Monday, June 27, 2016

A Tourist at Home: Silver Lake and Solitude Resort

This year, we'll have to be creative with travels. I am not all there yet, energy-wise, and the last thing that I want to do any time soon is to jump on a plane and visit some place remote from here. Or even going on a road trip that's more than 4 hours away.

So, we have to figure out where to go, what to see around here, to feed that spoiled rotten beast inside of us that demands us to hit the road yearly, monthly, weekly. Usually.

Because I knew this would happen this year, I made a rule that whatever we do around here would have to have some new component to it. Something that we have never done or seen before, just to keep it fresh and still very much interesting. I always feel like a tourist when I visit some place new, and see it with fresh eyes, even if it's just 30 minutes away from my doorstep.

With this makeshift plan in mind, we headed up to Big Cottonwood Canyon, to hike around Silver Lake. It's a very easy hike, but at over 8000 ft in altitude it's still challenging for me. I think it's about a mile long, a complete loop around the lake. The beauty of nature is undeniable, the freshness and crispness of the air, too. The only downside to the whole experience is that it's very crowded. It's right off the Big Cottonwood Canyon highway, and right off the parking lot. Very small kids and people in wheelchairs are on the path, too. It can feel very claustrophobic, despite the big, wide open valley you're in. Definitely not a place to 'get lost' in nature, 'cause you'll have plenty of companionship.

Silver Lake was our destination for the day, but we started off by having lunch at an old favorite, Silver Fork Lodge. We needed the energy for the hike, you see. I love everything they make, and the place will always stick with me for having the best trout for breakfast. That's how you truly know you're in the mountains, right?! It's my second favorite place around here (besides Sundance) for log cabin living, too. 

Coffee table in the waiting area of Silver Fork Lodge 

This time, because it was lunch time, I got the vegetarian burrito which did not disappoint – I hate sweet potatoes, but this burrito had them and they were delicious. I think The South did me in for sweet potatoes, because all the ones I ever had there were wreaking with butter and sugar. But these were just simply baked, wrapped in a soft tortilla with rice, black beans, jalapenos, chili verde. It was fiery and delicious. The portions are pure insanity here, so you'll eat for five people.

The giant burrito lunch 
We headed to Silver Lake next, the beauty of nature around us juxtaposed with people's conversations about how they'd like to shoot the moose we were seeing, 'to have enough meat for a year' (you know, just in case Macey's and Fresh Market and Smith's Marketplace are closing down and famine is on its way), and 'how 'bout this Brexit thing. The Euro is not even real money'. 

As hard as it is to un-hear all this, it's easy to ignore it, while you're looking at mountain peaks still covered in snow, crystal clear waters, happy moose, clueless that people are ugly and mean, beautiful, fragile dragonflies with wings of lace, chasing one another in the sun, hoppy potguts looking for grub, fresh wild flowers kissed by the sun. I am happy that my feet take me places, still, and my heart is strong enough to keep them going. And people – they will always disappoint. But nature seldom does.

Dragon fly around Silver Lake

Moose are amazing, impressive creatures. Their massiveness alone is a thing of wonder, and beauty. 

After spending a couple of hours just walking and shooting this beautiful place, we headed to another old favorite, Solitude resort. The name is fitting. It resembles a resort in the European Alps, and time really stands still here. The air, even, is still here. It's like you're listening for someone, a person or a creature to breathe, and there is nothing. Life, moments are just suspended in air. Still and unperturbed. Ultimate aloneness. 

It's fitting that the Solitude staple is a giant clock. You would have no idea, otherwise, that time is actually passing.  

We had a “snack” at Honeycomb Grill in Solitude, another eatery we love, right at the bottom of the chair lift. I had this unexpected concoction named “gazpacho blanco”. It was an almond soup base, with cucumbers, olive oil, avocado and lime, garnished with a giant grilled prawn. It was like nothing I have ever had before – light and smooth and frothy and very summery. Think a little heavy on the lime. 

The gazpacho blanco, at Honeycomb Grill.  

Calendaristically, summer has just started, but with the wave of heat we've had for the past three weeks or so, I feel like it's (or should be) almost over. I am wishing every morning for more adventures like these, where we take in nature and good eats right here, at home.

I wish you all plenty of days of sun, cold sprinklers and foamy waves, ice cream and chilled soups, crisp, tan skin, ripe tomatoes and cool cucumbers, frosty margaritas and starry nights under a soft blanket where you wish for love, luck and everything in between.

Whether it's coming or going, the summer is here now. So get out and make memories! 
Silver Lake, Utah. Click on the picture for the whole album from this weekend adventure.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Milestones, New Things and Everything in Between - My Recent Life In Pictures

Never too tired for words, but I do this every once in a while - I let the images speak for themselves and account for me. 

Some of the things that took my breath away or made me stop and think for a bit, lately: 

Reaching this elevation, with still a (literally) broken heart, and living to tell the tale. Really grateful to my doctors and to God for this milestone, as I am for every day.

First camping trip this year. There is nothing more peaceful to me than looking at mountains over an open fire and smelling the pines.  

A first ever for me: camping and painting. Loved it and hoping for much more of these cozy days.

I hate dandelions in my yard, but I love them "in the wild". The mountains are just now starting to breathe life.

The aspen are awake, too, up there on the peaks.  

First harvest from the yard.

Another milestone: my first ever US passport expired this month. This means I have been a citizen for 10 years. How time flies! 

My favorite food find was on my own grill so far, this year: tuna steaks, marinated for a day and a little bit beforehand. So delicious and way too filling. 

Parade of Homes is on, our favorite yearly tradition. A candle poured in a wood block really stayed with me.

Second harvest from our yard. So deliciously sweet.   

I relate deeply with lotus flowers. I finally made time to paint this, this month. 

I usually never say "never", but in this case I mean it: I can never get enough of these mountains.   

A sign in one of the Parade of Homes houses. I try to live by it.