I was bloody before I even got on the plane.
Before we headed out on our 3-day weekend visit with my brother and sister-in-law in Park City, Steve and I were both expecting something extreme. Visits with my family are almost never restful, though they are restorative, at least for me. We like to do stuff! Park City is at 7,000 ft. and it’s blessed with far more scenic trails than reasons to sit down.
Hence the humor in seeing this sticker (at left) on a flagpole, at the pinnacle of a morning hike that Laura & I did, our last day there. This hike followed my brief run over to their house from our hotel, a mere 1.8 miles down the road. And was followed by breakfast up the next canyon, then by watching the finish of the Tour of Utah. Then, we got on a plane & headed home. See?
Explanation of the pre-trip injury: I took a tumble while on a morning jog. I’m pretty sure for the surrounding viewers (who appeared to be mostly plants) it looked a lot like this. I took flight, after tripping on a sidewalk ripple. While the temperamental mountain weather was what really got us out of a mountain bike ride the evening we arrived, my bloody and sore knees would have been a useful card to play, as well.
It’s amazing how much you can pack into a weekend, even while getting enough sleep. Highlights of our visit:
Living the dream
As someone who hasn’t lived in the same town/state/region as anyone in her nuclear family since college, I fantasize about going over to my brother’s house “for dinner” or something similarly mundane. Sure, it might even lose its luster if we ever live that close to each other (3 a.m. ride to the airport? Sure! Help you catch the runaway pet? I’m on it. Oh, good grief, you need me to make you ANOTHER julep?), but even those duties have some appeal to me. So, during this visit, we got to head over to my brother’s house for a dinner party – and even got to meet a Park City friend of theirs, who joined us for the meal.
I even got to test out my new mint julep-making skills, which were met with smiles and one request for more. I was pleased to find that regular granulated sugar works just fine, with this recipe.
Similarly, the next morning I took a short run over to their house, as mentioned above. Hi, I was in the ‘hood and wanted to stop by for water and a buddy for a little hike. It worked!
We filled the aforementioned dinner table with some goods from the Salt Lake City Saturday Farmers Market: some great salmon, trout, and also cheese from nearby Caputo’s Deli. We had some great deli sandwiches there, for lunch, though the gems of that meal were the samples of chilled hot chocolate that the vendor gave to me and Laura. “It’s just watered-down ganache,” he said. Fantastic stuff! Utah may be weird in many ways, but this kinda weird, I can abide.
The market itself offered quite the food, craft and arts bounty. The four of us split a great chorizo breakfast burrito, then cruised the aisles. I was particularly impressed with the garlic vendor, as well as the very helpfully-labeled heirloom tomato table. Mike placed an order for a custom puppet like this one. Also: violins. Tons of them. Being played by kids. Every few booths, we encountered a wee string interlude.
Again, it was a good weird, at least in terms of the musical quality, and our enjoyment of a lovely (and rather warm) Saturday morning.
I didn’t see a catalog opt-out box
For cocktails and scenery on our second night there, we headed up to the Sundance resort. As a western girl and as a fan of Robert Redford and the photography and style in the Sundance catalog, I’ll say this: what a lovely-looking place. No wonder they fill my mailbox nearly weekly – and sometimes daily during the holiday season. They make a tasty Manhattan, there at the Owl Bar. This one had a dusting of cloves on the surface.
I bet the place looks even better in winter; I’m excited to come back with skis, in a few months (hopefully!).
Apparently, it takes 2-3 weeks
So much for hoping this time at altitude would improve my cardiovascular fitness. And yet, we sure tried. In addition to the flagpole hike, Steve and I took a one-hour jaunt up in the Uintas mountains near Mirror Lake. Bah, 7,000 feet? I’ll raise you 3k. Bam.
After hitting the farmers market on Saturday, we all headed up Mill Creek Canyon, to take the Desolation Trail to the Salt Lake City Overlook, a 4.7 mile out-and-back that used up our water and camera batteries, fittingly.
Also big on oxygen uptake efforts: I taught a yoga class to several of the athletes that my brother and sister-in-law work with at the USSA Center of Excellence. On the roof! In the mountains! In the sunshine! I really got a kick out of meeting and guiding these dedicated pro moguls, slopestyle, and alpine skiers (and their strength coach & PT, Mike & Laura!) though a morning vinyasa yoga class.
Mike gave us a tour of their workplace, which wasn’t in a busy period but was still vibrating with energy, at least for me, as a skier and Olympic skiing fan. What a place! A huge training area full of gleaming training equipment, innovative technology, and talented staff and athletes. Walls covered with inspiring and huge photos of past Olympians. A small cubicle farm with bikes parked at each desk. Small pockets of energy at some of the training stations, as various athletes worked alone or with staff, to get stronger, faster, better. All of this, surrounded by an outdoor playground of pavement to cover on cycles, nestled among gorgeous mountain scenery. It was a darn impressive place to visit; I was thankful for the opportunity!
On our last day we got to watch a whole bunch of other people consuming a LOT of oxygen: the last day and stage of the Tour of Utah. This stage started and finished right in Park City old town, where the festivities also included the Sunday “Park Silly” market and an event expo. The finish area pavement displayed some excellent chalk art! We got there early enough to cruise the market and to score some excellent spectating spots. I’d never viewed such a race before; it was fascinating to watch the finishers come in, powering uphill toward the finish line. They made the pace cars look remarkably slow!
So, that was our weekend in a nutshell: food, fun, hikes, and a few bikes. Plus whiskey, oddly, for Utah. Upon arrival, we had a fantastic meal at High West Distillery. My black coffee and bourbon-glazed cod was a thing of beauty. Yum! Dessert included what I think is the best use of a Krispy Kreme doughnut, ever: as a delivery vehicle for whiskey-laced vanilla ice cream.