April 1, 2011
This winter we worked in our garden, orchard really hard to find at least one day of time and go skiing. The other thing we have to figure out before going – is the right weather. Because so many days here may be fine and sunny. Whereas over there, only 1.5 hours north from Zion – it may snow, the winds may be unbearable, etc. And it may also be very cold. The mountains in Brian Head are 9000 Ft height. Some even higher. So we figured only one day that suited us and it was February 7th, a day after Andrei’s Birthday, that is how he wanted to celebrate:
Even after finding one of the warmest days in February, it wasn’t very warm and the winds were fierce, especially closer to later afternoon. it takes us 10 min to sit on the chair lift until we get to the top of the mountain and boy those 10 min are cold and boring…One time I took the camera to take the pics from the whole trip up and down. Here are the views going up Navajo mountain (there is also Giants Steps mountain- another lift system):
The summit of Navajo Mountain:
The view from the summit. Red slopes of some lower mountains can be vaguely seen in the far distance, by them you know you are in Utah :
This is the beginning of the slope once you get from the lift:
Then you can take different trails, different directions, I prefer in the middle of the forest:
There are houses here and there, I bed real big lovers of skiing own them, and one of the owners was not lazy or had enough time to build this cottage on a hens leg from fairy tails like it belongs to a witch :
Then you dive under a bridge in the far end and the last part is really fun – steeper and also even, no bumps or pits, fantastic ski slopes I should say.
Not to walk to the bottom of the big ski lift we first take the small lift - for starters and kids, called Pioneer lift and from there we proceed down toward the start of the big Navajo lif. The Pioneer slope looks like this:
And the turn towards big lift is here:
And here a I am coming to the finish of the day:
The best time to ski in Brian Head to my mind is March and April until they stay open. But then during the day the snow can get wet. In February the slopes are wonderful, but you have to be very careful choosing the weather. Two years ago I remember going there from our sunny and warm Zion, buying tickets and managing to do only one landing…The snow storm and winds were unbearable…
P.S. I haven’t posted this till now, April 1st. And it is not April Fools . We were skiing in Brian Head yesterday, it was rather warm because we are havign a warm spell here in Utah, but the winds on the top of the mountain were still very strong, they even stopped us at certain parts of the trails and certainly didn’t let you go down fast. As my goal on a mountain is to train myself into better movements, more gracious and all, and Andrei’s goal is to get the excitement of going down fast – I was satisfied enough and he was not that much. And yes, the snow was already wet, but closer to the evening it got dry again.
It is nice to be there in Brian Head -you can leave your skis, nobody will take them, eat, have some rest by the central building on cozy benches, but one thing…Americans consider themselves clean people. They wash their hair every day. And here in Brian Head – every time I sit to eat by the table outside – some families especially with babies - they put their shoes, boots on the tables!!! and one of them goes skiing, the other takes care of a baby, but the boots stay the whole time on the table. As if someone will kick their boots from the floor, as if the boots don’t belong to a floor…or at least – a bench, which I also am doubtful if they do…but on the same table where we put food, where we put a book to read…The same boots with which they go through the dirty pavements – snow melted, so roads are really dirty with all the remnants of salt and black dirt; boots with which they go to the bathroom. I am really shocked at that and even if I tell them about it- they don’t care, never take their boots off the table as if they are some precious sculpture. This is not one case already, makes me sad. But maybe there is something in some of their culture (not to offend the clean and neat ones that I also met in bigger numbers, thanks God)- I remember my roommates in Maine were keeping their shoes on their beds…The only positive part – they usually collect after their dogs, unlike in Europe, but I am wondering- why some people are super scared of bacterias, of contamination, while others are supplying them on eating surfaces without any reason at all.
(This was an interruption of my writings about Spain. Expect them to be continued in my next Blog.)
November 26, 2010
It was a busy season since August started. Besides the boring and never ending irrigation, lots of good guests (which was wonderful!) - peaches were brutal this year. So many…to thin them, to support branches, to pick, to freeze, to give away, to try to sell. Our kitchen was permanently overstuffed with boxes of peaches… And me making jams…
The two apple trees that we planted some 6 years ago were also loaded, but because we never spray them with neither chemicals, nor organic stuff – they were very much inhabited by worms, so we got a reasonable number of apples for our consumption:
We also had figs, pomegranates, pears and right now before the frosts I picked persimmons. Quite a lot, I would say.
Here they are before the frosts:
And after the frosts:
They are very decorative and very sweet, it is the best fruit to my taste. The figs also had lots of baby figs but the frosts got them. here is the inside of the fig bush just before the leaves were crinkled and down:
You can see a little fig on the right upper corner. The leaves are very sharp, harsh, I can’t imagine how Adam and Eve wore them as they were. I would have looked for a softer leaf for that purpose.
