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Question #89156 posted on 03/16/2017 5:33 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board and Anathema,

You said in Question 89119 that you like exploring to get your mind off things. What are some cool places in or near BYU that you have found? I've been in Provo for a long time so I've been to a lot of buildings on campus but would like to know about the unique sort of places you might find when exploring! I would love to hear from other writers as well.



Dear Cornelius,

(For curious readers, the referenced question can be found here.) I do indeed enjoy exploring. As a disclaimer, most of my exploring ventures have occurred off-campus (like some wind-caves, various woodland areas in Alta, Wyoming, hikes in the mountains near to my parent's house, portions of downtown Salt Lake, etc. Note: none of these explorations have been particularly extensive; it's just something I enjoy). Additionally, being a math major, I spend the majority of my time on campus smooshed in the little area between the Talmage and the Library, so what constitutes exploring for me may not seem like much to all the esteemed readers out there. Nevertheless, when I saw this question appear in the inbox, I was intent on answering to the best of my limited ability. 

I commenced by creating a list of potentially interesting places I've discovered. The beginnings of this humble list seemed depressingly banal, and so to spice things up, I decided to take pictures of some of these places.

My first stop was a park that I first found at the beginning of last Fall semester. Every time I've visited it, it has been delightfully deserted, making it a perfect spot for quiet contemplation. Upon arriving to it, I was slightly shocked to see that Other People had come into my sanctuary. "What is this?" I thought to myself, "There are at least five different people here! Of course this can't have anything to do with the fact that today is a particularly nice day, and I normally only come here either around 9 at night, or during a snow storm..." Still, it's one of my favorite spots, if apparently not the most secluded on a sunny day.


From here, I traveled north.

As I made my meandering way to campus, I only had vague ideas of suitable places to re-visit. Because I was arriving from the south, I decided to stop by the area around the LSB first. I'm sure you're already familiar with the terraced rock gardens there, but I'll include them here because they're still so beautiful to me, and I love them.


Once here, I started looking around myself, with a delightful growing realization that there were many places in this immediate location that I had only ever casually passed by. T'was the perfect opportunity to conduct further exploration. Quite excited, I set aside my former goal to merely take pictures of past discoveries in favor of the much grander purpose to see as many new and wondrous things as possible. Furthermore, I hoped to find some of those special spots where no one else seems to go. Without any further ado, I happily made my way to rolling hills before me.


This course brought me to many brick trails winding up and down the hillside, which I followed to arrive at a large paved pathway. I expect many readers to be familiar with this road, considering its size and the number of people walking along it when I came to it. But I still feel compelled to mention it and include the picture, because I found it so picturesque.


While beautiful, I still wasn't satisfied as to the degree of seclusion, and therefore decided to venture off into the nearby undergrowth.


Breathing in the clean scent of pine, I continued further into the brush (which brush isn't exactly featured in this picture, but I promise it was there). While I was thus occupied, entangling myself into the thicket of dry branches, I suddenly paused. About ten feet in front of me was a hawk, or some other similar bird. My view was obstructed by the many branches (and I'm not an ornithologist anyways), so I can't say for sure what precise manner of bird this was, but it was very cool. As I was slowly reaching for my phone to snap a picture, it flew off.

I wandered through the trees and over a hill, passing many hand-holding couples on my way. Eventually I came across what almost looked like an old dried up stream-bed.


Balancing across the boulders, I followed this makeshift trail for a little while, until I came across a most amazing tree.


Even this picture does not do full justice to the majesty and girth of this tree. It is wonderfully huge.

Finding myself at the bottom of some hills, I began the ascent upwards. As previously mentioned, this day seemed like BYU prime-time for couples to be walking around, and so as I was walking up, I kept running into this one couple (like, from a distance). They may or may not have thought I was stalking them.

Once at the top (and no longer seemingly stalking that one couple), I came across a veritable hammock-topia. All the trees were spaced perfectly apart for stringing up hammocks, and all the inhabitants (only 3, but still) of this hammock hamlet appeared blissfully at ease. I was almost tempted to take a picture, but somehow it didn't seem right to disrupt the tranquility of the scene, and be posting some random strangers' pictures on the internet.

Thus I continued on my way, to one of my favorite views on campus:


From a different angle, I almost felt like I could just leap out onto the rooftops of the buildings below (and had to remind myself why that wouldn't be a good idea).

Inspired by the view, I traveled along some roads closer to those invitingly close buildings, where I came across this delightfully picturesque area.


By this point, I was more towards the north side of campus. Recognizing this fact, I decided to traverse to my old favorite spot to read that I frequented as a freshman.


It was here that I reluctantly accepted it was time to retrace my steps and return to my apartment. Again, I passed by the people swinging in their hammocks (I saw a total of 7 on this escapade), through the trees lining the pathways, and finally down the hill by the LSB.

I don't know how new or unique you'll find these places, but I had a pretty magical time exploring them (I intentionally left the exact locations vague; if you or any other readers would like more specifics, email me at anathema@theboard.byu.edu). Finally, you may be interested in reading this question, where Ardilla (who is much more knowledgeable about campus than I am) listed lots of cool, secluded places.

Thanks for asking this!



Dear Accordion,

One of my favorite explorin' places in Provo is the castle amphitheater behind the mental hospital. There's the castle amphitheater itself, as well as a pond and a little tiny creek and a really fun playground and a frisbee golf course and a lot of trees and a ropes course, so it's a pretty prime place.