It’s been a dream of Kat’s to explore Peru and hike Machu Picchu for years now. Thanks to her influence it also became a dream of mine.
Before we get started on the details, here’s a link to the curated photos of our trip. I took thousands of photos, and these are the ones that stood out the most. Click each of these images below to open up a gallery for that part of the trip.
Last year we were able to make this happen! We trained for MONTHS leading up to the Peru trip with all sorts of hiking and biking to get ready for the physical part of the challenge. We spent hundreds at REI getting all the right packs and gear we thought we’d need. We took all this gear on hikes all over the Southeast in preparation (like Mt. Mitchell in NC and Dragon’s Tooth in VA). Kat even went all-out and put dive weights in her pack to prepare for climbing at higher elevation.
We found a guide company, Kusa Treks (who we’d highly recommend), and invited some of our closest friends to make the adventure with us. It wound up being a trip with 5 people total. This was fantastic as we got what amounted to a private trekking experience.
I’d like to write up a post in the future that contains some more details.
The cast of characters
Kat & Jason
Nicole & Justin
Best part of the trip
New thing that we learned
Thing that surprised us the most
I think the format should probably be one post for the trip overview, and then one post for each individual section. It seems like I’m looking at a lot of writing work. Consider this post the pre-overview. Leave a comment if you’d like to see anything else covered.
Day 6 after a short Cross Country interlude was our final day boarding in Utah. We decided to mix it up and head over to Canyons. The weather forecast was SNOW all day (up to 10 inches) and there was already 4 inches on the ground.
Park City was effortless for buying tickets but Canyons just up the street proved to be a real pain. We bought tickets online ahead of time to save some time and money but when we got there the line for tickets was taking people about 30 – 40 minutes to get through. Talk about a SERIOUS waste of time on a powder day.
The trick here is to go to the Ski School window inside the building where they have more agents just waiting to help you out with ZERO line. I don’t know why this wasn’t better load balanced or advertised for customers that had already bought passes online.
Once we got on the slopes we didn’t have too much trouble getting around but we did have trouble with the conditions. It didn’t seem like anything had ever been groomed so the terrain hidden underneath the snow was pretty inconsistent. You’d plow through a powder pile and slow down, then at the end it would all go to hell when the last bit of the pile slid away due to the ice underneath. It was tough on us boarders but the skiers said it was brutal since the conditions varied from one ski to the next.
The Dream Catcher area was definitely our favorite of the day. It appeared to have the most untracked powder and the most consistent conditions underneath. The next favorite area was called Red Pine Road which had a lot of free areas along the side to head off into the trees with the deep stuff. We only did this run once on the way out and couldn’t find an easy way to get to it again without taking two lifts.
Overall thoughts: We picked the right housing location by being “Ski In – Ski Out” at Park City. It had plenty of groomers to keep the skiers and boarders zooming in fast conditions. It also had a lot of fun Adventure Alleys to let people run through the trees. On top of that it just seems really well put together in terms of navigation. We never had a problem figuring out which lift to take or where to go. Everything just flowed! Canyons seemed tougher to get around with conditions that just didn’t lend themselves to high speed runs. Park City was non stop fun no matter which way we went!
Day 4 of Park City gave us a few more inches of snow. This day was completely dedicated to Adventure Alley runs. We completed all of the Adventure Alley runs on the mountain! Each one is demarcated by a little metal monster.
I put together a string of runs during breakfast and then we went to execute on the plan.
Think mountain biking or dirt biking, but on a snowboard. There are banked turns through the trees and a pretty set path to follow with a bit of variation. You have to pick your line right to make the turn, otherwise you’re jumping over the bank instead of cutting a hard turn. WAY TOO MUCH FUN!
Brendan hurt his knee and had to go back early. Apparently I missed an epic face plant.
I worked a change window that went well and then we went out in Park City for Sushi. It’s a cool little place to walk around in.
Day 3 of Park City brought us a few inches of snow! We started right as the lifts opened up (or just a few minutes behind) and headed straight to the Powder Monkey “Adventure Alley” section on the back side of the mountain.
This is a tree filled gully full of little dips and whoops that was a bit like going over a pump track on a mountain bike.
It continued to snow on us and we explored the rest of the mountain.
We called it an early day and went back home to meet up with Marv. It was good to see him again and hang out. It continued to snow so Marv had to call it a bit of an early night to make it back down the mountain.
We TRIED to get into the hot tub before dinner but it turned out to be more of a warm tub. 93 degrees and it was snowing HARD on us. Luckily this is fixed now but it made for a pretty unpleasant realization at the time.
No Name Saloon was next on the list. Everyone grabbed burgers and Pete was inappropriate with the waitress as usual.
Day 1 in Park City was excellent. The sun was shining, there had been a touch of snow the day before, and we set out to explore the mountain. We got a bit of a late start because the trip felt very last minute for a lot of people. We needed the morning half of the first day to get equipment, rentals, and lift tickets sorted.
I drove the crew around in a minivan. I won’t lie; I fucking love minivans. Right now we’re driving a Chrysler Town & Country. Lots of amenities, tons of storage, room for all your friends. At this stage in my life a minivan is a little bit like a rolling party. It may be a bit excessive that there are 8 cup holders within my direct reach from the driver’s seat, but oh well.
After getting all that sorted from 8:30 – 11 we hit the slopes out or back porch. No joke. We walk out our back porch up a small hill, ski down a short run, and arrive directly at the Town Lift in Park City. How bad ass is that?
Facebook has a lot of evidence of this. And I’ll have to post some here when I get around to it.
The weather was incredible: clear, sunny, crisp, cold. Not too windy. We explored a lot of the mountain doing a few runs in each section and by the end of the day we were just mentally and physically exhausted. So exhausted that we didn’t even feel like getting in the hot tub.
Anneka baked cookies and made chili. As usual, I asked Anneka to marry me (I always do when she cooks for me), and as usual she said no. One of these days. Sorry Brendan!
Now it’s time for breakfast and a potential trip to demo a different snowboard.
I’m bound for Park City Utah with Brendan, Anneka, Kenneth, Peter, Paul, and Dave (who I haven’t met yet (or is it whom?)). The flight from ATL to SLC seems to take forever. So long that I was suckered into buying 90 minutes of Internet for $12 dollars.
This is ridiculous. I know it to be ridiculous. I did it anyway. Now I’m writing to you about it.
What should I make of that?
I’m reading Don Quixote – but it wasn’t enough to hold my plane interest. I found some new sci-fi books I want to read. I should have loaded them up on my Kindle. Will make a note of that for the ride home.
Funny story.. One of the girls from The Flying Saucer was on the plane from RDU to ATL. Then I saw her in the ATL airport, and AGAIN on the plane to SLC. I’ll have to chat her up once we land and figure out what sort of strange coincidence finds a waitress and her loyal alcoholic customer bound for the same destination.