Finding Joy from the Outdoors

As a part of the Gratitude and Happiness Committee at work, I was asked to write a blog post on how I’ve connected to nature and how it’s benefited me mentally and physically. I thought I’d share this article on my personal blog too!

This time of year has me feeling grateful for all of the outdoor activities in Utah. How lucky am I to live in a place where it’s possible to explore the mountains any day of the week? The spring is especially my favorite, because I can choose to ski, hike, or road trip to the national parks down south when it comes time for the weekend.

I feel lucky that job opportunities brought my husband and I from the Midwest to Utah. Living close to the mountains and national parks was always a dream of mine, and now it is finally happening. My mental and physical health always improves from being outside, and I love that there is no “off season” in Utah where you’re stuck inside hibernating and waiting for Spring to come. The Wasatch Mountains, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Bryce Canyon are among some of the most beautiful places in the world and they are right in our backyard.

In my ten months of living in Utah so far, I’ve been able to see Bryce Canyon, Zion, Escalante, and hike or ski almost every weekend in the Wasatch. I went to Bryce Canyon this past weekend, and it was amazing to see it snow covered and experience what the park has to offer in different seasons. Escalante is a national monument full of slot canyons to explore and waterfalls to see; we went there last fall and stayed in the Yurts and they were so beautiful. I went to Zion in the fall and we did Angel’s Landing and Observation Point hikes. I can’t wait to head back to this park and explore more and see the rest of the national parks in Utah.

My favorite time to hike in the Wasatch has been the fall. The leaves start to change, the crisp feeling in the air, warm layers and the sun shining makes it the perfect escape from the city. Fall is one of my favorite times of year, you can see and feel so much of nature changing around you. Some of my favorite hikes are tucked away in Big and Little Cottonwood canyons and the hiking scenery and weather is perfect during September and October. Utah has such an amazing variety of places where you can check out all the changing colors and different trees as well. Some of my favorite hikes so far are Lake Blanche, Red and White Pine Lake, Lake Mary at Brighton, and Cecret Lake at Alta. I love hiking after work, and for those hikes I tend to stick to the foothills or behind the Avenues neighborhood so that I can fit in a quick hike before dinner and sunset. I also joined a hiking group this year that will take group hikes once a week after work in the Spring through Fall; it’s a great way to meet new people and explore new parts of the Wasatch!

No matter how short or long I hike, just getting outside makes life so much happier! I feel so much joy from exercising and being outside, and Utah makes it so easy to do those things. I felt especially joyful during the winter this year, which has not always been the case living in the Midwest. I was able to ski every weekend with my Brighton ski pass and some weekdays with the Clearlink ski passes. My favorite resorts have been Alta, Deer Valley, Park City/Canyons, and Snowbasin. Something else I do to get fresh air during the work day all year long is take a walk outside at lunch. Just a 15 min break and fresh air can make a big difference with my energy levels in the afternoon!

There are so many beautiful places to explore near Salt Lake and in Utah, and I am so thankful to live here and be able to share it with friends and family. The mountains truly make me feel grateful and happy. With Earth Day coming up on April 22nd, I hope you’re able to get outside and appreciate this beautiful place we live in. 

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