Getting caught up at Utah Lake State Park – Provo, Utah

Continuing on our northbound route after weeks of hiking and socializing, our next destination was Provo, Utah.  We had lined up several tasks, including an annual chassis maintenance for Betsy and maintenance for the car, plus we wanted to re-stock our fridge and cabinets after so long “in the sticks.”  Our home base was at midge fly-infested Utah Lake State Park (read Steve’s review here) where we enjoyed wonderful views of peaks still covered with snow the first week of June.

Utah Lake State Park
Site B23, nice spot with trees to provide shade in the afternoons
Betsy prepares to enter the operating room

For unknown reasons, the Freightliner shop hadn’t made sure they had all of the parts for the maintenance, which Steve covered in detail with them previously.  That meant we had to either spend a night in their noisy trailer lot (no hookups) while the part was overnighted, or get the air filter replaced elsewhere.  Since this shop was over 35 miles from our campground and we didn’t want to re-schedule elsewhere, we decided to bite the bullet and spend the night in Salt Lake City.

Our parking spot was apparently upgraded to “cattle hauler class”.  Steve went out to see if there were actually bovines in there.  Nope, but the odor kept our windows sealed up for the night!

When we returned to the state park the next afternoon, I requested a different site away from the trees where I thought most of the midge flies were hanging out.  There were fewer flies, but we ended up in the blazing sun for a week during the heatwave because the new site had no trees.

Utah lake State Park
Our new Site B12 away from the swarms of midges

After first thinking those buggers were mayflies, I learned they are actually midge flies. They belong to the Chironomidae family, and individual adults will live about seven days, depending upon the species and weather conditions.  Fortunately they don’t bite like mosquitoes or we would have been in big trouble.


Found near lakes and ponds, they’re known by many common names including blind mosquito and fuzzy bill.  They were perched all over Betsy, and Steve thought they preferred the darker colors.


The birds weren’t fazed by the swarming midges

We observed them flying in swarms or “clouds” overhead, filtering through rays of the setting sun – especially near the trees.

Clouds of Midges at dusk
They even look like stars in the daytime

On the plus side, many of my feathered friends made the state park their home.  But sometimes there were so many of them they became annoying!

Yellow-headed blackbird
A treeful of Yellow-headed Blackbirds
Yellow -Headed Blackbird
Quite a handsome fellow but a little too noisy

And then it happened…

With all our business completed we began exploring the park on a sunny Saturday morning.  We were walking leisurely toward the lake when BAM!  I slipped and tumbled on a concrete walkway, of all places.  My face, camera and elbows were saved, but not my left knee.  It hit hard, and by the time we struggled back to Betsy it had blossomed quite nicely.


After three days of elevation with ice packs, I visited a doctor and got X-rays.  Fortunately no broken bones or fractures on my knee cap.  Whew, I thought my hiking days would be over for a long time.  But doctor’s orders were to take it easy for at least a month while continuing with ice and elevation when possible.  The upside is that I’ve been able to catch up on my blogging even faster!

And with a loving and attentive caregiver, being couch-bound for a few days wasn’t too bad at all!

Steppin' out in style...
Steppin’ out in style…

So hiking is out of my agenda for a few weeks, but the journey continues.  We have passed by many good trails, and it makes me sad to miss them.  Fortunately this is an area we’ll definitely be coming back, so we have that to look forward to.

Utah Lake
Sunset at the lake



  1. Don’t you just hate it when you get sidelined by an injury? I have plantar fasciitis in one heel and am chomping at the bit to get active again…it is hard to take it easy when your life revolves around physical activity! Wishing you patience as you recover…!

  2. That knee looks nasty MonaLiza! So glad to hear that there were no fractures. I agree with Lisa that it is difficult to be sidelined when we lead such an active lifestyle. But it looks like you are looking on the bright side. Take care!

  3. Wow! I’ve never seen anything like your knee. That is huge! How nice to be cared for for a while:) So glad nothing was fractured. Rest and relax and prepare for Glacier and Canada:)

    We ran into the same flies as we walked along the shore of the lake yesterday. They weren’t bad but the same pest!

