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 🙂

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 🙂 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

Grand Teton Camping Trip

This past weekend Matt and I road tripped to Grand Teton National Park with our friends Katie and Sam! We have been wanting to camp together for a while and a weekend finally worked out for both of us. We left Friday after work and drove back Sunday afternoon, so we made the 5 hour drive worth it! I’ve been to this park twice but have never camped in the park, so that was a new adventure!

Friday night we got there around 11pm and found a BLM public camp spot for free near the park. We set up camp quickly in the dark and got a good nights sleep for a full day of hiking Saturday. We tried out a new hike on the far south end of the park called Death Canyon. It’s a 10 mile, 2500 ft of elevation change hike that has everything to offer! The first mile takes you to the Phelps Lake overlook, and then you go down a few hundred feet of elevation to get to the lake.

After you pass the lake, you start hiking up Death Canyon to an amphitheater at the top. The canyon follows a rushing river with mini waterfalls and wildflowers all the way up. It was gradual the whole way up and the views up and down the canyon were amazing. We ate lunch along the river at the top with mountains completely surrounding us. It was my favorite hike I’ve done in this park and I would highly recommend! The hardest part was the elevation climb on the way back to get to the lake overlook, but it was worth the views! The hike took us about 6 hours and we grilled dinner right at the parking lot after. There were two bear sightings on the hike by others that passed us on the way out but we didn’t see any.

That evening we spent grabbing drinks at Snake River Brewery and Cowboy Bar downtown Jackson. We caught the most epic sunset behind the Teton Range while a storm was rolling in on our way back to camp. We got rained on that night and a little during the hike, but it wasn’t too bad and kept the hike pretty empty!

On Sunday we made breakfast at camp and decided to do a shorter and more leisurely hike on our last day. We took the shuttle boat across Jenny Lake and hiked to hidden falls and back to the trailhead. It was about a 3 mile hike with less than 1000 ft of elevation for the 1 way hike. The temperatures were warm and intense with the elevation so we were glad we took it easy! We stopped at Mormon Row and the Chapel of the Transfiguration on our way out of the park. We also got Raspberry Shakes in Bear Lake, they were totally worth it. It was such a fun trip and I’m so glad the guys got to experience the park for the first time. Can’t wait to go back next year and backpack the Tetons!

 

 

 

Montana Backpacking Trip

After a year of living in Utah, Matt and I finally went on our first ever backpacking trip alone last weekend! He suggested we visit Montana to escape the 100 degree temps in Salt Lake and we also got to visit a friend of his in Bozeman. It was a 6 hour drive, so we spent Friday night exploring the city and got up early Saturday to drive to our hike in Big Sky, the ski town about 30 min away.

LAVA LAKE

We hiked to Lava Lake and it was a beautiful hike all the way up. The trail had a rushing river alongside tons of greenery and pine trees. Each way was about 3 miles and 1600 ft of elevation change, which was perfect with our backpacks on. We spent most of the day exploring around the lake, fly fishing, and setting up camp. We found a quiet spot with a lake and sunset view, and made dinner right on the water. The water temp was a little too cold to jump in, but we saw plenty of swimmers cliff jump. The views and lake were unlike anything we’ve ever seen out west and we were so happy with our decision to visit this area of Montana. It was great to be on our own schedule and just get to talk about our future together. We brought our bear spray and hung up our food in a far away tree just in case a bear came through, but we didn’t end up seeing any, whew!

The hike down was very relaxing and we had a nice 6 hour drive home. We stopped at Panera in Idaho on the way home and realized I missed it so much from the Midwest! It was so yummy after a weekend of ramen, oatmeal, and instant mashed potatoes haha.  Overall it was an amazing trip and I can’t to be back in the winter to ski Big Sky with our Ikon passes!

Birthday Weekend – The Narrows at Zion

ZION NATIONAL PARK

This past weekend I celebrated my 26th Birthday with my friends Kristin, Lauren, and Inna in Zion National Park! It was the 2nd time I’ve been to the park, but this time we were able to hike The Narrows. I’ve also hiked Angel’s Landing and Observation Point, and those are so worth it! You can see my previous Zion blog post for that trip. We went Thursday night to Friday night to beat the weekend crowds and it was so worth it! The temps were in the 90’s but we started early in the morning to beat the crowds and heat.

We left our hotel at 6:30am to rent gear before heading into the park. The Zion Adventure Company rents water hiking boots, socks, and hiking poles for $25 just outside the park. It was so worth it to get the gear and get there right when they opened at 7am. We got into the park around 8am and got in line for the shuttle. Since the Narrows is the last stop in the park, we started hiking around 9am. The first half mile to mile is walking on a paved path that is accessible for everyone before getting in the water.

