February Visitors

This month was full of visitors and we couldn’t be happier! It was so fun to have both Matt and I’s friends in town from the Midwest to ski.

The first weekend in February we had my college friend Kelly visit from Phoenix and my childhood friend Brooke from Chicago in town for a ski weekend. The first day we skied Solitude and the conditions were amazing after a 5 day snowstorm! We grilled out and ended the day by going to Deer Valley for the Aerial and Mogul World Championships. The competition was intense and so much fun to watch! On Sunday we skied at Brighton for a half day and it was perfect conditions! It was a short weekend but worked out perfect to have both of them in town at the same time.

For President’s Day weekend we had my college friend Kristin in town. She was helping plan our friend Lauren’s Baby Shower, so we spent most of the day Saturday planning and celebrating her! We had dinner and spent time at Top Golf later that night with Lauren and her family. We ended the night with beer and games with some friends at Proper Brewery. On Sunday we had a chill morning with breakfast and yoga with Kristin since the weather was crappy, and later that day she spent some time with other friends in Salt Lake. On Monday I joined Kristin and our friend Maggie for the day at Solitude Ski Resort. The girls were able to ski while I worked from the lodge. It was a great long weekend catching up with Kristin and our other girl friends in SLC!

This past weekend we had Matt’s college and high school friends in town from Wisconsin. They came for four ski days and we had six people total in our one bedroom apartment. It was one giant slumber party and so much fun! We spent Thursday skiing Park City and ended the ski day at our favorite rooftop on Main Street, No Name Saloon, for drinks and apps. Everyone skied on the Canyons side of Park City on Friday while I went to work, and I met up with them for dinner at Wasatch Brewery that night. On Saturday we spent the morning at Brighton Resort, it was fun to explore the Millie side of the resort. Sunday morning we skied at Snowbird Ski Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon. It was our first time there and we loved the terrain and views. It’s steep and a little intimidating going down, but we’re excited to go more the rest of the season. After skiing we tried In N Out for the first time and it was actually pretty impressed! We packed up and went to dinner at Porcupine Bar & Grill before our friends went to the airport.

Overall it was a crazy busy month and we have this weekend to relax and celebrate another friend’s baby shower before heading to Jackson Hole Ski Resort beginning of March! We love having visitors and all of the winter activities we can do here in Utah!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Sky Ski Trip

This past weekend Matt and I road tripped with 6 other friends to Big Sky Resort in Montana. This resort is on our Ikon Ski Pass and has been one of my bucket list resorts to visit! We left Friday after work and drove back Sunday late afternoon, so we were able to fit in one full ski day and a half day. It’s a 5-6 hour drive to the resort from SLC depending on weather conditions, so it was a lot of driving for a normal weekend but it was worth it! We stayed in West Yellowstone about an hour from the resort to save money and get more space for the 8 of us staying there. We loved our Airbnb, but the roads to get to the resort are very remote and snowy so they usually require a 4WD SUV for safety. We loved skiing at Big Sky, it’s higher elevation so it has great snow conditions and the most runs I’ve ever skied at one place. We loved the long and wide blue and green runs, and there were a few heated chairlifts which helped block the cold temps. We already can’t wait to go back next year and stay for a longer weekend!

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

 

Christmas in Wisconsin

For Christmas this year we went to Wisconsin to visit both Matt and I’s families. We were able to work from home and spend 5 days in each hometown surrounding Christmas and New Years. We got to see so many family members and friends all in one trip, and it’s one of our favorite times to be back in Wisconsin! We even got good weather which made it easy to do some of our favorite outdoor Christmas traditions.

First we flew into MSP and stayed with Matt’s family in Hudson for 5 days. It was so fun to catch up with his siblings and parents. Some of the highlights were visiting Sam’s Christmas Village, a new lights show in Somerset, WI. It was beautiful to walk around! Afterwords we had a drink at a new hotel/bar in Stillwater, MN, just across the border.

On Christmas Eve we went to mass and spent the evening with his Grandparents and cousins on his Mom’s side. On Christmas day we spent the morning together as a family and went on a sibling hike at Willow River State Park. It was snowy but we had fun doing the waterfall hike for the 2nd year in a row!

