Monday, September 9, 2013

visitor from back east

We had a good friend from Portland, Maine, visiting us last week: Paul, who came out to do some hiking and MTBing with us (if the monsoon season weather allowed) from Wednesday until Sunday.  I didn't have available time off to hike with the boys during the week, and H didn't take any photos, but I'll share with you what went on anyway.

Wednesday.  Paul got in around midday.  His brother, who lives in Arizona, was also in town for business, so to fill the hours before I got out of work and we could all meet the brother for dinner, H and Paul took a hike up to Bells Canyon.  P had come straight from sea level and Bells Canyon is a steep hike once it gets going, so they just went up for a while, admiring the looming cliffs overhead, and then came back down.  We ended up meeting Paul's brother at Market Street Grill in Cottonwood Heights.  Market Street is a seafood restaurant that apparently also has fantastic brunches.  H and I had never been there - coming from Maine as we have, it's difficult to want to eat seafood in the desert - so it was nice to try something new.  The restaurant is enormous and the service is very good.  I had a tilapia piccata; H and P's brother had a planked salmon special; Paul had a steak.  The food is fine, and in fact probably very good for out here.  It's just that when your favorite seafood place is Street & Company, there's really nothing that can beat that.

Thursday.  I went off to work and the boys went off to the mountains, knocking off the White Pine Lake hike in Little Cottonwood Canyon.  Despite this being an incredibly popular hike on the weekends, there were scarcely any people there on Thursday morning.  The lake level is low, but higher than the last time H and I hiked up there.  They saw a pika and lots of fish jumping in the lake.  After the hike, they checked out Snowbird, intrigued by the Aerie's "$3 Drafts Daily" sign.  Unfortunately, it was only 3:00 p.m. and the Aerie doesn't open until 5:00 p.m., so they were out of luck.  The views from up there were fantastic, though.  We had dinner at home that night - homemade tacos eaten out on the patio - and I got to catch up with Paul and hear about their day.  Bedtime was fairly early: they'd done a long but not too steep hike this day and had a shorter but steeper one planned for the next.

Friday.  On Friday, the boys went up to Lake Blanche.  This hike was much busier than the day before's and they marveled at the ill-preparedness of many of the other hikers: inappropriate footwear like boat shoes and flipflops, too small or no water bottles, no outerwear for possible inclement weather.  Paul appreciated the dramatic peaks surrounding Lakes Blanche, Lilian and Florence; he also appreciated using the hiking poles for the descent.  After we all got home and were getting ready for dinner, some crazy weather moved in quickly: strange-looking low clouds that filled the valley, completely hiding the mountains and foothills all around; a storm was moving in from the west, high winds pushing moisture, desert dust and Great Salt Lake stink into the valley; by the time dinner was over, it had rained and those weird clouds dispersed.  Dinner that night was up at Lucky 13, by the way.  We got seats at the bar and the fastest service to date: H had the Celestial burger (house-cured bacon, grilled onions, cheddar and BBQ sauce), Paul had the Bacon Stinky (bacon and blue cheese) and I had the Ol' Man (roasted jalapenos, grilled onions and Swiss).  Those grilled onions are glorious and the jalapenos ... I was feeling the burn but it was well worth it.

Saturday.  Our weather-luck finally ran out on Saturday.  We'd intended to take Paul to Round Valley for MTBing but it just wasn't in the cards.  We still went to Park City, though, and walked around town a little bit, then walked on the R.V. trails a little too, in between the sprinkles.  We went home via Guardsman Pass as the clouds thickened and darkened. By the time we got back to the house, a big ol' thunderstorm was shaking the valley. so we got some beers and some snacks and sat in the garage, watching the storm roll through.  Dinner that night was carry-out pizza and we hung out in the kitchen, shooting the breeze and recapping Paul's visit - over already but lots of fun.

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