For five straight days we spent six plus hours per day in hardcore exercise mode. Day 6 arrived in the form of a generous, well-timed gift: a field trip to Zion National Park. Zion is Utah’s first national park and, in my estimation, one of the most beautiful.
This trip was not included in our weekly program fee, meaning it came with a nominal charge to attend. The Russian Princess and I jumped at it.
A small group of us, eight in total, made our way to the van at 6:00 am. It was cold and dark. Colder, in fact, than it had been all week.
Some 90 minutes later we pulled into the Zion visitor center parking lot.
A blast of icy air greeted us when we opened the van door.
At its lowest elevation, Zion sits at 3,666′ above sea level; at its highest, 8.726′. Even with umpteen layers on, it was cold enough to make my teeth chatter.
The group entered The Lodge, a combination gift shop and restaurant. I ran straight to the shop to see if they sold anything that would offer me more warmth. I settled on some colorful knit socks.
Several of the others had gone upstairs to the restaurant in search of coffee, an item that is verboten at Movara, but The Russian and I were there to hike, not sit in a cafe, so we headed out to our chosen trail.
Another guest, Paul, looked like he was ready to hike too, so we invited him to join us.
Just moments into the hike we saw 2 massive deer, one of them friendly enough to allow Irina to get a close up shot.
A few moments after that, while crossing the bridge over the Angel River, we saw another large male deer at river level. It actually looked like he was playing in the water, balancing on large rocks and looking up at his admirers on the bridge.
It was as close to a magical moment as I’ve ever seen.
In total we covered four trails that morning: The Grotto (easy), followed by the three Emerald Pools trails: Lower Emerald Pools (easy), Middle (moderate), and Upper (moderately strenuous).
The views were sublime.
All the hiking we had done in southern Utah had been pretty spectacular, but Zion delivered awe-inspiring backdrops second to none.
And I couldn’t have asked for better company.
We arrived back at Movara at 1:30 p.m., just in time for “Graduation”.
Guests gathered in the lecture hall to watch a compilation video of the week’s activities causing fits of laughter. The video of me wailing away at the freestanding heavy bag during kickboxing class is one that should never make its way into the public eye. Ever.
Next we had another round of group shares, this time about what the week had meant to us.
I started out strong and dry-eyed, but then found myself choking back tears as I sputtered out the following:
Three years ago in Malibu, I felt crushed and beaten and incapable 5 of the 6 days. The thing I’m proudest of about this week is that while there were several days when my body felt a little beat-up and broken, my SPIRIT never felt broken. I was never broken.
THIS is my biggest win of the week, and – regardless what the scale shows tomorrow – my heart and my spirit are whole and unbroken. And I’m proud of myself.
I looked towards the stage and saw that Trainer Cliff (the only human on the planet who cries more easily than I do) was also crying. I yelled, “Stop it! You’re not helping!“, to which he replied, “We’re not crying, it’s just our eyes sweating.”
We hugged our goodbyes with guests not staying over that final night, and then checked our agendas for the next class.
Hmmpphh. No more classes.
Many guests chose to run errands, do laundry or lounge by the pool. (Did I mention that Day 6 felt like a gift?), but Irina and I decided we needed to squeeze a little more exercise in, so we hit the gym.
Half hour on the treadmill seemed more than enough, considering the beautiful sunny and warm weather beckoning us to the pool.
I had been eyeing an inflatable shark pool toy all week. That bastard taunted me in much the same way my giant inflatable rubber ducky in Toronto did.
He challenged me.
I accepted his challenge.
After a whopping 3 seconds on Sharky, he tossed me aside like a drunken college girl riding a mechanical bull.
Final stats for the day:
- 20,966 steps
- 8.6 miles
- 2,120 calories burned (vs. 1,200 consumed)
- 1 massive amount of fun had
- 1 Lomi Lomi massage (my second in as many days) …Holy hell, I miss Masseuse Marie and her magic hands.