Last week, Mom and I set off for southern Utah. That’s right, we went to the desert in the summer. We were bound for Red Mountain Spa, a “fitness spa”, where we could basically play all day, meet nice and interesting people, and eat delicious food. It was sweet. And really hot. But pretty much just sweet. I arrived on Wednesday on a harrowing flight from Salt Lake where things were flying around INSIDE the plane, and I was failing miserably to stave off a panic attack. “Don’t worry, it’s like this all the time”, assures the stewardess, which really makes me question her sanity. But anyway, after finally arriving alive in St. George, I was greeted by a very nice man, and toted back to the spa with another guest, T, who would become one of our buddies for the week.
Red Mountain is incredible. It’s rust colored buildings blend in nicely with the red, browns, oranges and yellows of the surrounding desert landscape. The resort its self backs up to Snow Canyon State Park, nestled within soaring red rock outcroppings. Gorgeous. Around the resort, there are many species of native desert plants, (and some not so native, but pretty, so it’s ok), including the barrel cactus, which I had never seen before, but was very cool. And spiky. I had borrowed the 100mm Canon lens from friends back home and had a blast taking macro shots of all the interesting plants on the property.
Every day is busy and full at the spa, but only as busy and full as you want it to be. We began every morning with the guided hiking tours led by Jack and Jill, (yes, I’m serious). Now, if you read this blog, you know that I hike a fair bit, and while I’m not in the shape I’d like to be right now, I still feel like I know what I’m doing in a pair of boots. These hikes, especially the one where we went straight up the rock face, had me huffing. I could give the litany of excuses: it was hot, there were no switchbacks, there was no shade, IT WAS HOT! Honestly, though all of these things are true, and do have a real impact on performance, I think I just need to work out more. So. More cardio on the horizon. Truly though, I loved the morning hikes. They were my favorite part of the trip, especially since I got to hike with Mom!
We would arrive back from the hikes around 10, since the sun gets so intense after that. There were any number of activities we could chose to do then, yoga, stretch, water aerobics, etc. Each day, however, we went to cooking class! Sous Chef Mike taught these one hour classes, and they were different every day. We learned about different types of grains, green smoothies, drank Mormon Tea, and generally sat in awe of his awesome knife skills. Seriously, I’m jealous. I want to wield a knife like that. Our places had little name tags for us every day too, making us feel very important. Later in the week, I “worked” with Sous Chef Mike in the real kitchen when I was “Chef For the Day”. Very cool. I sliced, (not as well as Sous Chef Mike), and diced and worked the GIANT immersion blender to puree soups. It was rad. I got to keep my chef’s coat. It makes me feel special.
Cooking class was followed by lunch, which was served buffet style. We learned to eat cold soup, and Mom learned about hummus and flat bread. What a wonderful thing. We were also often joined by some of the friends we made, L, T, or B. They couldn’t be more different from each other, but all are fabulous women, whom I hope to keep in touch with out here in the “real world”. After lunch, we would either go to another fittness class, or take some lounge time by the pool, or ride our bikes up some killer hill in the gazillion degree heat to the local hippie-artist-coffee shop community, or get complementary makeovers. We did all of those things. The fittness and biking were hard, the lounging and makeovering were not. Both were wonderful and left smiles on our, sometimes sweat streaked, faces.
In the evenings, it would cool off, and we would walk, or bike, to dinner, again often joined by friends. We often sat at the “Community Table”, where anyone can join, or we created our own. Mom and I are social creatures, and will talk to anyone. This is how we make friends. Dinner was usually a drawn out affair, with everyone sharing what they did that day, and planning for trips, classes and excursions for the next day. Sometimes dinner was followed by something fun like Outdoor Yoga, a photography class, or Texas Hold ’em. Mom won of course, though she didn’t even know she was holding a straight.
We had a wonderful time at Red Mountain. It was great getting to reconnect with Mom, and meet lots of new and interesting people. I’d love to go back with Mom, or girlfriends. It’s a beautiful place.