Adventures with Grandpa: Lakeside, Utah

My father-in-law, Dan Painter, is one of a kind. My kids know when we go with Grandpa on an adventure, we won’t drive on regular roads and more than likely we will have a history lesson along the way. We couldn’t ask for a better Adventure Leader and the memories we are making will last forever.

Dan Painter with his faithful Golden-Doodle, Jasmine

Our Latest Adventure took us to Lakeside, Utah

Lakeside is on the west side of the Great Salt Lake, about a two and half hour drive from Ogden, Utah. While the town now only has a railroad storage shed, in 1901, it was bustling with activity. The town consisted of “homes” made of boxcars placed on temporary sidings and was home to over three thousand residents consisting of men, women and children. The majority of the townspeople were Southern Pacific Railroad workers faced with the tremendous task of building a railroad across the Great Salt Lake. The new track was called the Lucin cutoff.

The Lucin Cutoff was 102 miles of track from Lucin to Ogden. It saved forty-four miles in length, and hundreds of feet in grade. It included thirteen miles of fill and nearly twelve miles of trestle across the Great Salt Lake. It took one and half years to build and cost around 8 million dollars. The workers were paid $2.00 a week ($4.50 for specialists) and water had to be shipped in because no fresh sources were available. When they blasted in the nearby mine, the women and children had to climb under their box cars for safety. The trestles were used for over 50 years, but the timber was constantly needed to be replaced. By the 1950s, the railroad built a causeway with rock and earth and the original trestles were abandoned.

Where the Hell is Delle?

There has never been a better time for a Grandpa Adventure than during this COVID-19 pandemic. On Saturday, we drove to west on I-80 toward Wendover. We stopped for a quick pit stop in Delle where my nephew got a bumper sticker that read, “Where the hell is Delle?” It was quite appropriate as Delle has a tiny gas station, a beat up single-wide trailer, and a sad ruin of what once looked like a motel.  (Photo on left by Jacob Barlow).

We got back on the freeway and took next exit for Lakeside Road. We arrived at Lakeside at 10:30 a.m. and explored the tracks and took a few photos.

We wanted to get closer to the lake so we backtracked for a bit and found another road. As we drove up a hill, cow surrounded us and acted strangely. We didn’t understand until we smelled the hot branding iron as we drove passed a group of ranchers gathered at a corral. Young calves shook in line awaiting their fate. We followed the dirt road to the top of Scad Ridge and the view was breathtaking.

View of the Great Salt Lake and Lucin Cutoff Causeway

You could see the causeway down below expanding over the Great Salt Lake. It was a beautiful, clear day and you could see for miles. We could see Fremont Island and the snow capped Wasatch Mountains to the east. We could also see the Promontory Mountains to the northeast and Stansbury Island to the south.

We hiked up to the hills above us. They almost looked like a scene from “The Lord of the Rings” at Weathertop where Frodo is stabbed by the Nazgul (fantasy geek and proud). The grasses were long and blew lightly in the April breeze. White and pink flowers bloomed among the sagebrush. Ravens and turkey vultures soared above us and horned larks serenaded us below. I loved exploring the cavities that were created by erosion in the rocks.

Skipping Caked, Muddy Sand on the Great Salt Lake

We drove down to the shores of the Great Salt Lake. We skipping pieces of dry, salty sand into the lake. Our dogs enjoyed chasing birds up and down the beach, but they were very sad when they could not drink the water. It looked so inviting and they were so thirsty. 

Grandpa cooked us up some large round, juicy hamburgers on his portable grill and they were so yummy after hiking around for two hours. The lettuce was crisp and buns were soft. It was delicious!

Lakeside Cave and Fossil Hunting

We drove to another area and found a large cave. We explored it for a little bit and then searched around for fossils. There were so many in the rock just on the side of the hills.

We look a “Grandpa Road” home. A “Grandpa Road” in Painter Family Lingo, is an out of the way road that is likely to take a long time. The term was defined three years ago on a road trip to Oregon. We stayed the night in Nampa, Idaho and then followed the Oregon Trail into southeast Oregon. We drove for five hours and ended up back to a point on the map, where had we gone directly, from point A to B it would have taken twenty minutes.

For more on the Lucin Cutoff: check out:

Published by Karen Painter

Karen Painter is a freelance real estate/health writer and historical romance author. She has written blogs, news,and feature articles for different publications over her twenty year writing career. Despite her struggles with anxiety and depression, she works hard to be positive and uplifting to others. She loves hiking, singing, and traveling.

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