Friday, August 30, 2013

jackson, wyoming - day 2

On the recommendation of both a work friend of mine and the front desk clerk at the Angler's Inn, we walked to the Bunnery (130 N. Cache St.) for breakfast Sunday morning, getting there right before the 8 a.m. rush for tables.  I had biscuits and gravy and crispy hash browns; H had a breakfast burrito.  Everything was very tasty but we didn't linger long over coffee as we were heading up to Grand Teton National Park.

The Grand Teton dominating the Teton Range

Our first stop was the Craig Thomas Visitor Center at the park's south entrance for a map and a quick orientation before heading north along the Teton Park Road.  We backtracked a little on the scenic one-way drive along the shore of Jennie Jenny Lake, then popped into the Jennie Jenny Lake visitor center which was quite busy.  There are some easy hikes around the lake, some of which made even easier if you pay for the shuttle boat across the lake, which cuts two miles off.  We decided to put our boots on and go clockwise all the way around the lake, an 8-ish mile jaunt.  No boat for us.

Looking at Cascade Canyon across Jenny Lake

High spot on the Jenny Lake Loop Trail

This is a nice trail, rolling up and down with mostly soft, packed-dirt footing, in and out of the trees that ring the lake.  We ended up doing 1,000 feet of climbing due to a couple of detours but the only thing strenuous is the length of the walk.  On the west side of the lake, we took a side trip up to the 200-foot Hidden Falls; they're not that hidden, as pretty much everyone getting off the shuttle boat was making the 1.2 mile RT for a viewing.  Other than around the west side boat dock, we really didn't see many people.  We did get close to three osprey perched in the dead trees in an old burn scar.  We did the 8.21 mile loop (plus waterfall) in 2:52 with an average speed of 2.9.  We haven't done many hikes over 7 miles lately and both of us had sore feet by the end of it.

At the north end of Jennie Lake

A snack and a couple of beers in the parking lot (and a sighting of a doe with still-spotted twins) cured what ailed us and we continued on up the Park Road to the northern end of Jackson Lake, stopping in to check out Leeks Marina, Jackson Lake Lodge and Coulter Bay.  There was a possible cow elk sighting (although H thinks it was just a big mule deer doe) and confirmed pronghorns and bison, but no moose.  The clouds started gathering along the Teton Range as the afternoon wore on and it did start to rain when we were exploring the Cunningham cabin historic site.  We were pretty much done with the GTNP for the day, though, so it didn't dampen our enthusiasm any.

Weather rolling in

After cleaning up at the motel, we walked to El Abuelito (385 W. Broadway) for dinner, another front desk clerk recommendation.  I had pollo en mole, tasty with a sweetish flavor and served with homemade tortillas, and H went with a burrito verde.  It wasn't the very best Mexican I've ever had but they did have very good and enormous margaritas.

Downpour on the western shore of Jackson Lake

We again swung through town on the way back, this time stopping in at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar for a beer.  This place is a hoot, tourist trap / local joint / biker bar all wrapped up in one, with a touch of Vegas to boot.  It's been a fixture in Jackson since 1937 and the decor alone is fabulous: real silver dollars embedded in the three bars, saddles topping the bar stools, ferocious taxidermied critters and knobbled pine beams.  They don't have any beers on tap - too much of a hassle since they're extremely busy - but they did have Snake River micros in cans on hand and that suited us just fine.

Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, baby!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

jackson, wyoming - day 1

Our wedding anniversary was last Sunday and to celebrate we went to Jackson, Wyoming.  It's not that bad a drive from SLC in the summertime - just about 4.5 hours, although the way we went was through some canyons that I wouldn't want to do in the wintertime - so we dropped B off at the kennel at 8 a.m. Saturday morning and hit the road.  The road before Hobart, WY, is really pretty, following the Snake River's twists and turns.  We found a spot where we could get down to the river and paused for a good 45 minutes there, drinking a couple of beers and waving at the rafters and kayakers as they cued up to enter the Taco Hole.  Although the forecast for the area had not been great (afternoon thunderstorms with a 40% chance of rain), we were in the sunshine and managed to spot osprey, hawks and a bald eagle.

