When your friend shares she has a Companion Pass for Delta Airlines that has to be used within the next month, you throw a dart at a map and go wherever it lands without hesitation, right? I guess Ruth and I didn't really utilize that technique but we knew we could go pretty much anywhere provided it was 1. within the domestic United States 2. somewhere worth going for only a weekend 3. somewhere with endless adventures/nature 4. somewhere I hadn't been before. Portland, Seattle, and Salt Lake City were the front runners but it was Salt Lake City that stood victorious (see: provision #4). Long Beach -> Salt Lake, here we come!
In reading my blog posts, you'll discover I have a hard time shelling out money for the good life, aka paying for hotels. I have always felt if I spend a lot of money on a hotel, I want to spend time in it. On the contrary, if I don't necessarily like where I'm staying, I am more likely to explore life outside the hotel. So when we decided on"the cheaper the better" option we found ourselves staying at a Chicken Coop... Thanks Airbnb!
Our first night in Sugarbush/Salt Lake City we spent having one too many Fireball shots at Sugar House Pub, one too many trips to Buffalo Wild Wings, and one too many drunk texts sent, resulting in an early morning drive to the nearest gas station for some much needed water and Gatorade, mind you I was sporting my matching flannel pajamas (if only I had matching slippers, too). We drove up to Alta Peak the following day (after a pancake breakfast with one of the worst waitresses ever) but decided against adventuring in the mountains due to the weather (raining a bit too much for our SoCal liking). Back down we went to explore downtown Salt Lake City.
I should mention that the particular weekend we decided to go to SLC, it was the weekend of the General Conference for Mormons. It sure was fascinating to be walking around Temple Square with Mormons from all over the world. I learned a lot and was astonished by the grandeur of the buildings and grounds. From Temple Square we went to one of my favorite outdoor stores: Cotopaxi. After all, they are headquartered in SLC. They're an awesome company that "creates innovative outdoor products and experiences that fund sustainable poverty relief, move people to do good, and inspire adventure." After a bit of a shopping spree we made our way over to Park City, such a great area: shops, restaurants, and bars all surrounded by beautiful mountains. I highly recommend The Spur Bar & Grill for meticulously made Bloody Mary's, Lobster Fritters (basil aioli, watercress, preserved lemon vinaigrette), and the Veg Head sandwich (balsamic marinated grilled portabella, cepponelli mozzarella, roasted red peppers, spinach, grated carrots, pesto aioli, ciabatta) PS. Remember when I warned you guys I was a foodie at heart?! The service was spectacular, too. On the drive back to the Chicken Coop we knew it was going to be an early night; after all, we had a lot of adventure to accomplish before our flight back to SoCal the next day.
And, adventure we did. Back up to the mountains we went, this time with much better weather... or so we thought. The mission was to set out on White Pine Lake in the Lone Peak Wilderness, part of the Wasatch National Forest (9.9 miles; 2,782 feet of gain). We started early surrounded by the most beautiful assortment of Aspens in all hues of green and yellow. Just a couple of hours later I found myself wearing a garbage bag to protect myself from winter wonderland. Note to self: water still falls from the sky even if it doesn't in Southern California. Not necessarily staying dry but rather staying dry enough, we kept going until suddenly the trail was covered in snow. Alas, Mother Nature forced us to turn around. Sure, we didn't make it to our destination but we sure enjoyed the journey along the way. You know what they say... "The mountains will always be there, the trick is to make sure you are too." Since we had to be back to work Monday morning, we could not run the risk of getting lost in Wasatch! I must say, it was quite nice watching the snow fall while warming up, drying off, and enjoying a hot cup o' Joe at Alta Lodge.
One more thing you will come to learn about me: I am a HUGE Buffalo Bills fan (despite the "Buffalo Curse"). Since Mother Nature kicked us off the mountain early, we were able to watch the Bills win at Bourbon House, a speakeasy type establishment in Downtown Salt Lake. And then it was back to Long Beach we went. All in all, Salt Lake was the perfect spontaneous weekend destination. Make sure you stop at the Patagonia Outlet for some "souvenirs." Special shout out to Ruth for the adventure. Looking forward to the next one!!