Park City, June 2022

Angela and I recently returned from a road trip to Park City, Utah with Fitz. This was our first road trip with him since his spinal surgeries in December 2021 and the first time we had subjected him to what I considered a semi-strenuous workload for a nine-year-old dachshund, especially one with a history of back issues.

One of the reasons for my sabbatical has been to spend more time with Fitz because there is a lot of uncertainty about how much time we have left with him given his health problems in the recent past.

To be quite frank, we didn’t know how this trip was going to go. We’ve gone on road trips with Fitz in the past and he has always been a little anxious when we’re away from home. We were hoping that a stay of moderate length combined with the level of physical activity we had planned would allow him to calm down. In addition, we resolved to ensure he was never left alone in an unfamiliar place and hoped that would help him stay at ease.

In the end, we had an awesome time with Fitz, both hiking and just relaxing as a family in a place not too far from home. We have a couple of other road trips scheduled with Fitz later this year that I’m feeling confident about given how much fun we had on this one.

Bookings

The only booking required for this trip was the hotel for our stay. Given the surfeit of Hilton Free Night Certificates between Angela and my accounts, valid at any Hilton property with standard room availability, the choice of property was simple.

In advance of our stay, the concierge team reached out and I arranged an upgrade from the standard room, 1 King Bed with Gas Fireplace, to a premium suite, 1 Bedroom Superior Suite with Queen Sofabed, for 100.00USD per night plus applicable taxes. Given the large increase in space, I was more than happy to pay the fee.

Day 1

We had packed the day before our trip was to start, so we simply followed our normal morning routine before loading the car and leaving. With our trunk full of luggage, and our stomachs full of coffee, we set off on our trip.

We drove from Las Vegas to Park City, Utah in about eight and a half hours and arrived at 1840 local after a one-hour time zone change. Along the way we stopped in Mesquite, NV, Hamilton Fort, UT, Beaver, UT, and Nephi, UT, taking Fitz for short walks, stretching our legs, and eating some snacks that we brought with us. The drive was smooth except for an hour of stop-and-start traffic as a result of road construction.

Upon arriving at the property, we passed our car to the valet while our bags were unloaded from the trunk. Check-in was smooth with a clear explanation of benefits and an acknowledgment of the upgrade that I had previously negotiated. After securing our keys, we walked to the room and checked out our accommodations for the next few days.

We were generously provided with a variety of welcome amenities including a bottle of wine, a fruit plate, a picture frame, a pawprint kit, and a deer antler for Fitz.

After getting settled in, we ordered room service to prevent us from having to go out again after the long drive. The meal was expensive but very delicious.

  • Shared
    • Rosemary and Summer Squash Focaccia
  • Angela
    • Niman Ranch Tomahawk Pork Chop
  • Nicholas
    • Joyce Farm’s Half Chicken

After dinner, we walked Fitz around the hotel grounds for a bit before returning to the room and requesting amenities for him. Shortly thereafter, we received a bed and serving dishes for him. After a couple of hours in front of the fireplace, we headed to bed in preparation for the following day’s activities.

Day 2

We decided to visit five5eeds for breakfast. On the way there, we stopped at a small parking lot next to a flat trail and a pasture full of horses. We thought it would be cute to show Fitz the horses and maybe get a few pictures with them. Unfortunately, that is not quite how things went.

Fitz absolutely went ballistic as we neared the horses. He was barking wildly, straining at his leash, and jumping up and down. In fact, he was so boisterous that he was falling over himself the entire time. It was not a great start to our morning. I picked him up and carried him about a quarter mile down the trail before setting him down so he could work out the adrenaline coursing through him thanks to his first horse encounter.

We walked for about a half mile before turning back and looping back to the car. On the way back, I stopped to show Fitz the horses from a distance.

When we arrived at the parking lot after our short walk, we deposited Fitz in the car where he continued to bark like a maniac while Angela attracted horses to her by sheer force of will. In fact, one came close while her back was turned and nuzzled her shoulder in appreciation before we realized what was happening.