Snake River sunny spot

We got to Jackson proper around 1 p.m.  We checked into our motel, the Angler's Inn, but since the room wasn't quite ready, we left the truck and wandered into town to check things out.  Jackson is tiny and imminently walkable; our motel was on the northwest edge of town and only three blocks from the town center.  We stopped at the visitors' center first to buy our annual national park pass, then strolled south to town.  The place was swarming with tourists so we ducked into the Town Tavern for a couple of beers and some mediocre food.  After walking a little more, we were able to get into our room.  We unloaded and then drove out of town a bit to Jackson Hole.  Orientation: the town is Jackson; the whole valley is Jackson Hole, as is the large ski resort out of town; the village at the Jackson Hole ski resort is Teton Village.

Jackson Hole

Although pricey ($32/pp), we bought tickets for the tram ride to the top of Rendezvous Mountain, towering over the resort at 10,450 feet.  Now, this is the same height as the Supreme lift at Alta but since the JH base is at 6,311 feet, there's a 4,139 vertical rise.  Alta's base is at 8,530 feet with a vertical rise of 2,020 feet.  There's a LOT of skiing to be had at JH. We walked around for a while at the top, opting not to walk back down to the base since I had shortsightedly worn my Keens which were hardly good footwear for a 7 mile hike.  The views off the summit were just amazing, especially since the gathering clouds had not yet clustered over the summit of the Grand Teton looming out of the national park just to the north.

View of Grand Teton from Rendezvous Mtn. summit

With the weather moving in, we went back to town and walked six blocks south to the Snake River Brewery for dinner.  I had their Snake River Pale Ale and H went with Pako's IPA.  The beers are fantastic, light, full of flavor and not bitter.  The food was equally good: H had a sliced brisket sandwich with carmelized onions, cheese, bacon and horseradish sauce; I had an incredible warm beet salad, with red and golden roasted beets, grapefruit wedges, crumbled bacon, gorgonzola, candied walnuts and radish sprouts.  So tasty!

Sure wish that tram tower had a bigger base!

We took a detour back through the center of town, noticing that the tourist hordes seemed to have called it an early night.  We did too, getting back to the room around 10 p.m. to get ready for the next day.

Motel-sweet-home for the next few days

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

posting to resume shortly

We're back from a long weekend in Jackson, Wyoming, hence the disappearance from this here blog.  Starting tomorrow, we'll get started on relating our adventures and sharing our photos.  The weather wasn't perfect but it was better than we'd hoped - I thought we weren't going to be able to see the Grand Tetons at all.  But we were and they're spectacular:

See you tomorrow!

Monday, August 19, 2013

mule hollow

We were keeping our eyes on the weather Saturday - thunderstorms scheduled to roll in in the afternoon - so when we picked out a hike, we picked a short one that stayed pretty low as summits and ridges are not where you want to be in a thunderstorm. H found Mule Hollow on our map and then in our book, Hiking the Wasatch.

The sky above Mule Hollow

We drove up Big Cottonwood Canyon about 3.2 miles, pulling into the parking area above Storm Mountain, just after the new bridge.  The trail, on the north side of the road, was baking in the sun and started going up immediately over clinky, shale-y slide debris.  We followed a dry creek bed up the narrow canyon, crossing the creek numerous times and staying in the shade under the trees for most of the way.  A little way up we found a cairn, and another trail going off to the side; we met some kids who said there was some good rock climbing up above the talus field up there.

Tracks to nowhere

We stayed on the main trail which was very overgrown due to lack of use; we weren't bushwhacking per se, but in spots we wondered if we'd gotten off onto a game trail.  The trail ends at the ruins of an old mine, at about 7200 feet.  The canyon continued further up, but very steeply and with no real trail to follow, so we thought this would do just fine as a turnaround point.  The view back the way we came was spectacular, looking at Stairs Gulch across Big Cottonwood Canyon.

That's Stairs Gulch off behind us

The hike was only 1.25 miles up, which took us 45 minutes because it was so steep (gaining nearly 1300 feet in that distance); it took us a little less time coming back down, but we had to step carefully because the loose footing was treacherous in spots.  Back at the car with the storm clouds building in earnest above us, we agreed that this little jaunt had been perfect for the day: a new hike to a new place and just enough exercise to merit sharing a pizza and a pitcher at the Porcupine, conveniently located at the bottom of BCC.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

2013 tour of utah - stage 6

Jens and me

Stage 6 (8/11/13), Park City to Park City, 78 miles, 7,633 foot elevation gain.  Sunday was the final day of the 2013 Tour of Utah.  As we did last year, we got really organized and went MTBing at Round Valley before we watched the race.  I had a pretty good ride, managing to go up yet another hitherto unridden switchback, which means I can now do fourteen of the Sweet Sixteen on our route.  Woohoo!  We got rained on for a little bit on the way back, just enough to smear the dust on our legs and put some unwanted humidity in the air.  We had parked the truck at the high school so when we finished our ride and cleaned up, we were able to hop right on a shuttle bus to take us in town.

