Most recently, we had an excellent reason for staying off the trails: we had visitors from back east, in town for just a couple days. For years we skied, canoed, had chili cookoffs and drank beer with Jim and Irene, some of the founding members with us of the "Quiet Dan Ski Club" in greater Bethel, Maine. Every winter weekend the QDSC would meet for first chair at the Barker lift at Sunday River. We (there was a small pack of us, including me, H, Jim, Irene, Kent, Andy, Jim C. and, of course, our fearless leader, Quiet Dan) would ski together and then, when done for the day, head to the Sunday River Brewing Company (a/k/a "the Brewpub," now under new management) where we were all mug club members. In the summers, the QDSC canoed on the Androscoggin River, had cook-outs and hung out at the brewpub.
H and I have not been able to get back up to Bethel on our few trips back to Maine and so it has been about eight years since we've seen Jim and Irene. When they proposed driving to SLC from Fort Collins, Colorado, where they were visiting family, we were thrilled that they would be willing to make that trip. They showed up at our house Saturday afternoon; we introduced them to Utah beers and went to the Porcupine for dinner; we packed a cooler and drove up to Snowbird's Cool Air Concert (Too Slim and the Taildraggers, southern blues/rock). Sunday morning we all breakfasted on the deck at the Silver Fork, then drove up to Brighton and over Guardsman Pass* to Park City. We couldn't linger since there were other local friends of theirs who were anxious to see them. So about twenty-four hours after they arrived, we hugged them goodbye and handed them off. Hopefully it won't be another eight years until we see them again.
* New this summer at Guardsman Pass: there are newly installed barriers right at the top of the pass, prohibiting people from parking on both sides of the road. It was MUCH easier to navigate two-way traffic when there were vehicles only parked on one side. Bravo to whoever did that - thank you!