September 3, 2011

My Favorite - Park City

We left Zion and headed north to the Great Salt Lake.  Once we were close the lake we took a side trip to see the lake first hand.  As we pulled up to "the lake" a park attendant told us it would cost us $15 to park and hike.  $15 is a pretty high park visit fee, especially for a local park.  Then she told us this wasn't the real Salt Lake.  This particular part of the lake was a manmade freshwater reservoir that connects to the lake.  Well I was not about to pay $15 to swim in a manmade reservoir pretending to be the the Great Salt Lake.  Unfortunately we didn't get to visit the Salt Lake but we will be back.  Instead we continued on to one of my favorite places in the world - Park City, UT.  After a long night of foggy, rainy, and tired driving through the mountains we made to PC.  I'm not sure why mountain towns have started this trend of putting letters on their mountains.  Here in Missoula we have a large "M" on Mount Sentinel for the University of Montana and a large "L" on Mount Jumbo for Loyola High School.  


The last time I was in Park City was for a high school running camp.  At the time (summer 2001) I was 16 years old and I remember falling in love with the mountains and all of the green foliage.  This was before the 2002 winter games were held at Salt Lake City / Park City.    






Park City still has remnants from the winter olympics including the giant ski jumps pictured below.



 


After a long night at the hotel - high school kids running ramped through our hallway yelling and playing soccer - I woke up at 6am and headed out for run.  I remembered from my high school trip that there were trails at a local ski resort.  Unsure of which one I took off downtown looking for trails.  I happened upon some mountain bikers who told me that Park City Ski Resort had public trails.   


As I climbed the Park City Ski Resort trails I began to remember them.  These were the trails I spent a week training on in the summer of '01.  Back when I was a mustang.



I remember being cautious of this abandoned ski lodge half way up the slopes.  It was as old and decrepit as I had remembered.  Except this time I was all alone on the mountain.


After several miles and 3000 feet of climbing I made it to the top.  The base of ski resort is around 7000ft above sea level and the point where I stopped was just a little over 10,000 ft.




Ski resorts are beautiful in the summer.  The ski resort allows the grass to grow high and soft for the upcoming winter ski season.  In the summer hikers, mountain bikers and trail runners can enjoy the grassy meadows, forest and trails. 






Wildflowers on the mountain were in full bloom.  So many rich colors - I had to stop and take a few pictures.






Mountain bikers had marked the trails well and I enjoyed their efforts.  These were my kind of trails - single track, lots of elevation gain and plenty of solitude.






I kept climbing and climbing with out any real destination.  Eventually I looked down at my watch and saw I was about two hours into the run.  I knew Lisa would wake up soon and be worried about my whereabouts.  But then I saw it.... SNOW!

        

Finally I was getting closer to the east face of the mountain.  I was in luck, there was still some snow left!  Lisa wouldn't mind if I kept going a little longer.. right?!?



After several miles and 3000 feet of climbing I made it to the top.  The base of ski resort is around 7000ft above sea level and the point where I stopped was just a little over 10,000 ft.  Peaks surrounded me in every direction and I could see several alpine lakes.  I could have stayed up there all day.




I took a brief video so that I could enjoy the view later.





Snow in July, yes!   I am already looking forward to winter.



This picture sums up the experience for me.  Beautiful views, mountains, trees, grassy meadows, single track trails and snow at 10,000 feet.  What else could one want?  Well I was getting hungry.. time to head back.  




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Originally from Strongsville, OH, I spent 8 years in Raleigh, North Carolina and have since recently moved to Missoula, MT. I have been a runner all my life and have recently started pursuing ultra marathons. Any excuse to be outside and on the trails.