After an exceptional visit, we departed Zion National Park for Salt Lake City, where Suzanne had a flight to catch for a planned week back in The Villages with Her Lovely Mom Ruthie. On the day she departed, I went to the Natural History Museum of Utah, located on the campus of the University of Utah. One of the attractions here is a spectacular dinosaur exhibit. I felt like a kid again, partly because there was a school group there as well.
NHMU also has an extensive collection of Native American artifacts, in particular from the Shoshone, Ute, Paiute, Navajo and Goshone tribes.
Rudy, Gretchen and I then drove the coach up to Wasatch Mountain State Park in Midway, Utah, for a week of alone time. The Wasatch mountains are mostly in the 11,000 ft. range, and are home to elk, black bear, mule deer, moose and cougars. I hiked or mountain biked every day, and the puppies got out for many walks.
Speaking of our babies, Rudy is starting to gray around the muzzle (much like his distinguished dog-dad)….
while Gretchen has retained her youthful sultry beauty (yes, like her Lovely Dog-Mom).
Their favorite walk was on the shore of the lake by the park visitor center. Ducks and geese were present, but wisely returned to their watery home when dogs came visiting. There is a beautiful championship golf course nearby, but the mountains held more appeal for me.
On a mountain bike ride out from Soldier Hollow, where the Winter Olympics were held in 2002, I watched kite boarders flying on the windy surface of Deer Creek Reservoir. That’s Mt. Timpanogos (11,753 ft.) in the background. The 47th highest peak in the lower 48 states, it is composed of limestone and dolomite, and is named for the Indian tribe that lived here since the 1400s.
I had a very quiet hike mid-week, when there were far fewer people in the woods. I also had the good fortune to see two cow moose just off the trail in a meadow surrounded by aspens. I wisely kept my distance from the pair.
The terrain here is pretty steep, ideal for wildlife habitat, but somewhat slippery due to daily showers. Most days I saw only one or two other people in a 2-3 hour hike.
Unfortunately, there was one section of trail where some teenagers had probably had a party on the weekend, and I did my civic duty and cleaned up their still smelly beer cans. I filled a small trash bag and dropped it off at the ranger office nearby.
On the way home, I saw this downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) looking for insects and rat-a-tat-ing on a telephone pole. The smallest of American woodpeckers, he is distinguished by his small bill.
My final bike ride was along the Deer Creek trail, which generally follows a railroad byway from Midway to Provo. I say “generally”, because the train tracks had only a 1% grade, while the bike trail had lots of ups and downs and crossed several ravines and small canyons. But the scenery was worth every bit of sweat… My Lovely Bride would have loved this bike ride, but we will have to wait until our next visit for her to enjoy it.
Suzanne returned after a week at home, and got back to work with a visit to Unity of Salt Lake, where she gave the Sunday morning message and her Preponderance of the Evidence presentation.
That afternoon we enjoyed dinner and the delightful company of Jerry and Rebecca Arndt. We have a lot in common; Suzanne and Rebecca are both mediums; Rebecca specializes in missing persons. Jerry and I talk hiking and RVs while the ladies are on spiritual topics. (The guys also appreciate good wine and beer!) Rebecca also publicized Suzanne’s event. They have been great friends, and we always look forward to returning to Salt Lake City to see them.
While in SLC, we took the time for a long bike ride on the Jordan River Bike Trail, which runs from SLC to Ogden. It was very pleasant: flat (nice for a change) with lots of curves, as it follows the Jordan River, strangely enough… Our campsite at the Pony Express RV Park was located right near the river, and up until the hour of our intended departure, it had been a very pleasant but uneventful stay. Then, deja vu all over again… one of our coach’s slideout rooms would not retract, and jammed in a tilted position. The coach was stuck in place until it could be retracted. We had experienced this problem almost exactly three years ago when the coach was brand new, so we knew what had to be done. We called a mobile repair tech, and with the aid of the amazingly helpful campground general manager, Ric Leyba, who borrowed a forklift from a neighborly RV business, five hours of work saw the slide retracted manually and blocked securely (so it wouldn’t fall out on the road) for an unexpected 500 mile detour to Denver, where we had purchased it. Seems the local Winnebago dealers didn’t want to deal with repairs of that sort. Our heartfelt thanks go out to Ric and his staff at Pony Express RV Park; not only did Ric spend hours helping us, but he also told us to stay the night on the house so we would be well-rested before getting on the Interstate. What a guy!!!
