With weather like this who wants to sit in a movie theater?
By John Esther
Far from the maddening crowds of Sundance Film Festival 2009 are numerous mountain trails in the Uinta Mountains.
If you are a beginner or an expert wanting to know the best ones, White Pine Touring can serve your needs.
For my Wine Pine tour I arrived at Nordic Center, located at the corner of Park Ave and Thaynes Canyon Drive in Hotel Park City. at 9 a.m. Immediately greeted by a friendly staff I was suited and set up for my first snowshoeing experience.
On our way out east of Park City we stopped off at the famous Samak Smoke House for some really good, and really inexpensive sandwiches (by Los Angeles standards) made by owner and local legend, Jen Hisey, who runs the place with her husband, Dan Witham.
Located on Mirror Lake Highway in Kamas, Utah, Samak Smoke House is a well kept general store with a health conscious bent, offering healthy alternatives to greasy fast food chains. However, according to the loyal locals who converse with Hisey and Witham on a first-name basis, during the summer Samak Smoke House becomes a popular place for doing beers and burgers outside while watching the world go by.
Including the Samak Smoke House stop, the trip to our designated hidden trail took about 30 minutes.
With clean air and beautiful skies ahead, my guide, Betsy Bothe, guided us into what has been hailed by many of the locals as the most beautiful part in Northern Utah (near the Wyoming border).
Bothie, a local and physically fit guide, offered a comfortable measure of local information while providing a healthy dose of good exercise.
As the clear, thin air flowed through me, a calming effect took over. Those majestic mountain ranges, tall trees and unspoiled terrain reminds one who watches a lot of movies that art often takes a distant second place to nature. And there are no lines to wait.
There was little in the way of wild life. As the bears were, fortunately, hibernating, the only tracks we saw were elk, moose, fox and bird. According to Bothe, there are some mountain lions in the area yet they tend to stay higher up.
"If you ever see mountain lion tracks," Bothe said, "stick together and turn back."
After an hour into the beautiful mountain scenery we turned back, eating our sandwiches at a picnic bench about 15 minutes before getting back to the road.
After a solid two hours of exercise and exhilaration, I was back in Park City by 2 p.m. -- in better shape to get back to those human-made images.
For more information on White Pine Touring: www.whitepinetouring.com
For more information on Samak Smoke House: http://samaksmokehouse.com