A Walk (and Trip) to Remember in Midway

Do you know those parents who take their high school seniors on a campus tour to extol the virtues of attending their Alma Mater? That’s exactly what our trip to Midway was during Spring Break. We figured if we were asking the kids to uproot their lives they love for a place completely unknown to them, we’d better make it look good. Really good. The funny thing is that when I first received my impression to look for real estate in Soldier Hollow, I had only ever visited Midway once or twice while Jamie had never been. That, my friends, is called faith. Or lunacy.

During my initial investigations, I talked to a few moms from Midway. One, in in particular, was a stand-out when I asked her about the demographic of this tiny mountain hamlet.

“There are people who’ve lived here for generations dating back to the Mormon pioneers from Switzerland. Some people have second homes here, others come to retire. We have General Authorities and young families who want an active lifestyle for their kids. In recent years, there has been an influx of people moving in who have no idea why they’re doing it but just feel compelled to be here.”

 Cue the goosebumps. That was one of many answers to prayers and perfectly described why we’re uprooting our lives for the unknown. We may be moving for one big reason or a million little ones. Who’s to say?

The timing of our visit over Spring Break could have been better. Late- March in the mountains is “shoulder season,” which is just a really way of saying it’s a transitional period between snow and green to the tune of mud. Midway’s famed Ice Castles were at the top of our bucket list but they were already melted. That didn’t stop us from exploring!


We were fortunate to tube at Soldier Hollow in Wasatch Mountain State Park on closing day. This venue was made famous during the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games as host to the cross country and biathlon events and has since added the longest tubing hills in Utah. We arrived wearing our winter layers of clothing and quickly started unlayering when we felt a blast of warm air. Spring skiing is one of the most fun times to ski because of cooperative temperatures and soft snow; spring tubing is equally as desirable!

The hill has lengthy 1,200-foot sliding lanes with lift service for towing people up the hill. Over and over again, we did laps up and down the mountain. The snow was soft but first; when the sun went down, it became slick and the tubers started crashing through barriers at the bottom, warning us to start braking with our feet half-way down. We ignored them, choosing to slow down at the bottom to up the element of excitement.

The Homestead

We stayed for a couple of nights at The Homestead Resort, a throwback to Victorian times with 19 separate buildings of cottages, rooms and condos connected by scenic walkways through lush gardens and lawns overlooking an 18-hold golf course. We slept in the spacious bunkroom, a building with a long history of hospitality but in need of some updating, as was much of the resort. Regardless, as the kids fed the kids sampled fudge in the gift shop and fed ducks before breakfast at Fanny’s, it’s impossible not to feel charmed by this historic property.

In the summer, the Activity Center offers a full slate of fun and a year-round option is The Homestead’s famous 65-foot crater, a geothermally heated pool. The crater is housed inside a limestone dome and we climbed the steep steps to catch a view from above before accessing it via a murky tunnel below. As we entered the crater, the sunlight filtering from the top cast the whole cave in an intense cobalt hue that made it look like an LED disco room–talk about mood lighting! Small stalactites clung from the ceiling above us, creating an otherworldly feel.

Life jackets are mandatory for swimmers, a fact I belittled until I leisurely floated in the 92-degree water that was warmer than your average pool but not too toasty that we were uncomfortable after our hour-long swim. The crater unbelievably offers scuba certification courses. We brought our snorkeling gear but our life jackets prevented us from producing them because we were unable to go deeper. The only evidences of the divers in the clear, deep waters were their bubbles at the surface and their lights illuminating the water’s deep below.  We’ll go deep another time but for that day, it felt luxurious just to soak.

The Walk to Remember

As we’d driven into town I’d noticed a walking trail and vowed to explore it the next morning. I slipped out before dawn as my family still slept and hung out in the lobby by the fireplace until the sun made its appearance. And then I was off! I walked down Homestead Drive past gorgeous Swiss-themed mansions, turning off onto the trail that slithered past Snake Creek. Five minutes later, it ran out. Disappointed at ending my walk prematurely, I turned onto Pine Canyon Road and decided to do a large loop before returning.

Deer curiously watched me, ruminating on the grass from a large plot of land for sale. I kept heading north and then west toward Wasatch Mountain State Park, eventually connecting with a road that would lead me back. Off to my left was a small forested area and steam was rising. I stopped. Midway is a hot pocket of hot springs but could there be something in a hidden grove?  There was a small wooden fence but I didn’t see a “no trespassing sign” so went for it.  I carefully traversed two rickety logs over a creek, pausing briefly to reflect if Jamie would be able to find my dead lifeless body there (such are the thoughts of someone who’s doing something that may not be such a swell idea).

What greeted me was a thousand times worth it. I didn’t find geothermal springs but rather, the sunrise was blazing on a collection of ponds that appeared to be shooting out cotton candy pink and blue puffs of steam. Sun-bleached reeds blew  shaggily in this forest that was so serene and untouched I felt like I was the first to discover it. I wanted to live forever in that moment.

I reluctantly crossed another questionable bridge back to a dirt path that I followed through Shire-like wooded groves and just when I thought my adventure was over, I stumbled upon a Swiss-themed castle playhouse. “What is this place?” I breathed, utterly bewitched.

I raced back to The Homestead to find the kids still sleeping. Jamie and I walked around the property as I downloaded my morning’s adventures.

“You know, Amber. You were probably on private property.”
“I didn’t see any signs.”
“Yes, but there was a fence.”
“But it was a small, unfortified fence. Anyway, how do you explain the castle I found?”
“That was probably someone’s backyard playhouse.”

The man needs more magic in his life. Fortunately, Midway has plenty of it to spare.

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