Go West – Part One

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On June 26th of last year, Jon and I loaded up the car and went on a meticulously planned (by me) 4th of July road trip.  We had been talking about it forever and it ended up being one of my favorite vacations we’ve ever been on together.  There’s just something about hitting the road on a sunny day and heading west.

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I didn’t have my camera out much for the first couple stops so most of these early photos are from my phone.  I apologize for the average quality.  : )

Our first stop was Fort Collins, CO for lunch and then onward to Salt Lake City.  This ended up being a perfect place to stop for the night and we woke up the next morning to do a bit of exploring and eventually make our way to the beautiful Deer Valley.

Salt Lake City wasn’t really on our ‘must see’ list and was instead a place to land after driving for 6 hours.  I’m glad we got to see it, however, as it was pristinely beautiful and full of fun shopping.

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This whole part of the city (the mormon part) remains a bit of a mystery to me but the city can certainly be enjoyed without partaking in the religious aspects.  It was a beautiful city and it’s amenities are LEGIT.  Deer Valley, for example…

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We stayed at the beautiful St. Regis Deer Valley and I enjoyed every minute of the weather and hotel.  Deer Valley is about a 30 minute lovely drive up the canyon from Salt Lake City and about a 5 minute drive to Park City, which is where we enjoyed dinner both nights.  We ate at the highly recommended Grappa Italian (which I would not recommend) and at the well known Riverhorse on Main (which I can’t recommend enough).

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After a fantastic dinner at Riverhorse in Park City, and on our last night in Deer Valley, we headed up the mountain for a sunset and a stroll.  We saw beautiful rolling green hills, views of the city, and a baby and mama moose crossed the road right in front of the car.  My heart is in Colorado, but Utah put up a serious fight for it.  For anyone living in Denver I would highly suggest you make the trip.  It’s under 7 hours to the good stuff and the drive is beautiful.

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Onward!

Jon had to drag me out of that gorgeous hotel so we could get to our next destination: Sundance!

WHO KNEW how amazing Sundance is?  I didn’t.  I suspected, but I didn’t have any idea how much we would both love it.  The drive down from Deer Valley is about an hour and it is stunning.  I never realized how close all these amazing places were to one another.  Sundance resort was just what we needed after being pampered at the St. Regis.  Don’t get me wrong, Sundance was pretty luxurious, but in a different way.  It had such a sense of adventure.

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This was our sweet little patio outside of our cabin we stayed in for the night.  The one mistake I made in planning this trip was that we only got one night at Sundance, but because of that, we made the most of it.

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We went on a hike to a waterfall shortly after we arrived and hustled to race the sunset.  We made it, rushed back to catch dinner and then crashed hard for a night’s sleep.

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The next morning we woke with the sun and set out for what ended up being the biggest hike of my life.  We had a great pace the whole way through and went as far as we could before running out of food and water.  It was pretty spectacular.

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It was a really long and at times very difficult (physically and mentally) hike and looking at the photos of us looking at the view from the top makes me tear up.  We really needed this trip right at the moment we took it and I remember feeling like we exhaled at that top of that mountain, unloaded if you will, and then turned our backs and walked back down.  It was awesome.  We got back to our cabin, back up our road warrior, and continued onward to our next location…Lake Powell.  Next time.

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