Thursday, September 12, 2013

Travel Journal: September 7-12, 2013: Park City UT

Park City vacation time...again.

Having two weeks of time share time at our "home" resort is in Park City, 20 minutes from our home, also gives us the opportunity to swap our two weeks time for equal amount of time at other resorts around the world and also for hotel rooms if we are on the road. 
The tricky part is the swapping.
With Bernie's on-demand work related travel schedule it is pretty difficult for us to zero in on where and when we might want to go a year in advance in order to make a swap.
The default is doing nothing and winding up in Park City for a week...again.
(We could split it all up for four weeks of resort time but hey, we can barely figure out how to get two weeks off, at one week at a time, at any given time as it is.)
So there we were, once again, vacationing up in Park City last week.
 Bernie is relaxing around the pool, happily listening to his ipod.
Easy to please is he.
(He is also happy because the following week he will go to Alaska for a week of fishing.  Time share time is only part of his vacation time plans!)
While the first day up there was quite warm, the second day dawned with fog upon the hillside.
Recently I had read about the value of struggling to master things.
The fog made me think of writing poetry and the many articles I have read about the value of creating poetry to express what one sees.
With a cup of coffee in hand, while Bernie slept on, I spent an hour struggling to compose a poem to mark my window view and the morning fog:
The Hidden Wardrobe
Foggy morning mists drift over eerie mountain ski lifts;
the still strung necklace
 of skeleton chairs
damply await
their coming wintery task.
lightly clothed in her hillside greens,
bejeweled with gay Michaelmass clusters,
threatened by the new morning chill,
slips away quietly,
hidden by the mist.
While packing away her fields of flowers
she finds a hidden wardrobe,
dazzling designs of goldens, bronze and brown.
It is time,
she thinks,
to re-invent myself
as autumn.

(Did you know one medical school in Indiana had a state poet laureate come to teach young doctors how to write poetry to unearth clues about a patient's illness?  The doctors were asked to write about the person they examined.  By using a different part of the brain to write about what they saw, they identified things in the patient that they had not connected with in their usual reports.
 Interesting, yes?)
The next day, Monday, I awoke earlier than Bernie once again.
This time the view out our window was the one above, the one with the billowing thunderheads.
Time for working to create another poem:
Morning sunshine warms my face.
Leisurely I plan my day;
hearing the call of the nearby roadways
which wind through the shimmering aspen groves.
I dream of early stands that have given themselves over to
glorious autumn
I gloat at the thought of a sun drenched day,
blue skies
white bark,
yellow leaves.
The east promises sunshine.
The west speaks of rain.
My thoughts regroup.
Yellow contrasts wonderfully against the black of clouds.
Wetted woodlands scents release in ion charged air.
Thundering echoing through the mountain tops...
It looks like I have a win-win weather forecast kind of day!
(I am still not sure if the "which" in the fourth line is properly placed.  It just sounds better to me  than "that".  Feel free to fire away with corrections as needed! And yes, the whole poem could use a lot more work!)

Shortly after that poem was written we took off for a drive, intending to wind through the Mt. Timpanogos area.
The road goes through breath taking views when the aspen has turned gold.
For now the aspen remains unrelentingly green.
At higher elevations, above 10,000 feet, there was a good smattering of color, orange colors,  but no aspen gold as of yet.

The storm clouds stayed away from us, no rain drops fell to make the forest scent thicken, no lightening or thunder came to add drama to the scenery.
Oh well.
I am not complaining in the least...not with views like these.

One small oak branch was gearing up for color change.
(Wouldn't that photo make a great painting? Somehow it doesn't look quite real to me, but it was.)
Shortly after the stop for that photo we had decision to make:
1. Drive back the way we came
2. Go to Cascade Springs and home through Heber Valley
3. Drive back to Park City through Salt Lake City, on the freeway, with a stop at our house to feed the cats.
The cats got stiffed.
(They had plenty of food; we had fed them the day before and they would be fed again Monday morning by our local relatives.)
And just to help out folks who want to know where the heck we were; here's a map.
By the by...the town of Draper in the upper left corner is where the NSA information storage facilities are being built.
Park City is about where the period is after the word "relatives" in the sentence above the map.

Cascade Springs falls.
The water levels were low, but the springs were still active enough to produce lovely waterfalls.

In the pond areas, the water weeds make a cushiony landing for the few dropped early autumn leaves.

The sounds of so many water falls is just lovely.

I thought of the time my friend Sara visited the falls with me a few autumns back. 

One of my dreams is to be able to snow shoe into here in winter, as the water is geothermal, and warm.
To see the falls surrounded by snow would be amazing.
(For me to snowshoe into the area, and remain alive, would be a miracle....)

