Skiing in Utah: February, 2020

What a difference a year can make! Last winter, we spent about ten days skiing with our Epic Pass at Park City and Canyons. The snow was plentiful as the resort was getting continuously dumped on. We had a blast skiing in multiple feet of fresh powder, and “Double Nickels” became our favorite mogul run at Canyons. Unfortunately, the conditions this year did not mimic that of last winter. While there was snow on the mountains from January storms, there hadn’t been much new snowfall since we arrived. Also, this year we have the IKON Pass which means we would be skiing at places we have never skied at before.

We reserved a site at Mountain Valley RV Resort in Heber City, which is about a 30-minute drive to the ski resorts.

We had stayed here last year, and it is one of the nicest RV Resorts that we have ever stayed in. It is perfect for families, and last year they completed an “Adults Only” section complete with Rec Hall, exercise hall, laundry room, pool and oversized hot tub. Scott arrived four days before me and spent his time familiarizing himself with our new rig. This year we have the IKON pass, which means instead of skiing Park City and Canyons, we would be skiing Deer Valley. We had a seven-day limit on our pass at Deer Valley, and Scott didn’t want to use up his days skiing without me, so he kept busy doing other things. How could he know that I would arrive in Utah not feeling well?

On Monday, February 3, I flew from Nashville to Houston. There was a short layover before I would board my flight to Salt Lake City. There was a winter storm warning, and I was convinced that my flight to SLC would be delayed or cancelled. The airline contacted me the day before offering to change my flight for free if I wanted to fly on Tuesday after the storm had passed. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous when the flight took off. It was a pleasant flight until we were about a half hour from our destination. It felt like our descent into Salt Lake was rushed as I experienced extreme pain my right temple. The pilot told me that it wasn’t the descent but rather my sinuses were not draining properly. Really, sir? Thanks a lot.

Scott had to drive a little over an hour to get me. The snow was intensifying and the ride back to the resort took even longer.

By the next morning, I couldn’t breathe through my nose and was experiencing a severe headache. Maybe the pilot was right? We chilled out for the day and decided to wait until the next day to ski. The next morning we headed out to Deer Valley. It was quite cold and windy. The conditions were not what we had hoped for. They were hard and fast, and in some areas it was icy. It wasn’t long before I decided to stop. I thought that the fresh air would make me feel better, but it was way too cold. The next day, Scott headed out to ski alone so I could rest. By Friday, we went to Urgent Care. I knew that I had a raging sinus infection, but the doctor would not give me any meds. He told me to come back only if I did not feel better in ten days, which would be another five days. Really, sir? It didn’t phase him that I am an asthmatic.

The next day I needed to get off the couch, so we took a short hike to Upper Falls in Springville, near Provo, Utah. It is a 0.6 mile heavily trafficked out-and-back trail that features a beautiful waterfall. The trail begins as you cross over Provo River.

The trail was snow covered, so we wore our micro spikes to minimize slippage.

We got a bit closer.

On Wednesday, February 12, we left Heber City and headed west to Draper, Utah. This would be our first stay at Mountain Shadows RV and Mobile Home Park, which is located about 30-40 minutes from the ski resorts in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons.

It was not nearly as nice as Mountain Valley, but it was closer to other ski resorts (Brighton, Solitude, Snowbird, Alta) that we planned to ski for the first time. Today was Day 9 since my symptoms began and they were getting worse. No skiing for me until this illness passed. Fortunately, I was able to reach my New Jersey doctor (who had been on a ten-day vacation in Aruba) to prescribe meds to put me on my way to feeling better. Skiing would have to wait.

By Saturday, I was beginning to feel like myself again. We typically do not ski on the weekend due to the crowds. Instead, we took a short, three-mile hike to Bear Canyon Suspension Bridge via Orson Smith Trail in Draper, UT.

As you can see on the above map, there are a number of trails with varying elevation gain to choose from. It was a warm, beautiful sunny day and most of the trail was dry dirt, with the exception of some muddy patches where the snow had melted. As we began the hike, I took a picture of our view above the parking lot, with the snow-capped mountains in the background.

On Monday morning, I woke up feeling only minor congestion. I was ready to get out on the slopes and felt like I had the energy to pull it off. We headed up Big Cottonwood Canyon, which brings you to Solitude and Brighton ski mountains. There was a LOT of traffic, perhaps because it had snowed Sunday night, leaving about 8” of fresh powder on the mountain. We also didn’t realize that it was a holiday, President’s Day. After an hour in the car, we passed Solitude only to discover that the lot was full. So, we continued up the mountain.