We returned to the car and finished the drive to our restaurant of choice, but Fitz still seemed quite excited. As such, we took him for a short walk to Olympic Plaza so he could calm down with a short walk.

Finally, he seemed to have calmed down enough that we were able to go to breakfast. Angela and I visited the restaurant while Fitz relaxed in his car seat with Tesla’s dog mode activated. Breakfast was delicious.

  • Angela
    • Pulled Pork Benedict
  • Nicholas
    • Banana Bread with Espresso Cream
    • Eggs Any Way You Like (Poached)

After breakfast, we visited the local grocery store to grab some light refreshments before stopping at Daily Rise Coffee to grab a couple of drinks. We then grabbed Fitz from the car and walked to Olympic Plaza again while we enjoyed our drinks. Afterwards, we returned to the hotel to find even more amenities waiting for us, a stuffed moose and a Waldorf Astoria Park City bandana for Fitz.

We packed up for our first hike of the trip with the standard set of items we would bring with us throughout the trip; water and treats (both canine and human) in a collapsible backpack, a portable drinking bowl, and Fitz’s carry bag. We were given a list of hikes close to the hotel and chose to start with the one that was walkable from the property, Colin’s and Rob’s trails.

Fitz walked the first half mile of the ascent before being packed into his carry bag as we continued another mile and a half. Once we reached a reasonable stopping point, Fitz disembarked from his bag and was able to walk another half mile on the descent before being packed up again until we reached the hotel.

Once back in our room, we spent a few hours relaxing on the balcony and in our living room. To our shock, Fitz seemed completely relaxed and, once we moved inside, he went into a deep sleep for a few hours next to the fireplace.

About midway through the afternoon, the property gifted us with a charcuterie platter, a delightful gift that acted as an appetizer for our dinner later in the evening.

The concierge had made us a reservation at Prime Steakhouse & Piano Bar for our second night in Park City. After freshening up and getting dressed, we headed out on the town with Fitz. We found a parking garage nearby the restaurant and left Fitz in the car with dog mode activated so he could continue resting while we dined.

We greeted the hostess and relayed the information for our reservation and requested to be seated outside. It was a beautiful night and we thought it would be pleasant to dine under the clear sky. We were attended to fairly quickly and placed our order.

  • Shared
    • Prime Caesar Salad
    • Sautéed Mushrooms
  • Angela
    • Filet
  • Nicholas
    • Rib Eye (16oz)
  • Dessert
    • Prime Molten Chocolate Cake

The food was good, the service was friendly, and the ambiance was nice until dusk settled and swarms of gnats surrounded us. While we enjoyed the meal, it was definitely overpriced and is not somewhere I’d recommend unless you were absolutely desperate for a steak.

We returned to Fitz, who was dutifully sleeping off his busy day, and drove back to the hotel where, after a final pit stop for the little guy, everyone went to bed.

Day 3

We woke up early and called room service to order some light refreshments in order to use our Hilton Diamond food and beverage credit. Oddly, I had to call four times with the first three attempts going straight to a random voicemail box. I ordered two cappuccinos, an orange juice, and a strawberry-banana smoothie for a total of 51.58USD. The prices are somewhat absurd but, when it is included as a status benefit, it never hurts to use what is offered.

After breakfast, we packed up the car and drove to Silver Lake Loop Trail. When we arrived, we discovered that dogs are not welcome on any of the trails in Big Cottonwood Canyon. There are signs everywhere and it seems to be strictly enforced so we chose not to take any chances.

We drove back to Park City, stopping at a few lookouts along the way including a small unnamed turnout and the Empire Pass trailhead.

We decided to visit PC Hill after picking up some coffee from Silver King Coffee. The trail was fairly steep, but Fitz was feeling energetic and walked half a mile on both the ascent and descent. He spent the rest of the hike in his carrying bag.

After our descent, we walked across the trailhead’s parking lot and explored the grassy sports fields before settling under a shade tree and relaxing for quite some time. Fitz, either through exhaustion or because he has decided to turn over a new leaf, allowed several dogs to pass by us without so much as a bark.

