took this flexible dinner-plate thingy called a disc and slipped it inside the giant console to record your work. I remember punching a lot of F7 and F2 buttons and screaming at the machine endlessly. Nowadays storage is well, stored in a cloud. Where is said cloud? I have no clue, but I do know my email server has one, and my Apple account and my IPhone has them. I hope a kind person will show me how to find all my clouds one day so I may float happily along in my digital memories.

The big brains at Qualtrics are pretty damned happy and sending GIF’s of Kermit the Frog or Katy Perry pumping their arms and dancing to their friends and competitors. This family-owned Provo, Utah company founded back in 2002 just sold for $8 billion dollars to a German cloud. Qualtrics founders Scott, Ryan, and Jared Smith and Stuart Orgill saw a need for subscription software to collect and analyze data for market research that could show results of customer satisfaction and loyalty. The purchasing company from across the pond was pretty smart as they bought the firm before Qualtrics was about to release the stock IPO. And, this is one of the biggest sales ever in little ol’ Utah!

Huzzah for Utah tech brains and family-run companies. Seriously, it’s estimated we now have between 6000-7000 tech-related firms working within our state borders. Commuters certainly feel that when they try and get to, from or around Lehi-the heart of all big things techie along our Silicon Slopes. According to the Utah Department of Economic Development our top valued tech businesses (besides Qualtrics) are: Workfront, Instructure, Vivint, and as well as Domo, Pluralsight and Inside Sales.