Tommy D. getting the crowd going at the finish

Park City was packed with people: folks there to watch the race, people enjoying Park Silly and some bewildered tourists who had stumbled into the madness.  We got sandwiches from the deli on Main Street and snarfed them down whilst people- and dog-watching, then made our way down the street to score spectator spots at the fence just after the finish line.  We couldn't see any televisions but we could hear the play-by-play as more and more people crammed in around us.

Winner of the 2013 ToU

The stage route started at Park City, went out to Heber and Midway, then up and over Empire Pass and down what the cyclists had ridden up on Saturday on their way to Big Cottonwood Canyon, with a slight uphill finish on Main Street.  After narrowly losing the stage win the day before, Tommy Danielson was not about to miss out this day: he charged up the hill, leaving his teammates and Chris Horner behind, and caught Paco Mancebo (5-Hour Energy/Spain) and Janier Acevedo (Janis/Columbia) on the descent.  At one point, these guys were going 70 m.p.h. - absolute insanity.

Stage 6 podium

Mancebo won the stage with Acevedo taking second.  Tommy D. got third on the day but his grin lit up the town because he had put enough time on the rest of the general classification to win the whole enchilada.  The crowd roared as he crossed the finish line, waving his arms.  Actually, the crowd roared for everyone as the cyclists finished up.

RadioShack enjoying their champagne

We were positioned well enough that we only had to turn around and walk straight ahead to get to the stage for the awards presentations.  Various winners got fancy watches, gift baskets, champagne, High West whiskey and vodka, Sierra Nevada beer and trophies.  Tommy D. was grinning like a madman the whole time and gave a very gracious interview.
General classification podium

Stage podium:  Francisco ("Paco") Mancebo, Janier Acevedo, Tommy D.  General classification:  Tommy D., Chris Horner, Janier Acevedo.  Team standings: RadioShack, UnitedHealthcare, BMC.  Sprinter: Michael Matthews.  King of the Mountain: Michael Torkler (Bissell/New Zealand).  Most Aggressive: Paco Mancebo.  Best Young Rider:  Lachlan Morton.

GC podium enjoying their Sierra Nevada

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

2013 tour of utah - stage 5

Stage 5 (8/10/13), Snowbasin to Snowbird, 113 miles, 10, 611 foot elevation gain.  Saturday morning we had a little time before we wanted to go up to Snowbird to watch the finish of Stage 5, so H was able to do a road ride and I went for a run from the house - I haven't been doing many hills since I restarted running after ski season and I must have looked like I was suffering terribly because every single runner/dog-walker/cyclist that I saw gave me a big grin and a wave.

After we got cleaned up, we made some sandwiches and tossed some PBRs in the cooler, heading up to Snowbird around 12:30 p.m.  They were going to close the road for the race at 2 p.m. and people were already lining the road at Tanners Flat and pouring into the resort parking lots.  We cruised through the vendor tents, picking up a few more stickers for our theoretical beer fridge, before scoring a picnic table on the Snowbird deck for our lunch.  We chatted for a while with a local guy who'd come up to pick up his Snowbird pass and check out the bike race, then went back to the race area, finding spots on the fence across from the Jumbotron.  We couldn't see the finish line live but we could see it on the screen and we would end up getting a great view of the cyclists as they charged down the alley.

Chris Horner taking the stage from Tommy D.

Stage 5 is really brutal.  It started at Snowbasin, descending through Mountain Green to East Canyon reservoir, then over to Park City and up and over Guardsman's Pass to descend all the way down Big Cottonwood Canyon for the first time in ToU history.  The route then turned up Wasatch Boulevard to Little Cottonwood Canyon and the grueling slog up-up-up to Snowbird.  A couple of cyclists led over the pass and through the descent, only to blow up on the climb up Wasatch Boulevard; the GC leader, young Lachlan Morton held onto his yellow jersey until they started climbing up LCC and then he too blew up.

Stage podium

At this point, Tommy Danielson, who had been supporting Lachlan, realized that he had a shot and just went for it.  Chris Horner jumped on Tommy's back wheel and stayed there all the way up.  They were neck and neck as they turned into Entry 2 and the straightaway to the finish line but Horner's legs were just that much less tired and he jumped ahead of Tommy D. right at the end in front of all the cheering fans.  (Horner did have the good graces to give Tommy credit for pulling him all the way up the canyon in the post-race interview.)

