Monday, April 30, 2012

Solitary Trio

There's still a lot of snow on the shady sections of the upper trails.  I've been trying over the last couple of years to find more private trails ~ ones that I can run along and let my mind wander; clear my head.  Where I don't have to worry about getting run over by a bicycle or running into a bunch of people, like many of the trails that are closer to the City of Salt.

I went to one of my favorite spots with the dogs this weekend ~ near Park City.  I like to think of the area as my backyard, even though it takes about 30 minutes to drive there.  I rarely see very many people there, because it is in a housing development high up in the mountains, and only a few residents ever use the trails in that area.

So as I got about a mile and a half up the trail, I looked to my left along the main trail and it was covered in about 8 feet of snow from the prevailing winds.  I hopped through the brush to the west-face of the ridge where there is a nice little historic trail ~ very little used and few people travel on it.  It was covered with just a skiff of snow and was pretty easy-going.

The prevailing winds from the west were brisk at about 15 mph, and the temperature was a lot cooler than I had anticipated ~ the stellar sunshine fooled me into thinking it was in the 60s, but I think it was only in the 40s up on the ridge top.  I really was quite underdressed in shorts and a light windbreaker.

I took respite from the wind behind a big piled up rock cairn on one of the peaks.  I made the dogs snuggle in close to me so that I could get warm and we took in the views all around.  I could see one person on the trail far below us and wondered if he or she would turn back at the slippery, steep section of the trail.

We skipped back down from the peak to the main trail, which had a couple of really slick spots of crusted snow.  Only about 20 feet across and my feet hit dirt again.  Managed to get down the slippery, steep section of trail without falling to meet up with the person we had seen below ~ a very nice lady in her mid-50s.  She greeted the dogs as I concentrated on the technical section (the dogs made it down like it was a piece of cake, the little goats that they are) and I stopped to talk with the woman for a few minutes and tell her that getting to the peak was well worth it for the views on this fine day.

There were several groups of people walking the main canyon road, but the one woman was the only person I saw on the trail.  There are really some gorgeous, solitary trails around, if you are willing to look a bit and do a little bit of exploring.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Marathon Madness

First hot day in SLC ~ 80 degrees.
Today was the ninth annual Salt Lake City Marathon.  Although I'm happy for many of my friends who ran and completed the marathon, half-marathon, and bike events, I've gotta tell you that I'm really quite displeased with this event.

Every year, the event "boxes me in" to my neighborhood.  This year was no exception.  I wish I had snapped a photo of the cop whose car I pulled around, rolled down my window, and told him that I was on my way to the Madsen Clinic near the University Hospital.  He told me that I had to turn around and go to I-80 (a good 10 miles round-about out of the way route) instead of merely crossing the street and proceeding on my way.

I drove past him, and encountered the next group of cops a block later.  When I pled my case and showed my ID badge, he laughed and told me the "hospital was closed today, didn't they tell you?"  and turned to his buddy, who was on a motorcycle.

The motorcycle cop was the cool guy.  "I'll escort you to 700 East, but after that, you're on your own... " and we got up to the area where hundreds (hundreds... ) of runners were streaming out of Liberty Park.  He looked over his shoulder and put up his hand, "Are you ready?"  I waved that I was ready.
My own bit of Solitude.

And we darted through the runners, crossing the street.  Frankly, I'm surprised I didn't hit anyone.  It was not a very safe situation.  But it was my first (and likely only... ) motorcycle police escort.  Shoot, I felt kind of foolish.  But it seems that I'm put in this situation every year.  I wasn't even supposed to work this weekend, but another one of the Nurse Practitioners was out of town visiting her family back east and I was happy to pick up some extra hours.

Each year, I say, "Never again.  Never again will I try to leave my house during the marathon."  But how ridiculous is that?  Cutting off access to thousands of people who live in this area because of a race?  There has got to be a better way.  Can't they build some sort of runners' bridge or something?  So that cars can get through on a couple of critical points so that they can get from one side of the city to the other?  What if there was an emergency?  I sure hope they let the fire trucks and the ambulances through.

