I haven’t had a chunk of time off since…last year? so it was really nice to have a whole week. We went on two hikes, hung wallpaper (!), cooked different sides (!!) for solo Thanksgiving, started The Mandalorian, and put up the Christmas tree. (And, you know, sat on the couch a lot and looked at the internet, too.)
We’ve been taking outings to local parks lately, which offer the excitement of LEAVING THE HOUSE but make spreading out a lot easier than on a hiking trail.
I’ve never really spent much time in parks–we don’t have kids or a dog to play in them, and I always (snobbishly) thought, “Parks aren’t really nature; just go on a hike instead.”
But you know what? City parks are kind of a miracle: There’s open space, there’s something for everyone (Fairmont Park has a skate park! Murray Park has an outdoor fitness circuit, complete with bros!), and they’re just…there…waiting to be enjoyed. For free!
Spending time in places that embody civilization has been really soothing, an antidote to fears of the end of it. Find some local parks and start your own tour this week.
There’s been far less snow on the ground this year compared to last year, but I’ve still reached the point in winter where I’m so sick of browns and grays and need to see green. So we went to Red Butte. There wasn’t a lot of green outside but their big greenhouse–the Orangerie–didn’t disappoint.
Doc had the BRILLIANT idea of doing a kid’s party package at the local skate rink for my birthday and it was amazing. About 20 people came, we fed them pizza and soda and Rice Krispie treats, and I went off the smallest jump on the speed track at the very end.
Not bad for a 40-year-old!
Having a week off was SO GREAT: We went on a Black Friday hike and a Sunday hike, I sewed elaborately ruffled things, we watched movie trilogies and I knitted, we had a mellow Thanksgiving and put up the Christmas tree, and we took my nephew ROLLER SKATING (finally! and I didn’t fall down).
I have the week of Christmas off, as well–can’t wait for MORE VACATION.
We went to the botanical gardens yesterday instead of a hike. Outside, it looked like the Arthur Rackham illustrations for The Wind in The Willows…
…and inside it looked like Hawaii–the Utah Orchid Society was having their annual show.
We took a long weekend off to originally go camping, which turned into plans for a staycation when the weather didn’t want to cooperate. I had big plans for day trips, taking my nephew out, maybe painting an accent wall–but we only got the first day’s activities in because I got sick.
But what a first day! Our friend told us about a place 2.5 hours north that her brother was bringing back to life: Maple Grove Hot Springs. We went up for the day to check it out and soak and it was just lovely–stunning setting, perfect fall colors, and the best natural (non sulfur!) hot springs.
After we got back home and my head cold hit, I kept wishing I had a hot springs handy for soaking. We’ll have to go back and stay!
Instead of a hike, we went wading yesterday. I’m not a great swimmer and have no desire to become one, but rivers (or creeks, in this case) have my heart. Let me stick my feet in one and see the hidden banks and suddenly I’m thinking of becoming a river guide and breaking out The Wind in the Willows quotes:
Never in his life had he seen a river before—this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping things with a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh, to fling itself on fresh playmates that shook themselves free, and were caught and held again. All was a-shake and a-shiver—glints and gleams and sparkles, rustle and swirl, chatter and bubble. The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated.
We drove an hour and went on our annual July high mountain hike last Friday–the Lofty Lakes Loop trail in the Uinta Mountains.
Compared to the last two years, there was a lot of snow on the ground (we brought our microspikes and were really glad we did). In some spots the grass wasn’t even green yet and instead of summer wildflowers, there were tiny spring blooms instead.
It was still a great day hike–I love these mountains particularly and the drive up into them is just heartbreakingly beautiful at times. Maybe this is the year we finally go back with a pool float to the largest lake next month…