My garden also produced, but far from being abundant:
I used a lot of lama manure in winter and spring for the garden, but it didn’t seem to work well. From the 40 tomatoes I planted – we had enough only for the two of us -is it a lot? The cherry yellow ones were the best producers, with one individual expanding to a record size by late autumn, so that I felt sorry to leave him for the frosts to kill and was covering with blankets and jackets during nights for a while. But once the frost hit minus 4-8C -I gave up. So now we have a lot of green tomatoes . And here is a sweet Italian pepper which was more decorative than useful:
On the 24th of November we woke to such a magnificent morning:
Our pear turned red only that night.
Most of our trees didn’t change colors, their leaves dried on the branches and are falling off now in big quantities. We can hardly catch up with raking and burning them. Thanks God there are those cottonwoods by Virgin river and around town – at least they turned yellow and we had some autumn colors. But they are fading fast… the unusually early frosts…
July 31, 2010
We drove that long road #93 in Nevada and Idaho North, with nothing by the road except for chains of mountains. it would be kind of boring, except that the road was being fixed on several parts and we had to stay and wait. Several parts of it had only one lane. Also – there were a lot of trucks on the way and it wasn’t very comfortable to drive, to pass them, etc. But once of a sudden we had an attraction – there was sign on the road that there are hot springs only half an hour from Twin Falls, Idaho, called Nat Soo Pah – Magic Mineral Water:
It was very good to have break in driving, to have a rest, pleasure and to cleanse our auras. And all that fro only $5 per person (versus $40 per person in the hot springs closest to Zion – in La Verkin, Pah Tempe Hot Springs – which I am not advertising at all).
Then we passed Twin Falls, there are real falls there, but we didn’t go to see them, saw them several years ago on the way to Oregon. Since Twin Falls there landscape was strange – no mountains around, just flat lava fields, rough black lava fields, that can’t be used in agriculture in any way…Like a devastated land…I didn’t even take pictures of it. We were wondering where did the lava come from – then we realized there were some tiny hills in the horizon. What an amount of magma burst into the surface some very long time ago. It left some caves under the lava surface. One of them is turned into museum – called Ice Caves. We didn’t visit it – it was too late, but saw some pictures and talked to rock shop keepers – it is really ice there covering the floors of the cave. The ice s so smooth that sometimes people skate there. But there are no stalactites or stalagmites as we would expect in a cave. As the ice is there – it is cold inside and they advice to dress warmer while going down. It was amazing that on that very hot day it could be cool somewhere without AC. Especially under a black lava layer… But you should never assume -that is my rule I have developed during my life span.
When we started seeing mountains in the distance, some even covered with snow – this was towards Sun Valley, where we were planning to stay the night. Once we entered the canyon where this well know ski-resort-rich area is – the mountains around it where not white at all and they were not spectacular. Just mountains, with rather even surfaces -maybe it was the reason fro ski resort. I would say Brian Head ski resort is much more beautiful. OK, not speaking about the resort buildings. Approaching Sun Valley you start getting the feeling that there is a lot of money spent or invested (depends on who and why) in every inch of the land. The trees and lawns by the road are already irrigated, everything is green, luscious pine and spur trees, lots of flowers, lots of fancy condominiums and houses. However – very few motels or lodges. So that tourists wouldn’t disturb of some people’s rest . When we stopped to ask in one motel about where can we find a no-vacancy sign – the woman started laughing at me. She looked at me and said I have to reserve a year in advance to get a room. That only very rich come here and have a good time, meaning it is not my place to have a good time, I didn’t look i belong to that class. Sorry. Not for myself, but for her – the woman was not old at all, but already had very few teeth in her mouth. But at least she was serving very rich people. I asked – what celebrities like to come here, besides Schwarceneger – who we all know has broken his leg while skiing here. She said – celebrities like Bill Gates. Wow, and they stay in that pretty simple looking motel? Well, I kept this question to myself, I was already too sorry for that motel manager.
So being simple and not too rich as we are we drove back towards the airport that big airliners as well as celebrity air crafts are using to make their trip to Syn Valley a piece of cake. And in the town called Hailey we found a room in a simple motel called Hitchrack. By that time we have already done 606 mi. the room was very comfortable, small, but had even two beds, could sleep 3 people, had two pictures – a photo of a wolf who was staring at me on the bed and a drawing of a sheep – to whom the wolf didn’t pay any attention. The room also had a small kitchen, which we didn’t use. There were lots of restaurants around and some of them had quite interesting menus, healthy choices, local veggies – I guess they were all trying to please the celebrities’ and their flocks’ pallets. So ingeneral – it is a nice area. But fro pictures - I made only one I really liked:
This is how some people make fences by the ski lifts. And how good those skis looked to me: while still in my country when I was young, full of energy and into mountain skiing , I could only dream of skiing on Atomics, Roosignols, Salomons – but at least I heard of them. So you can imagine – I had a bit of sentiment there…:-) . This was unexpected thing to see. But there was a thing I planned to see and was happy I managed – the skating arena, where I heard that lots of Olympic skaters train and the Lithuanian dance couple Povilas Vanagas and Margarita Drobiazko are sometimes training the young generation. This time they were not there, but it was impressive to see others dancing, men throwing women, then either cathing or not, singles doing triple axels, toulups…etc.
