Saturday, October 31, 2015

Desolation Lake

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Desolation Lake Utah

Desolation Lake is a beautiful blueish-green alpine lake, situated in the Mount Olympus Wilderness, and can be hiked to within 2 hours. The long, gradual incline, and few switchbacks make this a very doable hike for any skill level. Be sure to bring plenty of water and a snack to enjoy at the lake. This trail can be hiked year round. This trail is located in Big Cottonwood Canyon, and therefore dogs are not allowed due to the watershed. Please respect this rule.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Zion Subway

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The Subway, Hiking The Zion Subway, Zion National Park, Utah
The Subway in Zion National Park is a hiker and photographers dream destination! The Subway follows the Left Fork Canyon in Zion NP, and along the way you'll have a vast view of the canyon, you'll walk along the river and hike by several deep pools, and hike where only 80 people are allowed in each day. After living in Utah for 2 years, I finally got the opportunity to go by applying (and winning) a permit. 

Kanarra Falls

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Kanarra Falls
Kanarra Falls is a great Utah waterfall hike. You get to hike in a very accessible and beautiful slot canyon, a chance to walk in the river on a hot day, and see several beautiful waterfalls. The biggest downside to this hike is the crowds - it has become a big issue in the past year or so (read about the issues going on here). Kanarra Falls is the perfect stop for amateur photographers looking for professional photo opportunities. This is also a great family hike - it requires only a 2-3 hours, no equipment or gear is needed, nor a high level of hiking skill. Even the kids will love this hike! You'll want to be sure to wear sturdy, water shoes as most of this hike is in the river. 

Kayenta Canyon

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Kayenta Canyon

Kayenta Canyon Trail is known by two names: Kayenta Canyon, and to the locals, Hellhole Canyon. This trail starts in the town of Ivins, UT, about 15 minutes west of St. George, UT. If you don't like walking in sand washes, this is not the trail for you. 90% of this trail is walking in the wash, and on a sunny day (most days in Southern Utah), it can get very hot. There is no water, no shade, and no restrooms. 

**Warning:  You do not want to hike this trail when it is raining, or there is rain in the area due to flash floods.** To see a video of this area under a flash flood, check out this video.

 In St. George, head north on Bluff St., then left onto Snow Canyon Parkway and drive past the large, fancy round-a-bout. This street will turn into Center St, and you'll drive past the Vista School. In Ivins, turn right onto 400 W. This will turn into Taviawk Driver. At the bottom of the hill you'll see the wash, and a parking area for 2-3 cars. This is where you'll start hiking.

Distance: 4 miles round trip
Elevation gain: flat
Dog friendly? Yes, off leash
Kid Friendly? Yes
Permits? None.
Kayenta Canyon
 Start by walking down to the wash behind this sign.
Kayenta Canyon
Hiking with a good friend, near the start of the trail.
Kayenta Canyon
 You'll cross over various types and layers of rock. 
Kayenta Canyon
 Eventually, the view opens up a little, and you get a closer view of the canyon walls. It makes you feel like you are in Zion National Park but without the crowds.
Kayenta Canyon
 Another fantastic view of the canyon walls. Keep your eyes up for cairns - eventually the trail heads up closer to these walls along a trail.
Kayenta Canyon
 Finally, after an hour or so, we get into the "good part" of the hike. The walls are tall above you, there are many rocks to climb on, and it was a little cooler in the shaded areas. 
Kayenta Canyon
We only hiked in as far as this first pond. Keep in mind that after a recent rain storm, there may be several pools. If you keep hiking up this canyon, you will be forced to turn around in about 15-20 minutes due to the canyon walls preventing you from going further.
Kayenta Canyon trail map
Here is a map to help guide you.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Southern Utah

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Western Utah

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Northern Utah

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Central Utah

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About Me

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Growing up in seven states, I have done my fair share of traveling and exploring. As a kid, I remember my parents taking us kids hiking and camping, and have always loved those memories and adventures. It wasn't until I was in college that I started adventuring on my own. I lived in Northern Virginia at the time, and there aren't many hikes in that area. However, I made the most of it, and frequently hiked at Great Falls National Park. In 2006-2008, when I lived in Northern Virginia, Great Falls NP had a total of 7 miles. So, after school or on weekends I would go out by myself and hike all 7 miles. I found some other small, local "hikes" (more of a walking path) that I would do, but I tended to get bored doing those. 

It wasn't until I moved to Montana in 2008, that I really got into the outdoors. Let me tell you - the hiking in Montana was amazing! The mountains, the fresh air, the Montana "Big Sky", clean air, tons of trails - it had it all! I had transferred from a community college in VA to Montana State University, and started classes in the Fall of 2008. I had lived in an all girls dorm, and was excited to finally have girlfriends say they were all into hiking. I thought, "Perfect! I will finally have some company on my adventures." It didn't quite work that way....

