Sadly Missing Utah

Several years ago I discovered a new passion (other than my job) in hiking. I was at a crossroads in my life and this ad for Red Mountain Spa lept out from a magazine and captivated me. Hikers with red rock canyons beneath their feet and crisp, blue skies in the horizon called out to me. Within a week I had my Memorial Day vacation booked.

I never owned hiking shoes and bought them on site at Red Mountain, a destination offering daily guided hikes into Snow Canyon and other local canyons. For 7 straight days I woke before the crack of dawn (5:15 am to grab breakfast and meet fellow hikers to beat the Utah summer heat).

I discovered a few things that week.

First, I’m a pretty good hiker. My type-A personality suits me well for a good paced hike. The views are worth the work.

Second, there is a reason one needs a good sports massage! After 5 days of hiking, muscles I don’t want to tell you even existed were cursing me. I had a Bryce Canyon full day hike in 2 days and failing legs were not an option. (I should tell you now that I didn’t go to the “Spa” part of Red Mountain up to that point – I didn’t need pampering, thank you very much! I needed fresh air and hard work.) I quickly realized the ‘hiker’s massage’ was on the massage menu for a reason! Two days later, my legs were stronger as a result. Now I’m not shy to realize when a good massage is just the right trick to get to the next level of endurance.

Third, I find there is nothing like the southwest. I’ve been to Arizona before. And after traveling to Utah, I’m convinced I must move or retire there somewhere in the southwest. I love the scenery.

Fourth, never go through the Las Vegas airport with your film in your suitcase. They x-ray your suitcases – and yes, it ruined all the fabulous Bryce Canyon shots I took. (Of course, now I have a digital camera, so I guess I don’t have to worry about that).

And finally, sometimes you need a full nature immersion to recalibrate. No laptops. No conference calls. No stress. I did arrive there stressed and tense. I returned more fit, more energized and more relaxed.

I also met one of my best friends on that trip – and we’ve stayed friends ever since. This trip had become an annual pilgrimage for me. Not just for the physical aspect, but for the ability to shed the winter doldrums. New England winters (and even springs lately) can really take a toll on you. Not being able to go this year was a huge impact. I don’t need to remind any New Englander how dreadfully awful this winter was. But for Gardner, our ice storm, and loss of power for 5 days, seemed to pack a double whammy.

I hadn’t decided if I was returning to Bryce Canyon, Zion Canyon, or the Grand Canyon, but I had fully intended one of those to be on my list this year.


Well, as you can see, that did not happen this May. Instead I must look at this shot from 2 years ago and only dream.

While most of the rest of my blog postings will tell you about the things I love about my job – there’s a part of me that resents the fact I had to forgo this trip the last 2 years. As Memorial Day came and went this past year, again I lamented this fact.


I hope that Labor Day weekend might at least have a White Mountain hiking trip in store for me.


About Claire Flanagan
Claire Flanagan is a Director of KM and Enterprise Social Business & Community strategy at CSC. Views expressed are her own.

One Response to Sadly Missing Utah

  1. Your blog is so informative … ..I just bookmarked you….keep up the good work!!!!

    Hey, I found your blog in a new directory of blogs. I dont know how your blog came up, must have been a typo, anyway cool blog, I bookmarked you. 🙂

    Robert Shumake

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