We started with a few other people on our shuttle, but overall the crowds spread out once we were hiking through the river. The temps were in the 70’s and we were shaded from the canyon walls for most of the morning. We hiked about 3.5 hours before taking a break for lunch. There were so many beautiful views and variety of depths to hike through. Some parts were dry, but most of the hike was between ankle deep and  waist deep water. We didn’t bring any valuables besides 1 waterproof phone, car keys, water, food, and an extra layer of clothing just in case we fell in. The water temp was around 60 degrees and it felt great to escape from the heat in the afternoon. We got to the part of the narrows where it split into 2 canyons, and after that the canyon walls got narrower and the current picked up.

After lunch we turned around and that is when the sun was on us and the crowds got more intense the closer we got to the start. We took our time on the way back and swam in the deeper sections when the sun started getting too hot. I loved doing this hike on a week day in the summer, it was so beautiful and comfortable with the hot temps. Overall it was an amazing experience and we couldn’t have asked for a better day at Zion! We finished our trip with dinner at Zion Brewery and drove home!

SALT LAKE

On Saturday I had a birthday get together with our friends in Salt Lake. We hiked to Lake Mary at Brighton (3 miles round trip) and it was the perfect hike for a large group! Most of the snow was melted and it has beautiful views for a shorter hike. The wildflowers were also in bloom, which made the ski resort area so beautiful! We stopped at Hog Wallow pub for a post hike beer, and the patio was perfect for our group! It was an amazing birthday weekend with friends and I am so thankful for our community in Salt Lake!

Portland Girls Weekend

Last weekend my friend Haley and I flew to Oregon to visit our friend Sam who lives there. We had a little over 48 hours to explore the state and it was amazing! We fit so much in a short period of time and got to see so many beautiful parts of the state. I will definitely be going back to explore more!

We got there Thursday night and got up early Friday morning to drive down south for a day of hiking and wineries. We were in the Salem area and hiked in Silver Falls State Park. The trail we did was Trail of Ten Falls, its 7 miles and has 10 different waterfalls along the route. It was so green and mossy compared to Utah, it felt like we were in a rain forest!

After hiking we drove to Willamette Winery and had some wine and lunch. The atmosphere and views were amazing, I would definitely go back!

That afternoon we drove back into the city and went to Salt and Straw for ice cream and explored the NW neighborhood. In the evening we went to an outdoor concert and Ecliptic Brewery and tried lots of samples of local beers! We had dinner down the street at Por Que No? Tacos after the concert. It was delicious!

On Saturday we went to the PSU farmers market and tried all of the samples! After that we drove to Cannon Beach and explored the coast. We saw the famous Haystack Rock and walked along the beach, it was a cold but beautiful day! We explored the downtown and had lunch at Ecola Seafood, the fish and chips were delicious. When we got back to the city, we had dinner at the food truck carts on the East side and went to a private concert at night. It was an amazing trip filled with so many activities, I can’t wait to go back!

Grand Teton Girls Weekend

My friends Kaylyn and Lisa from the Midwest flew into Salt Lake in the beginning of June and we made a road trip to the Grand Tetons for their Half Marathon race! We also decided to run the 5K together the night before. We got there Friday afternoon and checked out the race expo before going to our Airbnb before the race. We stayed in Teton Village near the ski resort and it was beautiful! I loved our studio and the location was perfect for the race and the National Park. We ran the 5K that night and the weather was cool and the views were great!

Saturday morning the girls got up around 4am to head to the start line and I met them at the finish. Since the course was along a busy road and on a bike trail there were no spectator spots, but it was fun to see them finish and take pictures at the golf course with beautiful mountain views!

After the race we went to Cafe Genevieve in Downtown Jackson and it was so good! We headed into the National Park and drove to the north end to hike Lakeshore Trail at Jackson Lake. It was a 3 mile hike with a couple hundred feet of elevation change, so perfect for after the race. The beach and views were gorgeous! We also stopped at the Snake River Overlook on our way out of the park. That night we went to dinner at Mangy Moose Saloon in Teton Village and called it a night!

On Sunday we spent most of our day in the National Park and hiked around Jenny Lake Trail and saw Hidden Falls along the way. It was a 7 mile loop trail with about 1000 ft of elevation change. There were a lot of tourists and half marathoners at the waterfall but other than that very few people that hiked the entire route. It was beautiful and right up against the mountain range. There is also a boat shuttle that takes people across the lake if they didn’t want to hike far to the falls. That night we tried Snake River Brewery for dinner and a beer and it was great! We did some shopping downtown and grabbed ice cream to finish off our last night there.

