Utah Mountain High

Last weekend for the first time since my diagnosis, we took a trip just for fun. It had been planned before my diagnosis. Five couples, very good friends, decided to celebrate the fact that all of the husbands were turning 60 this year, by going to Park City, Utah. Alan was the only one who had not yet turned 60 but his birthday was on the Saturday we were there. The guys all knew each other from freshman year at the University of Michigan – 42 years of friendship. I love them and love their spouses. Every one of them is so thoughtful, easy to be around, and are just good people. Some of them had not met before, but I knew everyone. Everyone got along and liked each other.

On the plane, I had to wear a mask – that was not fun. My white blood count was low the last time it was checked so my doctor recommended I protect myself on the flight. The mask was hot and somewhat claustrophobic, but given the fact that the man behind coughed off and on most of the flight home, I was glad I had it. I ripped it off my face the minute we got off the plane. That was the only negative part of the trip. Otherwise, the trip was fabulous. Four nights there, three hiking days, wonderful friends, food and company. What more could I want.

Park City and the area around it are in the middle of the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. They are truly beautiful mountains, and the drive from Salt Lake City to Park City is easy. It’s on a four lane highway, about 30 minutes or less away. It cannot be beat. While most people think of skiing when they think of Park City, once we got our house a few years ago, we went for the first time in the summer and discovered it is also wonderful then. There is hiking, biking, festivals, music, art fairs and a Sunday market in town. The restaurants are not as busy and often have specials. Its is nice to walk in town without being bundled up. Summer is short but sweet there.

On the first day, the group was going to hike in Mirror Lakes and expected a strenuous hike. Ann, one of the spouses, had ACL surgery and hiking was not in the cards for her, so originally I planned to keep her company. That changed once her husband, Jimmy, said he was staying with her. I then announced I was hiking. Alan, being protective of me, said I should not go because the hike may be too much. I disagreed and went. The hike was long but beautiful (5 hours with a short break for lunch), started at 10,000 feet and definitely taxed me. I was no more taxed though than the rest of the group and I did it. We all agreed it was an hour too long, but once you are in, you have to finish.

The next day we took the group to Sundance. We have been there many times, but always enjoy it. We did the hike to Stewart Falls – about 3.5 miles, and then had a wonderful lunch at one of their restaurants. Sundance is so low key. As you drive on the road, you can almost miss it because it blends in so much with the environment. The area it is in is lush by Utah standards with a mountain stream running through the property, the falls on the backside of the mountain, and trees.
The next day, we did a short hike around the Jordanelle reservoir. There is very little protection from the sun there, but the hike was less than two hours and has no real uphill area. Then, the women went into town to shop while the guys rode bikes into town. We met for lunch.
Saturday night was Alan’s actual birthday. I posted my blog about him and gave him a copy. We both cried. We went to dinner at one of our favorite places in Park City, The Riverhorse. At the end, they brought out a dessert, Death by Chocolate, and had a candle in the cake. Alan was so embarrassed when, first, our table sang to him, and then, the three piece live band sang to him. Toasts were given all around.
During the trip the caregivers were in full force for me. Not only Alan, but everyone. Terri, who is a nurse, would buy me food and drink because she knew I needed to hydrate and eat something every few hours or risk feeling nauseous. Susan, Jackie and Ann also watched over me, as did the guys. It was sweet. The best part was reconnecting with good friends, enjoying each other’s company and relaxing in between hikes. I am blessed with good friends. I am blessed with having a house in Utah (owned with others) at which I could feel comfortable. We are already planning our next trip, this time with Judy and Deb and their husbands. They have never seen my house, and will love it. It’s about time they came there.  Cannot wait for the next trip…..

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