Hike from yesteryear…..

I have a newish phone. Since I am technologically inept, my husband set some stuff up for me and I now have access to some of his old photos. I either hadn’t seen them in a while or had never seen them ever. This child of mine has informed me that she won’t be doing any hiking with me this summer. When you have children and teenagers, in particular, you have to pick your battles. Since I am from the other side of Southern Utah, we rarely make it over to this territory.  I really want to make a jaunt over there, but I probably won’t. I don’t like crowds and there is plenty for me to see at home. The Moab area has always received a lot of attention, but it used to be very dead in the offseason. With the advent of social media, there may be no more offseason.

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Path to Delicate Arch, Utah 12/2013

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In a fast world that is too cool for school…

Let me tell you about someone who made an impact. In 1986, I started middle school. My mom made me signup for orchestra. I wanted to take art class! She had previously made me take piano lessons and I sucked. I literally sucked through a few years of lessons.  I could not read music. I chose the viola. I don’t know why. Probably cause I didn’t want to be there and it wasn’t the violin. I didn’t know anything much about the violin either. The class turned out not to be so bad. The teacher was an OLD lady who was nice. She had wrinkles and she was beautiful. She would walk around the room and tune our instruments before we started playing. I can NOT fathom how bad that awful racket must have sounded, but we were in a soundproof room so everyone else was spared. We started by plucking our instruments. I had a severely broken arm from an old school summer and even started playing with a cast beyond my elbow. As time went by, the jumbled up stuff on the page started to come together. We were making music.

In 7th grade, I decided I was enjoying it and I needed to improve. I asked my orchestra teacher who could teach me private viola lessons. I started taking lessons with another awesome teacher and improved beyond my imagination. Each year, we moved up with the same teacher. It was a small town. She drove to the high school for half of her day to also teach there. Soo she was also my high school teacher. My sophomore year, I left for study abroad. Upon return, it was back to orchestra. We took state that year. That means we had an awesome performance at a statewide competition. We didn’t let down our little town where we didn’t have the best of anything,  but we had the best arts programs. That same year in 1992, we took an orchestra trip to Disneyland. We had a master class with a pro musician aka the rare paid unicorn. We couldn’t wait to ditch the playing for the rides. Our teacher was there by our sides for the fun too. I don’t know how she kept up with us, but she did. After the school days were over, I probably only saw her once. She was a bit stooped over but looked the same. She was still as beautiful as ever and had a smile and a hug for her former student. The effects of her teaching reach far and wide. I doubt much of what fast money that people aspire to achieve these days will leave the impact she did and what some good teachers do.  RIP JUNE THORLEY 1928-2019

Utah hikes

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Emerald Pools in Winter. This hike is for most abilities and you won’t find a better one. Occasionally, I choose a different hike for a longer workout, but you cannot improve on this hike. It has a little water year round.  It is currently partially closed due to a rock slide. Hopefully it can be fixed by spring 2019.

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A few Zion locals

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Virgin River near the exit of the famous Narrows in Zion National Park

I’ve just spent a week at home in Utah, USA. I was there to visit my family, but I always manage to get in some nature hikes. I flew into Las Vegas and it was funny how small the skyline appeared in comparison to my Chinese city. I have been to Vegas innumerable times, but never really for any of the stuff it’s famous for. **usually just hitting the airport** Or… before internet shopping it was for actual shopping other than the small town stores’ slim pickings. Las Vegas is not just for losing money, it’s a great launching pad for awesome destinations. For me, it’s pretty much my airport of choice. It’s closer to my home and the famous Southern Utah parks than Salt Lake City.

Birthday ski party

Growing up, I always skied alone. Local friends didn’t ski. I made loads of friends with people going up the lift and sometimes we’d ski together, but I was really on my own. Anyway, this past weekend we went to Utah so cousins could ski together and celebrate my nephew’s 15th birthday. I had to chaperone and tag along so nobody got lost on the big mountain we hadn’t ever been to. Nobody wanted to ride up with me so it was super fun. 🙄 Once again, I was stuck as a single rider amongst strangers making small talk. They had fun though. ❤️❄️❤️

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Deer Valley, Utah

Already 2 weeks into 2018.

Have you already gotten used to writing the correct year on your checks? The holiday was really long around here with school being out until this week and then a sick child the first 3 days back.  I seriously would have enjoyed a couple of days off of school somewhere else instead of all at once. We didn’t do much, but I loved not traveling. We planned on going to Utah to ski, but the snow conditions are really poor so far this year out West.  I’m really happy I didn’t invest in a ski pass this year, but we need snow in general. I did buy this pass as it worked for my 5th grader. https://www.skiutah.com/passes/passports One time use and it will more than pay for itself. Anyone with a 5th grader can buy it, not just a Utah resident. It also contains some good gear coupons, etc. There is still plenty of time to make it to the slopes without committing funds for the wrong conditions. I grew up on skis in Southern Utah at +9,000 feet and I really only want to ski in good conditions. For me, that means lots of snow and not too cold!

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Our gorgeous white Christmas

 

1st Thanksgiving

at home since 1998. We’ve been some fun places for turkey day, but also spent a lot of time

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slaving to prepare a feast. With a very busy summer though, we couldn’t make the trek home earlier. This was the day before Thanksgiving. As the weather was unseasonably nice, Zion National Park had a lot of visitors. We drove home a different way due to the crowds and we spotted a flock of turkeys. They are a common sight in the vicinity of Bryce Canyon so I suspected we would see some and we did.

Spring break hiking

Our spring break plan of getting in one last ski day and trying out Alta, Utah was ruined due to big snow. Some people revel in those conditions, but not all and you need to keep the comfort of all in mind. I didn’t want to torture my children so we didn’t ski. We got to the parking lot and left. The news reported 10 inches that day. When we got to Southern Utah, the rest of the week had to get planned around the weather. It can be awfully windy there and you can have summer and winter in the same day. We had a window on Wednesday.  It started out chilly, but it was 70 degrees at the end. Pretty close to perfect. It was incredibly busy. On our last day, we woke to 5 inches of fresh snow in the hometown. I grew up in the area and go frequently, but I still marvel at the majesty of Zion National Park. We packed a lot of provisions. Sandwiches, granola bars, and h20. You won’t last long in summer conditions without lots of water, but you need to pack smart on a cool day too.

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Heading down on Angels’ landing trail

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Walter’s Wiggles 

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The trailhead

4th graders get in free….

One of the best travel deals in the planet is to visit the national parks. I grew up in the heart of color country in Utah so I’m a huge fan. I lived and worked in Zion National Park when I turned 18 and I continue to go there every chance I get. A few years ago, President Obama created a program for fourth graders to get into the parks for free. As my youngest child is a 4th grader, we just printed off our pass that will expire on Aug. 31, 2017. I often purchase a year pass, but it all depends on how often I can put it into use. Senior citizens get an absolutely awesome lifetime pass for $10 when they hit 62 years of age. I doubt I have any other 4th graders that read my blog except maybe my own once a year, but in case you know any. https://www.everykidinapark.gov/ #optoutside

Finally cold….

The holidays finally can come. The temperature has dropped in the past few days so it feels like time. The mountains are getting snow. Thanksgiving is next week. We have some plans. I hope to kick them off with our favorite Mexican food restaurant. www.rediguana.com We will go over the Snake 🐍 river and through the woods. I have 2 turkeys 🦃  🦃 in my freezer for cooking, but they’ll have to wait awhile. I’m pretty confident we will find time to #optoutside and I hope you will too. Thanks a lot to my 5 readers!!