A Beautiful Beginning to an Adventurous Day!

Day 2 in Capital Reef National Park brought about an amazing hike early in the morning on the Chimney Rock Trail.  This trail is challenging at the beginning because of the climb but stick with it because you end up on top of the world.  After hiking in washes with loose, sandy soil and on miles and miles of rock, I was thrilled to note that the surface of this trail is hard-packed dirt. Much easier to walk on. I would put out there that Chimney Rock itself is not the most spectacular feature of this hike. You can see it from the road. Once on the trail, if you bear to the right instead of first heading to Spring Canyon the trail takes you higher than Chimney Rock and you literally and truly have a birdseye view of the park. Continue on and you loop around and drop down into the canyon with its spectacular cliffs and vistas. Breathtaking. Don't let the steep beginning hold you back. Stop. Catch your breath. Look around. Then continue. You'll be so glad you did. Capitalreef2


Once we finished up the Chimney Rock Trail, it was time to start heading north back towards Park City.  However, on the way we had two awesome discoveries.  The first one was just in time for lunch.  We came upon Duke's Slickrock Grill (www.dukesslickrock.com)  in Hanksville, Utah.  Let me explain what Hanksville is all about.  If you blink once you will find yourself on the other end of town. We gathered up our courage and headed into the restaurant that had probably 20 motorcycles parked out front.  Now, I am not opposed to motorcycles, but doesn't that just conjure up a vision in your head of walking into a dark bar and every head turns and looks at you when you walk in?  This restaurant was a big surprise.  It pays homage to John Wayne, aka The Duke. There are cardboard cut-outs of him all around.  The best part of this restaurant though is it's cheeseburgers. Yes, cheeseburgers.  It tasted like it was straight from field to table.  The Conqueror is a 1/2 pound of seriously tasty, pure ground beef patty with cheddar cheese, served on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle.  It did not disappoint.  Along with the great food was the great staff.  They really were attentive and truly friendly.


Once we filled our tummies again (noticing a theme on this trip?), we stopped off in Goblin Valley State Park.  Goblin Valley is out in the middle of nowhere just south of I-70 near Green River, UT.  What a cool, funky little place complete with hiking trails and a campground.  It's really hard to describe just what this place looks like but for lack of better words, you feel like you are on Mars surrounded by giant aliens.  Perhaps the pictures can explain better than I.  My kid had a blast running all around the rock formations, playing hide and seek.  One thing is for sure, I completely have to come back and camp here on Halloween.  Just the name itself promises a good time during that time of year.





Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.  - Lao Tzu

Until My Next Adventure,

P. A. Walker

A Love Affair with Capital Reef National Park

One issue with being a travel blogger is that you might be on the road for days at a time, thus preventing some timely blog posts.  I hope that you will agree that this trip was worth the wait. I cannot believe that I have never ventured South to the incredible area of Capitol Reef National Park.  In my quest for doing new things this year, I added a trip to this beautiful area on to my list of things to do.  I am so glad that I did.  Capitol Reef certainly delivered in the beauty and natural surroundings department.  It's hard to put into words the beautiful scenery.  How does one describe an area of the country that God spent extra time on?


Driving into Capitol Reef (which is about 3.5 hours from Park City, by the way) was the beginning of the scenery slide show.  Beautiful red rocks are at every turn in the road.  This particular National Park is one of the least visited in the country.  I am not sure of the reason, perhaps because of it's close proximity to the "bigger" parks such as Bryce Canyon and Zion.  However, it would be a shame for folks to miss this park.  It's an area that is so different from say, Zion National Park. The geography and rock formations will blow you away.

capitalreef4 capitalreef3

Since we arrived in the afternoon, we decided that the first day in the park would be more of a driving tour.  The Visitor Center is a great starting off point to lead you into which direction and activity that you want to embark on.  We decided that for the first time we would take the scenic drive.  This drive is approximately 20 miles round trip.  Stay on it until the end as this is by far the best scenery of all.  You may see some signs along the way that deter you, but all you have to do is look up into nature.  If the skies are clear, proceed on your way.