After watching for a while we drove towards Sawtooth National recreational Area – and that was impressive:
At first we drove up the pass, “up above the sky”, and then landed into a very green valley by Salmon river:
I think it requires no explanation why this mountain range is called Sawtooth.
This is the watery and fast Salmon river. Stanley the town is seen at the foot of the mountains. It is spectacular to spend some vacation there! Here is another view of the Salmon river that we followed for a long time on RT 93 and we parted with it only in North Fork when we started going up a pass and towards Montana.
You can see some people by the bank – it is where a hot spring is entering the river. People are wading, some kids are even immersing into the warm waters. We didn’t find enough space to immerse…:-)
The views all that way by the river were very pleasant, the slopes of mountains had a lot of loose morena and it seems lots of them were shaped by glaciers long time ago…
(to be continued)
April 24, 2010
This is the time now when red cacti bloom in our area:
They are most prolific on the bench or mesa on top of Rockville, a “secret place” where Rockvillians go for their walks. And who can say they are not worth visiting and seeing?
The other positive thing about those trails on top – they are prepared for mountain bikes and very few bikes ride there. So it is nice to walk in nature by yourself, with no crowds or noises around. This time I walked with a second time guest from Chicago – Daniel Pyne. And here is what we reached:
It is on the very edge of the mesa over our house, over Rockville, over the winding Virgin river:
Up here it is Rockville, down here it is our house:
And here is our parking lot – a closer look -Andrei is filming me on the top :
This view is from another edge which is on top of Dan McGuire’s house, our house can’t be seen here, it is behind the mountain edge on the right. But someone’s pasture all under water is seen in this picture – that is how we irrigate:
It was scary to stand on the edge…Going back we walked through some rocks where mountain lions may well reside:
And also lots of petrified wood pieces, but one piece was especially big, entangled in sandstone:
And this is already my yard with tomatoes and peppers in pots and boxes – this spring is so unusually cold, it is still dangerous to plant them in the garden:
Tulips and hyacinths bloom so late this year:
And this is how I dress at home and meet my guests :
April 16, 2010
I have to make a break in Thailand blogs and describe the events here and now, in Utah. it was almost a historical event – at last we managed to find the right day, the right weather and only light winds and go to Brian Head – to ski. The first and last time in two years. The fact is that either we have to wait for guests when the weather forecast for the ski resort is good, so we can’t go, or the weather is really bad, which happened there most often. I can’t imagine how they make money, so many bad days they even have to close the lifts, the winds there are usually unbearably high. So here we managed at last to get there on April 14th! Almost no cars…they extended their operation for a week because of the amount of snow we all got in this spring. And the student holidays are now over – maybe that was the reason there were almost no people. Rather strange but I should say -comfortable. Like the mountain belongs only to you and all those guys on both ends of the chair lift are here to help only you:
Andrei couldn’t ski, his knee is still not very strong after he twisted it in Thailand, but he took me there and took also his PC so that he would not waste his time, in a cafeteria in this building:
And I also tried not to waste my time, up and down almost non stop. I land from the mountain and just “swish” into the chair again, getting the rest while going up.
To tell the truth it was funny after two years break to get on skis. I felt as if preparing to go into cosmos. Digging out my ski suit, putting on those heavy boots, gloves, cap glasses – here we are almost in summer clothes and over there it is still winter:
One can see how desolate the slopes are – but how nice! The trails are well prepared with that special car, some of them had still their virginity. So comfortable, I never remember such a good skiing there…
The temperature was around 12C and in the sun some parts of snow were a little wet, but didn’t cause problems because there are still frosts at nights over there. And here is the view from the top of the lift – and of that mountain:
You can’t put a price on it!..
And here is the view from Toquerville -the town that we have to pass on our way from Rockville to Rt. 15, toBrian Head:
And yesterday, which was April 15th, we went on a trail from the town Virgin. It took us 8 years of living here to figure out such a nice trail only 10 min drive from home…
We crossed the river on a bridge there and walked along the rather steep and high edge that Virgin river has created during many years:
And there are also inlets with scarce water, some slim waterfalls, but you can’t cross them, too steep, just follow the mountain bike road:
Then we drove to the La Verkin overlook – it has even a sign on highway but we never had a chance to drive those couple of miles and see for ourselves how amazing the view is:
You don’t need to hike up or down – you are here on top of a mountain -where can you find such a comfort?
To the right is Toquerville, to the left – Hurricane and St. George.
And here is our pear tree two weeks ago:
and the peach blossoms…