    • I got anxious when I saw my knee grew like an apple. It was relief seeing my Xray just showing the inflammation. Im looking forward to Montana and Canada so I better listen to my doctor.

  4. Oh my, so sorry about your fall and injury! Hope it heals quickly and that you are back on your feet soon.

  5. Oh my goodness! That’s quite an egg on your knee, maybe an ostrich egg? I hope you heal quickly and get back to your hiking. I’ve enjoyed all of your Utah posts, even though I haven’t commented.

  6. Ouch!! Hope you heal up fast! It’s frustrating that you can’t hike, but thank goodness nothing was broken.


  7. OMG! I was born in Provo and lived there until we moved to California in 1969. I spent a lot of time at Utah Lake. I hope your knee heals quickly.

      • It was a small town when I lived in Provo. We lived next to the mountains. My grandparents had lots of land and they bought me a horse. Provo canyon is very beautiful with lots of waterfalls. I’m not a Mormon so I was glad we moved to California. The winters in Provo are really cold with lots of snow.

  8. Wow MonaLiza! I’ve never seen a knee swell up like that! I guess when we’re out in the wilds we’re extra careful where we place our feet, in civilization not so much. A lesson to us all! Glad to see you have tender nursing care (I’d expect no less from sweet Steve) and know you’ll be back at em very soon. Those midges are very annoying aren’t they?

    • I know that is exactly what crossed my mind, a tumble in a smooth surface not on those rugged trails. Oh yeah, glad we moved to another site, really pesky, midges.

  9. So glad your knew will be fine In a few weeks…it could have been so much worse. Dang flies! What a bother.

  10. Ouch, so sorry to read about your fall, hope it heals quickly! We have made it to Canada and our adventure here begins. The weather is finally starting to get better and we are looking forward to exploring the Maritimes before heading west across Canada. Take cRe! Mark & Susan, Whichie Wagon

  11. Oh Mona Liza!! I’ve never seen a knee swell up like that! You took quite a fall. So sorry to hear that you’re not able to hike for a month, but so happy to hear that nothing was broken. I guess your forced rest had a silver lining in enabling you to get caught up on your blog. Our blog continues to trail far behind us, but I don’t want to take a nasty fall to get caught up. :-(( Take good care of yourself. (I know what you mean about the Yellow-headed Blackbirds—love seeing them, but they have the most annoying calls!)

    • A smooth surface of all places! I was a little anxious for three days not knowing what’s behind the swollen area. It was a relief when the Xray showed no fractures or my hiking days are over.

  12. Wow, this post was full of all kinds of things. I certainly hope your knee heals quickly and glad it was not broken. I really enjoy your posts and learning neat places to go and things to do. We will be on the road soon and certainly hope to meet you out there one day. Take care of yourself and thanks for all the sharing.

  13. OH Mona Liza your knee looks terrible. I’m so glad that nothing was broken. Having broken my ankle twice now I know how frustrating it can be not to be able to hike. For me it was months. Love the look on your face as you look up at the camera with your laptop on your lap. My feelings exactly. Sorry for all the midges, they are a real nuisance. Your pictures of the swarms are amazing. Don’t you wish those noisy blackbirds would eat them? Wonder who does eat them. Someone must. Good luck to you on your recovery. Try to be patient and don’t push it so you have a complete recovery.

  14. Hope you are feeling better soon. Great shots of the yellow headed blackbirds. Lindsay photographed them when we were there last year, but we never saw so many in one tree. Great single shot in the grass too, just the way you want him

  15. It seems like you are living like a queen, though. Ha! 😀 I bet Steve feels good taking care of you too. 😉 Flies and annoying birds, I’d welcome them anytime of the day as long as I have mountains as my views, and beautiful sunset at the lake.

  16. We had the same midge flies at Willard Bay, pesky critters. Wow your knee sure did swell up. Be good and stay off the trails and let it heal.

  17. Since I am catching up on your blog, I know you’re on the road to recovery by now, but that knee sure looked bad in the photo. We had midges at another lakeside campground … can be quite bothersome when they are swarming.

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