Around every bend in the road was a surprise and elicited another ohh and ahh.  It was amazing to see so much nature and variations in the view all tucked into one park.  We wrapped up this day by checking into the Capital Reef Resort (www.capitolreefresort.com).  Overlooking the red cliffs and 1 mile from Capitol Reef National Park, this casual resort is 3 miles from the quaint town of Torrey.  The rooms were comfortable, spacious and the resort itself had an awesome hot tub which will be quite the treat after hiking in the red rocks all day.  After unpacking our bags, we headed into the town of Torrey to check out a great restaurant for dinner called Cafe Diablo (http://cafediablo.net).  This little gem is completely unexpected when you look at what surrounds it.  It's got amazing gourmet food.  Everything from Rattlesnake Cakes to Pumpkin Seed Trout.  Every bite of my Watermelon and Feta Salad to start was amazing.  This was followed up by Pomegranate Ribs and some Butternut Squash Raviolis which were the special that day.  Each bite was embedding such fond memories in my taste buds that I can still cherish it to this day.  It's making me want to jump in the car and head back down. Diable1

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” ― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

Until tommorow's hike & adventure,

P.A. Walker

My Town Through New Eyes

The other day I had the awesome opportunity to see my hometown through new eyes.  My first for this post is that I decided to become a tourist in a town I have lived in for 15 years but have started to take for granted and actually complain about (more on that later). A friend of mine came into Park City for the very first time.  She traveled to Utah from Northern California with her 6 year old son whom I have never met before.  I loved this kid from the get-go. He is an old soul in a young person.  What a beautiful outlook this kid has on life.  He does things with gusto, no complaints and definitely a lot of boy adrenaline.  After just 10 minutes with him, I said to myself, why am I not living like this?  Let's do this, let's have a fun day.

We started our day by having a late breakfast at Squatter's Brewery on the main drag in Park City.  (www.squatters.com).  Squatter's has several locations.  I have eaten here a lot but never had breakfast there.  I would say it was your normal fare.  Nothing amazing but once you added a side of bacon, the rest just seemed to not matter.

Now that we were full, I suggested to my little friend and his mom that we head up to Utah Olympic Park.  Utah Olympic Park is an amazing venue where several of the events were held during the Salt Lake 2002 Olympics.  There is a museum there that has quite a few of the items from these Olympics.  There are also plenty of fun activities in the park including zip lining, bobsled rides, and a ropes adventure course.  (http://utaholympiclegacy.org)

D. is an avid Nascar fan.  You could ask this kid about any driver and he could tell you their car number, stats, etc.  To make the outing enticing to a 6 year old, I told him that they had bobsleds at the park where the drivers did upwards of 70+ miles per hour.  My sidekick's eyes grew big when he asked if he could ride one.  Alas, the track was closed and you have to be 18 to do this.  He wasn't sidetracked because we were able to do a simulated one inside the museum.  You sit in a chairlift chair and are faced with a big screen that shows the bobsled track.  You feel like you are actually going down it because the chair bumps and fake snow rains down upon you.  What made it for me were the belly laughs coming out of him.  He just had that pure, child-like giggle that took me out of the real world for a few hours and put me into the shoes of someone experiencing Park City for the first time ever. How cool was that?


Next up on the agenda was picking my own son up early from school.  With D. in hand, I went into my kid's classroom to surprise him and tell him that we were heading up to Main Street and the home of the world's best ice cream (www.javacow.com).  We have been in here countless times, but never tire of the unique flavors.  My favorite is Cherry Springer, a delicious blend of dark chocolate chips, vanilla ice cream and pieces of cherries.  Divine!!

After walking around the touristic Main Street area, we headed to Vinto's Pizzeria for some of their amazing limeade and to share a pizza.  Vinto is our go-to pizzeria in the Main Street area. Being from New Jersey originally, I am a bit of a pizza snob.  Vinto's is not East Coast quality but it certainly keeps me happy.  (www.vinto.com)

The day went by extremely fast.  I realized at the end of the day how much fun it was to look at my town with fresh eyes.  We all enjoyed the day.  As I stated before, I am getting a bit jaded on my hometown.  It's all of a sudden become the place to move.  It went from a quiet little ski resort to a big deal.  The traffic is getting worse, the people not so nice and the house prices are booming (okay, that last one is a good thing since I own a little piece of paradise).  By spending the day as a tourist for a change, it gave me a new perspective.  I realized that folks spend thousands of dollars to come to my town for a week's ski vacation or a long weekend.  I live here.  I can cherish and enjoy it each and every day.  I am now making the vow to have a little vacation in each day.

