Monday, July 1, 2013

SUNDANCE {with a dash of Robert Redford}

We spent the weekend at the beautiful Sundance Resort.  It was a quick getaway which makes packing simple and easy.  We grabbed a few outfits, sweatshirts and swimsuits and drove 60 minutes south.  Mia made sure she grabbed all of her necessities . . . a purse, sunglasses, hat, harmonica and a few books.

This was our family’s first time to visit Sundance.  The kids loved checking out all of the wildlife--snakes, ferrets, squirrels, butterflies--and anything else they could see through the binoculars (usually a sibling’s face).  And we loved the cabin-like rooms that were big enough to fit all of us.

Our first night we took a tractor ride up the mountain to watch the Utah Symphony’s Patriotic Celebration in the outdoor amphitheatre.  It was a beautiful evening and the music was perfect.  The younger kids were ready to head back to our room after the first few songs but made it through the whole performance and even enjoyed it a little bit.

The highlight for me was seeing Robert Redford and having him smile at Morgan and me!  We were walking back from the bathroom and he watched us as we walked back to our seats and gave us a big smile.  Seeing Robert Redford at Sundance is definitely the icing on the cake!  Gavin jokingly asked when checking in if we would be seeing Mr. Redford this weekend. They told him they were 99% sure that we would not see him claiming he only visits the resort a few times a year and they never know when that will be.  Well, lucky us!

Robert Redford (sitting in black shirt)

The Utah mountains are the perfect escape in the summer, usually a little cooler than home but this weekend was so hot everywhere that it didn’t feel any cooler.  We spent the afternoon on the lake, boating at Deer Creek.

The lake was so crowded and rough but that didn’t stop Jack from trying out the wake board.  He’s been watching YouTube wake board videos with crazy stunts and been excited to get out behind the boat and practice.  He stayed out there a long time and never complained about all of the other boats and rough waters.

A few people suggested we should hike up to Stewart Falls to see the beautiful waterfalls.  We took the chair lift up to the top of the mountain and started our 3 mile hike.  It was a super hot day again.  We didn’t have the best hiking shoes or clothing (Morgan refused to wear her tennis shoes and hiked in crocs).  I forgot to put sunscreen on any of us.  And we had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into.

It was a narrow trail on the side of the mountain for most of the way to the falls.  Morgan and I both share a fear of heights.  My heart was pounding as I tried not to look at the edge or focus on my kids running ahead not concerned about the possibility that they could fall of the mountain.  Morgan was just as scared and clinging to Gavin, saying over and over, “I can NOT!”   We found a place in the shade to rest and pass around a jug of water to share with each other.  All of us realized this was a much harder hike than we had anticipated and tried to decide if it was better to just turn around and go back.  After some discussion we decided to keep going forward, that it would be worth it to finish the hike.  We started hiking again and within a few minutes we were off of the steep trail and on to an easier section of the hike.  It was a good reminder that just like in LIFE . . . when you feel like giving up and scared to go any further if you could only see around the corner, you would find that the hardest challenges were behind you and the rest is downhill.

Morgan has such a hard time in the heat and isn’t able to regulate her body heat very well (you can see how flushed and splotchy her face gets in the heat).  She’s lucky she’s got such a strong daddy and big brother who carried for most of the 3 mile hike.

After 2 hours of hiking, we finally made it to the falls.  Enjoyed the beautiful view, rested on the rocks and played in the stream for awhile.  Then it was time to start on our hike back down to the resort.  The hike down was easier and only took an hour.  It was miserably hot but I’m still glad we did it.  It was a hard activity to do as a family but it’s these kind of activities that bring us closer and make us stronger.  Jack and Ryan were loving and concerned big brothers and did their best to take care of their younger siblings.  Helping them on steep terrain, carrying them on their backs, going back up the trail to make sure their dad didn’t need any help with Morgan, sacrificing an extra sip so the little kids could have more to drink.  It made me proud to see their love and concern.

We finally made it down the mountain and we looked like we had been camping for weeks.  We walked into the resort’s bathrooms covered in dust and dirt, head to toe.  We were more than ready to get back to our air conditioned home and showers.  And Hadley.  She had her own adventure this weekend.  She went with the Young Women to a Book of Mormon reading activity at a cabin in Brighton Resort.  They all read the Book of Mormon in two days together.  We missed having her with us but know she accomplished something she will never forget. . . reading the entire Book of Mormon at 12 years old.

Happy end of a great weekend!


Sarah said...

Great pictures Heather. Looks like a wonderful family vacation and yeah for spotting RR! :)

Kristin said...

I think I need to check out Sundance. I've never been either ;)