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?

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?

Do New Year’s Resolutions Work?

saguaro cactus
stately saguaro cactus in the preserve across the street.

Last year on this exact day, I wrote about my goals and resolutions — and if they work. Take a look of what I had to say:

This year, I’ve decided to not make New Year’s Resolutions. It’s not that they haven’t worked for me in the past, so long as I kept them small and not overwhelming. I view New Year’s Resolutions as a “don’t do this list” rather than “try something new.” Although that’s not totally accurate, it’s how I’m looking at it for 2021. Here’s the difference between resolutions and goals I found online:

Essentially, a resolution is something you will constantly be working toward, while a goal is specific and finite. Resolutions are made up of goals. While there is a difference between goals and resolutions, they are relevant and intertwined.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOALS AND RESOLUTIONS …

I’ve decided that I’d rather make a list of goals, not resolutions. Mostly it’s learning new things, seeing new places. In my new home, I want to learn about the birds I’m seeing, the plants, the trails and mountains.One of our first hikes in AZ at Cave Creek Regional Park.

So, a few of my goals — besides getting my house unpacked and in order — are:

  1. Start birdwatching — I already put a bird feeder in the backyard.
  2. Learn about saguaro cactus and other species of native plants.
  3. Hike on a new trail each week.
  4. Experience more sunrises and sunsets.
  5. Explore areas like the Grand Canyon and Sedona.
  6. Take a photography class online.
  7. Sketch or paint some of my new scenery.
  8. Begin a new manuscript, in a genre new to me.

Update Jan. 5, 2022: Out of my goals from last year, I did a lot of them, including enyoying sunsets and sunrises — and writing an entire manuscript in a new genre. I am birdwatching and learning about the native plants. We haven’t hiked a new trail each week, because we discovered the preserve across the street where it’s too convenient to hike and skip a 30-minute drive to get a trail. We haven’t been to Sedona or the Grand Canyon yet since we’ve moved to Arizona, although I’ve been to both in the past. That can be a goal for this year. I didn’t take a photography class, but I’m practicing on my own. I got out my sketch book and I’ve been sketching sporadically.

I think those were good goals and ones I’ll continue with in 2022.

What do you think about the difference between goals and resolutions? Do you have any you’d like to share?

desert sunrise
Desert sunrise from my back yard.

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?

Despite the hail…

We had a great weekend celebrating our anniversary in Flagstaff, despite the hail that scared me to death and damaged our car. I definitely want to return to do more exploring. Plus, I loved the hotel the Little America. We stayed at a Little America in Salt Lake City for all the swim meets during my daughter’s college years at “the U.” Go UTES!

We visited a meteor crater, the hotel had two and half miles of hiking trails, I swam in the pool, the food was great. Here are some pics from our trip:

pool at Little America Flagstaff
The pool at the Little America hotel where I swam.
nature trail at Little America
The nature walk at the hotel.
Meteor Crater Winslow
At the Meteor Crater.
Walnut Canyon cliff dwellings
Cliff dwellings at Walnut Canyon.National Monument.
red wild flower
Flowers on the nature trail. Anyone know what they are?
Little America light buttered roll
THE Little America ROLLS! Boy, I missed these from our Salt Lake City trips. Light, piping hot, filled with butter!
Meteor Crater
View of the meteor crater.
sunset in Flagstaff
Sunset from the hotel parking lot.

I think we overdid it…

Standing next to saguaro with many arms
Standing next to a saguaro. They grow their first arms at around 100 years old.

My bones ache. My muscles are tired. I don’t know why it’s so hard to recover. Maybe we overdid it and got carried away. Every weekend we go for a hike. When we started out with life in Arizona, we explored new areas to hike, but no more than two or three miles a day.

A week ago Friday, we had a visit from my sorority big sister and her husband. Wonderful surprise to see them after many years — and to learn that they are buying a home a few miles away! We went for a five-mile hike with them on the nature’s preserve across the street. It was a gorgeous afternoon and so much fun to catch up on the past 10 years or so of our lives.

Then as we walked them out in the dusk to their car, we were showing them our yard — I tripped over a cactus and flew onto our brick walkway landing on both knees and hands. Hard! I was stunned and didn’t bounce back to my feet. My husband had to help me up and I felt like a fool. Our friends were worried about me and I assured them I was fine.

Ever since my knee surgery, I have to think about how to get up. It’s like I’ve fallen on a steep ski slope and I have to make sure I’m positioned perpendicular to the slope with my skis below me before I can push myself up. My physical therapist had to teach me how to get up after surgery and had me practice it. I have to put my knees below my butt, sitting on my side before I push myself up — just like getting up on the slopes. That’s why I was not bouncing up after tripping over the cactus. It’s a mental thing but also my knees and hands hurt.

Trail signs on the McDowell Sonaran preserve
The trails have great signs so it’s nearly impossible to get lost.

Fast forward to yesterday and I felt no pain in my knees and only my right hand still hurts, so we went for another hike. We brought a trail map with us and found a loop across the street from our house. It was on the hot side, but there was a nice breeze. I didn’t slip or fall and made it through the six miles of undulating trails through the Sonoran Desert without a hitch.

When we got home I felt tired. So did my husband. We took a cold water plunge and went waist high into our freezing cold pool to get our legs back under us. Then I luxuriated on a zero gravity lounge reading a novel for an hour. What a gorgeous, perfect Sunday.

The cold water plunge reminded me of my daughter during swim meets when she had prelims and finals with a few hour break between sessions. She’d fill the hotel tub with ice and water and soak in the freezing cold ice bath to recover.

Today I woke up and tried to stand up. Yikes. I’m sore and tired. Moving kind of slow for a Monday.

Backyard pool in Arizona
I took a plunge into this freezing pool to recover from our hike.

Do you find it harder to recover as you get older? Or, is everything still as easy as ever. Do you have any tips that make it easier?