Celebration hike

Hiking and biking trails at Park City Mountain
The start of the hike at Park City Mountain.

We celebrated our 37th anniversary with a mountain hike. A storm came through the night before with thunder, lightening and rain, and the heat wave broke. Plus, my husband took time off work so we could hike the Dawn Trail in the morning.

I’m so thankful we got to go on the mountain trails. It had been too hot in the afternoons to attempt it.

Here’s info about Dawn’s Trail from AllTrails.

Discover this 5.8-km out-and-back trail near Park City, Utah. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 1 h 54 min to complete. This is a very popular area for birding, hiking, and trail running, so you’ll likely encounter other people while exploring. The best times to visit this trail are April through October. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash.

Review from hiker: I wouldn’t rate this trail as easy simply because if you start near the map at the bottom that’s next to the ski lift, it is all uphill and it gets pretty steep at some points. It’s mostly switchbacks up to the top, but it is a pretty strenuous slope, especially for beginners. But, It was beautiful and had a gorgeous view of the valley.

https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/dawns-trail?u=m

I counted 14 different wildflowers on the hike. Here are some photos:

Lush landscape and clouds on Dawn's Trail Park City.
The lush landscape and a view of clouds.
Dawn's Trail view in Park City
A view of chairlifts and Park City from the mountain trail.
Trail winding through woods.
Parts of the trail winds through woods and are in the shade.

Wildflowers at base of moutain.
Wildflowers at the base of the mountain.
Husband on the trail.
My husband of 37 years! Where did the time go?
wildflower yellow stalk
One of 14 different varieties of wildflowers I saw.
On the trail!

I’m glad we waited until later in the week to do the mountain hiking. We’re more adjusted to the altitude and ready for more. But first, we’re going to hit the jacuzzi!

Views from the hike.

Happy Friday! What are your plans for this weekend in July?

Things are going swimmingly

Main Street Park City.

Things are going swimmingly except for a heat wave. It’s cooler than back home in our Arizona desert, but it’s too hot to hike in the afternoon.

We visited the same week of July in the summer of 2020. In the afternoons, when my husband was done working, we would hike on trails that wind through the ski slopes.

This year, we’re doing a morning walk to Main Street along a tree-lined path with a bubbling creek. We did the same walk in the 2020 mornings, too. This year, the morning walk is the highlight of my day, because the afternoons are too hot for the mountain hikes.

Poison Creek along the walk to Main Street.

Instead of sitting inside reading or watching TV, we’re hitting the pool to cool off.

Yesterday afternoon, the pool was filled with several groups of families and kids. I found a spot along one wall where I could swim. I watched two sisters in the deep end throwing a ring and diving after it. The older sister, a teen, got out when she saw me attempting to swim laps.

“Who am I going to play with?” little sister complained.

“That woman is swimming,” the teen explained.

I thought, “I’m swimming on one edge of the pool. They have most of the deep end to continue tossing the ring and diving.”

My husband decided to sit on the steps. I plowed on determined to get my exercise.

“Little sister” would do a backward somersault right in front of me every time I reached the deep end to turn. I had to swim around her. Next, a nine-year-old boy named Oscar would cut in front of me across the pool swimming as fast as he could. It seemed to be a game for him to push off across the pool and barely miss me.

“Why won’t you join me and swim?” I asked my husband.

“I don’t have the patience you have,” he explained. “I’d end up saying something and look like an asshole to the kids.”

I finally gave up after about 20 laps of dodging little sister and Oscar. We headed to the jacuzzi. Strangely, as soon as we got out of the pool, the kids did too. I guess I was their entertainment. They weren’t having much fun without harassing the middle-aged woman who was trying to swim laps.

I think if I was “little sister’s” mom, I would have asked her to swim and play away from the lap swimmer. The mom and dad were on chaise lounges relaxing. They didn’t say a word.

What would you have done if you were the parent? If you were trying to swim laps, would you have continued like me or not try like my husband and let the kids play?

Road trip tips

charlift rides in the summer
Hanging out with my daughter in Deer Valley, UT July 4th weekend 2017. We rode chair lifts to enjoy amazing views in the mountains.

We are getting ready to take a road trip to the gorgeous state of Utah. Hopefully the Wasatch mountains will be cooler than the weather we’re having in Arizona.

Our daughter introduced us to Park City, UT during her four years as a “Ute” in college. Park City and adjacent Deer Valley are ski resorts in the winter and hiking, biking outdoor adventure lands in the summer. I’m sure the other ski resorts nearby like Breckenridge, Alta and Snowbird have miles of hiking and biking trails in the summer, too.

I have a few days left to get organized. I am making lists of what I need to get done before we leave including filling the cooler with ice the night before to make sure it’s icy cold (Tip from Yeti.) Another travel tip I learned is to take your condiments with you. That’s a money saver that I’ve done for years.

I also pack enough TP and paper towels to make it through trip. Air bnb’s usually leave one extra roll of each.

Then the sandwiches I make and for the road and and snacks like grapes and bagel chips to munch on are a lifesaver. We don’t have to stop to eat, only for gas and bathrooms. It works for us as a money and time saver.

I’m going to keep track of what we spend on gas! The last time we went to Utah gas was below $2 a gallon. I just googled gas at Costco in Salt Lake City and it’s now $4.95! It’s more than 10 hours each way, but once we get there, we don’t have to drive hardly at all. They have a great bus system and we are within walking distance to the hiking trails, grocery store and downtown shops and restaurants.

The only thing that I find annoying is my husband. I commented on Tater’s post yesterday called Travel Day that my husband and I agree on a time to leave. Usually around 1 to 2 p.m. in the afternoon — and at 8 a.m. my husband announces that he’s ready to go! There goes five hours of time I was planning on to make sandwiches, pack the cooler and do last minute things around the house.

