7 National Parks to Visit Before Summer Ends

Adventure is just around the corner in Utah. With plenty of attractions to see, activities to do and places to go, Utah offers non-stop fun. That said, summer gets busy with work, family gatherings and outings with friends. Here is a list of seven national parks to visit before the frost settles.

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1. Visit the Super Six: Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Goblin Valley National
Parks along with the San Rafael Swell and Swasey’s Beach. This awesome excursion allows you to see multiple national parks and two geographical features. San Rafael Swell is a 75 by 40 miles giant dome-shaped anticline. Infrequent, powerful flash floods shaped this area into the sedimentary rocks, valleys, canyons, gorges, mesas and buttes you see today. Swasey’s Beach located just north of Green River provides the perfect place to cool off while touring the rest of the Super Six. A white sandy beach shaded by cottonwood trees and refreshing water make this beach the perfect spot for families to play.

2. Monument Valley
Located within 27,000 miles of Navajo Indian Reservation, Monument Valley is known for its picturesque red mesas, buttes and surrounding desserts. This Navajo Tribal Park has been in numerous films and commercials. The famous Valley Drive consists of a 17-mile self-drive dirt road complete with several pullout areas for viewing the spectacular scenery, famous sights and formations. Visit the Monument Valley Visitor Center For more information and guided tours.

3. Zion National Park
Utah’s first national park provides an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and a rich geological history. The gorgeous sandstone cliffs exposing the red, pink and cream canyon entices people from all over the country. You can enjoy a large variety of unique plant and animal life while you are backpacking, biking, canyoneering, climbing, horseback riding, boating or bird watching through this natural wonderland.

4. Dinosaur National Monument
Numerous Jurassic period fossils have been discovered at Dinosaur National Monument. In fact, visitors can see fossils embedded in the wall of Carnegie Quarry. This cross-section of mountains, rivers and desert is perfect for exploring, hiking, rafting and camping.

5. Golden Spike National Historic Site
To the north of the Great Salt Lake lies the point where the first transcontinental railroad formed. The Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads joined at the Golden Spike National Historic Site on May 10, 1869 when the last spike also called the “Golden Spike” was ceremonially driven in. The Visitor Center helps illustrate the importance of the railroad in opening up and exploring the west.

6. Bryce Canyon
This national park is known for its hoodoos. Wind and water eroded odd-shaped rock pillars over time. Filled with a variety of hiking trails with easy, moderate and strenuous options, the park allows you to spend as much or as little time in the park as you want. You can even go horseback riding along some of the trails and go camping with your family and friends. Stargaze on one of the guided moonlight hikes.

7. Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
One of the less crowded national parks in Utah, the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument provides a sense of remoteness and tranquility. You can drive for miles down paved and dirt roads without ever seeing another car. However, you will see plenty of beautiful scenery mixed with canyons, arches, hills, waterfalls, forest and scrubland.

June Gardening To-Do List

The shining sun and warm weather means that summer has arrived. It’s that time of year to start getting the jump on your gardening. Most of Utah falls under zone 5 of the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones. This map helps gardeners and growers identify which plants will thrive in certain locations and best of all, when to plant and harvest them. So put on your hat, find your gloves and get going on this gardening to-do list for June.

Flowers & Plants:

  • Divide and transplant spring-flowering perennials that have finished bloomingcanstockphoto10086456
  • Sow (i.e. plant) seeds of perennials directly into the ground
  • Fertilize roses now

✔Trick: To supply potassium, blend banana peels in a blender, then add the mixture beneath the mulch around your roses.

  • Pinch newest shoots on geranium plants to encourage fuller plants
  • Feed roses as the first flower buds appear and apply fungicide to prevent powdery mildew or blackspot disease from appearing

✔Tip: Organic fungicides that work on blackspot disease include copper, lime sulfur, neem oil, potassium or ammonium bicarbonate and sulfur.

  • Mulch flower gardens to conserve water and keep costs down during heat waves

Fruits & Vegetables:

  • Weed strawberry and asparagus beds
  • Feed young corn plants with high-nitrogen fish emulsion fertilizer
  • Dust potato plants to prevent infestations of potato beetle

✔Did you know: The potato beetle is one of the most difficult garden pests to get rid of due to its developed resistance to many insecticides.

  • Mulch vegetable gardens to conserve water during heat waves
  • Spray tomato plants with compost tea to prevent diseases.

✔Trick: Make your own compost teat by steeping an old pillowcase filled with compost in a bucket of water.

  • Harvest salad crops and replant every 2 weeks for a constant supply of tasty leaves.
  • Great time to start planting sweet potatoes and regular (russet) potatoes
  • You can also start planting carrots, peppers, cucumbers, winter and summer squash
  • Toward the end of the month start planting corn and beans
  • Don’t forget to harvest spinach, broccoli, beets and peas this month

Lawn & Trees:

  • Train your lawn to grow deep roots by mowing often, at a high setting.

✔Did you know: Deep roots are the key to a healthy lawn and improving drought tolerance.

  • Make sure your lawn gets one inch of water per week. If you irrigate, water deeply to encourage deeper roots.
  • Control existing weeds with a post-emergent herbicide, or by pulling or digging.

✔Tip: Removing weeds before they bloom and disperse their seeds helps reduce next year’s crop.

  • Plant balled-and-burlapped and container shrubs and trees
  • Thin out small green fruits on apple, peach and plum trees to one every 6-inches on the branch

 

Prepare Your Air Conditioner for the Summer

SMblonde-girl-hairs-1206-825x550Though it might not feel like it yet those hot summer months are not too far away. Make sure you stay cool this summer with preparing your air conditioner for those warm months now.  Clear away the
debris and allow for at least 2 feet of clear space around your unit for the machine to work properly. It is recommended you check your air conditioner filter at least once a month and change it every 3 months to ensure it doesn’t clog and slow down the airflow.

Another thing to keep in mind, is to check the duct-work around your home to ensure no rugs or furnishings obstruct the airflow. Remember to also check the duct-work that travels through your attic or basement and make sure the seams are sealed.

If you don’t have an air conditioner, here are some tips and tricks for staying cool during the hot months.

Have something to add? Share your thoughts and tips here – we look forward to hearing from you.