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Posts Tagged ‘USU’

I’d like to talk a little bit about something I’ve heard, both from people who’ve lived here for a while and people who have not. I regularly hear the utterance “There’s nothing to do in Logan,” or “It’s northern Utah, there’s nothing to do here.” For the past few weeks, I’ve wanted to blog my response to this misinformed sentiment. Perhaps I realize all of the great attributes of the area because I am lucky enough to have a job as blogger for the Cache Valley Visitors Bureau. Doing this forces me to go out and find things to do. Perhaps my wide range of interests allows me to be easily entertained — my sometimes childlike curiosity provides the impetus to become more involved with my surroundings.

I can confidently say, though, there is actually a lot to do around here. I have a hard time believing anyone who says, “This place is boring.” First of all, it’s hard to walk outside and not see a mountain peak — or several — somewhere on the horizon. Where there are mountains, there are things to do. Hiking, camping, birding, sight-seeing, photography, videography, rock climbing, mountain climbing, snowshoeing and hunting are just a few of the options mountains make available to people of all ages and levels of outdoors experience. Anyone who likes to get out of the house for a bit and breathe fresher air should consider doing so in either the Wellsville or Bear River mountains that surround Cache Valley to the west and east, respectively.

A short drive through Logan Canyon, Providence Canyon, Hyrum-Dry Canyon, Green Canyon, or any of the nearby canyons I haven’t mentioned, can afford a lifetime of fun, outdoors experiences. I’ve personally attested for some time to the concept that Utah — just about any part of Utah — can make a great photographer out of even the least visionary of individuals. Just check out the CVVB blog for a handful of ideas for places to go.

Aside from the list of naturally occurring places to visit locally, I’ve also begun to showcase several of the eateries, restaurants, shops, shows and events that are indigenous to Cache Valley. I’m also considering checking out a few of the entertainment venues located on campus at Utah State University. The university alone has an art museum, anthropology museum, various lecture series and a few different concert halls and theaters. In the surrounding metropolitan area there is also the Ellen Eccles Theatre, which I’ve covered a couple of times, the Logan Art House and the Old Barn Theatre, and near Bear Lake there is the Pickleville Playhouse. Eventually I’d like to investigate all of these places — and I will.

Cache Valley is also home to a wide variety of food-oriented attractions such as places found on the Cache Valley Food Tour and the seasonally popular local gardeners markets throughout the valley. I have scratched the surface in this realm, but I have a lot of work — and a lot of eating — to do, before I’ve truly become acquainted with all of the wonderful homemade creations local to this area. In the spring, I plan to head to Richmond (just north of Smithfield) to visit the Rockhill Creamery, which just recently received a historical award. The creamery produces artisan cheeses, among other tasty creations, and I intend to learn all about them.

The fact is I could spend the rest of my life writing for the Cache Valley Visitors Bureau, and I’d probably have a hard time exhausting all of the possibilities. I promise all of the wonderful people who have continued to follow this blog that I will do this as long as I’m allowed to. I hope to see you all out and about, checking out the great things there are to do in Logan and beyond. Whenever someone complains about not having anything to do, I suggest you greet them with skepticism or disbelief. Perhaps you can direct them to this site. If anybody out there has suggestions for something for me to do, I would love to consider it. If you’ve had the chance to experience something you believe makes Cache Valley special, please sign in and comment about it.

Cache Valley has been a great community to get to know. Having been here for two and a half years, I know there’s still so much to experience, but I’m glad I stumbled across this great place. Keep on reading, and I’ll see you out there.

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A mountain of potential ammunition for the North Logan first ever Pumpkin Toss competition. These pumpkins are all left over from the 2011 Pumpkin Walk.

Some of you may remember last year I visited the annual Pumpkin Walk in North Logan’s Elk Ridge Park. The yearly tradition has become a much-anticipated fall attraction — not only for residents of North Logan — for people from all over the valley. This year’s pumpkin-lined gourd gallery was no exception. But for Pumpkin Walk planners and North Logan city administrators the question was, essentially — What do they do with all those pumpkins?