Brighton, another two miles up the road, was also full. It would be another hour of sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic before we were turned away. This has NEVER happened to me before. These resorts are smaller than Park City but we would soon see why they are so popular, especially to the locals.

We went back to the ranch, changed our clothes, and returned to Orson Smith Trailhead. Scott stopped to take a phone call as I continued up the trail. Today, the trail had some snow cover from yesterday’s storm.

The next morning, we decided to go on a hike in Bells Canyon at The Wasatch Front Watershed.

The trail was completely snow covered and required micro spikes due to the steep incline. We ran into another hiker who was gracious enough to take our picture.

This was an intensive hike with continued elevation gain. We made it to the Falls, which was frozen.

Time to turn around.

On Wednesday, we drove up Big Cottonwood Canyon once again. This time we got parking in the main lot at Brighton Ski Resort.

It’s a fun, little mountain and the conditions were good. It was however, a very cold day.

The next day we drove up Little Cottonwood Canyon which will take you to Snowbird and Alta Ski Resorts. While there are trails for every level at these resorts, the bulk of the terrain is for the experienced/expert skier. It was a warmer, bluebird day with remnants of fresh powder in some areas as we spent the day at Alta.

On Friday, we weren’t able to get parking in Snowbird, so we drove up further and parked at Alta again. The two mountains are connected at the east side of Alta and the western side of Snowbird. Snowbird has much more skiable terrain than Alta, but Alta has some really great runs. Alta is one of three resorts in the United States does not allow boarders. Snowbird does.

We made our way right over to Snowbird where the skiing was steep, hard and fast. Eventually, we wanted to make our way back to Alta. To do so, you have to take a magic carpet ride through a tunnel.

Scott is forever filming me when I am not aware.

After you exit the tunnel, you make you way back to Alta.

On Saturday we chose to hang out and rest from an active week. Since we don’t ski on weekends, on Sunday we took another hike on Cherry Canyon Logging Trail. This five mile, out-and-back hike had an elevation gain of 2,451 feet, located off Orson Smith Trailhead.

The initial part of the trail was mostly dirt with traces of snow.

As we gained altitude, the trail was mostly snow covered.

The higher you go, the more intense the scenery below you becomes.

Truth be told, when we go on hikes with continual elevation gain, I constantly question why I hike. It isn’t until I get to the peak that I remember why. My favorite part, however, is going back down!

We returned to Alta on Monday morning. It was cold, windy and snowing. We didn’t last very long as visibility was compromised.

We headed back to Mountain Valley in Heber City for four more nights. Our dear friends, Brendan and Denise, arrived tonight to ski Park City. It was fun to be back on the slopes skiing together again. Let the fun begin!

Park City
Deer Valley
Deer Valley
My dear friend, Nils
Dinner at our place
Dinner at their place

On the last day of February, it was time to depart Utah. Brendan and Denise flew home to Brooklyn, and Scott and I headed north. Next stop for us is Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Park City, Utah: 2/3 – 2/12/19

We arrived at Mountain Valley RV Resort in Heber City a day earlier than planned, and we eagerly set up for our first winter RVing experience.  This resort is located just off Highway 40, about a 20-minute drive without traffic from the ski resorts.



Scott had worked diligently back in Whidbey to prepare the hoses for cold, outside temperatures.

He also put together the skirt for the trailer.  Bad Larry offered his insight, I mean his help.  The skirt around the perimeter of the trailer helps to keep the cold air out.


It was about 1:30 in the afternoon when we arrived at the resort.  There was snow on the ground, but we were able to pull right into our spot.  There aren’t many empty spots, but I think that a lot of the RV’s parked here are vacant.  I haven’t seen many people, however, we have only been here for two days.  And, it is cold outside.


It took Scott less than an hour to get the trailer all hooked up outside  – complete with skirting – while I got busy inside.  We wanted to watch the Super Bowl Game, so we did a quick food shopping in town.  Then we took our salad, frozen pizza, and beverages to the Club House.  The font desk manager left at 5:00 p.m., and then we had the entire facility to ourselves.  Great place to throw a party…but it was just the two of us.

