Jeff Schmerker — Utah Travel Writer

Jeff Schmerker My name is Jeffrey Otis Schmerker, but unless I'm filling out a form for the government I just go by Jeff. I am 29 years old, stand an even 6 feet in hiking boots, weigh 180 pounds in Fall synchilla, and have had long hair since 7th grade. I was born in St. Mark's, baptized in St. Matthew's and grew up in a small town in Texas called Sugar Land. Ten years ago I moved to Salt Lake City where I went to college, had a string of stupid jobs and took up sports that gives my mom fits. I like to read the New York Times, drink double espressos with sweetened and condensed milk and refinish antiques. But, what I love the most are mountains, rivers, valleys and foreign cities. I have traveled across most of the country and large chunks of the greater world, mostly by backpack and common bus, looking for vertical topography, great beaches, good skiing, spicy food and frightful deserts. But, I always come back to Utah for I believe that despite the state's idiosyncrasies, quirkiness, fair share of weirdoes, oddities, banalities and urban congestion, there are few places more beautiful than the Beehive State.

Porter This is Porter. He weighs 30 pounds when shed, is still small enough to toss and has had long hair since birth. He was born to good but indifferent purebred American eskimo (spitz) parents on July 4, 1994 in Rosenberg, Texas. He was raised in Wasatch Mountains, baptized in the Dirty Devil River and adheres to no specific religion. Once, when he was young, he had a bad case of kennel cough and I had to give him codeine pills. A few years later, he had an affair with a fast dish named Francine, a yellow lab, but everything worked out OK. He loves dog food, smelly trash, having his ears scratched, and 15 degree mornings with six inches of fresh snow.

Now, we both live in Tooele, a working class town of 18,000 one hour southwest of Salt Lake. Tooele is surrounded by 11,000-foot snowcapped peaks, is within site of the blue water and desert islands of the Great Salt Lake, and on a clear day you can see to the Idaho border.

Together, Porter and I intend to travel Utah together and come home to tell you about the fantastic terrain and great people. Join us every week or so to see where we've been, what we saw and if it is a place you might want to visit, too. My guess is you will, for Utah is still a place where the sunsets seem to linger a little longer, the water taste a little sweeter, the mountains a stand a little grander and the snow lay a lot deeper.

If you've got questions or suggestions for someplace to visit, write me at jeff@utah.com. Otherwise, I'll see ya on the road!

Our past travels

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