My plan this year is to be ready by 8 a.m. Any bets since I’ll be ready to go, I’ll be waiting until 2 p.m. to leave?

Freshies Lobster roll at their Park City UT restaurant
Lobster Roll at Freshies Lobster in Park City–the best food I’ve had in Utah. They won “The Best Lobster Roll in the World” competition in Maine. Who would have thought a Utah restaurant could manage that?

What are your best travel tips? How much are you paying for gas? How are high gas prices changing your summer travel plans?

Spring has sprung!

There is a warmth in the air along with the delicious scent of jasmine. Looking around, I see signs that the cold winds of winter have left us. I see blooms and buds on my daily walks. Each day brings something new.

Purple lupine flowers growing through a crack in the concrete.
Purple flowers are finding their way through the concrete. I believe this is lupine.
Bright red cardinal
This cardinal hung outside our casita yesterday. We also have a gray brown female and their reddish brown juvenile. He will get redder as he matures. I read that female cardinals choose their mates based on the brilliance of their feathers. Bright red feathers means the cardinal is finding nutritious food.
Toumey's Century Plant.
I can’t wait for this agave known as a Century Plant to bloom. This one is in a neighbor’s front yard. It looks like it will be impressive.
hedgehodge cactus im bloom
A hedgehog cactus beginning to bloom. The color of the flowers are stunning.
Mule deer hanging out at a friend's house.
I spotted this mule deer next to a friend’s home because its ears moved.
I passed it on the start and end of my 45-minute walk.

What signs are telling you Spring is in the air? Do you see more birds? Blooming plants?

When guests know more than you

Saguaro cactus with arms
A saguaro we encountered on our hike in the preserve with guests. It must be at least 200 years old.

Leave it to out-of-town guests to show us what’s what in our new area. This past weekend we had friends, who are also former work associates of my husband’s, stay with us for the weekend. They insisted we go with them to the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM.)

This was after a big hike in our preserve and me preparing my spinach avocado quesadillas because we were famished.

Our guests wanted five hours in the museum. My husband said two hours tops. He thought he’d get bored and he couldn’t stand for much longer than that. It turned out to be amazing. It’s the number one attraction in the Phoenix area and one of the top 15 museums in the country. And I had never heard of it.

It turned out that in two hours we didn’t complete two galleries. My husband picked up a brochure to become members! We’ll be taking guests to MIM and spend countless hours there on our own. There is so much more to explore. Unfortunately, I left my phone at home, so I’ll put up some links instead of photos.

Here’s a short video showing the Artist Gallery that we spent the most time in. It gives a good idea of how the exhibits are set up.

You wear a headset and it automatically plays music when you stand in front of a screen at displays. For example, at Woodstock I listened to Joan Baez and Carlos Santana. The exhibits had original instruments played by the artists, gold records, grammy’s, costumes, hand written lyrics or music. Fascinating stuff.

A list of displays in the MIM Artist Gallery.
From the MIM website: a list of displays in the Artist Gallery.
This is from the visitor’s brochure to give you an idea of the exhibitis.

They also have concerts. I am so thrilled to learn of this place, even though my husband cut our visit short. At least we can go back whenever we want and it was our guests third or fourth visit there.

What are your favorite places to visit where you live? Have guests helped you explore your area? What artists on the list above are your favorites?

Happy Trails to You!

McDowell Sonoran Preserve trails.
It’s cool enough to hike at 6:30 am. so we hit the hiking trails by our house.

We haven’t been out hiking for months in the preserve by our house because of the summer heat. Finally, the weather is breaking and it felt wonderful to be out in nature at the gorgeous McDowell Sonoran Preserve once again.

We have a house guest, my sister-in-law, and it’s fun to show off our new town to her. She loved the hike, too and took some great photos of our desert life. I’m looking at things through her eyes and it’s inspiring to me.

prickly pear cactus
Prickly pears.
quail
Quail in our backyard.
saguaro cactus
A majestic saguaro.
cactus cookies
Cactus cookies that my husband’s sister made for us. She has a cookie business as one of her many endeavors.
saguaro growth chart
I found this chart helpful to learn about saguaros and how old they are.

Happy trails to you, until we meet again

Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then

Who cares about the clouds when we’re together?

Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather

Happy Trails Roy Rogers & Dale Evans

When you have a guest, what are some of the things you like to share or explore?

My love hate relationship…

….with my fitbit. I thought my fitbit was a game changer when I first got it. It was a Christmas present in 2019.

view of AZ desert
The hiking trails across the street from our new home.

I still like some of the things as much as I did when I first started using it. I like knowing when I reach my 10,000 steps a day. I like the gentle reminders to get up and move every hour.

It feels heavy on my wrist and sometimes I wake up up in the middle of the night and take it off. Then in the morning, I check how well I slept. If I take it off, then it misses a lot of the hours that I did sleep. Looking at a poor night of sleep changes how I feel during the day. Even if I leave it on all night, and I had a bad night’s sleep, the tiredness I feel is worse than it would have been without looking at the data.

The other thing I don’t like is I’ve been riding my bike a few mornings after I walk. I often forget to press the exercise button and scroll to the bike icon. So, I don’t get the satisfaction of having my bike rides recorded. I’ve tried to log into exercise for the day and add the ride in, but it won’t let me. Then I feel cheated. This morning, I stopped during my bike ride to start the fitbit, but I guess I did something wrong and the ride was not recorded.

I may try a few days without the fitbit and see if it feels better without it. Maybe it will be freeing. Or will I miss the little celebration when I hit 10,000 steps?

A view of Mt. San Jacinto from the Wellness Park on my morning walk when I lived in Palm Springs.

Do you use an exercise tracker like an Apple watch or fitbit? What are you feelings about it? Is it helpful or not?