Part of the Plan
When planning our trip to Wyoming and Utah, we had specific items on our agenda; obviously running in the Grand Teton Half was top on my list, but hiking in the Grand Tetons, visiting some of the southern Utah national and state parks, and seeing our friends was also part of the plan. A Deer Valley hike wasn’t initially on our radar, but we’re glad our friends suggested it.
Reuniting With Dear Friends
Until the night before our Deer Valley hike, we hadn’t seen our dear friends Drew and Kristie in 23 years. Like with all good friends, though, we picked right back up where we’d left off and closed down the restaurant Sunday evening, something we would repeat on Monday as well.
Stein Eriksen Lodge
Even though we’d lived in Utah for two years when we were first married, I had never been to Park City. We decided to stop at the Stein Eriksen Lodge to see if we could park while on our Deer Valley hike. Once at the lodge, we met a really nice valet who took great care of us and explained how to cut through the lodge to get to the trail.
Here’s a fun side story: While Bill and I lived in Utah in the early 80’s, we routinely saw TV commercials featuring Stein Eriksen skiing down the mountain and coming to a powdery stop before telling his viewers about his fancy resort that had just opened. In a way, I felt like I knew this place before we even pulled up in front of the lodge.
Deer Valley Hike
Once we made our way to the trail, we saw mountain bikers flying toward us making Bill envious that he didn’t have his bike with him. We discovered that starting on June 15th (we were there on June 7th), the ski lifts would open to carry hikers and bikers up the mountain for easier one-way trips back down.
Drew and Kristie were petsitting their daughter’s dog Bandit so we had the added fun of having him along on the hike. He was a sweetie and really enjoyed being out on the mountain.
After a short climb, we had a great view of Park City.
And a little farther up the mountain, we had this magnificent view of Deer Valley.
And of course a selfie was in order…
Bandit got a little too close to the edge of the cliff and got a warning from Drew, and in the process, Drew got a little too close to the edge…
Here’s where they would have gone had they fallen. I got queasy taking this picture, but this is a great example of the handiness of having a long selfie stick – I didn’t have to get so close to the edge.
Bandit moved to a safer place and waited in the shade until we were ready to turn and hike back down the mountain.
On our way back down we saw Jandanelle Reservoir in the distance in the beautiful Heber Valley with the majestic Wasatch Mountains in the background.
Lunch on the Troll Hallen Deck at Stein Eriksen Lodge
After our four-mile hike in Deer Valley we were quite hungry and made the smart decision to stay right where we were parked and have lunch on the Troll Hallen Deck at the Stein Eriksen Lodge. I ordered a grilled chicken Caesar salad, but everyone else ordered a Stein’s burger which Bill declared the best burger he’d ever eaten! The only reason I didn’t follow suit was because I’d had a so-so burger the day before and just wasn’t in the mood – big mistake!
You can see an empty rectangular bowl in the picture above which came to our table filled with a unique mix of nuts: bacon pepper pecans, pickled peanuts, and smoked almonds. Notice that the bowl was empty by the time our food arrived!
A Self-Guided Tour of the Winter Olympics Training Facility
With full bellies, we left the lodge with no particular plans for what we would do for the rest of the day. While driving down the mountain, we decided to drive to Utah Olympic Park to check out the winter Olympics training facility. Little did we know that we’d end up spending a couple of hours checking out the different types of training slopes and being entertained by ski jumpers.
After parking we walked up the hill to take a closer look at the grass like substance the ski jumpers land on…
And then the blow-up landing pad…
Walking past the slopes, we let the music blasting from speakers draw us toward the freestyle pool, having no idea what was in store for us…
After watching from the side of the pool, we eventually settled on the deck to enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the jumpers.
Before leaving we checked out the bobsled, luge, and skeleton runs, and decided that the area in the forefront is now very likely an adventure course used for family fun and businesses’ team building exercises.
After a long and satisfying day, we drove back to Ogden for dinner at a Mexican restaurant, and again closed down the place before saying goodbye to our dear friends. Hopefully, we’ll see them again before 23 years go by!
- Have you hiked or skied in Park City?
- Were you as surprised as I was that ski jumpers practice by landing in water?
- Have you ever watched the Olympics?