Canyon Ranch

April 14th

View near Brown Mountain I had set the alarm for 5:45 but I woke up by 5:30 and got up. I quickly got dressed and was at breakfast by 6:00 am when they start serving (continental only until 7, plus the omelet bar). I had an omelet at the omelet bar. I didn't want the egg white omelet that they recommend. Real eggs sounded too good. I also asked for salt for the eggs. They don't put salt on the table, only pepper, it is something you have to ask for since they consider it bad for you. I ate a good meal with fruit salad and banana bread. I love their banana bread. It is very heavy and good. Most of their breads are heavy since they use whole-wheat flour but in banana bread or any moist bread I think this is good.

I was at the spa lobby by 6:20 ready for my hike. I was going to Brown Mountain. The van ride was quite long, about 45 min. Brown Mountain is a hike with three hills to climb, and all in the open desert, with no shade. And today got hot. Well into the 80s. I wore my typical desert outfit that totally covers me. Unlike many people (like you Erin) I hate being out in the sun. It is not the heat that bothers me but the direct sun on my skin. And my cover-up makes it bearable. There were very few spring flowers still in bloom, but the cactus flowers had started coming out. We saw tons of hedgehog cacti in bloom and there were also cholla, and prickly pear. The ocotillos were also in full bloom. Though not a cactus, they are very similar, with thorns on a stem, at least until they leaf out for a short time in the summer, then the whole stem is covered in little tiny leaves. I hiked up at the front all the way to Brown Mountain. I wanted to get my exercise in and figured I would take pictures at the rear on the way back. On the way up the mountain our guide pointed out a tiny cactus only about 4 - 5 inches tall. It was a baby saguaro. The whole hillside was covered in saguaro cactus and on the return trip I noticed some dead ones. The guide (dang I wish I could remember all their names) said the hiking sticks that they provide are made from the ribs of the cactus. Some people have permits to harvest the dead saguaros. The ribs are incredibly strong but very light.

Ocatillo bloom

On the way back to the ranch people started talking about the best massages they had. One guy said that I had to try the Thai massage, but I didn't have time to book any more.

I found our group at noon. Lunch was barbecued chicken, which was moist and quite yummy. Dessert for the others was blueberry cobbler which they raved about. The thought didn't thrill me. So I got chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter ice cream. I wasn't going to get the ice cream. It sounded weird, but it was wonderful. It tasted more like real peanuts than peanut butter.

I didn't have any time for classes since my stone massage was at 3:00 pm so I lounged around and took pictures. I also emailed myself some recipes. They have computers here and one of them allows you to go through the recipes and you pick which ones you want. I tried to find the avocado and roasted red pepper salad, but couldn't under salads. Today I found it as I was browsing "sides". I also AIMed my husband again. Just to say hi. I sit down at the computer just wanting to get recipes and I see the AIM icon and just know that my husband is on the computer :>. He said he had just gotten back from a short bike ride.

I spent a while out by the pool with Erin, or rather Erin was sitting in the sun and I was in the shade. I decided it was time to catch up on my journal. I've been very bad this vacation. Not keeping up and having to remember things, but I caught up to just a day behind. I've done much better on my other vacations.

Hedgehog cactus blooms

At 2:15 I moseyed back to the spa and showered, then got in the hot tub for a while. I cold dipped myself three times alternating between hot and cold. Brrr the cold dip is so cold. Then rinsed off and went to wait in the massage waiting room.

The stones in the stone massage are heated to 120 degrees. My masseuse rubbed warm oil on each part of my body before she rubbed in the stones. The hot stones are a little shocking when they first touch the skin. They were not uncomfortably hot, just so much hotter than my skin. She would glide the stones over my skin then rub them in harder. Occasionally placing them under my body or in my hands. The second time she did my feet, she put cold stone between my toes, to cool my body temperature down a little. When she did my face she used cold stones with water as the lubricant, not oil. I wish I had had this massage around 8:00 pm then I could go to sleep afterwards. It makes you so relaxed.

When I got out Karen and Donna were in the whirlpool getting ready for their stone massage. We all scheduled it for the last day. Then I saw Erin and she raved over her prenatal massage. She had Ed (I think that was his name). I was told later that he is in high demand be cause he is so good. Erin and I chatted for a bit. She never wants to leave. She wants BG (baby Gould) to be the mascot of Canyon Ranch and to live out here forever. She was already sad that we had to leave tomorrow. It was really funny that she mentioned this just after her massage, because I was sitting with Karen right after she got out of hers and she also said that she was already getting sad about leaving and wanted to stay longer. I hadn't thought about leaving yet, but they had to remind me! Now I was thinking about it. I wanted not to think about it until the last minute and just savor while I was here.

We all were at dinner again at 6:30. It seemed to be the best time. Those that have their appointments before dinner are usually done and those that have appointments after can be done with dinner before their treatment.

Dinner was lobster and sushi for me. Karen ordered the chicken and split the lobster with Donna who also ordered chicken. In addition they split the sweet potato pancakes. You can order whatever you want here and in whatever quantities you want. I tasted both their chicken and the potato pancakes. The chicken was absolutely fabulous and the lobster was good, but then lobster is always good. This was definitely the best dinner yet. The dessert however was the worst. It was a lowfat cheesecake and it was dry. Ick. Usually their desserts are good.

Then it was off to pack. We left out exercise clothes and clothes for the plane. Everything else was packed in our luggage. Then I read a bit and went to sleep early.


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Text and images © Copyright 2001 Joel and Daphne Gould. If there are any problems or questions email Daphne Gould.