One of the best places we stayed in Utah was at Zion Mountain Lodge – we only stayed for one night but managed to make the most of our stay…
We’d booked in for a ride on the Friday afternoon, an hour long hack to explore the reserve. I’ve ridden a lot growing up, so was a little disappointed that we literally just followed one after the other for the hour, without much of a tour, explanation of the history or wildlife. I wonder if we’d gone on a longer ride whether it would have been better, or if it would have been boring. However, it was amazing to be out in the gorgeous ‘golden hour’ and it reminded me of how much I enjoy riding.
We had booked dinner in their very popular farm-to-table restaurant onsite, (which I would highly suggest if you’re staying here, it was fully booked the night we ate with many guests being turned away). With huge portion sizes, my Mum and I shared a fillet steak with an extra side of veg, as well as a chocolate pudding and some wine.
Utah isn’t a dry state, as I was previously warned, but alcohol is only really offered in tourist areas and even then, can only be consumed with food. Sixty percent of the state are Mormons who don’t drink, hence the strict attitudes towards alcohol. Although I don’t drink much, it was quite nice to give my body and liver a break after some heavy wedding and engagement festivities over the Summer.
Next morning I was up early to explore the area on foot. During our ride I had seen someone out running on the trails and couldn’t wait to do the same myself (until the guide warned me about the rattle snakes), so I stuck to the open paths and roads around the reserve. The sky was a beautiful pink, the Buffalo were just waking up, and i amused the other residents by running the same two loops to get my mileage in without interrupting any sleeping snakes – and for my Mum to snap some pics.
The altitude really got to me, as did the hills, and I struggled to keep a 10 min pace, however once I turned off my watch and just embraced the run instead of even keeping track of pace, I found the whole run far more enjoyable. Although it was tough, I really enjoyed it and so want to come back to the area to run the Zion half marathon!
After running, there is always food. The breakfast was epic, and reminded me exactly why I run! My Mum and I shared the French Toast with berry compote, Blueberry pancakes and a side of bacon… YUM. After quite a few breakfasts on the go, or in the car, this was our first BIG AMERICAN BREAKFAST, and it did not disappoint (paid for with my Caxton card to avoid extra card charges!)
Our plan for the day was a relaxed trip to St George – I planned our dates so badly, if we’d been there the following Saturday I could have run the half marathon as a training run, or just watched the full marathon. Instead we bought my Mum and new pair of trainers, searched for halloween costumes at Target, and ate at In-And-Out Burger (the primary purpose of our trip to St George, I won’t lie).
If you’ve never been, In and Out is like a much, much better version than Five Guys – the burgers are amazing, and there’s a secret menu that you won’t find anywhere in the restaurant (but can see online here). Keeping with the secret theme, there are also Psalms hidden on the bottom of their food labels. My Mum loved it, and we wrote down the verses to look up when we got home.
Have you ever been to In and Out Burger? Where’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever run?