I don’t know about you, but I struggle to find ways to celebrate that don’t revolve around food. Momentous days call for momentous meals. Celebrations call for cake. And comfort calls for calories. It’s the philosophy of Marci.
I definitely have a keen awareness of food’s role in my life, though I’m still trying to find a balance. Which is why we HAD to have a nice dinner on our actual anniversary. I did say *still* trying.
Do we look like we’ve been married four years?
It was too dark to take photos of what we actually ate without illuminating everyone with my flash, so you’ll have to settle for this horrible pic of our desserts.
I chose a passion fruit cheesecake with coconut sorbet. It was like the Caribbean was melting on my tongue with every bite. Rich, yet refreshing. Joe opted for a molten chocolate soufflé, whose menu disclaimer warned it needed at least 30 minutes to prepare. Just rich, not refreshing. But totally worth it.
But this was just the beginning of our anniversary celebration.
In the weeks leading up to the big day, I racked my brain for fun things we could do to commemorate. Go to a movie? Errrr. Joe and I prefer to watch movies at home for free. Take a trip? Not enough time right now. I needed something we could do in a day’s span, preferably the weekend after my 5k so I wouldn’t have to juggle both.
And then one evening, as we took a walk past a farm with horses, Joe mentioned he hadn’t been on a horse since he was a kid. Bam. Done. My mission was clear.
The next morning I was booking our first horseback riding adventure in the mountains for the following weekend. It was supposed to be a surprise for Joe, but I didn’t know how I could pull it off, so he ended up being in on it with me. I figured I couldn’t just drive him up in the mountains, throw him on a horse for three hours and expect him to not question some of the vows we were celebrating.
We’ve driven by the Beaver Creek Lodge many times on our way to Bear Lake, but never bothered to stop or check out its offerings. The lodge itself is typically booked all summer for large, Mormon-scale family reunions, but they do offer horseback tours separately. It’s close enough to Logan to be an easy afternoon activity, but far enough away to still feel like an adventure.
We arrived early and had a bit of time before our tour started, so we hung out with the horses. Aren’t they gorgeous creatures?
I was paired with a beautiful chestnut quarter horse named Jax and Joe was put on Atlas at first, but we hadn’t been gone two minutes when Atlas started limping and tried to turn Joe around for the stables. Our guide, Terry, thought he had a rock stuck in his shoe from another tour that morning. So we went back and Joe got on Patriot instead, a hybrid…the “mutt” of horses, but still quite the looker thanks to a little painter horse in him.
Since there’s still snow (!) on the mountains, Terry took us on two different 1.5 hour rides instead of their typical 3-hour tour. “…a threeeeee hour toooooour.” We ended up appreciating it even more because we really went off the beaten path as you’ll see in the pictures. We were tromping through forests and ducking under thick tree branches. We even crossed Beaver Creek, which thanks to the snow cap melting felt like we were crossing a raging river in places.
Turns out, it’s hard to take pictures while riding a horse. I ended up having to put my camera on auto-mode (for shame!) and just click-and-pray. We didn’t spend a lot of time stopping for photo ops, since that would have been every few minutes, but I hope you enjoy what we were able to capture.
I loved this part of the tour with the tall Aspens.
Joe’s view was a lot of this…me bouncing around and trying to take pictures. It’s a miracle I didn’t fall off at any point.
We did stop at a scenic point for our guide to take some pictures of us together. Love the sky and the views.
What amazed me most was how fragrant the woods were. I guess that’s to be expected when you’re surrounded by fur trees, but I couldn’t get enough. Add to that the woodsy smell of the leather saddle? It was heavenly.
Here’s some of the snow we encountered on the trail.
This is the only part of the tour that had me scared. These high bushes are fruit bushes and what brings bears more than fruit?…other than humans? Since the brush was so tall, I was concerned we’d either surprise one, or he’d surprise us, but no bears were spotted.
Other wildlife Terry HAD seen on the trails over the last 25 years includes a mountain lion (singular), lots of moose—which can be even more dangerous than bears when babies are involved, and garden snakes. You better believe I asked about snakes before we even left the stable. Luckily, the elevation here is too high for rattlesnakes. That whooshing sound you just heard was my sigh of relief.
We really had a great time and felt so lucky to have had a personal tour of the area, feeling like we were exploring places never before seen by other humans. It was so quiet and peaceful. A perfect anniversary.
And then because we were already thisclose to Bear Lake, we headed down for one of their famous raspberry shakes.
Raspberries are becoming my favorite fruit. Thanks, Utah.
But that wasn’t the only dessert we had. (I’m seriously failing at this celebrate-without-food business, can you tell?)
After our day in the dust and sun, we continued the party with one of the best desserts I have ever made/eaten/beheld. You’re just not going to believe it. Details soon! Go take a walk to offset the oncoming calories.
Anyone else prefer to celebrate with food? Who wants to come visit and ride horses with us? I call Jax.