Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving, again

I was particularly eager to travel home for Thanksgiving this year. Something about uncertain times spurs a strong desire to reconnect with family, visit familar places, and engage in comforting traditions. Beat wasn't able to join this time around, so I drove solo to Salt Lake City on Wednesday. Northern Utah was slammed with a snowstorm that reduced visibility to black-and-white mayhem. Near Park City, dozens of trucks and cars had careened into precarious positions on the interstate, and traffic snaked around them in a meandering single file. With the blizzard swirling chaotically, people walking zombie-like amid the wreckage, and hazard lights flashing into the darkness, the whole scene had a post-apocalyptic feel. Of course, I thought of the memes going around the Internet — "This is fine." 

Thanksgiving morning, my mother woke up at 6 a.m. to bake pies, and I ventured outdoors for a sputtering shuffle. I had my round of allergy shots on Wednesday morning, and while I'm not sure I can fully blame the shots, I always feel pretty downtrodden the day after. Still, it was a beautiful, clear morning, the trails were dusted with fresh snow, and I was thrilled to be out.

 I saw a half dozen hunters and a similar number of cyclists on fat bikes during my jaunt, but surprisingly no other runners.

My legs finally started to perk up after an hour, just as the sun warmed the frosty trails. Sadly, my time was just about up. For Thanksgiving dinner, my aunt and uncle host a large family gathering that includes my 86-year-old grandmother, aunts, uncles and several cousins with an increasing number of small children. We load up paper plates with all the traditional stuff, and I usually eat at least three pieces of my mothers' pie. This year I sat next to the cousin closest to my age, and his family. When I asked him how he was enjoying life in Wyoming, he informed me that he hadn't lived in Wyoming for more than a decade. Embarassing. Time really does slip away, doesn't it?

 Black Friday brings another favorite tradition: hiking Gobbler's Knob with my dad. Nothing like celebrating capitalism by slogging up a 10,000-foot-high mountain in the unpredictable conditions of late November. This year the trail was soft with new snow, but temperatures were in the 40s and the wind on the ridge was only moderately fierce.

We were joined by my dad's hiking buddy, Raj. The views from the peak never disappoint.

 On Saturday the three of us set out to bag another peak, Mount Olympus. This is a tough route at any time of year, gaining 4,200 feet in just over three miles. Temperatures were downright hot by late morning, but the trail was still icy. The summit ridge was a challenging scramble with a thin layer of snow draped across huge boulders and hidden gaps. Glare ice clung to many of the rocks. It was nervewracking, if I'm honest. But I always feel safer doing this kind of thing with my dad. It's always been that way. He even helped pull me up some of the larger boulders when I struggled to reach a foothold. Despite this help, my quads were still terribly sore the next day, thanks to frantic lunges when I suspected my spikes weren't going to hold.

 Raj on the peak, the Oquirrh Mountains in the distance, and the Salt Lake Valley 4,500 feet below.

 Me and my dad on Mount Olympus. We ate our traditional post-Thanksgiving feast, which is pita bread slathered in peanut butter and Nutella.

 They say you can't go home again. I'm thankful we still have each other, and mountains to climb.

Week 6:
Monday: Mountain bike, 5:05, 48 miles, 4,670 feet climbing.
Tuesday morning: Treadmill intervals, 0:30, 3 miles, 0:40 weightlifting
Tuesday evening: Run, 1:17, 5 miles, 1,211 feet climbing
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Run, 1:37, 6.6 miles, 1,030 feet climbing
Friday: Snow hike, 4:30, 7.8 miles, 3,198 feet climbing
Saturday: Snow hike, 4:30, 6.3 miles, 4,158 feet climbing
Sunday: Snow hike, 1:44, 4.8 miles, 2,182 feet climbing

Total: 19:53, 48 miles ride, 46.5 miles run, 16,449 feet climbing

Also, Monday is the annual Cyber Monday sale. For November 28 only, all of my eBooks will be 99 cents on Amazon Kindle.


  1. We drove through that area,thankfully before the storm. Looks like the perfect holiday.

  2. Flipping heck your dad looks young!


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