View from kitchen

Preparing Dinner


View from TV Wall


Half Time Super Bowl Show

This is the first year in a long time that I didn’t have football pool numbers to check each quarter. I’m not sure if that is why the game seemed boring to me, yet Scott felt the same way.   As soon as the game ended, we turned the TV off, not wanting to watch Brady accept his prize…again.  Sorry any Pats fans reading this blog, but I am a frustrated JETS fan.  We walked the 200 steps to our trailer and found it quite warm inside.  Scott had purchased multiple thermometers so that we could track the temperature inside, outside, and under the trailer.  He also bought an electric blanket, and it works like a charm.   Additionally, we have three small space heaters.  Two are 200 watt heaters, one is under the trailer and the other one is in the bathroom.  A slightly larger heater is in the kitchen/living area.  Unfortunately, we did have one problem this evening.  As soon as Scott turned on the water outside, the pressure caused the toilet flushing mechanism to snap, and water began pouring out until I screamed for him to turn it off.  There must have been leftover water in the tank that froze and the sudden pressure caused the break.  The next morning, Scott was able to buy the parts and easily make the repairs.  We are back in the game again…running water and flushing toilet.  Woo-hoo!

On Monday evening, Feb. 4, it was snowing/sleeting all night here in Heber City, which meant it would be all snow on the mountain.  On Sunday they reported 12” of fresh snow, and Monday another 12”.  Unfortunately, on Tuesday morning we got a late start, and by 10 o’clock most of the lots were full.  Not only were they hosting the 2019 FIS World Champtionships from Feb. 1-10, but we were told that the local “powderheads” come out in large numbers with the onset of fresh snow.  In the picture below taken from the parking lot in Park City Mountain,  you can see the colored flags in the distance that are set up for a race.


We were rerouted to Canyons Village Resort at Park City which was about another 15 minute drive away from the base at Park City.  I didn’t know that Canyons was owned by Park City, and therefore, part of Vail Resorts on our Epic Pass.  Actually, I had never heard of Canyons Resort until today.  We parked and waited for a shuttle bus, but by the time I got on, there was only one seat left.  So, I got off the bus and we walked.  Our first run wasn’t until 11:00 a.m.

The conditions were spectacular!  Lots of fresh, soft, fluffy snow to romp in.  Scott took this less-than-impressive video of me.  I need to work on my form.  I believe that I have the laugh down pat.

It snowed all day and everybody on the mountain was smiling and laughing.  Best ski day ever!

Our second day skiing in Utah was just as amazing as the first, if not better!  Since the morning traffic was as congested as yesterday, we nixed Park City and instead drove straight to Canyons Village again.  It snowed on and off throughout the day, and the trails were still soft and fluffy!  I am so proud of Scott and his progress with skiing.

On Thursday, we got up very early and was able to park in the Park City Base Lodge lot.  We were on the slopes at 9:00 sharp!!  It was five degrees and mostly cloudy at the start of our day, but the sun eventually came out and it warmed up to low twenties.  Here I am  coming down a steep, powdery black diamond trail…still working on my technique…still having fun.

On Friday, February 7, we met up with my buddy, Nils.  He works for Deer Valley Resort and was able to get us two passes to ski there with him.  (Deer Valley is NOT on our Epic Pass and the cost of a single day lift ticket is ridiculously expensive).  We drove to his condo, and then we took a free shuttle together to the mountain.  Look at the amount of snow that they got just in the last few days!

F16A7714-1C11-4D8A-A11C-FE0BA0D8E7A0It was a mostly sunny, windy day with great conditions!  We were halfway up the mountain on Northside Express chairlift when it stopped.  Nils starting sharing broken lift stories which led to a conversation about the movie, “Frozen.”  Just as I took out my camera to record this event, the lift, thankfully, began to move again.  I would say we were idle for about five minutes.  Long enough if you ask me.

Below is a selfie taken on the top of Flagstaff Mountain.


The next shot is is a view of Bald Mountain from the top of Flagstaff.


Here we are at the base of Deer Valley Apres ski.  Thanks for a great day, Nils!


That night, the sky was so pretty with a Waxing Crescent Moon shining brightly in the sky.



After taking a day off on Saturday to rest my aching knee, we took to the slopes again on Sunday.  When we arrived at Canyons Village, it was extremely crowded.  The Red Pine Gondola had at least 300 people on a very slow moving line.  The only other option to get up the mountain from the base was the Orange Bubble Express, which wasn’t running yet.  We were told by a mountain host that most lifts on the mountain were not running yet due to high winds, and that there was a heavy storm coming in by 11:00 a.m. that would limit visibility to 8”.  He suggested that we just come back tomorrow.  Was he practicing crowd control?  By 11:00 the sun was shining.  It was after 1:00 that the clouds began to move in, yet still no snow.  One of our favorite runs, Eclipse, was off the Orange Bubble and under Sun Peak Express Lift.  It was a blue trail with tons of fun moguls to ski in and out of.  Here we are waiting to get on the chairlift again.