But before we left, we met our neighbors, three charming young people and their kids. Chris and Didiayer Snyder and Michael Edwards just finished shooting the last in a series of TV shows, “At Home with Didiayer”, which is running on the Hallmark Channel. They are traveling with their beautiful daughters Savannah and Olivia, and graciously gave us a box of really cool sustainable products that Didiayer put together as part of her TV show. I hope they enjoy the bottle of wine we gave them; they were delightful, and we wish that we had more time to get to know them better.
After a brief stop in Denver to order parts for our broken slideout and to fix part of our dual air mattress bed (no naughty thoughts, please, or even snide comments about my weight!), we arrived in one of our favorite towns, Carbondale, CO. Suzanne was giving her Serving Spirit course in the town of Basalt, near Aspen, another one of our favorite places. Her two-day course was enthusiastically received by the attendees, most from the central Colorado area.
Suzanne also gave a Getting Out of the Box presentation at the Davi Nikent Center for Human Flourishing. This was out third year in Carbondale, and many friends from previous visits attended. (We had even been thinking about looking for an acre or two in the Carbondale-Basalt-Aspen area for a summer retreat, but time didn’t allow for a search this trip.)
But one of the highlights of our entire trip so far came on our last two days in Carbondale, in the form of a visit from Sanaya. Those of you who follow Suzanne’s blog and Facebook posts know Sanaya as the collective consciousness of her guides. In this case, Sanaya is a real person! A couple of months ago, Suzanne heard from two women in India, a mother and her daughter named Sanaya. They read about Suzanne on-line, and have been following her posts with interest. We heard from Sanaya Ardeshir, a 27-year old musician living in Bombay, and found that she was touring the US and had an unexpected stop in Denver and would be able to meet us for a brief visit. We were thrilled!!!! We picked her up in Glenwood Springs, drove to Basalt for lunch, and then up to the stunning Maroon Bells near Aspen for a hike to Crater Lake.
It was a beautiful day, mostly sunny and with shirt sleeve temps, but as we gained elevation, we crossed the snowline boundary. Fortunately, we weren’t “post-holing”, which means sinking up to your crotch in soft snow, which is an exhausting and very wet exercise. Only our shoes, socks and ankles were wet, and the cold was quite bearable.
On the way back down, it started snowing/sleeting/hailing, and the two girls were trying to catch the bits and pieces on their tongues, with limited success.
Even below snowline, the scenery was still impressive. You can see the evidence of rockslides and avalanches on several steep slopes, where lack of trees and vegetation is indicative of areas that are less stable.
Back at the coach, Sanaya offered to make us dinner (gee, that was a tough decision). She taught Suzanne how to prepare khichree, a traditional Indian dish made of rice, lentils, cauliflower, carrots, garlic, onion, and Indian spices that she brought just for us, served with cumin and yoghurt. It was a fabulous, delicious meal!!!
On Sanaya’s last day with us, Suzanne gave her and Sanaya’s mom (who was in Europe) a highly evidential reading. (More on that from Suzanne in her blog) Then we went on another hike, this time to Mushroom Rock about a thousand feet above Carbondale. Here you see Suzanne and Sanaya heading out to the rock while Your Faithful Correspondent records the moment for posterity. (Yes, common sense was also in play, on my part at least.)
We were truly blessed by Sanaya’s visit, and we shall always remember her time with us as very, very special. We hope to see her again soon (in India, perhaps?). You can listen to her music at www.Soundcloud.com/Sandunes.
As we departed Carbondale, this view of snow-capped Mt. Sopris (12,660 ft.) left us with a glorious reminder of the natural beauty of this part of Colorado. It is only matched by the friendliness of the residents, and we are already looking forward to a return visit next year. At that time I hope to make a 4-5 day backpacking trip on the Four Passes route in the Maroon Bells Wilderness between Aspen and Crested Butte.