Christmas evening we had Matt’s cousins on his Dad’s side over for dinner. We got to meet his baby 2nd cousin Charles, he was so cute! We also got to hang out with Matt’s high school and college friends that live near Hudson during the trip. On the 26th we were off to visit my family in La Crosse!

We spent the first day in La Crosse having Christmas with my parents and Grandma that lives in town. After dinner and gifts we went to the Rotary Lights, our favorite lights show to visit around Christmas time. The next day we got to visit some of Matt’s friends and stopped by our favorite college spot Howie’s. We caught up with my high school girlfriends that night, and got to see my friend Sarah’s baby Leo!

That weekend we had Christmas with my Dad’s side of the family who road tripped from Appleton to see us. We got to do our Secret Santa gift exchange, play games, eat lots of good food, and watch the Packer game together! We also went to Rotary Lights for a second time with my little 2nd cousin.

On Sunday night we drove to the Twin Cities to see my college friends. It was a jam packed trip but we had a blast! We came back just in time to have a casual NYE with some of our friends in SLC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving in Phoenix

For Thanksgiving this year I decided to road trip with some friends to Phoenix and visit my brother Blake and his girlfriend Olivia! We have all been living out west for over a year, but we are 10 hours apart and haven’t spent a holiday together since Christmas 2017. It was so fun to travel with friends and see different parts of Arizona and Nevada along the way. We stopped at a Nevada State Park, 2 National Monuments in AZ, Horseshoe Bend, and had time to hike twice in the Phoenix area. It was the perfect balance of being active and relaxing while on Vacation, and I’m hoping we make this a yearly tradition!

We left Tuesday night after work and made the five hour drive to stay the night just across the UT/NV border. We woke up early on Wednesday so we would have time to hike and drive the other five hours of the trip.

Valley of Fire State Park

Our first stop was Valley of Fire State Park about an hour outside of Vegas. We drove through the iconic road inside the park and took some pictures, then made our way to Fire Wave Trail. It was about 1.5 miles round trip with 350 feet of elevation change. It was a nice way to stretch our legs and break up the drive, and the “Wave Rock” at the end was amazing!

Phoenix

We got to Phoenix around sunset on Wednesday night, and then went to dinner at an Italian restaurant in downtown Chandler. Their downtown has tons of good restaurants, bars, and a fun atmosphere!

On Thanksgiving morning Blake and I went on a hike in Scottsdale. We parked at theย Lost Dog Trailhead and made our way back to a lookout of the city on the opposite side. Overall the hike was 4.5 miles and 500 ft of elevation. Since it was sprinkling the whole time, there weren’t and crowds and it was the perfect pre-turkey dinner workout! We spent the afternoon with Olivia’s family in Mesa and had a great Thanksgiving meal and relaxing night!

On Friday morning I went to my friend Stephanie’s Pure Barre class in Chandler, and it was such a great workout! We went to OHSO brewery in downtown Gilbert in the afternoon for lunch and met up with our other friend McKenzie who was also in town from Tuscon for thanksgiving. The patio was super cute and dog friendly!

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On Saturday, Blake and I drove about 45 min NW of Phoenix to hike at Saguaro Lake.ย  It was a beautiful lake tucked back into the desert, and you would never expect it! We hiked Butcher Jones Trail and it was my favorite Arizona hike so far. It was 5.25 miles and 600 ft of elevation change. The trail wraps you around part of the lake and joins up with another lake at the end. It was beautiful hiking weather and we beat the crowds by going early in the morning! Also there is a daily parking fee, but it was totally worth it.

We had a fun last day in Phoenix exploring downtown Scottsdale with Blake and Olivia. We went to a cute coffee shop/brewery and had some drinks before dinner. After dinner we met up with my friends Kelly and Stephanie at Arizona Wilderness Brewery in Chandler. The patios in AZ are my favorite! It was a great way to end my time in Phoenix before heading home Sunday morning.

