Park City Mountain Resort Summer Activities, Utah

For a recent family reunion our crew of about 20 adults and 27 kids descended on Park City Mountain Resort to check out their summer activities. The resort has several options of things to do with kids – rock climbing, mini golf, a merry-go-round, and super jump trampoline. In addition to those smaller activities they have the big three – the Alpine Coaster, the Alpine Slide and Zip Line.
Big E and I took a ride on the Alpine Slide, first enjoying a scenic lift ride up the mountain. Alpine scenery is my absolute favorite so I was a fan of the view and all that green. At the top of the lift Big E and I took our slide seat to the track and loaded up.
Although he is big enough to ride the slide on his own, Big E wanted to ride with me so we squeezed in together for the ride down. The track races through trees and green meadows. Each rider has control of their speed which was good for my reticent six-year-old.


After the slide, Big E and I waited in the hot sun for over an hour to try the other big attraction – The Alpine Coaster. The Coaster rolls through trees, bushes and grass close to the action. Again Big E rode with me and we liked controlling our own speed down the mountain.
This video is from the Park City Mountain Resort website and gives a good idea of what it was like. Both the Coaster and Alpine Slide were fun and worth a visit. I’m glad I finally tried this summer attraction. The one big drawback I saw was the price. The combo price was $29 for adults and $13 for a youth passenger, which seems steep for less than ten minutes of thrill and a long wait line.
Overall we loved the day, topping it off with ice cream. It was great to spend some one on one time with my son.
Park City Mountain Resort did not provide any compensation for this post.


You Must Not Love That Kid Much

Yesterday a friend and I took our kids on the Provo River Trail. It’s a great trail that runs along the Provo River all the way down to Utah Lake. It’s a great public trail, popular year round with bikers, hikers and fishermen. Sometimes too popular.

Our group consisted of five kids aged 6 and under, a pregnant woman and a breast feeding woman. We had bikes and strollers and a baby in a wrap. Any parent knows the effort that goes into an excursion like this. Just that morning I transferred three car seats, attached the bike rack to the car, pumped up bike tires, loaded the bikes on the car, hunted down helmets, packed snacks and drinks, loaded and unloaded each of my three kids. Why did I do all that work? So I could share what I love (outdoors) with people I love (my kids).

Along the trail we made many stops. That won’t be a surprise to all you parents out there. We stopped to throw rocks in the water, eat snacks, get drinks and at the farthest point to sit and breast feed the baby. Throughout the adventure we redirected our kids. Stay where I can see you. Don’t go too fast. Keep up so we don’t lose the group. Watch out for other bikers. Stay on this side of the trail.

While I sat on a bench nursing Baby L, my pregnant friend scrambled through trees and up a steep slope after the older kids who were having trouble maneuvering down. Her son, almost 2, stood on the trail. Right in the middle.

Just then a biker came up the trail and had to steer around my friend’s son to not hit him. The toddler should’ve been three steps further to the right in the lane for hikers, but as any parent of a young child knows, sometimes they don’t listen no matter how many times you’ve asked them to move out of the way. As he rode off the biker called over his shoulder, “You must not love that kid much.”

Rage and anger bubbled under my skin. Although this was my friend’s son, the comment was directed at me, the only visible adult. And I felt all the judgement in it.

You must not love that kid much. Is that why I spent my entire morning making this outing possible? Is that why I try so hard to expose my kids to nature and help them learn new skills like biking and hiking? Is that why I put up with the frustration of wrangling three small people with their complaints, pains, joys and needs? 

You must not love that kid much.

The truth is I make the effort to take my kids outdoor spaces because I love them dearly. Fiercely. It is my job to teach them about the world, how to live in it and take care of it. I will continue to make the effort because it is important and valuable. I love my kids that much.