Another favorite run of ours was Double Nickel, another blue mogul run off Iron Mountain Express Lift.


We quickly discovered that some black diamond trails were more like a hard blue (Sidewinder), while others were more like a double black diamond.  Sidewinder, with lots of fresh powder last week, was a hoot, but today it was skied off with icy patches.  Scott has become a lover of powder skiing, and we just may become known as “powderheads” before this ski season is over!  By the way, they got about 5-6” overnight…so much for a embellished forecast of 20”.

We were very lucky to have had some great ski conditions during our stay here in Utah. Another favorite activity apres ski was relaxing in the party-sized hot tub outside of the Adults Only Clubhouse.


It was time to say goodbye to Utah and get our rig on the road again.  Even though Scott had placed a heater under the trailer, everything that we put underneath it had frozen. He had to use my hairdryer and an ax to unfreeze some items.  All in all, our first winter RVing experience was a good one.  We are quite comfortable with the temperature inside the trailer – roughly mid to high sixties, and our bed is very cozy with the addition of an electric blanket.  Our next stop is Breckenridge, Colorado.  Here are two of Scott’s photos of the sun rising on our last morning.



The weather was calm for our two-day travel to Colorado.  The view is quite spectacular, and Scott will often pull over to snap a photo.  He likes to capture the beauty that surrounds us.







Peekaboo and Spooky Slot Canyons Hike: 10/12/18

This was actually our last adventure while staying in Escalante.  My last post was so long that I decided to keep this hike separate.   This was a lot of fun!  The long, dirt road leading to these slot canyons was not far from our campground.  We did have to travel over an hour on “Hole-in-the-Rock Road” to get to the trailhead.  We experienced a little road block along the way.

6467876B-B2A5-4872-B03B-01E0676989C1F4CD3298-44A6-4CB5-B92A-D424130EE78CThat handsome, young rancher told the people in jeep ahead of us that we could ride alongside the cattle and eventually they would clear off the road.  Ok, no problem.  So glad that I was driving!!

75717193-8B5D-4D3F-B7CB-3A6FDEA40B1FC4920D53-0CA1-4D2D-904E-F5ADD64944F9There were hundreds of them!!  Fortunately, I didn’t clip any.  😐  This 4W drive road was 50 miles long from just outside of Escalante to Lake Powell.  Our hike today was located about 30 miles down the road. Besides passing a few ranchers with their cattle, there was limited traffic on this road.  There were some pull offs for overnight dry camping as well as more challenging dirt roads leading to more slot canyon trailheads.

As we got closer to the trailhead, there were about ten cars parked in the first parking lot, but we were able to drive another 1.2 miles to a second parking area.

11D700C5-437F-4812-8301-27D451A49E60  It was also pretty crowded, but we found a spot to park.


The start of the trail was wide open but soon after, it was so quiet and serene as you followed the path leading to the slots.


130817BC-D884-49A0-96C6-0C68DD79EF7FWhen we made it to Peekaboo, there was a large group making a lot of noise, and we could see two women holding ropes for others to climb up the initial 15 feet.  Since it had rained the day before, the ground was muddy and the rocks were slippery.  A little help was necessary to get up into the canyon.  Instead of doing Peekaboo first, Scott suggested we start at Spooky Slot instead, and I reluctantly agreed.   I really wanted to go back and hang with the kids in the group we “heard” at Peekaboo.  We continued towards Spooky for about 15 minutes, and then I convinced Scott to turn around. When we got back to the 15’ wall, the two women from that large group we had heard were still just inside the start of Peekaboo waiting to assist the last two members of their group that had lagged behind.  We gladly accepted their support to get up into the first canyon.  It turns out that the “kids” we heard laughing were actually a group of 17 moms from a hiking club.  They were all in their late 20’s to early 30’s. Between them, they had 56 kids!!!!

6A1972B9-F479-483F-8C03-F10CA59BA50FIn the picture above the dark shadow to the right is the entrance into Peekaboo Slot Canyon.

Scott has been filming me on and off as we made our way they the crevices, but I didn’t take any still photos until we made it through to the end of the canyon.  Below is Scott coming out at the end.

91631B53-D1A7-4298-8DFD-15C5FB57E2EETime for a selfie before we got  to the next slot.

DADD84D8-04D7-44DD-A956-35F52158D56AThen, Scott led the way to Spooky.

083AE955-C8BF-446B-84B6-C7BC43B45483After we came down the hill, we sat to rest before entering Spooky, which is to the left in the above picture.  I took a shot of the large group of 17 women that were beginning to descend down the hill.  They had all caught up to us.  Here are some shots of Spooky Slot Canyon starting with the entrance and some of the beginning twisting  corners.