After work, (thankfully I got home, at 12:20 the last of the participants were straggling through the park, and access was still limited on the main streets, but I snuck back to my house on some smaller surface streets) I put the dogs in the car and we headed up to our new favorite spot in the hills.  I saw no one for over an hour, and it was glorious.  10 minutes from the trailhead at the end of the jaunt, I saw one guy.  Thousands upon thousands of people down below, and I got to experience my own piece of solitude.  I am grateful for that.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


 It's been a few weeks since I've posted anything.  Finally over the worst of my back pain, and now I'm in a bit of a mental slump.  I've been in a little bit of a funk the last few days, maybe from working 5 days this week, maybe for other reasons.  But what better way to get out of it than to take advantage of the gorgeous views today with my two favorite fluffies.  After breakfast at Sue's house and the last bit of some housework, I headed for the hills with Franklin and Artemis.

G and I were at the base a Grandeur Mtn a few weeks ago waking the dogs, and spotted an alternate route up a side canyon that looked interesting.  It was filled with slippery snow back then, but today it was in perfect condition ~ nice and tacky.

We spotted the first real wildflowers of the season ~ dogtooth violets and paintbrush.  The sky was beautiful blue with big, white, puffy clouds.  The wind was fresh and the sun was stellar.  Beautiful view of the city and up the canyon from where I was.  And the best part ~ only three people seen on this historic, little-traveled trail, right on the edge of a million-plus people's residences.

Just the sort of day I needed to get me out of the funk.  My back is feeling better and my head cleared out a bit today.  Push that stress to the side, and realize what makes this life a good one ~ good friends, sweet dogs, and beautiful mountains.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Adoption Day

Monica, Mary, Mandy, Paula, Caren, Jenny, and Sylvie

It's difficult to explain how I felt when I realized several things:

1) I'm 40, and I'm likely never going to have children (not that I can't, but it's really just never been a priority for me) and

2) I have all this stuff in storage, from my parents' old house in Michigan, that I haven't looked at in years and

3) some of that stuff in the storage room is toys that some other kid would probably really like and
Maggie puts the red clogs on Jenny.

4) I really could have given this stuff up a long time ago, but I'm sentimentally attached to it, and I don't want it going to just any kid who is going to pull my dolls' hair out of their heads and rip their limbs off and not take care of my dolls like I did when I was a kid.

There.  I said it.  No, I'm not a hoarder.  I'm just sentimental.  There's a lot of stuff that got donated or thrown away or just left in my parents' house when they decided to sell it.  I was upset about losing some of that stuff.  Only the most essentially-sentimental stuff survived.  So when the day came (yesterday) that I realized I needed to get over the emotional part of giving away my childhood dolls, because I would never have a need or use for them, the day was, well ~ emotional.

I spent a couple of hours yesterday washing dolls in the washing machine, washing their clothes, packing things up...  and thinking to myself, "I've found the best possible solution.  I've found the nicest girls to adopt my toys, and they're going to take care of them.  It's for the best."  I had messaged my friend Julie, who has two girls:  Katie (kindergarten) and Maggie (2nd grade?).  These girls love dolls.  They do not pop the heads off of dolls.  They do not mark on them with permanent markers.  Julie was certain that her girls would be good caretakers to my dolls.
Julie's new favorite:  Mary.

So I dressed them up and packed them up and headed over to Julie's house today.  I got in the door, and Maggie said, "Why did you bring your dolls with you?"  and I looked at Julie.  She hadn't told them yet.  First we had tea and muffins, then I started to explain to the girls what my plan was.  I started to get tears in my eyes.  The part about not having girls of my own didn't really bother me that much.  I think it's more the feeling that these dolls had provided me with such an escape from reality when I was a kid.  No matter what was going on in my real world around me (and yeah, stuff happens when you're a kid; you never really get over it, I think) my dolls could help me cope.  They had adventures, were good in school (yes, I made them go to school), they were athletes and scholars, and world-travelers.  They were everything I wanted to be when I grew up (and everything that I have become).

Katie tells a story as she dresses Mandy in another outfit.
As soon as the words left my mouth, "I thought maybe you girls could give my dolls a good home, " Maggie hugged me and said, "Oh, Thank you."  I knew that they would be in good hands.

We played on the floor for about an hour and a half.  Trying different outfits on the dolls, the girls showed me their own dolls ~ you know, doll-stuff.  And the girls were really cute with them.  It's bittersweet, but mostly it's just sweet.  I'm so glad my toys aren't just sitting in storage anymore.  And then through all of this, I remember one of my favorite childhood stories and the imagination of a child and how delightful that really is.