It was an ominous start to the hike. By the trail’s second switchback, I’d realized two unfortunate things. First, it was clear that the woman yapping loudly on her phone 50 yards behind me was NOT almost done with her conversation. And second, I’d forgotten my water bottle and the granola bar I’d planned to devour at the summit of PC Hill.
I’d hoped that starting my hike before 10am on a weekday during Park City’s deserted shoulder season might grant me some solitude…or at least some peace and quiet. Not today; thanks to the wonders of speaker phone, I heard both sides of the woman’s conversation. And because I stopped for photos now and then, she was gaining on me. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts at forcing the woman to turn around (using mental telepathy), I focused on the ever-improving view, Cholula’s wagging tail, and the sunshine on my face. After all, it was our first time up PC Hill.
The PC initials are visible from all over town. I’d snapped photos of them on various hikes across the valley (summer and fall views pictured above), but only recently learned of the trail that leads to the big white letters. Every local should be able to say they’ve touched the big PC, right? Plus, I had a hunch the view would be simply beautiful on this early spring morning.
By some miracle, the loud woman’s voice started to fade and I realized she’d taken a different route. I said a silent thank you and paused to regroup. The trail, which had started out as a steady, straight incline, now meandered through scrub oak away from the PC sign. It swung back around, showing off the ski runs of Deer Valley and Park City Mountain Resort. I could finally hear the birds singing and watched Cholula chase chirping chipmunks through the brush. This was the hike I’d hoped for today.
As we neared where I knew the letters would be, the trail grew rocky and more exposed. I took a well-worn detour off of the main trail toward the sign. We made it! I discovered that the huge letters were made of painted concrete, a gift to the city from the PC High School senior class of 2004. Handprints from students decorated parts of the letters, the school within sight below.
The view from the PC sign is gorgeous, but I wasn’t yet at the hill’s summit. When we got there, we were treated to a 360 degree view: the town of Park City, almost all the way to our neighborhood to the northwest, the hills that hide Kamas and Heber City to the east. I set my camera’s self-timer and tried to get a good shot with Cholula and the view (sigh…it’ll do). I thought briefly of the granola bar I’d planned to be eating now.
As we headed down the hill, I took a wrong turn toward Quinn’s Trail. I turned around, over the summit again. When we passed the letters for the second time, I looked straight down the massive “P” and saw the stream that would be Cholula’s reward for joining me on a dry morning hike. When we’d almost reached the bottom, I said something about “swim” and off she went, ignoring my calls, straight for the stream. She really is part fish.
What a treat to finish a delightful morning hike and then get to play ball at this park with your dog afterward! When she got hot, she’d trot into the water. The park is huge, a tennis-ball chaser’s dream, and the view can’t be beat. I love seeing my town turning green.
We played ball-swim-ball for a bit before I beckoned my happy girl to the car. She resisted at first… but Mama needed her granola bar snack! At a stoplight on the way home, I caught a glimpse of Cholula in the mirror, wet and dirty and literally dozing off in the back seat.
Sunshine, a couple of miles on a new trail, killer views, and a tuckered-out dog: a perfect Park City morning.
Happy Earth Day. The more you’re out in it, the more precious it becomes.