Saturday, October 11, 2008

Party in Midway

Amy gave me the greatest surprise of my life (coming right after my surprise party two nights ago). She set up this amazing 24-hour getaway for us at the Homestead Resort in Midway. We always wanted to go up there to see the Homestead Crater, but we got that and much more. Amy, you're the greatest! It was so much fun, and we realized that we need to plan little journeys for just the two of us more often. Here's our trip.

We're there! We came up right after work and still had a couple hours and beautiful chilly daylight.

our first excursion was renting mountain bikes and cruising into Midway

down the mountain streets

We ate a huge dinner at the Mountain House Grill. It had a big fire burning out front which drew us in.

Amy and her monstrous pitcher of peach lemonade. It really was good.

Coconut shrimp and I. It's been years since I ate any of these babies.

We rode our bikes back to the resort in almost complete darkness. Luckily we didn't have to avoid too many cars. Once back we went marveled at the clouds and the bright moon, and went and spent a good long time in the spa. We went outside into the mineral bath spa, which pumps thermally-heated water straight from the crater. It soothes your skin and relaxes you, makes you just want to fall asleep. We made friends with a man and his two sons. He's a U of U Ph D candidate in English literature, and an avid traveler and explorer, and we all hit it off and chatted for at least an hour. Then it was back to our little room to watch clips of movies on cable till we fell asleep.

Early the next morning we had breakfast scheduled at Fanny's Grill, at the resort. Amy got a plate of fruit and cottage cheese. I got bread pudding french toast, which was remarkable. We're thinking about adapting that recipe ourselves. There was a cozy fire going right behind us.


It was cloudy before breakfast, but immediately afterward it was snowing! We came outside into little fat flakes falling all over. Our next destination was Soldier Hollow to go horseback riding. I was extremely excited, but we pretty much figured it wouldn't happen because of the weather. We decided to go anyway, to see if we could raincheck it. Once there, we talked with the guides and stood out in the snow awhile, and realized we really wanted to do it. So we trotted around on our horses for an hour on these amazing mountain trails, with fall colors spread everywhere and light snow dusting everything. Honestly, it was breathtaking, and we would have made a big mistake if choose against going. People would pay a lot of money to see what we see. I'm sure of it.

outside Rocky Mountain Outfitters

Getting settled on Bonny

Amy mounting Chubbs

starting out

Me on my horse Bonny. Don't you love the variety of colors?

the happy couple

home on the range

in snowflakes

We made it back in time for a soak and swim at the crater itself. The crater is a huge naturally-warmed spring that bubbles up right out of the earth. It has created a big dome overhead as the mineral water spilled out over the centuries. It's been an attraction for at least 130 years. Fourteen years ago they blasted a short entrance tunnel into it and began pumping some water out so that the water level remains safe and constant. They call it a crater because there's an opening at the top where everyone used to swim in it.

It was freezing out! The tunnel and top both lead directly outdoors, so we were pretty cold as soon as we got out of the water. They only had one towel for us too. We would've stayed longer but we had to check out of our room, so we hurried back and then drove home to pick up the kids. Our wonderful friend Michelle watched them. Can you believe it? What a handful. We're very grateful and we owe her!

Thanks Amy for the best birthday I could've wished for! It was the perfect surprise, especially at this ripe old age . . .

looking at the top of the crater from inside

the entrance (changing curtains behind Amy)

the spa area on the side of the dock

I left the little spa and swam directly in the crater. It's 60 feet deep and they do scuba diving there all the time--there were quite a few in training there.

Our last hurrah. What a wonderful date!


heather said...

this whole experience looks so deliciously fun....i can't believe what a wonderful surprise birthday trip this was! my favorite part is the horseback riding in the light beautiful. you know i have never ridden a horse? and you guys look so natural at it! i can't believe your horses' names were bonny and chubbs, wow! also i love the way it looks to be in the water at the crater. i still don't really understand exactly what it is...some kind of semi underground hot springs? i am going to look it up. it is such a nice mountain country resort. peace lemonade, bike rides in the hills, snow, hot springs, horses, fireplaces, i can't imagine anything more romantic.

also one other tidbit that stands out to never knew you could get a ph.d at the u of u huh!!??? literature huh...well well well.

happy birthday you handsome. now you know who's better start planning now for that beautiful bride of yours. i am so jealous of this trip!

Tara said...

wow, I never knew that place existed. what a great get-away!! and you got to ride horses in the snow! glad you guys have been having some fun times. :)

Heather said...

looks so fun...way to go you two

Ali said...

What an awesome birthday surprise. It all looked so amazing, especially the horseback ride. What a wonderful wife you have!

Glory Watts said...

Matt, you are a lucky guy to be married to my sister :) Way to go Amy on planning such a fun birthday get away! I bet that water felt good after being freezing cold in the snow. This will be a hard one to beat Matt! You two are such a beautiful, adventursome couple, so good together! love you both so much!

I really, really want to go on a little vacation now.

Life on Pelican Street said...

What an amazing wife you have!! We love midway and reference it often as the place for setting up our family compound.

mooncowboy said...

Whitney-- I totally agree that Midway is the perfect place for a family compound! We actually dream (and realistically plan) for a similar compound. All my siblings are in. It'll happen, I know it.

Adie B said...

this whole thing looks like a beautiful dream. Sometimes I wish I could just live in such a dream. With horses and fall trees and warm breakfasts and fireplaces and sweaters and beautiful moonlight rides. You luckies! I hope Art and I can do something so wonderful someday! Seriously, these scenes are like from a dream. A really good one.

Maria said...

I love Midway! Looks like so much fun! And happy late birthday to Matt!

Josh said...

happy birthday matty!