adventure

Top 10

I decided to write with more pictures and less words to showcase my top ten pictures from traveling to snowy Park City, Utah. Hoping you will enjoy the refreshing photos of the outdoors and their quick captions.  These photos are in no particular order.

This is a view I enjoyed from the eyes of one of my snowboarders. I didn’t take the lift to the top of the mountain thus I enjoyed this simple yet beautiful view. I smiled big knowing my people were enjoying their time on the mountain living the snowboarder life.

The best decorated and tasty sugar cookie with fabulous hot cocoa from the chocolate shop in town. A quaint little stop to snack, get warm and socialize after a day outside. This captures the sweetness of my trip.

The path through the trees when I was snow shoeing or snow walking as one of my teen travelers called it. These trees were amazing and the picture doesn’t even capture their beauty. The Aspens are the state tree and a fun fact is they have a dusty coating on them that is like a powder which can be used as a natural sunscreen. Just a fun fact I learned.

The path to nowhere as it looks. The simplicity of this photo is what I like about it. The grey skies before a snow fall.

The sunrise over the white barn. A barn we passed each day where you can see cross country skiers in the pasture at all hours during the day. A fun spot to remember.

A night picture from my balcony on a snowy weekday. The ice dagger hanging from above. The light shining on pathway illuminating the fresh powdered covered walkway. I hear the wind howling through the photo like it was today. A snowy memory.

Haynes Ranch. Founded in 1932. Pure bliss via a snowmobile. This photo shows the blue skies and the gateway to 40,000 acres of land and wildlife. Yes we saw moose.

This view was so amazing in person. A view from the ranch we snowmobiled. The blue skies were so welcoming after days of grey skies. 

Fresh powder. Bright sun. Beautiful trees. That is all. Simply amazing and breathtaking.

The snow tracks. The blue skies. The sun shine. It was only 1 degree in this photo. Frigid cold yet I was still enjoying the outdoors.

It’s hard to pic just 10 photos but it’s great to have a picture post to look back on.

adventure

Fat Tires

A new adventure was on my list for today. It involves big fat tires. A little snow. Some stamina. A positive attitude. A fabulous guide and the perfect terrain to conquer. Today’s adventure is snow biking. 

I had zero expectations. I knew it would be hard work but other than that I just wanted to give it a try. The scenery was amazing. The downward trek through the switchbacks was my favorite part of the ride. I loved the wind in my face and the feeling of freeness from the climb. The thrill of the whole adventure or what’s next was what I liked. The unknown.

The initial leg was the hardest. Getting used to the terrain. Learning the bike gears and really just how to pedal in snow and breathe. It’s really important to balance both. Too much too quick will gas you out. Too little will make fall over. It’s a process you have to figure out. It’s also a process to adjust to the harshness of the seat itself.

Once we had the hang of things we shifted from the wide trail to the narrow trail to climb the mountain. The trail isn’t straight up which is good news, but it means you have to zig zag your way up. That equates to lots of sharp turns, inclines, more work and so much more. As you get higher and higher the trail becomes less traveled. This makes it harder to follow the trail and not veer off course. With less tracks to follow the path gets narrower. The line you must adhere is extremely thin and not forgiving.

The porcUclimb trail was the hardest for me. It was the height of the climb. I was hot. Yes, hot in 20 degree weather. The air was taxing me as I huffed and puffed my way through the switchbacks and tree limbs. This is where I wiped out not once but twice. The word wipeout makes it sound awesome but it was really more of an I lost my track and tipped over. Nonetheless I ended up in the snow and had to brush off and move on. Much like life.

Soon enough I was at the top. A little water break. A little time to catch my breath. A few photos and time to reapply the heavier layers for the descent. This was the Downward Dog trail. My favorite and most thrilling ride. No spill on the decent. One close call but no wipeouts. I definitely rode down much faster than I went up. All and all the trek was close to three hours of awesomeness and hard work. I was so proud of myself for conquering a new form of fitness and embracing the experience itself including the cold. There were no complaints about the beautiful views in every direction.