Stage 5 jersey winners (buncha skinny guys)

Stage podium:  Chris Horner (RadioShack/US), Tommy Danielson (Garmin-Sharp/US), Yannick Eijissen (BMC/Belgium).  General classification:  Chris Horner, Tommy D., Lucas Euser.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

2013 tour of utah - stage 4

Stage 4 (8/9/13), Salt Lake City circuit, 33.8 miles total/5 laps, 3,550 foot elevation gain.  Stage 4 was Friday night in SLC so we thought we'd make a date night out of it.  H drove me in to work in the morning, then came back at 4:30 p.m. so we could park in my work garage and walk up to the Capitol where the start/finish was.  There was a good crowd there, wandering through the vendor village, lining up along the 11% grade hill from South Temple to the Capitol, clustering around the start line.  We timed it right to catch a quick interview with Jens Voigt who was funny and charming as always: when asked what it was like growing up in Berlin Wall-era East Germany, he smiled, saying "We thought it was you behind the Iron Curtain!"

Some of the Garmin boys, including Tommy D. 

The last time the ToU did this city circuit, it was in the middle of the day (read: wicked hot) and the racers were doing eleven laps.  This time it was cooler in the early evening and the boys would only have to do five laps: from the Capitol up towards City Creek Canyon, through the Avenues, down past the University of Utah, west on South Temple and then up that terrible State Street hill to the start.

Jens Voigt (RadioShack), grinding it out

 The stage began right at 5:30 p.m., the peloton surging up and into the canyon.  After the riders cleared out, H and I walked to the fences at the top of the State Street hill (standing next to a family who had unfurled a big "Jens Voigt for Governor" sign) where we could watch the racers as they crested the hill.  Jens was at the front of the pack after the first lap but faded back into the peloton after that.  We stayed there for four laps and then went back to the straightaway to the finish; we couldn't get close to the finish line itself but we were right there as the riders came flying around the last corner, heading for home.

GC leader Lachlan Morton (and his ridiculous mustache)

Stage podium:  Michael Matthews, Greg Van Avermaet, Jasper Stuyven.  General classification:  Lachlan Morton, Greg Van Avermaet, Lucas Euser.

Stage 4 podium

After the race, we stopped in at the Bar X for a beer, then headed to the Campfire Lounge for dinner (fish taco for me; bratwurst for H; basket of tater tots to share) and a couple more beers.  We got seats at the bar right away but it got busy quickly and service was pretty slow.  Still, for $29 (including tip) it makes for a cheap and tasty date night.

Monday, August 12, 2013

2013 tour of utah - stages 1, 2 and 3

It's early August and that means it's time for the Tour of Utah!  The event organizers got smart this year and took the ToU down to gorgeous southern Utah for a couple of stages which had never been done before; that meant we didn't get to see as many stages but it spotlighted some pretty spectacular scenery and gave the cyclists some good roads to ride.  There were not quite as many superstars in attendance this year, mostly from aging out and retiring like George Hincapie and Levi Leipheimer, but there were some - Chris Horner, Tommy Danielson, Jens Voigt, Paco Mancebo, Dave Zabriskie - as well as lots of riders on the rise.

Stage 1 (8/6/13), Brian Head-Cedar City, 112 miles, 5,748 foot elevation gain.  This stage originated at Brian Head, rode through the Cedar Breaks National Monument, Cedar Canyon and parts of the Dixie National Forest, ending up with a couple of laps around Cedar City.  The podium finishers were all very young: Greg Van Avermaet (Team: BMC/Nationality: Belgium), Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge/Australia) and Tyler Magner (Hincapie Sportswear/US).

Stage 2 (8/7/13), Panguitch-Torrey, 131 miles, 9,877 foot elevation gain.  This stage was just stunning, running from Bryce Canyon National Park to Capitol Reef National Park.  It followed Rte. 12, the "Journey Through Time" scenic byway (which H and I have yet to do), through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, then up and over Boulder Mountain, passing right by our Singletree campground on the descent into tiny Torrey.  Stage podium: Michael Matthews, Greg Van Avermaet, Jasper Stuyven (Bontrager/Belgium).  General classification: Michael Matthews, Greg Van Avermaet, Christopher Jones (UnitedHealthcare/US).