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Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monument

On our drive home we stopped near Flagstaff, AZ at two National Monuments that were right next to each other. At Sunset Crater Volcano Nat’l Monument they had gotten a snowstorm over Thanksgiving, but it was still so beautiful! After that we drove about 45 north and visited Wupatki Nat’l Monument, it was red rock with lots of history, and it also had a snow covered backdrop. Overall it was a good way to break up the drive and see some beautiful sites!

Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend was the most breathtaking stop along our trip! It’s located near the highway just south of the AZ/UT border. It was definitely worth the stop and parking fees to see the views. It’s about a 20 min walk down a hill from the car, and then the big rock curve comes out of nowhere. We went on off season and there weren’t very many tourists, so that made it much more enjoyable! After this stop, we drove about 6 hours to get back to Salt Lake and went straight to bed! It was such a fun trip, and we were able to avoid the winter storm by leaving early before it hit Salt Lake. I can’t wait to visit again next year, hopefully with Matt next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moab Road Trip

This past weekend Matt and I took a road trip to Moab, Utah to celebrate 5 years together! We have been there once before, but wanted to explore more of the National Parks in the area. Four of our friends were also going the same weekend, so we were able to meet up with them in the Park and for dinner Saturday night!

CANYONLANDS

We spent Saturday in Canyonlands National Park, since it is less crowded this time of year. The weather was perfect between 65-70 and sunny, and we didn’t have to deal with crowds on our hikes. We started towards the back of the park and worked our way out with 3 short hikes and a few lookouts.

Grand View Point Trail is a 2 mile hike with 200 ft of elevation change, it is perfect for beginners. We loved all of the lookouts during the hike and the end was beautiful!

Upheaval Dome has 2 lookouts, so you can make it a shorter or longer hike. We hiked about 2 miles and 300 ft of elevation to see both lookouts, and the crater view was beautiful!

Buck Canyon Overlook had some beautiful views, only a few steps from the car!

Mesa Arch was our last hike, and it was about .6 miles with less than 100 ft of elevation. We got there just in time to have the arch to ourselves for a few views and pictures! Shortly after we were done taking pictures, Thomas Rhett and his wife Lauren showed up with a bunch of their friends and family! They were in Moab celebrating Lauren’s birthday, and we happened to run into them. It was so random but cool to see them in person ๐Ÿ™‚

On our way out of the park, we caught the most beautiful sunset views at a lookout spot. It was the perfect way to end our day in the park! We loved Canyonlands, especially during offseason!

After the Park, we checked into our hotel with our friends and went to dinner at Moab brewery. It was so fun to see our friends and catch up on our days in Moab! The food and beer was also delicious, I would highly recommend even thought the wait for a table can be long!

ARCHES NATIONAL PARK

On Sunday morning, we got an early start and went straight to hike Delicate Arch, the most iconic hike in Utah. It is 3 miles and 600 ft of elevation, so there are some steep parts but it is very enjoyable with the cool morning temps in the Fall. We missed the sunrise rush and beat most of the late morning rush, so we got the Arch to ourselves for some pictures! It is normally a very crowded hike, so we were lucky to have some time to explore on our own. We sat and soaked in the views and people watched after taking pictures, and it was really entertaining ๐Ÿ™‚ We drove through the park and got back into SLC just in time to see the Packer game in the afternoon. It was the perfect weekend down in Moab!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall 2019

Matt and I were able to fit in so many fall activities and hikes these past few weeks in Utah! I’m sharing a little bit about everything we’ve been able to do on the weekends while the leaves are changing. Fall in the mountains is coming to a close in the next week or two, but the fall temps in the city are perfect right now! I love that about Utah, once one season ends in the mountains, it begins in the city (or vice versa with winter to spring).

ALPINE LOOP DRIVE

This drive is my favorite fall tradition we started this year. We went 2 weekends ago when the colors were in peak, and we loved it! We went early in the morning to beat traffic since it is a very windy and skinny road (barely big enough for 2 cars to pass each other at times). We stopped at pull outs along the way and went for a hike at the summit. My favorite area was at Sundance with Mt Timpanogos views and on the way down towards the American Fork side. We did the ridge line trail at the summit, and we found the most beautiful trees and views there! We detoured a bit and did some connecting trails from the same parking lot as well. It was way more crowded after noon when we were leaving!