40B6A01A-EF5E-4EDA-B74D-44B55642EBF5When you are navigating slot canyons, it is quite possible that you will have to drop through slots  without knowing how far the drop is.   There are also no “How To” signs explaining how to navigate.  We got to a tricky point where we had to wait for two parties ahead of us to get through. A few woman turned around and headed back the other way, however our canine friends were excited to continue on!


2880CE75-46A9-4A16-8EF7-4801EBA1DFB5We made it out and I would definitely do it again!  Scott made a video of the adventure, but we are having technical difficulties.  Check back in the near future.


Escalante, Utah: 10/9 – 10/12/18

On the drive from Goblin Valley to Escalante, we reached an elevation 9,400’ In Dixie National Forest.    Look what we saw.  The date was October 9th.


When we arrived in the town of Escalante, we checked into the sole RV Park and there was no sign of snow.

RVPark EscalanteOur first adventure was a hike at Box Death Hollow.

0147B24B-4F6B-4CAF-A6F2-51CC60DE68D0It was only about a 30-minute drive from our campground.  This was an easy, eight mile out-and-back hike that followed a stream that was flowing between the canyons.  It is mostly a level trail with only occasional slight inclines, and we had to cross over the stream at  least 15 times in each direction.


C3427CEB-B8ED-4B66-B54A-A2F89A595F9BAt at the beginning of the hike, I was messing around with my phone when Scott noticed some animal friends just ahead of us.  They were gone in the two seconds it took me to look up.  He found it funny that I didn’t see them, and I didn’t know what he had seen.  We continued following the trail crossing the stream every now and then.

73174E54-08E0-498D-8016-6DA003EB9BB0It wasn’t long before I identified the prints in the sand.

B41E6016-3989-406E-A41F-729C42FB6CC4Less than an hour later, I stopped dead in my tracks as a stare off commenced.

4ACE6A95-65B5-45B3-8C8E-5CAF43D92F7EI was was a little afraid since the bull was looking straight at us as if warning us to stay back.  Scott calmly told me to keep going at the same pace.   I could no longer make eye contact and was happy when we crossed over the stream and began to lose sight of them.  I can’t believe I so was afraid of this big, black non-bear animal.  After two hours and approximately four miles of walking, we stopped to eat lunch.

C859D1DA-30B7-4BE7-A14C-325E8E51D1CDAfter a short rest, we chose to head back, instead of continuing on, which meant approximately two more hours of hiking ahead of us to return to or starting point.  We would cross the stream another 15 times!

The next day, we went to Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.





D1A62E8B-2ECB-4753-B948-E0B8D616FEC5As you can see, it’s another big playground.

On our way back to the truck, Scott called me over to where he was standing as he wanted me to see something.   I hesitated but slowly walked over to him.

This is the first time I have EVER seen a tarantula out of a viewing box and in its natural habitat.  OMG!

Our campground in Escalante was only an hour outside of Bryce National Park.  The following day, we made the short drive so we could take at least one hike.  Our timing was not going to allow us to spend more than one day there.

E721502D-AECF-4B30-B301-9D592C3E511BWe started at Sunset Point and hiked down Navajo Loop.  At the start of this trail, you get a birds eye view of Thors Hammer, the popular rock formation.  Here it is.

EB715E9B-940E-456D-9050-248614EAB164I very much much enjoyed this winding steep trail as it went down into the canyon.

636137A1-C177-47C0-A8BB-E7DE7013682BAt the bottom, we turned on Peek-a-boo Loop.

AA2A8B97-EC40-42EB-8E1B-9616D6BE2F2ANow, it was time to go up.



Let’s just say that I am not that fond of hiking up.  Today was a bit harder for me with my coughing and irregular breathing.  Scott captured me live on the start of this hike.  I am quite happy!

Here is another clip an hour later after we climbed back up Peekaboo Trail.  My pace has slowed.

Even though I struggled with the uphill portions of this hike, it truly was spectacular.   Loved the switchback steps heading back to the top.


Glad we did it, and once was good enough!


Goblin Valley State Park, UT: 10/8 – 10/9/18

We traveled a little over two hours from Moab to just outside of Hanksville, Utah. We will spend one night at Goblin Valley State Park. 

DA3A3F9D-5E1F-4160-BCEE-9C1969A01E2CAs you can see from the picture below of our campsite, this is truly a unique place to stay.  It has a very different landscape from what we have seen so far.