We stopped at El Chubasco for lunch where we each ordered a California burrito with Angela opting for carne asada while I chose chicken. We also shared a tamal. The price was right, and the food was delicious. We would definitely recommend a visit here if you’re looking for a quick and tasty lunch in Park City.

We returned to the hotel and relaxed on the balcony before moving inside to allow Fitz to enjoy the fireplace, quickly becoming his favorite spot.

In the early evening, we received a call from Joseph, the manager of the property’s food and beverage service, apologizing for the issues I had when trying to order room service in the morning. He invited us for free drinks that evening or the next, but we declined, so instead he sent us a gift from the spa. It was unnecessary, but very appreciated and showed the respect that the hotel has for its guests.

After a few hours of relaxation, we took Fitz out for a mile walk before we served him dinner. Unbelievably, he trotted along like he was a puppy again.

Day 4

We again ordered a few cappuccinos to use our food and beverage credit, skipping the orange juice and smoothie this time. They were much tastier and delivered much more quickly than the previous day. After packing up, we drove to Willow Creek Park to start the day. Fitz was able to walk two miles along the flat loop running around the park without assistance. He even ran through some agility obstacles in the large and comfortable dog park present at the end of our loop.

We stopped at Park City Coffee Roaster, the best coffee shop we visited on our trip. The drinks were delicious and the cinnamon roll muffin I ordered was absolutely scrumptious. While there, we decided to take Fitz to Lewis Park Nature Preserve. The trailhead was a little unclear, but we started off in what we hoped was the correct direction.

We thought Fitz would be tired, but we couldn’t have been more wrong. He sprinted the first half mile of our mile and a quarter outbound trek, dragging me the entire way. After his strenuous bout of exertion, I packed him in this carry bag, but he kept following the scent of whatever had caught his attention from chest height.

On the return journey we allowed him to walk the final quarter mile of the hike before wiping his filthy paws and depositing him in the car. Our next stop was Trailside Bike Park where we let Fitz roam free inside the confines of the small dog park.

With everyone thoroughly worn out we decided to take a late lunch at Fuego Bistro and Pizzeria. We ordered the Tenderloin Tidbits and Meat Lover’s Pizza to share. Angela chose one of the local beers as an accompaniment.

I really enjoyed the appetizer. The pizza was decent, but nothing to write home about.

After leaving Fuego we went to Ritual Chocolate where we hoped to get some chocolate truffles for dessert. The truffles were sold out, so we opted to buy a locally sourced chocolate bar before heading to Java Cow Coffee & Bakery for some ice cream.

Angela chose a scoop of butter pecan and I opted for a chocolate malt. Both were relatively expensive but absolutely delicious and well worth the price we paid. Angela said it was the best butter pecan ice cream she’d ever had.

We returned to the hotel where we were greeted by a member of the concierge staff who said she loved Fitz’s posts on Instagram. I thought this was very kind. She mentioned that, if we were to return in the future, we should reach out in advance so that they might be able to do something special for us.

After a very long day, Fitz spent the rest of the evening in front of the fireplace until he got tucked in after dinner.

Day 5

We started with our, by now, customary cappuccinos and then called the bell desk to ask them to pick up our bags. After checking out it was time for the long drive home. We stopped in Nephi, UT and Beaver, UT to charge before stopping in St. George, UT to dine at the conveniently located Cracker Barrel.

We bathed Fitz as soon as got home to wash the dirt and dust from our journey off before relaxing in the comforting confines of home.

In the end, we loved our trip to Park City. While there was a heat wave in the region while we visited, it was still thirty degrees cooler than home. We enjoyed ourselves so much that, as soon as we arrived home, I immediately booked us a return trip for later this year.

On top of everything, Fitz has been acting like a puppy since we returned home. He’s enjoyed daily two mile walks and seems to have a general boost in energy levels. All it took was a visit to the countryside and daily hiking.

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