I always made sure I got my homework and reports done during the week, so that I could explore on the weekends. I quickly found out that most people don't operate that way, and was back to square one and hiking alone. This time for up to 14 miles in one day. I really wanted company, but since I was also new to the area, didn't have any other people to ask to come along. It wasn't until after I had graduated, and lived in a town home, that I had an idea. "What would be better company than a dog?!" Sure, a dog couldn't talk with me, but I loved the idea of having a buddy to tag along, to share my adventures with, to train to be an outdoors dog, to protect me from wildlife, and to snuggle up to at the end of the day., Hiking in Utah with our Dogs
(On the Ridge to Baldy Mountain in 2009 - the highest peak in the Bridger Mountains in Montana)

The Story of How Charlie & I Found Each Other

I found Charlie online, through a breeder that typically bred Miniature Golden Retrievers (yes, this actually exists), but were "trying out" a new breed for them, called a Golden Lab. This would be a mix of their full sized Golden Retriever and full sized Yellow Lab. I called the lady up, and said, “I’m really interested in getting one of the Golden Lab puppies – could I come out to get one?” Mind you, this breeder was about 3 hours from my house. I didn’t want to just show up and have them be all adopted. She said, “Actually, this is perfect timing, they are going on sale tomorrow - $100 off the asking price.”  I thought, perfect, works for me! I told her, ok I’m coming out tomorrow.

So, the next day I drove out to their ranch in the middle of nowhere Montana. The lady pulled up in her old Ford pick up, and out popped her little boy holding two puppies – one under each arm. I immediately grabbed the first one I saw (Charlie), and thought, “Oh my…he is very cute, even tempered, and floppy!” I knew there was something in him that spoke to me. But…I figured I should set him down and watch the other pup just to be sure I really liked the first one. I watched both of the pups play, and immediately the other pup went over the lady and started chewing on her jeans at her ankle. I thought, “ok, nope, I definitely don’t want this dog. He’s going to chew up everything.”, Hiking in Utah with our Dogs
(April 11, 2012 - the day I brought Charlie home, 8 weeks old.)

I said, “I’ll take this one,” pointing back to Charlie. I paid her, and they pulled away. I got back into my car and all of the sudden I started to freak out, saying to myself “oh my gosh, I have my OWN puppy! I have my own puppy! This is so exciting!”, Hiking in Utah with our Dogs
(2012 - Charlie's first camping trip at 14 weeks.)

For names, I had already narrowed it down to two names before I even saw the puppies. It would either be Charlie or Cody. I figured I should at least get the dog, then pick out the name depending on what I thought he looked like. After I calmed down a little, I said to the puppy, “Ok we need to pick out a name for you.”

“Cody?” No response. “Cody?” None again.

“Charlie?” This time I got a look from him, and we locked eyes. I said, “Ok, that’s it! You’re a Charlie!” He definitely picked out his own name., Hiking in Utah with our Dogs
(2012 - On the Drinking Horse Trail in Bozeman, MT. Charlie was about 14 weeks old.)

As we drove home that day I said, “Charlie, I want you to know that you are going to be an outdoors dog. We are going to hike, camp, ski, and adventure together. You are going to learn to love the outdoors as much as me. I can’t wait to show you all the stuff the trails out there have to offer.”, Hiking in Utah with our Dogs
(2012 - Pine Creek Lake in Montana before the big forest fire. Charlie was about 6 months here.), Hiking in Utah with our Dogs
(Charlie in 2013, 1 year old)

Almost four years later and now in Utah, Charlie & I are still exploring the great outdoors together., Hiking in Utah with our Dogs
 (2015 on Ibapah Peak, the highest point in the Deep Creek Mountains), Hiking in Utah with our Dogs
(2015 In the Deep Creek Mountains), Hiking in Utah with our Dogs
(2015 on Mt. Nebo, the highest point in the Wasatch Mountains), Hiking in Utah with our Dogs
We love desert adventures too! Red Canyon - 2018, Hiking in Utah with our Dogs
Charlie & I thank you for visiting our blog!

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

New Blog Name & Website!

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So you might have seen me and Charlie on our other blog, Girl on a Trail. I've had a few hiccups with the domain name and not being able to access it. Long story short, the person who set it up for me is not able to help with this issue, and I'm being forced by GoDaddy to set up a new domain name. So, Girl on a Trail is now "Girl on a Hike". I felt this name was similar enough to the original name for people to not really notice. You'll see that I have to start over with all my blog posts. Believe me - this is frustrating as HELL! I put about 8 months of work into the other blog, and since I can't access those posts, I will be basically starting over. I am hoping that if I am (ever) able to gain access to the old site that I can merge these two blogs and get all my old posts back. I am also switching from using WordPress to Blogger. I am hoping that Blogger is more user friendly, and will require less coding to customize my site. 

I'm hoping you enjoy the new face lift I've give my blog and new look to the name & photo at the top. Charlie told me he approves ;)

Stay tuned for posts, and happy hiking!