PUMPKIN PATCH

On the way home from the Alpine Loop Drive we stopped at Mabey’s Farm in South Jordan. It was a back yard farm and pumpkin patch that wasn’t too touristy! We didn’t have to fight crowds and were able to explore and grab some smaller pumpkins for our decor. We only spent $10 which was so nice! I would recommend this patch for those who don’t have kids, since there are not many activities/things to do besides pick pumpkins.

MILL CREEK CANYON

We’ve done a few of our favorite hikes in Mill Creek this fall. Rattlesnake Gulch is a favorite hike of mine with only 600ish ft of elevation and 3 miles long. The fall colors last weekend were the brightest red orange and yellow I’ve ever seen in this canyon. I was in love!

Lamb’s Canyon Pass was another favorite hike this fall. It’s 3 miles with 1500 ft of elevation, so parts of it are very steep! I would recommend using good hiking shoes with grip for the way down. We did it from the Mt Aire trail head on the Mill Creek side and the fall colors were just starting. I will definitely be hiking from this trail head again next year!

Murdock Peak is a 7 mile trail with 1900 ft of elevation, starting from the very end of Mill Creek road. We hit the back end of the fall colors changing, but it was still a beautiful trail! It ends at the top of Canyon’s Ski Resort, so I believe you can hike this from either side. The trail wasn’t very clearly marked at the top, so we followed the directions from All Trails.

Neff’s Canyon is located just outside of Mill Creek Canyon, in one of the surrounding neighborhoods. There is a 6.5 mile trail with 3000 ft of elevation and a smaller 1.5 mile loop with 400 ft of elevation at the same trail head. We did the shorter loop and caught the sunset at the end! It was the perfect after work hike and the fall colors are in full bloom mid October! Can’t wait to make this one of our sunset viewing spots in the future!

 

BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON

We did two hikes in Big Cottonwood Canyon this fall, including Willow Heights and Donut Falls. You can find pictures from these hikes in my Wasatch Wednesday 2019 blog post!

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LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON

Last Saturday we went to Oktoberfest at Snowbird, one of my favorite fall stops! We went the very last weekend to celebrate a friend’s birthday, but I was also able to bring some Midwest friends along! We spent the afternoon there and it was fun catching up with everyone we haven’t seen in a while, while drinking some good local beer. Matt and I brought our own stein, and it saved us so much money on beer refills! On the way home we stopped at Porcupine Bar & Grill for dinner in Cottonwood Heights, and they were having an Oktoberfest themed weekend. It was a great way to end the day!

EAST CANYON

East Canyon is on the way to Park City, and it meets up with Emigration Canyon Road. I hadn’t been to this canyon yet while living here, and it had my favorite fall colors! Last Friday I hiked the top part of the Mormon Pioneer Trail with some girl friends! It’s 3 miles long with about 700 ft of elevation, and it starts from the summit and goes down. The whole trail is about 20 miles, but we did a small section that had beautiful fall colors! It’s popular for mountain bikers, but we only saw a few others on the trail that night.

Last weekend we did a fall Photo Shoot with our friends Sam and Katie, and it was right in the peak of the fall colors! I have some IPhone shots from that night when we saw the sunset, but you can see my last blog post “Fall Photo Shoot” for all of the pictures Sam took for us!

Wasatch Wednesday’s 2019

This summer I joined my friend’s hiking group Wasatch Wednesday’s. They pick a hike in the Wasatch mountain range near the Salt Lake Valley to do every Wednesday after work. I made it to most of the hikes, and it got me in great hiking shape and it’s a perfect way to break up the work week! I’m going to share the details and a few pictures from each hike, so it can help those planning out hikes in SLC! I’ve loved getting to know everyone in this group and I’m sad it’s already over for the season. It was 25 degrees last night on our final hike, so now I’m ready for ski season starting next month!

4/17 MT VAN COTT

This hike is 2.8 miles with 1,364 ft of elevation. It was the first hike of the season, so we were a little rusty! The foothills were so green and the mountains were snow capped in the background. It was steep at parts but it was a great way to kick off the season!

