It’s a week later, and I am finally getting the time to blog about what my family and I did while they were here for Thanksgiving.

For the most part, we sat around in the warm house, watched TV and movies, cooked and ate lots of good food, and played with laptops and video games.  But despite the bad weather for most of the weekend, we did venture out a few times.  My sister was the inspiration for the first adventure.

Althought we grew up in upstate New York and are no strangers to snow, my sister J has been living in warmer climes for almost 10 years now.  So she really wanted to go sledding.  We went and picked up a few cheap plastic saucer and toboggan sleds, and then tried to figure out where to go.  T called a few coworkers with kids, but didn’t get much info, since most of them live well to the south of us.  So my fearless mom walked up to total strangers in the parking lot and got directions to a sledding hill that wasn’t too far away.

When we got close, we saw a family carrying sleds and followed them to the hill.  There were a couple of slopes behind an LDS temple for us to choose from.  We had the dogs with us, since they love the snow, so we decided to take a slope that no one else was on.  The last thing we needed was to freak out some parents if a giant, playful German shepherd decided to chase their kids down the hill.

Since my sister was the instigator here, she definitely took the most runs.  There were a couple of jumps built into the hillside, and she even went over them a few times.  But my mom and dad and I hit the slope too.  We had a great time, and the dogs thought it was a lot of fun to chase us around, and try to “fetch” snowballs.  Finally, even though T’s back was acting up, he decided to take a couple of runs with the dogs.  He could only convince Cara to get on the toboggan with him once, but it was hilarious!

The only photos we got were on cell phones, so the quality isn’t great, but we definitely had fun.

J heading for a jump

landing jumps hurts!

me and the dogs

"That was fun Mom!"

Dad going backwards

T and Cara on the sled, with Diezel chasing

A few days later, I was trying to get us motivated to get out of the house again.  For some reason, my family and I decided to go visit Antelope Island.  It’s a small island in the Great Salt Lake, that was historically used by the LDS church to herd sheep, horses, and other animals to raise money to help LDS settlers come out west to Utah.  I’d been out there last spring with my mom, and several family members had gone when they were here for the wedding.  Nowadays, there are bison and pronghorn antelopes on the island.
There is an 8-mile causeway across the lake to get to the island.  Once we got to the island, the roads were snowy and not very well cleared.  We drove around a little bit, and got to see several small groups of bison grazing in the snow.  There were several different species of raptors and other birds flying around, too.  We drove around a bit, eventually stopping at a lookout spot.  There were a few bison and a bevy of ground birds, either partridges or chukkars, right nearby that I managed to snap a picture of.

snowy wonderland

Those are the bison, just past the edge of the hillside

After just a few minutes out in the snow and wind, we decided it was time to head home.  On the way back across the causeway, we saw an open area in the lake where several flocks of wild ducks and seagulls were swimming around.  There was a canid of some sort standing on the far bank, hoping to get close enough to snag a duck or two, although they were definitely keeping their distance.  With J the zookeeper in the car with us, we had a long conversation about whether it was a coyote, a gray fox, or a Mexican wolf.  His tail looked too thick for a coyote to most of us, but I thought he looked too big to be a fox, and he had the wrong proportions for a wolf.  We drove a little further along the causeway, and spotted another of the canids, really close to the edge of the lake.  After doing a little research on canid species in Utah and looking at some photos, I am pretty sure what we were seeing was a coyote in his thick, winter coat.
All in all, I think we had a really good time while my family was here.  Good thing my dad knew how to drive all over an isolated island in a minivan in the snow.  *smile*
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