The area had a lot of much needed rain for the past several days, and it left the campground with lots of large puddles.  You can’t see our picnic table and fire pit in these pictures, but they are sitting in flooded waters.  Guess we won’t be lighting a fire tonight or dining at the picnic table.  It has been pretty chilly during the day in the low 50s and still partly cloudy. Regardless, we are off to explore the Goblin Valley.  Here is the view from up top where day visitors park their vehicle.

93619F27-9135-47CD-A5DA-A05B09D96312 It looks like a bunch of little goblins from up top.   Once you travel down about 45 steps, they tower over you.


DB078051-5093-4E0D-86BE-6C8F4CF756D0Yet another viewpoint while standing on one.  

We got back in the truck and took a ride to Little Wild Horse Canyon. 

55D8FB68-B427-428B-8E12-771900927FEAThe trail was partially flowing with a muddy stream.

CB32B5CC-CEDD-4ECA-B530-83DFE214B18FWe walked until we got near the entrance to the slots, and Scott was reminiscing about the last time he was here and it was completely dry and hot.  Scott had hiked this canyon with Molly two years ago late at night in the dark. This is one of his favorite shots of Molly from that hike in 2016.


As we walked back out towards the truck, I couldn’t help but notice how this odd looking tree survived the floods and looks like it is thriving.  Isn’t the bark really cool?

Obviously, we will not be hiking here tomorrow since there could be a danger of flash flooding.  It also doesn’t look as though we will get to take our mountain bikes out anywhere in the surrounding areas as the trails may be too muddy.  It’s a little bit of a disappointment since this is a great place for mountain biking and slot canyon hiking.   We will just have to come back here again some day.

Hiking & Biking in Moab, Utah: 10/3 – 10/8/18

2A706ECF-9F39-4612-A1D5-A1628DE2FD90We are back in Utah!  This time we entered from the southeast as opposed to the northern border.   This welcome sign is indicative of the warmer southern climate (the northern welcome sign has a skier).

We set up camp at Horsethief Campground which was about 30 miles northwest of Moab.


Since we are dry camping, we needed to fill our fresh water tank.   Scott rigged a Mountain Dew bottle so that it would work as a funnel when adding water.  Works perfectly!

After we settled in, we took the bikes off the truck and rode some trails that are in the area of the campground.   We cruised on Chism Trail to Mustang Loop back to Chism Trail.  I’ve been upgraded to “blue” trails!  Later that evening, I was mesmerized by the eastern clouds in the sky and how their color changed at the same time the western sky was changing colors.   The pictures below were taken two minutes apart.  The warm colors we’re amazing!

The next day we drove to Canyonlands State Park.  It was only a 20 minute drive from our campsite. We stopped to park in the lot for Upheaval Dome.  Geologists do not exactly know what caused this crater.   They think it may have been a meteorite or a salt dome upheaval.  Hence, the name.

2A49547B-8245-49C1-A8FB-BE776DA03CEE Upheaval Dome is a 4-mile, round trip hike climbing up and down rocks to see various canyon views.




DC452F2D-D2D5-4AA0-89D8-254AFB9E7D1BWe continued to the second overlook.

224ADB2D-F0E1-49FA-B22E-3B23D792967AAt one point, I had petered out and let Scott continue climbing up for another viewpoint.  See him in the clouds waving?

C1155D35-46BD-4937-9577-7B350021B44D We try to alternate hikes and bike rides to give our bodies a break.  The next day we drove to the very popular Dead Horse Point State Park and rode our bikes on The Intrepid Trail.


4363151A-F17A-4DE1-A1C2-AD487BC9C4F30D27D3AF-7FA3-42FF-83A0-5C492FE6F9A2This is was mostly a blue trail with a few black sections.  Mountain biking trail colors are the same as ski trails:  green=easy, blue=intermediate, black=difficult.  There were some scary parts where the unlevel trail was quite narrow and very high up.  I did dismount a few times when my nerves got the best of me.  Halfway through, we took a break to admire the view.   Scott snuck a picture of me while I had a nice conversation with my girlfriend.  Breathtaking view!

9E42A5BB-2EFE-466B-B1D5-78CFCAA74217On Saturday, October 6th, we took a drive on White Rim Road in Canyonlands National Park.

D18ECF7D-4EA4-4145-A22B-BEB43F72DB63This rocky, unpaved dirt road is 100 miles long, and there are several sight seeing pull offs along the way.   It is for 4WD vehicles only.  It starts out flat and wide.

866D22E6-9032-432B-84BC-59FFF7B0B832Before long, you are traveling up the canyon.  Notice the winding road.  At some points, it is only wide enough for one vehicle.