Stage 3 (8/8/13), Richfield to Payson, 119 miles, 6,202 foot elevation gain.  Coming northward, stage 3 was up and over Mt. Nebo, topping out at 9,300 feet at the summer.  One of the announcers rode the stage in the morning before the racers were let loose; his comment was "There are cows in the road!"  There are always cows in the road on Mt. Nebo since the area is open range.  Sometimes there are so many cows in the road that you have to stop and wait for them to move along.  Luckily there were no cattle-related crashes for the riders on their speedy descent.  Stage podium: Lachlan Morton (Garmin-Sharp/Australia), Greg Van Avermaet, Lucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare/US).  General classification:  Lachlan Morton, Greg Van Avermaet, Lucas Euser.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

hell on wheels

Mixing things up a little bit, we went MTBing at Round Valley on Saturday late morning.  The traffic into Park City was a bit heavier than usual, probably due in part to the Park City Kimball Arts Festival going on.  The trails were not at all crowded, however, and I was able to show off my mad skillz learned at MTB camp.  H said that I did seem to be descending faster than I have; I worked very hard at keeping my elbows out, shifting my weight correctly, and looking where I wanted to go.  I did manage to ride up one switchback in the Sweet Sixteen series that I have never been able to ride up before (one of the rocky ones) and I'm pretty sure I can do another one too, but my legs were tired so I had to put my foot down.  I'll get it next time.

Here's a completely ridiculous video of me for your entertainment.  I shouldn't be in such a granny gear for where we are but I'd just finished climbing my nemesis hill and hadn't shifted yet.  Yes, I am a total dork:

The reason we rode Saturday was because H wanted to go out to Miller Motorsports Park on Sunday to watch the AMA Pro Road Racing motorcycle races.  I can only handle about an hour and a half of really fast motorized vehicles driving in circles so I opted out and did my Catherine's Area loop.  H, however, watched four races: Harley-Davidson 8 laps/25 miles, SportBike 16 laps/50 miles, SuperBike 16 laps/50 miles and SuperSport 13 laps/40 miles.

These guys are absolutely nuts, driving nearly 200 m.p.h. and leaning waaaaaaay over on the turns so that their steel-plated knees and elbows often brush the asphalt.  Because they lean over so far, and because they're covered in steel plates, when they do crash, it's often just a slip and slide into the gravel.  H saw three crashes that afternoon, only one of which seemed to require medical attention, thank goodness.

I may not be able to appreciate motorcycle racing but I can appreciate the fact that Miller Motorsports Park is pretty scenic, centered in the Tooele Valley and surrounded by mountains.

Monday, August 5, 2013


We are dedicated in our determination to find a decent BBQ place in Utah.  Friday night we tried a new joint, R & R Barbecue (307 West 600 South, SLC) and were pleased to rank it up at the top of the BBQ restaurants we've attempted out here.  I believe they started as a catering/competition operation - they will cater parties of fifty or more in Salt Lake, Utah and Weber Counties, plus Park City - but this is their first storefront.  It's located out of the city center just a bit but right off an exit from I-15, so that's convenient for those of us coming from the south.

I forgot to photograph the food before we
inhaled it - but here's the restaurant at least

The space is clean and high-ceilinged, with menus and BBQ manifestos painted on the dark walls.  There were a few tables seated when we got there a little before 8 p.m.; by the time we left, the inside tables were nearly filled and a couple of people were sitting at one of the outside picnic tables.

The menu is straightforward, with sandwiches (pulled pork, chopped brisket and sliced brisket), combo plates (pulled pork, sliced or chopped brisket, pork spare ribs, a quarter chicken), burgers and wings.  The sides include the standards (red beans and rice, smoked baked beans, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw) and the up-sells (hush puppies, fried okra, fries).  I ordered the chopped brisket sandwich with a side of the okra while H went with a 2-meat combo, chopped brisket and pulled pork, with mac and cheese.  The chopped brisket was delicious, really very good, moist and flavorful and not at all fatty.  H reported that the pork was a little fatty in spots - that could be easily remedied with a little attention during the pulling process.  The mac and cheese was thick and creamy and the fried okra was simply fantastic although a little on the skimpy side for an extra $3.50.  They sell bottled beers from both Wasatch and Uinta breweries so we each had a Full Suspension.  The homemade sauces were a little sweet for our taste but were not served on the meat (which is what I like - I dislike BBQ drowning in sauce); we liked the spicy one the best but it was not all that hot.  We ate everything on our plates and chatted a little with the owner who was making the rounds, checking in on the diners as he kept the tables tidy.

