Exercise? Let’s take it outside: 'Walking Salt Lake City' suggests 34 trips in the area

Story by Valerie Phillips
Mon, May 13, 2013
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With the spring weather in full bloom, it’s time get off the treadmill and take your fitness routine outdoors.

For inspiration, you can turn to the book “Walking Salt Lake City” (Wilderness Press, $17.95), co-authored by Lynn Arave of Layton and Ray Boren of Salt Lake City. There are 34 walks outlined in the book, from Dimple Dell in Sandy on the south, to Antelope Island on the north.

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 said in an interview.

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.”

Arave, a former Deseret News writer and editor, also worked as a sports stringer for the Standard-Examiner while attending Weber State University. Through writing about hikes in the Grand Canyon, he 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.

“That made them more enjoyable, and we noticed more things with four eyes looking out,” Arave said.

The walks vary in distance from a quarter-mile around the Temple Quarry in Little Cottonwood Canyon to five miles in the Avenues.

“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.

The one-mile Farmington walk includes a pleasant loop along Main Street and the trail bordering the Lagoon Amusement Park.

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, the Central City walk includes details about the Gilgal Gardens, with its sphinx-like bust of Mormon prophet Joseph Smith and scriptures carved into sculptures.

And the city of Sandy’s name might have come from a railroad engineer, Alexander “Sandy” Kinghorn, but more likely it came from its sandy soil. And did you know that Lagoon was originally located on the shores of the Great Salt Lake?

“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.”

Valerie Phillips blogs at www.chewandchat.blogspot.com.

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