Some fun sights along the way were the trail signs. Getting a little history on the area. The people watching. Seeing young families to older folks to young couples moving along via bike or cross country skis. I also saw so many different dogs with their humans. They all seemed to love running in the snow. They had a freeness to explore yet they stuck with their humans. From German Shepards to little mini doodles. I saw a good variety of dogs. This of course meant plenty of yellow snow, which I avoided.

I don’t know that I will ever be in another cold place to adventure out on a fat tire bike up a mountain but I can say I enjoyed my adventure today. I didn’t get to see any moose or deer but I did see their droppings and tracks so I guess it wasn’t my lucky day to see any wildlife.

If you at ever in Park City, Utah in the winter give snow biking a try. It’s a great option to try something new.

adventure

Main Street

A day of leisure.

A day to explore.

Main Street called my name.

I walked the streets and enjoyed the mountain air while stopping in all the shops on Main Street. My first pit stop was for rocket fuel, also known as coffee. One in my party opted for two shots of espresso, another tried the red velvet hot cocoa with whipped cream and I tried a brown sugar cinnamon latte. All kept us warm as we strolled and sipped on this cold morning.

Many cute shops to visit. From T-shirts to ski shops to fancy art displays. There was something for everyone. I enjoyed looking at all the stickers and magnets unique to the area. It was also a treat to see the snow globes decorated for the holiday and set to music and you cruised Main Street. Just another specialty for this holiday season in Park City. I didn’t really have a favorite snow globe but I did enjoy checking them all out. 

Another fun feature was heated benches or heated stones. A great place to take a break while enjoying a toasty seat warmer. Something I didn’t expect but very much enjoyed. There were also historical facts posted around the buildings as well. A little history lesson was available to those who had an interest. I found some alleys decorated in scenic art along with some neat doors to-capture the ski town vibe. All in all Main Street was a fun place to stroll and browse.

I will probably visit Main Street again to try out a restaurant or visit the shops again. I may need to buy another snow globe since I broke the one I bought on my first trip down Main Street.

After an adventure on Main Street we opted to explore the Olympic Training Center. Pretty cool to see the facilities, snap a few photos and just experience the few offerings that were available. I did enjoy the virtual ski jump simulator. I wasn’t very good at it and probably why I’m not an Olympian, but nonetheless I enjoyed the opportunity. I also enjoyed bobsled and parachute skiing simulations. Very different experiences but since I probably will Never do any of these activities in real life, the simulation experience was perfect for me.

Another great day of amazing views and new experiences. I’m sure you will read more about my travels in upcoming posts.

adventure

Girls, Ghosts, and a Graveyard

It’s pumpkin spice season at Starbucks. The smell of fall in is in the air. Kids are back in school. Now it’s time to do dust off the craziness of summer and rush in fun fall festivities.

This weekend was something new. An adventure planned for the girl gang to step out of their comfort zone. Dining at a restaurant adorned with the name Six Feet Under. A creepy cemetery tour. Why not? This weekend seemed like a perfect time to have the shit scared scared out of me. Off we went, almost leaving the safety of suburbia for the sin of the city.

Well, I almost went. The others actually went. The first warning came from the driver. “I must warn you I’m willing to drive but I drive like a blind person.” Hmmm. Sounds perfect for this fall adventure. Unfortunately Chick 1 had to bail to catch a flight on a whim, but no fear Chick 2 was ready willing and able to jump into this spooktacular adventure. As the torch passes from one scared Chick to one unphased Chick, you will see how this wild tale unfolds.

I will be waiting in anticipation to read the conclusion of the graveyard tales with you. I may or may not be chasing ghosts in my sleep until then….

Chick 2 taking over. We arrived on the misty morning at the front gate of Oakland Cemetery. The forecast called for rain and clouds, which in most cases might have been a disappointment, but in this case it fit perfectly with our funereal outing. We made a brief visit to the gift shop which was filled with laughably morbid treasures like Southern funeral cookbooks and sympathy cards. After breezing through, we started our tour.

It had been about a decade since I had been to Oakland. And before that, I had visited in 7th grade. This was an old old cemetery even then, so you can imagine the cracked walkways, faded headstones, and mossy ground it is filled with now.