Suggestions we would make include serving cornbread instead of dinner rolls as an accompaniment (although Utahns sure do like their dinner rolls), slightly increasing the size of the sides, adding smoked sausage to the menu and playing blues music over the restaurant speakers.  Other than those quite minor quibbles, however, R & R Barbecue is as good as we've found for Utah BBQ.  It ain't like going to Memphis, but it'll scratch the SLC BBQ itch for sure.

Friday, August 2, 2013

trek dirt series mountainbike camp - day 2

Day 2 of camp, Sunday, began back at Jans Mountain Outfitters.  While noshing on bagels and coffee, I collected my camp swag (a pound of whole bean coffee, cool t-shirt and a bunch of stickers for the still-hypothetical beer fridge) and entered my name in the raffle.  They were giving away some pretty great prizes: a full face downhill helmet, a regular bike helmet, pedals, a jersey and messenger bag, shoes, gift certificate for online shopping and a laptop case/biking gloves/bike socks grouping.  I didn't win anything but then again I never do (I entered for the laptop case/gloves/socks package.  What do I need a full face helmet for?)

The morning gathering at Jans

After the raffle, group stretching and morning announcements at the shop, we went back to the Canyons base area for our morning skills sessions.  Based on what I had selected the night before, I was doing switchbacks and front wheel lifts.  There were several women in these groups whom I'd done skills with on Saturday and Amy J., with whom I'd done both skills and the afternoon ride; we would end up on the Sunday ride together too, meaning we spent the entire camp together.  My coach for both skills sessions was this adorable teeny French Canadian woman, Audrey, who is a ski instructor in Alberta during the winter season.  Her control on a MTB was nothing short of amazing.

Volunteers setting up stunts

For switchbacks, we had a couple of ropes laid out on the asphalt, outlining a curvy track slightly wider than your average Park City singletrack.  The trick to navigating switchbacks successfully is where you look: going into the corner you look at its apex, then just as your bike gets to the apex you turn your head (and thus your torso and hips and thus your bike) and look at the exit.  This is trickier than it sounds and, incredibly, it was slightly scary trying to keep my bike within the confines of the "trail."  The whole line-of-sight thing totally works though, and once we had started to master it, Audrey put a half-log in our track so we'd have to go over it in addition to navigating the switchbacks; later, she'd add small rocks to make things more complicated.  By the end of it, I felt pretty good about what I was doing.

The front wheel lifts were more challenging.  The advanced campers who signed up for front wheel lifts were learning to do wheelies.  We, on the other hand, were just trying to get up and over half-logs using a "quarter-punch," a short, sharp pedal stroke.  My timing was appalling and I kept getting stuck, over and over again, on the damn log.  Audrey was extremely patient - with all of us - offering specific, constructive criticism as we struggled through the drills.

Practicing switchbacks 

At lunch, Amy J. and I were told that instead of doing the Group 2 cross-country ride, we'd been bumped up to the Group 3 cross-country ride.  That made us feel (a) good because we hadn't found the Saturday trail ride terribly challenging and (b) nervous because who wants to go from being the best ones in the group to being the worst ones in the group?  We needn't have worried.  There were five of us campers total, plus Audrey again, plus our volunteer sweeper, and we started at Park City Mountain Resort.  We started up on Jenni's Trail, which H and I had hiked last fall and which climbed steadily, on smooth packed dirt, for about 45 minutes.  At the trail junction, we switched to a more up-and-down trail that was a little rockier, then segued to more ups and more rocks before turning around, backtracking a bit and then descending.  I did really well on the climbing, then struggled some on the rocky bits.

We sessioned several spots, including a quick downhill switchback series with tree roots and a fairly technical rocky section.  Audrey was great, specific and encouraging, and yet never pushy even when several of us (me included) decided something was too far out of our comfort zone.  We did have to cut a switchback once when a moose refused to get off the trail; that was the one time I fell off my bike, since I ended up riding into a small ditch that I couldn't quite ride out of.  I got some bruises and minor scrapes out of it but nothing too bloody.

Back at our cars, we filled out comment cards, thanked Audrey and loaded our MTBs back into our various vehicles.  On the drive back to SLC through Parleys Canyon, I felt pretty good about my weekend.  I'd been nervous at the start, but everything was very safe and very supportive.  I learned a ton and could only hope that I retained more than half of it.  The Trek Dirt Series is a great women's MTB camp and I'm super glad I did it.  Apparently at least half of the campers repeat for at least another year - I might just have to sign up for this again.

P.S.  As I mentioned, I hope to add some better photos at some point once the camp shares them.