Day trip: Midway Ice Castles

A short drive to the east lies an odd little town called Midway, with an interesting mix of Swiss chalets, high-end bed and breakfasts, ranches, and farmhouses. Cholula and I have explored the trails of Wasatch State Park in the foothills. I discovered an unexpected gem of a Mexican restaurant called Tarahumara. And this winter, a unique phenomenon has returned to Midway: a traveling exhibit of man-made “castle” formations made of icicles. Ice Castles are only located in three US cities this year, and kooky little Midway, Utah is one of them. A sunlit hike and stop into my favorite salsa bar fueled my castle visit.

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From the road, I wondered if this experience would be worth the $9.00 I paid to enter. On a weekday in mid-afternoon, the crowd was sparse and I spent most of my time in the castle alone.  As I wandered through the frigid tunnels, ducking under stalagtites of ice, the outside world faded away. My reality took on a blue hue and muted quality. Above me, icicles formed a starburst ceiling. The warmth from the winter sun played a drip-drip-drip soundtrack of ice melting around me, punctuated by the occasional squeal of a child elsewhere in the tunnels. Even at 39 years old, I allowed myself a moment of fantasy– I was an ice princess, gracefully walking the wintry halls of my frosty palace.

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Emerging from within the castle, the bluebird day brought me back down to earth. I strolled around the mounds of frozen water, in awe of the icicle formations that had been created.

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As I left, I thanked the girl behind the ticket counter for the experience and asked how long the exhibit would be in Midway. “Just until the ice melts,” she said. I thought about all of the (more appropriately aged) ice princesses, wandering through the frigid tunnels, their imaginations fueled by this beautiful castle that would be gone by springtime.

For a few minutes on Thursday, I felt the magic, too.

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More information about the Ice Castles.

More of Me in PC.

One year ago: My dear friend, Vanessa, and I prepared for the madness of Sundance.

22 Comments

  1. I definitely would have imagined myself as an ice princess too! We have a winter festival here, where there are huge carved ice statues, but, even though it’s very pretty, it’s not magical like those ice castles!

    1. My best friend said all through the Christmas holiday that it was hard to feel “festive” in when it was 70 degrees. I’m hoping for more winter here- it’s almost completely melted! 😦

  2. WOW! I missed this post. Glad I found it; just fantastic. That place looks very mystical and spiritual. Great shots.

    What camera are you using? I seem to recall that you got a decent DSLR recently. Whatever it is, it sure does great captures. But your eye…I love your compositions. Thanks for sharing that.

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