Ledgemere Picnic Area, Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah

As much as I complain about how hard it is to get outdoors with three kids, there are times that I’ve made the effort and it’s been worth it. The activities are short, kid-friendly and easy, just what I need with two tots and a baby. Plus it gets me outdoors and interacting more with my kids, both important things in my life.
On one recent adventure we set up a play date with some friends and headed up Big Cottonwood Canyon for a picnic. We stopped at Ledgemere Picnic Area, a beautiful improved area along the river. The aspens and cottonwoods would’ve been enough diversion for me, but little did I know Ledgemere also had a secret attraction.
The kids soon found a cave to explore! We had our picnic at the last spot on the trail (I think it was number 8) and in the rock face above our table was an ominous looking hole. Some of the tots were scared and only walked in a few feet, but armed with the flashlight on my phone, the baby and I followed the cave all the way to its end, splashing through six inches of water at some parts.

The entrance requires some crawling, but it opens up within a few feet. A short spur jets off to the right, but the main tunnel is to the left and goes back about a hundred feet. Unfortunately people have left trash and graffiti all along the cave, removing any sense of a pristine natural formation, not to mention the tunnel is tall enough for an adult to comfortably walk through. I’m guessing there’s been plenty of man made involvement, but regardless it was still really cool.

After exploring, splashing and eating we loaded up. Right as we were pulling out an attendant stopped us because we forgot one essential thing in our adventure – to pay the fee. I have a National Parks Pass which allows access to public lands. However, apparently improved picnic sites and campgrounds are not covered by the pass and require an extra fee. At first I was annoyed – we had only been there a few hours, packed out our trash and hadn’t even used the restrooms, but then I decided that $8.00 was just not that much money for two adults and five kids to have an adventure. Plus I want to support the outdoors, its protection and maintenance.
Ledgemere Picnic Area was a fun place to spend an afternoon and I hope to get back there soon.


Motherhood Moments: Great Expectations

I’m not used to taking things easy.
When I first had Big E my whole world changed, including what was possible in the outdoors. All day hikes to the top of mountains were fun with just adults in tow, but once a baby was involved diaper changes and feedings changed what I did in the outdoors. Maybe an all day hike up a mountain was out, but I could still put the baby in the pack and get out for a hike.

Then Big E grew. Suddenly he wanted to toddle everywhere without being strapped into a pack. So we adapted, changed our expectations and went on short adventures or stroller accessible activities.
Then little g was born. We had to adapt again. Learn how to have two kids and balance their needs and mine was another learning curve that affected what we did in the outdoors. But Big E was bigger and could actually walk on his own now. We could still get outdoors, just at a toddler’s level.
Now there’s another one. Baby L is still in the floppy stage, unable to even sit up on her own. While adorable and lovable in every way, her lack of motor skills requires another redefinition of acceptable outdoor activity. And it’s tough.
With this hot weather I long to go kayaking with my family. We live near a great tubing river, but having a completely dependent child makes that activity too dangerous to contemplate.
Biking would be another fun alternative, but my bike trailer requires an infant insert and says it’s only suitable for children over six months. Summer will be over by the time Baby L is six months.
Another family favorite is off-roading. Mountain Dad loves driving the RZR but laws (and common sense) require all children to wear helmets and Baby L has just barely figured out how to hold up her head. I can’t imagine what it would be like wearing a heavy helmet, not to mention I don’t think her car seat would work in an off road vehicle.
I thought I had figured out that having kids requires adaptation to my life. I have learned to walk at a slower pace, to plan ahead, to change the activities from white water rafting to short hikes near to home. We’ve bought special gear, taken more time, given up when appropriate. But I still have to lower my expectations.
I’m not asking for much. It’s not like I’m an extreme athlete running Iron man triathlons every weekend. And I know all too well that babies grow and this will be temporary. That doesn’t change the chasm between what I WANT to do outdoors and what I’m ABLE to do outdoors.
Getting outdoors with young kids is tough, but I know I will keep trying, changing and adapting, because it is also important.