5/1 HEUGHES CANYON

This hike is 3.5 Miles with 1942 ft of elevation. It starts in a neighborhood in Cottonwood Heights and follows a river the whole way up to the top. There is a rock wall to climb across that leads to a beautiful waterfall! There are steep parts to this hike, so bring appropriate hiking shoes!

5/8 MT WIRE

This hike is 4.2 miles with 2090 ft of elevation. It’s located in the foothills and has great views of the city and Wasatch. It is steep but I would suggest going early summer, before the foothills lose their green color and wildflowers!

5/15 RATTLESNAKE GULCH

This hike is 3.3 miles with 817 ft of elevation. It’s in Mill Creek Canyon, so it has a combo of canyon and city views at the end. It steep at first and then connects with the Pipeline trail and flattens out. I would suggest this in the evening, spring, or fall, when the colors are popping!

6/19 CIRCLE ALL PEAK

This trail is 3.1 miles with 1,535 ft of elevation. It is very steep, but the trail is beautiful and has great canyon views. It’s short, so you can fit it in after work before sunset.

7/17 BUTLER FORK TO DOG LAKE

This trail is 5.6 miles with 1,820 ft of elevation. There are multiple ways to get to Dog Lake, but this trail is my favorite. It’s gradual, except the last half mile is steep. The dogs at this lake were so entertaining. We had a great time seeing all of the wild flowers and dogs!

7/24 TWIN LAKES

This trail is 2.3 miles with 758 ft of elevation. It starts at the Lake Solitude trail and goes up on the backside. It’s a short hike, so it’s perfect for a week night! There are a few steep sections, but it’s mostly gradual and has a beautiful lake at the top.

8/14 MT BALDY

This trail is 5.5 miles and about 2,000 (or more?) ft of elevation. It’s not listed on All Trails, so you can find the hike on the back side of the Cecret Lake trail at Alta Ski Resort. It follows the ski run up to the top where Snowbird and Alta split. The last section is extremely steep, and you basically climb up the side of the mountain to the peak. The reward is so worth it! The views are of Little Cottonwood Canyon, and the surrounding peaks. The sunset was gorgeous that night, we saw a moose, and captured the most beautiful pictures.

8/28 LAKE CATHERINE

This trail is 4.4 miles and 1,243 ft of elevation. It’s located at Brighton Ski Resort, and passes the Lake Mary Trail on the way. The views are great in the summer and fall, and we saw my favorite mountain sunset on the way down! This is one of my favorite after work hikes.

9/11 DESOLATION TRAIL TO SALT LAKE OVERLOOK

This trail is 4.1 miles and 1325 ft of elevation, located in Mill Creek Canyon. It’s a gradual hike with great fall foliage, and it leads to a city overlook. The sunsets are great on this hike, and I love it during all seasons since it’s shaded!

9/18 PEAK 10,420

This hike is 1.2 miles and 682 ft of elevation, located at Guardsman Pass at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon. It’s short and very steep, but the fall colors on either side of the Peak are beautiful. We had a cold, windy night, but the sunset was unreal over the Park City side!

10/2 WILLOW HEIGHTS

This trail is 2.2 miles and 630 ft of elevation, located in Big Cottonwood Canyon. This is a loop trail, with the left side being more gradual and great for beginner hikers. We almost always see moose on this hike, and the aspen groves in the fall are amazing!

10/9 DONUT FALLS

This trail is 3 miles and 530 ft of elevation, also located in Big Cottonwood Canyon. It’s the most touristy hike in the Wasatch, but we went on a chilly night (25 degrees!), so we only saw a few others and got a parking spot at the trailhead. The trail is easy, until you get to the falls where you have to climb up a slippery rock wall. I was impressed with the falls, and we got to go into the cave to view the “donut” looking section. The fall foliage is great, but it’s almost gone by mid October. Overall, it was a great way to end the season! Looking forward to hiking season 2020 ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Colorado Fall Trip

 

This past weekend I visited my friend Anna in Denver, CO. It was the perfect weekend to visit with summer temps in the city and fall temps and changing colors in the mountains. Matt was also there for a work trip, so we got to meet up after to celebrate his birthday! It was a quick Friday night to Monday morning trip, but we made the most of it with hikes each day.