According to North Logan Public Works Director Alan Luce, the annual pumpkin walk brings in roughly 60,000 spectators each year. With dozens of displays designed by all sorts of Cache Valley organizations and individuals, the attraction is always a hit among the young and old alike. After the last night of operation, though, the mountain of remaining pumpkins is massive. This is how the idea for a new tradition came about.

Luce said for the past few years the city has received several requests for a pumpkin launching contest, similar to the “pumpkin chunkin'” festivals that are popping up all over Utah, the U.S. and the world. The Discovery channel even aired a special about some of the enthusiasts that build contraptions like pumpkin cannons, trebuchets, catapults and slingshots to launch these seed-filled, pulpy orange missiles.

Members of Team Frankie sit inside their trebuchet inspecting its functionality. Team Frankie won the prize for most accurate machine.

I hung out for two hours to watch the crowd of bystanders and onlookers grow. When I showed up at 12:30 p.m. — just 30 minutes before the show was set to begin — two of the three teams from USU’s chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers were setting up their designs. Team Legit developed a pumpkin catapult and Team Frankie made a floating arm trebuchet. The third team, called The Butternut Bouncers, showed up a little late with its floating arm trebuchet and got set up and ready to join the butternut battle.

I walked around inspecting the three designs and chatting with the students who made them. I was quite impressed by the element of teamwork and cooperation that was evident in the performance that each team displayed. When it came down to the moment of truth, Team Legit had some performance issues due to faulty release mechanisms. Eventually, though, the team was able to successfully launch a few pumpkins within the the 30- and 50-foot range. Legit won most creative design, since its design was not a trebuchet.

Pumkpin graveyard: These pumpkins lay forgotten about in a corner of Elk Ridge Park that was filled with Pumpkin Walk-ers just a week prior.

Team Frankie and The Butternut Bouncers each launched successful retire Jack O’Lanterns as far as 165 feet. Both teams, however, experienced some unexpected technical difficulties. A few times team members, event organizers and journalists all had to scatter to avoid the 15-pound pumpkins that were launched vertically and landed behind the machines. There were also misfires and backward launches, but luckily no humans or cars were injured in the making of the first-ever North Logan pumpkin launching competition.

Team Frankie won the prize for most accurate for grouping three of its shots in the same 100-foot range, and the Butternuts won the prize for distance with the 165-foot best.

USU mechanical engineering student and ASME President Dallin Jackson said this could very well become a yearly event. He said he felt the first production was a blast. The turnout of local spectators exceeded the expectations of those who planned it. Luce told me that North Logan and its council and committee members would like to continue to build on the annual pumpkin-centered traditions by adding Pumpkin Days to the calendar. He said this would be a great way to add interest to the already growing parks and recreation fascination in North Logan. Other events that were recently included were the Pumpkin Smash Soccer Tourney and the Pumpkin Run 5-kilometer fun run.

More information about this year’s pumpkin walk and other North Logan Pumpkin Days developments, I would suggest checking out the website.

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Hello, friends, family, Cache residents and visitors. One year ago —in August 2010— as a budding journalism student at Utah State University, I began to pursue jobs outside the world I came to know all too well. I’m talking about the world of working in restaurants. This was a world I lived in for over a decade after graduating from high school. My pursuit of something new landed me —as good fortune had it— a couple of internship-esque jobs as a writer. I am happy to say that this year I will be returning as a blogger for the Cache Valley Visitors Bureau.

Anybody who read my blog last year should remember: I originally set out to find as many of the fun, exciting and one-of-a-kind things there are to do here in Cache Valley, Utah, and write about them so others could share in my wonderment. The great thing about this place (one of them, anyway) is that I couldn’t possibly fit all of the great things to do into one four-month period. I am happy to say that I’ve been asked to come back and do it all again. Not only do I get a second opportunity to explore new ways of writing about things I like to do anyway —eat, go to shows, enjoy the outdoors and experience new things— but I also get to share these adventures with you, the reader.

Whether you are a Cache Valley native, or you are thinking about coming to visit for the first time, I can attest to the fact that in the short two-years that I’ve been here, there are limitless unique ways to enjoy our beautiful parcel of paradise here in northern Utah.