91D4735D-03AE-4F3E-92BD-A5AE7C4EB8C8Our first stop was at the Colorado River overlook.  


I walked it and Scott followed with the truck.

Our next stop was at Mussleman  Arch.

2C03E326-C298-439B-93CF-649D88AE22F9It is hard to see the definition of the arch in this picture. Scott wanted me to stand on it.   I told him to go stand on it.   Notice how there are no models gracing this arch.

C1209C73-0954-4106-AFA3-F6572C4A40DDWe ran into a group of mountain bikers who were on their last of four days biking and camping across the 100 miles. Scott wants to do that someday. I think I will pass.  

It was raining on and off but we did get out of the truck every now and then to admire the plants and walk around and out on ledges.

7F9AA159-74E0-4C3C-AD49-AD9D339310AF007C68F6-65F6-426C-8FA5-0AA352CD838EACE709B2-E6CA-4505-B7F0-88EAF2DC01CAWe turned around after about two hours as we knew 100 miles was not in the cards for us today.   I had been fading and dozing off for some time, and Scott decided it was my turn to drive.   I initially objected, but he convinced me that it would wake me up if I got involved.   My favorite photographer was shooting short videos of the historic event, and created the following video for your entertainment.

Desert Boon-Dock Camping and Dinosaur National Park, Utah: 9/14 – 9/15/18

48BAFCA5-4277-4EDD-9C39-DF0A6B810F6CWe left our beautiful lake-front location and headed east towards Colorado.  We drove for many miles and hours and I knew that Scott was getting tired and it was time  to find a place to stop for the night. It was around 5 PM when we pulled off the highway onto a dirt road that seemed to have no ending.  

04BAEDDC-5DC6-4AA1-B8FD-2B8D15BF96ADI couldn’t imagine where we were going to park the trailer for the night since there didn’t seem to be any place that provided shelter from the hot sun.  It was a desert in the middle of nowhere.  Scott got out of the car to walk up a hill and look around for a spot to settle for the night.

9DDBE421-B306-4CE5-B9A6-DE2620D1C698I sat there not truly wanting to stay anywhere around here. It just wasn’t the kind of place that I felt like setting up camp for the night. It actually had a really great bicycle trail, however going for a bike ride was the last thing I felt like doing in this heat.  There was no relief from the pounding sun.  Anyway, I agreed halfheartedly to set up camp here.  

542A211C-0208-42DE-BDBF-FD0FFF6FB696Scott set up our awning with the chairs and headed off on a solo bike ride.  I pouted inside for a short while, and then went outside under the awning to meditate and do some yoga. I figured that yoga would put me back in a better frame of mind.

68960E6B-58AE-43EA-BE73-5C3B7AC2E539It worked until the darn flies started biting my back. Then I imagined snakes crawling over me as my eyes were closed during meditation. So, I took my practice back inside the sweat box.

33DBB454-1898-46B5-A9F4-81C41C5DABD8It wasn’t long before I was getting bit again.  Those rascals sneaked into the trailer.  So, I made myself a cold drink and was armed with my ammunition. 

743CBF84-28DF-4F28-8FB1-1C047A274666Scott returned exhausted and hot.  He said it was great trail but way too hot.    The next morning was much cooler, and I went out on a short bike ride with him this time.   It wasn’t difficult although the trail was very narrow at times. My cough decided to come along  for the ride.  Call it nerves or call it the desert, my constant hacking took away from the fun of this sport.  We returned to the trailer and packed up to leave.  If you zoom into the picture below, that brown speck in the background beyond the green sagebrush is our truck and trailer.


The next day we continued to head towards Colorado.  There were signs for Dinosaur National Monument as we traveled through Vernal, Utah.

FF1194F1-EED9-48F4-8C56-22245EDE8EE8 I reluctantly agreed to stop and boy am I glad we did. 

We boarded a tour bus that brought us to quarry.  I had to run back into the Visitors Center to get a Dinosaur Junior Ranger Book so I could follow along like the kids who sat in front of us.

The Quarry was truly fascinating!  I was never really big on fossils and dinosaurs, but it was so cool to see them intact, albeit preserved, but not haven been removed from where they originally decayed over millions of years.   It’s so crazy!  The Museum of Natural History in NYC is the only place that I have ever seen dinosaur fossils, and this quarry in Utah is a completely different experience.   Everyone should make the trip.  Here are a few pictures that blew my mind.