On Monday we had time to do a shorter hike before making the drive back to Salt Lake and the girls had to fly back that evening. We decided to do Bradley & Taggart Lake Trail and it was really pretty! There was still snow at Bradley Lake so it was slippery and we couldn’t get a great view. But we loved the views at Taggart Lake. It ended up being about 6 miles and 900 ft of elevation change with the two lakes combined. Overall we had perfect weather in the 70’s, saw about every wild animal in the area including a bear, elk, deer, and moose, and I can’t wait to go back!

1 Year Anniversary Trip

I can’t believe how fast the past year has gone! Matt and I have been married one year, and it has been our best year yet! Some of the highlights include getting married, moving to Salt Lake City, moving in together, and exploring a new state together. This past weekend we went to San Diego to celebrate, and it was so fun to go on our first trip alone! We love traveling with family and friends, but it was nice to get away from the city and explore somewhere new on our own. I planned a detailed itinerary (the type A in me needs a plan) but the trip was so relaxed and set to our preferences each day! We fit in everything we really wanted to do and had plenty of time to relax and reconnect. It was the perfect way to celebrate!

DOWNTOWN/GAS LAMP DISTRICT

The first night and last morning we had in the city was spent downtown near where we were staying. We stayed in the Little Italy neighborhood downtown, and we love it! It was a central location to downtown, the airport, and our day trips outside the city. We used the scooters to explore the downtown, marinas, and Embarcadero area. We had dinner near the Padres Stadium on Level 9 rooftop, and it was a great relaxed atmosphere with a beautiful view.

LA JOLLA

La Jolla was one of my favorite areas to explore. We started the morning at Caroline’s seaside cafe near the UCSD campus and it was the cutest patio and right on the water. We walked along the beach after breakfast before heading to hike. The rain held off most of the day and we were so happy! It was chilly but perfect weather for exploring the area.

We met up with my childhood friends Kayla and Connor who live in CA for the afternoon, and it was so fun! We went to the beach, hiked at Torrey Pines Nature Reserve, went to a brewery, had apps in downtown La Jolla, and saw the seals at the cove. We visited my friend’s house before walking up to Mt. Soledad and taking in 360 views of the whole city. Matt and I had dinner at Duke’s in La Jolla and it was super fun! We loved the food and Hawaiian feel.

CORONADO

On our last full day in the city we went to Coronado for a relaxing beach day. The island is beautiful and has so much to do! We went to Hotel Del Coronado first to check out the area and enjoy our morning coffee. It is so historic and beautiful with plenty to do nearby. We spent most of our day at the beach and it was so relaxing! The views and weather were perfect. We finally got some sun (maybe a little too much), but we were so happy to spend our anniversary relaxing. We had the most delicious lunch at Brigantine and explored the surrounding neighborhoods before leaving the island. We went to Mimmo’s for dinner in Little Italy near our hotel and explored the neighborhood. The food was amazing! Overall we had the best Anniversary, and I’m so glad it will fall near Memorial Day so we can always plan a long weekend getaway!

On our last morning before leaving for the airport, we used the scooters again to get to Breakfast Republic in Gas Lamp District and it was amazing! The atmosphere and food was great. Overall it was an amazing trip and we will definitely be back!

Arches National Park

My friend Brianne from my hometown came to visit Utah this past weekend. We filled the weekend with some hikes around the city and made a spontaneous trip to Arches National Park in Moab! It’s about a 3.5 hour drive each way, and we had time for an 8 mile hike and a couple of lookouts to see the arches along the main road. It’s a beautiful park full of red rock and arches, but very touristy! We are glad we went and checked it off our Utah bucket list.

We decided to do Devil’s Garden Primitive loop trail to make the most of our day in Moab. It’s an 8 mile hike with 1000 ft of elevation change and is very gradual. We were able to see 7 arches along the way, each unique and a different size. It was an 80 degree and sunny day, perfect weather for down south! Later in the season it gets over 100 degrees, so we’re glad we fit in a trip before summer.

We fit in a couple of other hikes while Brianne was visiting, including Bell’s Canyon Reservoir, Avenues Twin Peaks, and Grandeur Peak, each a different view and landscape from southern Utah!

Bell’s Canyon is a 2.5 mile hike with 500 ft of elevation. It’s an easy after work hike and the views are great this time of year! We went Friday right after Brianne got into town.

Avenues Twin Peaks is a 4-5 mile hike with 1000 ft of elevation. There are a few different ways to get to the top, but we took the longer route and the temps and views were perfect this time of year! There were lots of wildflowers blooming as well.

Grandeur Peak is a 7 mile hike with 2800 ft of elevation in Mill Creek Canyon. This time of year was perfect, because almost all of the snow is melted and the temps aren’t too hot. The views of the snow capped mountains at the top were my favorite part. It was worth the tough elevation climb! I would like to try this one again in the early fall to see the trees changing. It was the perfect hike to end our weekend!