Simple Joys of the Week

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Take only pictures; leave only footprints.
— Anonymous
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I’ve heard that when people go on vacation, they tend to gravitate toward relaxing activities such as lounging by a pool, reading a good book or sleeping in. Well, we are definitely not those type of people.  Although we talk a good game of needing to ‘get away and slow down,’ we rarely, if ever, RELAX on vacation. We pack adventure into every available minute. We wouldn't have it any other way. 

To recap our trip, I decided to pay homage to one of my favorite blogs (Starr Struck). Every Friday, Mary Catherine compiles a list of her SJOTW (simple joys of the week) via all five senses. MC is so creative and talented and I look forward to every blog. 

Without further ado, I present to you my Simple Joys of the Week : Utah Vacation edition

TASTE: Mushroom Escargot with Carrot Butter
Although Alex and I are vegetarians, we lean vegan.  But when you are traveling to small towns in the middle of the desert (shout out to Tropic, Utah!), it’s very hard to find vegan fare. Most menus offer meatless options but they are inevitably covered with some sort of dairy product, i.e. cheese.  So, when in Rome… 

That’s not to say that we didn’t enjoy some amazing food.  Our first, and only, night in Salt Lake City brought us to Sage's Vegetarian Restaurant.  We were so not prepared for the deliciousness that came with the Mushroom Escargot and Carrot Butter appetizer. One bite and me and Alex had our eyes rolling behind our heads.  I practically licked the carrot butter ramekin clean.  I can't wait to make this at home. Here's the recipe.

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SEE: Delicate Arch 
At Arches National Park, you can drive to see Delicate Arch from afar or you can hike 3 miles round trip to get an up close and personal view.  We decided to hike it although the guide book said you needed some nerve for the last few steps before you reach the top. The climb is arduous and steep, but well worth it.  Alex and I are both afraid of heights but I think with each hiking trip we do, we are getting a little more braver. 

Pictures can not capture the enormity of this rock formation. I was inspired by its shape to do a yoga pose (Wheel) to open my heart and mind to the experience. You can't tell but right behind the rock there is a steep cliff. Everyone applauded my efforts for doing the pose. Little did they know I was trembling in my boots! 

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SMELL: Peppermint Oil
I convinced Alex to take an Antigravity Yoga class with me and we had tons of fun.  It was a new experience for both of us and we felt like kids swinging back and forth on the silks.  The teacher was sensitive to us since we were adjusting to the high altitude and offered peppermint oil for our water. Just a few drops was all we needed and I was surprised by how I felt more alert and hydrated. The rest of the trip, no matter how many times I cleaned my water bottle, I smelled the peppermint oil.  

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HEAR: The silence at Bryce Canyon National Park
At one point during our hike on the Peek-a-boo trail, the only thing I could hear was the crumbling of rocks beneath our boots. We saw a video at Arches that told us to be quiet on the trails to preserve the integrity of the rocks.  They said that "silence is powerful." Indeed it is.  Bryce Canyon spoke volumes with its timeless beauty.

TOUCH: Rocks in The Narrows 
One of our last hikes was in The Narrows at Zion National Park.  You start in the Virgin River and walk in waist-high water between the canyons.  It is spectacular and quite challenging at times.  We wore dry suits and special shoes because of the rocky terrain and freezing cold water temps.  They gave us walking sticks to prevent us from falling but inevitably you do.  Or at least I did. Several times.  The rocks are slippery and when you fall it’s hard to get up but our guide kept reminding us that if that happens, just let go and float for a while and don’t freak out.  Great metaphor for life, isn’t it?  When you get knocked down, just let go, recuperate, and get back up.  Thanks, Ben!

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These are just a few of my simple joys of last week (SJOTW). I had a bunch of AHA moments throughout the trip and some panicky, fearful ones that I'll share in later posts.  I'm still recuperating from the time difference.

This week, I invite you to OM the moment for your soul and pick out your SJOTW and share them with me in the comments below.  It's amazing how differently you see things when you are looking for the beauty in each day.  Thanks again, Mary Catherine :)

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