91E435CE-D944-4CAF-B44A-C44920B62FAF15413A3E-9F09-4E78-AF43-6FDEBF256705This is a cute picture of Scott admiring a display of an Allosaurus, a carnivorous theropod dinosaur that lived 155 to 150 million years ago!  The name Allosaurus means different lizard alluding to its unique concave vertebrae.

EB3B9027-58E2-4CCB-9F08-E090CD1BD45DI liked the cool display of a young Stegosaurus.

80FD5FB2-46B7-44A0-9DE6-7664E0CBAFDFWe left the Quarry and took a walk around the hot trail outside.

119AF8FB-2A95-485F-999A-C36708F8D36FWe saw strange-looking plants.


1DA413FC-4D3C-4FD3-9C09-C78EE3D09946We also saw a lonely lizard.

C0D50BFB-5943-457F-B257-B69C5106CD75There were more preserved fossils still embedded in the rock.

47D82655-2A97-4C03-8293-88DF14BE4EBBHere are two close ups of what Scott is looking at.  The white arrow points to the fossils.

4C6B8768-41FF-4306-A0B9-C91E93D67169 B2D6D23A-73C0-40E9-9E50-8A34B9C58056If you find yourself in north eastern Utah, The Dinosaur  National Monument is a must see.

Rockport State Park, Utah: 9/9 – 9/14/18

Goodbye Wyoming…Hello Utah!

F279B587-3A3E-42B0-9B46-60832D559841Once we arrived in Utah, we searched for places to camp.  State Parks offer some hookups, so we headed to Rockport State Park.  208419E1-7F9D-4C32-8257-0321E01B85FEThere are two locations to camp.  One is near the river and the other is above the reservoir.  When we entered the gates for the lake area, we were told that two sites in Juniper Campground were not available.  We were also told us to just pay the Camp Host when we picked a spot to our liking. We quickly found a spot with a beautiful view of the reservoir, and we set up camp.  The host was nowhere to be found.



The next day we were advised that we had to move out of our perfect spot as it had already been reserved.  This information was different from what we were told yesterday.  The host was pretty cool about it and gave us a double site for the price of one.  We still had a view of the lake, and a nice covered patio area, and a yoga platform!


Ok, so I am not practicing yoga in this shot, but we did use it for that purpose. We liked our new site.

The JETS were playing Monday Night Football and we ended up meeting an old friend in Park City and watched the game at at local bar.

3A23A12C-4F69-4FE8-B9B7-E21FC6F9B45CNot only was it’s the JETS opener win, but it was so good to see Nils and catch up on how life has been treating him.  Park City is a really neat place to live in, and and it’s evident that he loves his new home! We will be back again to visit, for sure.

On Tuesday, 9/11, we took a short bike ride on a campground trail in this park, and then we rested on our hammocks.  We had a decent internet signal, and I found myself caught up in all the posts on Facebook that took me back to that fateful day back in 2001.  The sting never really goes away, and my heart goes out to all the loved ones whose hearts are forever broken.

BF092A87-C178-4593-AAC6-3E5348FCCF90The next day we set out on an eight-mile round trip hike in Little Cottonwood Canyon to White Pine Lake in the Wasatch Mountains.  Here we would see how much this area needs rain and how the lakes, reservoirs, and streams are drying up.



In the beginning of the hike, we we walked along a beautiful, flowing stream.



Further into the hike, we would see the aspen trees beginning to change from a light  green to a golden yellow.


54E873EE-EC79-4197-B02D-2F000F519464Once we got above tree line, it became a rocky, winding trail.



Then, we had to descend again to arrive at the lake.



The water level used to cover the rocks.



We ate lunch on rocks that used to be under water.


We called it a day and headed back up to the trail and then back down to the car.

The next day we drove over to Guardsman Pass to hike two short peaks and then descend to Blood Lake.   It was extremely windy out,  and it was blowing the dry dirt something fierce.  Many times I had to rub my eyes from the dusty conditions.  This is the only sign that I found near the trail head.  Odd.


The initial ascent was extremely steep, and I kept wondering how I was going to get back down without my poles.  Why didn’t I bring my poles????  But I have to admit that the view of the lake below is pretty special.


I thought that we had reached the peak, but it was only the first one.


We continued up over rocks to the second peak.



At the second peak, we could look down at the chair lift from Alto Ski Mountain!



Time to head down to Blood Lake!


The water was cold but the surroundings beautiful.  Funny, it didn’t look as though this lake was feeling the effects of a dry summer.



We picked up Nils on the way home from our hike so that we could spend a little more time together before we left Utah.  I made a yummy salad and we enjoyed the reminder of another warm, summer day.