This year, I already have a long list of  possible topics to write about; plus I’m going to revisit a few of the things I did last year to get a better, more in-depth look. My goal is to express in the best way I can how blessed we are to be nestled here between the Wellsville and Bear River mountains, with great things to do outdoors and in. Just a couple of weeks ago I attended a retreat near Bear Lake as part of a training session for the newspaper I work for —The Utah Statesman. While I was there I was able to take in the calming beauty of the area, however, I was unable to truly enjoy my surroundings to the fullest extent. In the near future I plan to visit the lake again to kayak across it. I can guarantee after I do, readers will be able to find more details about the trip on this website.

Aside from planning a trip to Bear Lake, I also intend to investigate a few of the annual athletic events that take place here. One new event, inspired by a new filthy trend sweeping the nation, mucking up the faces of all who take part, is a 5K mud run that takes place Saturday, Sept. 3, in Wellsville, Utah (the southwestern border of Cache Valley). I hope to make it to the venue in time to talk to some of the participants and rake up some juicy dirt on what it is that motivates a person to trudge through mud alongside, possibly, thousands of other mud-lovin’ runners.

The event, officially called “Man vs. Mud” begins at 9 a.m. and is sponsored by several organizations, including the American West Heritage Center. Of course I will shovel up a whole bogful of more details while I’m there. This race has been receiving truckloads of hype and should promise to be a spectacle that nobody should miss. But if you do miss it, I’ll be there to get you the best version of a vicarious account of the magnificence and mayhem.  As always, maybe I’ll see you there. I’ll be the one trying not to get my camera muddy.

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Every Halloween, I’m always asked by my friends and cohorts, “What are you going to be this year?” To some, this is a particularly genuine question to ask. For me, the answer is simple…I’m going to be a zombie. Over the past few years, I have been improving on the creepiness and outright disturbance-factor of my interpretation of the typical postapocalyptic, undead flesh-eater. This year, I think I did well.

Anybody who puts any significant amount of effort into a Halloween costume of any kind, should have a great place to go show it off. What better place to go than the locally-renowned “Howl of the Dead” party? This event has been touted as the largest Halloween party west of the Mississippi River. The venue is the Taggart Student Center (TSC) at Utah State University. The Howl, as most refer to it, is sponsored by the Associated Students of Utah State University (ASUSU) and is coordinated in conjunction with Student Services. Proceeds go to benefit university programs.

Just how big is the Howl? The TSC’s maximum legal capacity, according to fire code, is 7,000 people. I was told that 6,800 tickets were sold this year, at prices ranging from $10 to $25. Being the punctual guy that I am, I arrived, ticket-in-hand, when the doors opened, just after 8p.m. This allowed me to get in while the building was still sparsely occupied. This way, I was able to see all of the craziness unfold.

It was clear that a lot of planning went into the entire production. There was a large dance troupe that all looked very much like myself. Apparently, they were inflicted with the same reanimating, flesh-hunger inducing disease that I was…that is, they all looked like zombies. Every 30 minutes or so, the zombies would all convene on or near the stage that faced the massive line of people waiting to get in. Eerie techno music played while the dancers lurched and clawed at the air in unison. Between performances, the ROTC students, all dressed in full army gear, along with a decontamination crew, apprehended and quarantined the meandering undead. Three times, I was mistaken for part of the show and ended up in the arms of four or five army personnel, being hauled off to the quarantine zone. This sort of entertainment went on throughout the night.

In the TSC Ballroom, a very large dance area was set up with a team of DJ’s playing dance music. In the field house, bands and other performers provided even more entertainment. Of all of the parties I’ve been to, including Halloween parties, nothing quite comes close to the Howl. This is something that is definitely unique to Cache Valley. Students and other young people from all over the state were in attendance. The party was scheduled to go until 1 a.m. When I was leaving at 11p.m., there were still at least 1,000 people, in line, waiting to get in. Wow! I’d say I’ll see you there next year, but it might be hard to find me. Just look for the zombies, I’ll be the one gnawing on your arm. Happy haunting!

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