Saturday, July 13, 2013

a little more hiking, a little more biking

Our Saturday and Sunday were largely similar to our Thursday and Friday.  I went back up to Alta for my Catherine's loop while H did another road ride.  It was cooler, although humid up the canyon because of all rain (and the flash flood damage on the sides of Little Cottonwood Canyon road was impressive).  There were not as many people hiking around in Albion Basin as there had been on the 4th and I only passed 14 people on my way up to Catherine's Pass.  The wildflowers are really coming on strong now: the lupine were just about at their peak and the columbine seemed to have popped up all over since just a couple days prior.

Moose crossing

I was on my way down, cruising down the wide path that meanders under the Sunnyside chairlift, when I came upon a group of people standing and taking photographs off to the left: a mother and (large) baby moose were a ways off the trail, enjoying the lush summertime greenery.  We watched them for a while and then, as they moved off, so did we.  But the trail curved around to the left and the moose were heading off to the right, so we all stopped and waited for them to cross the trail and move away.  The moose took their time doing so, not in any hurry because the vegetation was so delicious.  As always, it was a nice treat, getting to see these massive critters up so close.  (My photos are mediocre at best because I only had my phone and you just don't want to get too close to moose.)

The moose are loose in Sunnyside

For something different, I suggested that we go up to Snowbasin for MTBing on Sunday.  Like the last time we did this, the weather was perfect: sunny and 70s.  We did the same foothills trails we did before - Needles, Green Pond Loop, Last Chance - again opting not to take the gondola up and ride the downhill trails, which put too much pressure on the hands and wrists, and which tend to be terrifying.  The Snowbasin trails are just beautiful and while I still struggle on the rocks (and Snowbasin is a lot more rocky than Round Valley), I didn't fall over once - a huge improvement from the 6+ crashes in 2011.

Getting ready to hit the trails at Snowbasin

The only issue came when H, riding ahead of me, missed the Green Pond Loop cutoff, continuing up the jeep road; I was pushing my bike up the hill and saw the trail sign, and took the trail.  I figured he was just up ahead of me and kept going, cursing at the rocky parts and enjoying dirt parts.  I was in the woods, almost at the pond when H finally called me, worried, wondering where I was, saying: "I'm back at the truck - where are you?" We figured out where he'd missed the trail and I sat down under a tree to wait for him to get back out to me.

The oldest continuously-operating bar
west of the Mississippi

Although Snowbasin was having a cookout and live music that afternoon, we headed over to the Shooting Star Saloon in Huntsville. It's been under new ownership for a couple of years now and while the menu and decor haven't changed, they're now open seven days a week.  There were a number of other customers in the place - bikers, young couples, older folks - and we sat at the bar, devouring burgers and beers.  And that's how you do a mellow long holiday weekend from your home, outdoors as much as you can, on two feet and two wheels whenever possible.

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