By Jeff Harding, Director of Operations
In order to better understand the athletes’ experience the staff of the Huntsman World Senior Games will on occasions go on “sport familiarization” adventures. Such was the case on a recent sunny Tuesday morning - a day that would see a high temperature of nearly 100 degrees. The staff embarked on a Walking Tour-like experience in Snow Canyon State Park near St. George led by our resident professional tour guide (and director of sponsor relations) Michelle Graves. For those who may not know, Snow Canyon State Park is a beautiful mixture of prehistoric lava flows through petrified sand dunes and red and white sandstone cliffs, and a venue for cycling and road races events.
The staff loaded into the vehicles to make the 15 minute trip from our offices to Snow Canyon about 8:45 am. Already a warm day, the staff took steps to protect themselves from the heat and sun prior to leaving. Upon arriving at the trail head, after one last check of hats, sunglasses and hydration packs, the staff started off on the adventure hiking over picturesque petrified sand dunes.
Consistent with the walking tours offered during the Games this was not just a guided hike through beautiful country. Flora and fauna native to the area was discussed as was the unique nature of the geologic formations of the area. We saw amazing vistas and hiked down (and up) narrow slot canyons. Most of the staff had no problems with the terrain however there were a few spots which favored those of shorter stature and shall we just say the svelte among us.
About two hours and hundreds of photos later Michelle assured us that the trailhead would be just past the next hill. True to her words, we could see the parking lot as soon as we topped the hill. As is typical with all sports experience we learned a lot about ourselves during this walking tour. Firstly, we learned that we can do hard things. Secondly, we learned that we can accomplish more as a team than we can individually. Lastly, but certainly not least, we gained a greater appreciation for the amazing athletes of the Huntsman World Senior Games.