"My goal is to build a life I don't need a vacation from." - R. Hill

Until My Next Adventure,

P.A. Walker

A Mother's Day Spent in a New Way!

This week's new adventure had me on the road to Moab, UT, a beautiful area in Southern Utah that encompasses several National Parks including Arches and Canyonlands.  The first in this adventure came about when we decided to "glamp" at Moab Under Canvas (www.moabundercanvas.com).  What is glamping you ask?  It is a new word for a new kind of travel.  When you are glamping, there's no need to pitch a tent or bring a sleeping bag.  These items are provided to you as you sleep in a yurt, airstream, villa or in our case a spacious canvas tent.  I love to sleep outdoors, but sometimes you just don't have the time or energy to drag your own equipment.  When you glamp, it is all provided for you. MoabUndercanvas

When we arrived at Moab Under Canvas, we were warmly greeted by Ben at the reception tent. Ben went out of his way to make sure we were properly settled in our tent.  He helped with our duffel bags, pointed out a lot of the area information and even suggested that we order our breakfast for the next morning so we didn't have to drive down into Moab (about 10 miles away) the next morning.  Ben gave us some great tips for hiking and made sure we knew that he was available if anything should arise.

After getting settled in, we headed into Arches National Park.  I have hiked here several times. However, every time I go into Arches, it makes me feel like it is my first time there.  The red rocks look different every time.  Around each bend of the road there is another stunning vista.  It truly takes my breathe away. The hike of the day was into the area with the arches called North and South Window.  An easy hike to do, especially with the young one.  Lots of fun rocks to climb up and over, and not too long of hike so there were no complaints.

Arches1        Arches3

Arches2        Flowers

After dining in downtown Moab, we headed back to our campsite.  The weather this particular weekend was a bit iffy.  The clouds kept rolling in and rain threatened.  Rumor has it that the night before we arrived, a spectacular lighting show and heavy rain had hit the area.  That would have been amazing to see from our campground.  The scenery just from our tent was one that changed on a minute by minute basis.  You can see the edge of Arches from the campground.  As the sun was setting, the rocks kept changing colors.  Truly a sight to see.

The next morning, which happened to be Mother's Day, I was greeted by an amazing sight while up at sunrise.  I hiked down to the reception tent to get a warm cup of tea [The tent is always flowing with coffee, tea, hot chocolate and plenty of great conversation with whomever happens to be at the front desk.].  As I walked out of the tent, I was greeted with an awe-inspiring view. It had rained pretty heavily the night before, which made for some wonderful sleeping.  As the rain cleared out in the wee hours of the morning, I was amazed to see not one, but two full rainbows up in the sky.  As words cannot describe this sight, here is a picture that just might:


It was one of the best Mother's Day presents I have ever received.  My son even told me that he had ordered those special.

We had originally planned to get up early and do the 2-3 hour roundtrip hike to Delicate Arch Trail in Arches.  However, since we woke to gray and cold, we snuggled in our extremely warm and comfortable beds and fell back asleep for a few more hours.

We ended the weekend by doing the Lower Delicate Arch Overlook Trail.  This is literally a 100 yards long trail that leaves right from the parking lot.  You are treated to a great view of Delicate Arch, but not as up close and personal as the other hike.  Next time, we will do the longer of the hikes.


Moab is one of those places where the weather can turn on a dime, one minute sunny and the next raining and thunderstorms.  We waited a bit, but alas, the weather did not break.  TIme to head back to Park City and do the dirty laundry.  How did we mess up our tent so much in just one weekend?


I am truly grateful to Ben and the rest of the staff at Moab Under Canvas for such as special weekend.  The company has other locations in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks.  Hmmm, which one to try next?

Until my next adventure,

P.A. Walker

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