Now that I'm once again back on the road, I have the possibility to get out and see more of the natural beauty that our nation holds. This was never more on display than on a hike I took recently near Salt Lake City, Utah. Don and I were taken out on this beautiful hike by an old friend of his and her son, and we saw some amazing vistas. This blog may contain more pictures than normal, because the scenery was the star of the day.
We were picked up at the corner of Karl Malone and John Stockton Drives (right across from the Utah Jazz arena - you can't make this stuff up!). The drive to the trail was about 30 minutes, and as we drove up the mountain, I was immediately glad I had come. Some of the clouds were so low that they covered the peaks of the surrounding mountains, but once we hit the trail, the sun smiled down on us for our walk.
The trail was roughly 3.5 miles each way. Amazingly, the 4-year-old in our party fared incredibly well. Don and I each carried him for short intervals (and it wasn't easy!), but his mom showed us all up and carried him for at least half of the uphill climb. She told us we missed the best of the leaves by about 2 weeks, but there were still a few outposts of yellow aspen leaves amongst the evergreens. The aspen trees that had shed their leaves looked majestic in their own right, their light-bark trunks standing defiantly against the impending winter (snow will begin to fall within a few short weeks). We made our way to up a remote location called Desolation Lake. It was a wonderfully peaceful setting, punctuated by an eagle flying through the trees. Sadly, it was too far away and I was too slow on the draw to capture this moment. Nonetheless, the lake was a great destination to regroup: the youngest member of our party spurred Don and me to join him in throwing rocks into the lake, we had a brief snack (thank you for bringing those, Ariel!), and generally took in the beauty of our surroundings.
The hike back was much quicker. We averaged roughly 22 minute miles on the way up; on the way down, we nearly cut that in half with 12 minute miles. For this far easier portion of the hike, that's when I chose to be more “chivalrous” and carry our 4-year-old companion. (Honestly, I couldn't have done nearly as much of the trip up as his mom did). Throughout it all, we were surrounded by nature's beauty and challenged by her terrain. Being over a mile above sea level didn't make things any easier, either. Coming from Las Vegas and Tucson, it was wonderful to be out in the autumnal elements (my favorite season of the year, by a long shot), exploring sights like I had never seen. This is the right time of year to get out of the gym and enjoy the weather before the winter doldrums set in. So head outdoors with your family or friends and find something near you that you haven't seen before! You'll remember this far more than one more trip to the gym.