Our guide was a quirky woman who had led tours there for many years. Our tour was focused on stories of women buried there. We walked gingerly between the rows. Simple stones to elaborate tombs and everything in between. We saw the resting places of celebrities like Margaret Mitchell and Kenny Rogers (not a woman, but his fame made him a detour). We heard about people who weren’t famous but shared great love stories, made important contributions like leading the first black PTA, or just did notable things. We noticed stones and little elephants piled on grave markers. The elephants were on a stone that marked the resting place of a woman who took in many orphans. We learned that elephants are some of the only animals that look after orphans in nature. Interesting.

There were so many symbols on the graves. Circles stand for eternity. Closed books and open books. Swords and pillows. The lambs on the graves of babies. Each with a different meaning behind them. Intricate stories for the lives represented. An attempt to capture what was most important about them in life, or even their hopes in death.

Different sections for different kinds of people. A section for Confederate soldiers. A Jewish section. An African American section. Interesting how cemeteries reflect the segregation in life at times.

Since we mostly looked at the graves of women, I noticed how often the women in the cemetery were remembered only in relationship to what they did for others. One man had many accomplishments listed, author, Southern gentleman, and so on. On the other side of the stone, the woman was listed as “loving and supportive wife.” Is that all we remember her for?

It also made me wonder what I would want to have on my tombstone. What would I want my legacy to be?

My group and I wandered in the dreary drizzle. We meandered. We took photos. We smelled plants. We asked questions and just took in the ambiance. A sunny day wouldn’t have fit, to be honest.

We capped it off with a delicious lunch and a surprise pastry and coffee treat. All in all, a great day of learning, friendship, and both making and thinking about memories. How would you like to be remembered?

celebrations, family

Whirlwind Weekend

My youngest daughter joined a college club lacrosse team. One of the fun parts of this is travel. First up: an away play day in Nashville that just so happened to be my birthday weekend. That was an easy sell!

It was harder to find a traveling companion. Close family and favorite travel buddies couldn’t make it for one reason or another. I was kinda pouty until just a few days before, when the daughter I was going to watch figured out she could stay with me. We traveled to Nashville separately, but after her games we were able to spend the rest of the weekend together.

It was a whirlwind weekend of packed with fun. I had most of it mapped out before we met up. I started with morning coffee at Dutch Brothers, a perennial fave. Longtime readers know that I love to visit local coffee shops on my travels, but Dutch would be an exception. It’s a national chain, yes, but there isn’t one anywhere near my hometown. I can’t resist their positive energy or their soft top!

Then I found my way to one of the Five Daughters Bakery locations, which happened to be tucked in to a cute local marketplace. Most of the shops were closed at that early hour, but there were still some fun murals and photo opps. A handful of their hundred-layer doughnuts and I was off to the next destination.

After that, a super quick visit to Cheekwood to catch a glimpse of their fall pumpkin festival displays. I was the first one through the gates that morning, and more than likely the first to leave in time to make the start of the lacrosse games. Still, it was soothing and smile-inducing to see the beautiful plants and festive surroundings. I’m sure I could have spent a whole day there, but even just that small sliver of time made me feel lighter and carefree as I welcomed my favorite season of the year.

After lacrosse, we made a quick visit to a Nashville food hall with a close family friend. It had live music and a wide variety of local eateries – something to please everyone. Then we spent Saturday night on a “touristy” thing by visiting the Grand Old Opry. Pretty classic Nashville, but my daughter had never been. It was a great variety show, even if we hadn’t really heard of any of the acts. Wonderful entertainment. (An evening at the Bluebird Cafe is still on my Nashville wish list! Didn’t get tickets this time but I’ll keep trying.)

After the show, we drove about an hour to Cookeville. This brought us close to the next morning’s adventure, a kayak to Burgess Falls. The paddle was low key and not too technical, but it was pretty long. The scenery was pretty and then it was a short hike to the falls since the river waters recede a bit in the autumn months. The bottom of the falls are only reachable by kayak or hike, which made the view all the more sweet.

Time with my youngest becomes more precious each year as she moves through college. Long car rides leave time for us to chat and catch up. We talked this time about how, as time goes on, we’ve learned that we would rather have fewer things and more experiences together.

Just like my older daughter, I can hear that her dreams will take her to live in faraway places in the coming years. This makes these experiences and memories all the more sweet. Time and attention (and shared adventures!) are the best gifts we can give one another.