I get a kick out of seeing brook trout in the ponded areas.
The water is so clear the fish look as though they are suspended in air.
See the trout dead center in the photo?

No fishing allowed.
And the big fish bully the little fish.
Such is the way of nature.

A few skippers worked the late summer flowers.
I swear skippers are always the last butterflies of the season.

Caught with a tongue hanging out!

Seriously, doesn't this trout look like it is just floating in the air?

That was about it for us in terms of vacation time scenic exploring.
The rest of vacation was spent swimming, soaking in hot tubs, watching tv, reading, napping, eating, and I did watch Les Miserable in the in-house movie theater Monday night.
Gee that movie is depressing.
Who knew Russell Crowe had such a good voice.
(After reading about French history and the French Revolutions, I harbor no romantic feelings about French ways.  Blood thirsty savages they are....)
By Tuesday we were ready for a day brightener.
I regularly watch Luke on Tuesday and I hadn't seen him in almost two weeks because he and his folks had been away vacationing in Oregon for a week before we left.
Did I still want to have him while we were on vacation?
Are you kidding me?
We just asked could he be driven up to our timeshare?
Not a problem!
(And yes, Bernie wears a big shoe, size 12 as a matter of fact.)

Luke has some big shoes to fill.
He made himself right at home.
After a bit we decided to take him for a walk.
Brown Bear, his lovey, went along with him, being swung merrily about.

The resort has an amusement area, including rides for small fry.
We were the only ones in the area; school had started so the rides were still after a long busy summer.
Next year, maybe, when he was a bit older, we will take him for a ride on the merry-go-round.

But hey...who needs corny old amusement park rides when there is awesome stuff like this to see?!!

Hey Grandpa...throw me the keys to this thing.
(Bernie would not let him climb up on the seat or anything.  Such a buzz kill kind of guy.)
We walked on...

Get this!!!
This place is AMAZING!
I had to laugh as he was just walking along, bouncing like they do at 16 months, when he spotted the tractor claw shovel.
His mouth fell open and he stood stock still in awe.
I am pretty sure no one had ever told him about heavy equipment.
Or told him that little boys just love watching such things.
It just happens, naturally I think.
And I don't think I have ever seen a little girl show the same kind of interest in machinery that boys show.
After a bit we pulled  him away, changed him into a swim diaper and spent quality and quantity time in the hot pools around the swimming areas.
(Borrowed from the internet...we didn't have snow but you can see all the hot pools available in the rocky area above the swimming pool.)
Such fun!
Afterwards it was lunch time.
Bernie went to nap.
Luke looked at him prone on the bed.
I asked Luke:
"Do you want to go take a nap with Grandpa?"
He nodded his head firmly, slowly, yes, his eyes locking on mine.
I placed  him next to Bernie under the covers and climbed in myself.
The three of us took the best nap ever.
So perfect.
That night Luke's mom and dad came up and brought the makings of a fresh fish dinner.
We saw the photos from their Oregon adventures.
Good times!
So blessed are we with such lovely times apart and together, near home and a bit afar.
Our last day full day was 9/11.
More swimming, napping, television, reading....
We attended a timeshare "pitch" to up our membership, which we declined.
(Frankly, we can barely use what we already own...and I get really fidgety staying at a resort anyway.  Sometimes I think there is something wrong with me that the thought of staying at a resort in Las Vegas or Florida just creeps me out.  Can't do cruises due to post cruise inner ear issues and why on earth would I want to go to private post Academy Awards parties?  Hollywood folks are icky!)
We spent our last evening strolling through the art galleries on the main street of Park City.
The humble old mountainside mining town hosts the annual Sundance Film Festival; the shops in town carry merchandise to appeal to the uber rich winter visitors.
If one is not careful, one can begin to feel quite poverty stricken as the prices on the artwork for sale is quite eye popping.
Not only could we not sensibly afford the price of the art, we don't even have a house big enough to display a lot of the work.
Oh well.
It is still free to just look and enjoy, right?
(Enjoy one gallery artist's work...his prices were down right modest compared to most!)
We did dinner at a restaurant we had been wanting to try for years (just so-so as it turned out) and then rain began to fall in earnest.
Back in our unit, we lit a fire in the living room, watched a bit of 9/11 history footage, and both felt  oddly unsettled.
Something about watching people say "Oh God...Oh my God" over and over and over again as they watched the twin towers fall bothered me.
Did they really cry out to God?
If I was to find them today, would I find people who worship and serve God now?
I doubt it.
And that troubles me.
So now we are back home, back with our swirling cats that are happy to see us again.
The long hot summer with a record breaking number of 95 degree days has given way to rain and chill.
Home feels good.
Really good.
It is so good to be home, humble art work and all.