Saturday, August 25, 2007

Where Was I All Week?

I was a bad blogger last week, but I had good reason. See, my friend--historical romance author Cheryl Howe (pictured above in front of the reception building to the right)--and I jaunted off to Red Mountain Spa. I am a pampered wench.

It all started a few months ago when our Karmela Johnson posted about the adventure spa on her blog. (She has a great list of reasons to go, and she swayed me. ) I hadn't planned any non-research, non-business, or non-family related trips this year, so Cheryl and I started talking about going, too, especially after seeing the resort's Web site. Beware--if you click over to it, you'll be compelled to book at least a few days there. No joke.

So, luckily, I've been between projects, and the timing turned out to be fortuitous. I talked myself into a spa-mood--no heavy thinking about work!--and met Cheryl at the airport so we could take a shuttle up to St. George, Utah, where the spa is located. We were greeted with warmth and efficiency (Yay for great customer service!), and Cheryl headed off to a Tai Chi class while I strolled to the domed spa itself for my first booked massage. I am not ashamed to admit that I reserved four treatments, even though they cost a pretty penny. But I'm worth it, dammit, and if you download the spa menu from the Web site, you'll see just how impossible it is not to book anything.

This particular massage was their basic "Sagestone Spa" routine, and it was vunderful. Then we ate at the restaurant, and I was stunned that healthy food could be so incredible. I had halibut with a citrus sauce. Yum. That's all I need to say. In fact, throughout our stay, my tummy was very happy.

Generally, Cheryl and I decided to do our physical adventures during the morning then our pampering during the afternoon, with a slow activity before sleeping (such as the Spirit Walk on our first night, where we meditated our way through a labyrinth). Then we would retire early in order to be ready for a morning hike--and I mean early, because we met at 6:50 am and returned by 10:00 am. You can see some of the sights below.

Does it get any better than this? Watching the sun rise over red rocks? Seeing shadows lift over the craggy, windswept textures? Truly inspiring and good for the soul. We took the level two hike--level one is slower and level three is hardcore, designed for people who are very, very in shape and don't mind a blazing pace--but the level two adventures weren't cakewalks. Not by a longshot. We marched through sand (a lot of it uphill, too), traveled at a brisk clip, and even scrambled over rocks on the way to peaks. It was at this point that my newly discovered fear of heights reared its ugly head. (Read this old blog entry entitled "Heights" for a better explanation. Needless to say, I won't be scrambling over any exposed peaks for a while.)

After the hikes, we were still charged up enough to attend yoga classes. Then it was time for the pampering. (Whoo!) Besides the first basic massage I mentioned earlier, I had something called a Desert Rain Massage. OMG. With water drizzling down on me from hovering showerheads, it really did feel as if I were taking a nap during a quiet storm. I also experienced a hot stone massage (ahhhhhhh) and my first Thai yoga massage. That was awesome, and I think I got a slight workout at the same time.

Yet, alas, the vacation ended and I came home to a line edit for one of next year's book releases. But I'm already planning to go back to Red Mountain. Sigh.

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