SATURDAY

On Saturday we drove about an hour outside the city to Mt. Evans Wilderness. It was a pretty remote trail off of a dirt road, so not many people knew about it. We went mid-morning and were able to park in the small lot and didn’t see too many people along the way. It was 7 miles round trip with about 2700ft of elevation, so it took us about 4 hours with a break at the top. The aspen groves were the most beautiful I have ever seen! They were in their prime for fall and the brightest yellow color surrounding us the whole way up. It was a nice gradual hike and the temps were perfect for hiking! Anna’s boyfriend Chance had a nice camera and took some amazing pictures for us! After our hike we went back into the city to grab dinner and head back to Anna’s house for a casual wine and game night! It was the perfect ending to our day in the mountains.

SUNDAY

Sunday was Matt’s 27th birthday, so we started the day by celebrating him and meeting at Sam’s No. 3 restaurant for brunch. It was so yummy and perfect patio weather. After that, we met up with my friend David and went on a hike in Golden, CO. It was tucked away off of I-70 and was a reverse hike into a valley, so the elevation gain was all on the way back. It was 5 miles with 1200 ft of elevation, shaded, and followed a river, which made the views so pretty! The fall colors weren’t blooming yet since it was lower elevation, but I bet they will be soon! After, we made dinner at home and had an early night since we had to wake up early for my flight and work the next day! Overall, it was such a fun trip exploring the Denver area, and I can’t wait to go back for ski weekends with my Ikon pass this winter!

 

 

 

 

 

Capitol Reef National Park

This past weekend we visited Capitol Reef for the first time! We’ve checked off 4/5 National Parks in Utah, and this might be my favorite park so far. This park has so much room to explore, and isn’t nearly as crowded as the other parks. My sister in law and her boyfriend were visiting, so it was the perfect chance to road trip down south for the weekend. We car camped on BLM land just outside the park and did 3 day hikes in the park. We just skimmed the surface of the park, and I already can’t wait to visit again next year! The temps were in the mid 70’s and sunny during the day and 40’s at night, so I’m glad we didn’t visit in the middle of summer. It was the perfect weekend getaway!

FRIDAY

Friday morning we packed up early and drove the 3.5 hours from SLC to Capitol Reef. We arrived around 11 and started our first hike around noon. We decided to hike Cassidy Arch and Grand Wash Trails in the same day since they start at the same trail head. Cassidy Arch is 4 miles with 950 ft of elevation, it was gradual and had beautiful canyon views the entire way up. The arch was huge and you could walk across the top of it, which made for awesome pictures. The best part is we only saw 10-15 other people on the hike and had the arch to ourselves for a while!

We started Grand Wash trail around 3pm and it was a great way to end the day in the park! The canyon walls were very similar to the narrow at Zion but without the river at the bottom. The hike is about 4 miles with 400 ft of elevation, so it was basically a walk and accessible to anyone!

After the hikes we went back to camp to set up our tents and make dinner on the grill. We ended the night with a campfire and drinks. The stars were the brightest I’ve ever seen, we could even see the milky way!

SATURDAY

Saturday morning we woke up to a beautiful sunrise and made breakfast around the campfire before packing up camp. It was a beautiful morning and we even had the luxury of fresh coffee from the gas station down the road. After packing up we made our way into the park for a longer hike! We decided on Navajo Knob hike which is about 8.5 miles and 2500 ft of elevation. We passed the Hickman Bridge Trail and the Rim Overlook, so it was like three different trails in one! It was a beautiful blue bird day and we couldn’t of asked for better views along the way. We decided to stop about a mile from the top to have lunch and drinks before making our way back. Overall we did about 6.5 of the 8.5 mile hike but it was the perfect length before we had to drive home.

Once we got home, we had a great dinner at The Dodo in SLC Saturday night and Brunch at Park Cafe on Sunday morning before dropping Sarah and Adam off at the airport. They are the best visitors and went with the flow the whole time, I can’t wait for them to visit again next year!