Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ahnu Sugarpine Women's Hiking Boot

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Ahnu Sugarpine Boots for Women
At the latest REI Garage Sale I scored these Ahnu Sugarpine Boots for women. They retail for $140, but I got them for $50! I couldn't pass them up. I'm always in awe at the garage sales and what people will return as a "damaged" item. They hardly are ever ruined, only slightly worn (most of the time)! I've scored some great deals, but each garage sale is definitely hit or miss. I've also been able to pick up random items for my Backpacking Gear List throughout the years.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Hiking to Summit Park Peak

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Hiking to Summit Park Peak, Utah, Point 8618, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
Summit Park Peak is a relatively unknown, local's hike for those living near Summit Park, Utah and Park City, Utah. Look on any map, and you will see the official name as "Point 8,618". Because Summit Park Peak looks down on Summit Park, UT, the name is fitting. From the summit you will have beautiful 360 degree views of the Wasatch; on a clear day you can see as far West as Antelope Island and Stansbury Island. To the North you can see Grandview Peak, and to the East, the High Uintas (pronounced You-In-taas). Summit Park Peak is accessible year round, and is popular in Winter for back country skiers, due to the low angle terrain with low avalanche danger. Be sure to grab your microspikes and hiking poles, and get ready for a short but sweet climb to the peak.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Mule Canyon & House on Fire Ruins

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Mule Canyon and House on Fire ruins, Utah cliff dwellings, Bears Ears National Monument
In between Natural Bridges National Monument and Blanding, Utah lies Mule Canyon, home to the famous "House on Fire" ruins. Southeast Utah is also home to the most numerous and varied collection of ruins, spread over a remote area of about 30 X 25 miles. Besides hundreds of ruins, mostly cliff dwellings, the Cedar Mesa area contains many petroglyphs and pictographs, all between 800 - 2000 years old from the Anasazi and Pueblo Indians. Most are found in canyons, where water was easily accessible and conditions were cooler in summer months. All land is public, managed by the BLM, and as of December 28, 2016 is now protected under the Bears Ears National Monument. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Natural Bridges National Monument

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Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah. Loop Trail Natural Bridges
On day two of our trip to Southeastern Utah, we drove from our camp at Goosenecks State Park 45 minutes North to Natural Bridges National Monument. After visiting Monument Valley, it was time for a change of scenery and we wanted to get some miles in hiking through water, canyons, and under bridges, and to visit Utah's first national monument. Natural Bridges covers a small area of SE Utah, and is therefore very remote and not close to any of "Utah's Mighty Five" National parks. Despite being near many other amazing places in this part of the state such as White Canyon, Mule Canyon, Cedar Mesa, Grand Gulch, and the LaSal Mountains. Unlike Arches National Park which has over 2,000 arches, there are only three bridges at Natural Bridges. This park also contains cliff dwellings, pictographs, petroglyphs, and white canyon sandstone.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Monument Valley & The Wildcat Trail

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Monument Valley, Utah, Arizona, Monument Valley Wildcat Trail
Our first full day in Southeastern Utah, we drove to Arizona to visit Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. From our base camp at Goosenecks State Park, it was only a 45 minute drive. When we were planning our trip here, we initially thought we would take a guided tour. Monument Valley & Tribal rules state that you are not allowed to get out of your car on the scenic drive to hike around the famous Mittens or other rock structures, unless you are with a Navajo Guide and/or have a permit. The tours were a little expensive for our budget ($75/person for 2 hours), so we researched other options in the park and found that there is ONE trail open to the public - The Wildcat Trail.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Goosenecks State Park

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Goosenecks State Park, Camping at Goosenecks State Park, Utah
 High above the meandering San Juan River, lies Goosenecks State Park. This largely undeveloped park is home to a rare geological featured known as the Entrenched Meander. This refers to a river that is confined to a canyon or gorge, and in most cases is narrow with very little or no flood plain. The headwaters of the San Juan River are in the San Juan Mountains of Southwestern Colorado, which is the origin for 90% of the rivers' flow. The river flows 360 miles from its source, starting at an elevation of 14,000 ft and dropping to just 3,600 ft at Lake Powell.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Ensign Peak

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Ensign Peak, Utah, Best Utah sunset photo spots
If you are looking for the easiest, kid friendly, or a fun date night sunset spot in Salt Lake, this is the trail for you. Ensign Peak offers unparalleled views of the Great Salt Lake as well as the Wasatch Mountains, and Salt Lake County. The city lights at night offer a beautiful panorama of the valley, with minimal effort of hiking to the top. Regardless of age or hiking experience, you will find this short but sweet trail and overlook enjoyable.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Frary Peak, Antelope Island State Park

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Frary Peak, Utah, Antelope Island State Park, Frary Peak maps
Frary Peak (6,578 ft) on Antelope Island State Park is not only the highest point on the island, but also the most beautiful trail that offers 360 degree views of the Great Salt Lake, the Wasatch Mountains, and views of the cities. This hike is best to hike between November-March when the horseflies are gone for winter. After March, it is recommended to wear head nets to protect your face against the flies. Along this trail you may see Buffalo, Antelope, and other small animals. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Fremont Indian State Park

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Fremont Indian State Park, Utah
After our visit to Mystic Hot Springs, we drove west down I-70 for another 20 minutes until we reached Fremont Indian State Park. Thousands of years ago this area was home to the largest population of Fremont Indians. Many petroglyphs (engraved rock with symbols) still exists, and the park offers a small trail system to view them. Inside the museum are artifacts, a film, petroglyph tours, hands-on activities for kids, and exhibits that reveal the lives of the Fremont. The park also offers RV and tent camping, you can rent out a Tipi, and there's also access the famous Paiute ATV Trail

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Mystic Hot Springs

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Mystic Hot Springs, Monroe, Utah
 Mystic Hot Springs is located in Monroe, Utah, about a 2.5 hour drive south of SLC. It's been on my Utah Bucket List for awhile, so a few friends and I made it happen this weekend as a day trip. Among all of the hot springs in Utah, this is by far the most unique and least crowded, but also the most expensive. The natural hot springs flow into 6 large bathtubs, and two smaller, shallow pools. The closer you soak to where the water flows from, the hotter the water is. Mystic Hot Springs has been around for nearly 100 years, and has changed owners a few times. Originally, the hot springs were where the Indian tribes of Ute, Shoshone, & Piute would set up camp, and soak for warmth and comfort. Legend says that they would paint themselves with the red dirt to keep themselves safe.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Darn Tough Socks

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Darn Tough Socks gear review
I've been on the search for the best backpacking socks lately. With backpacking season about to start in Utah, I needed some quality socks that wouldn't rub, make me sweat, or make my feet feel on fire. I asked several Facebook groups if they prefer Darn Tough or Smartwool socks. 90% of the votes were for Darn Tough, so I decided to buy a pair from Amazon (which has 5 stars). After doing some research, I bought the Men's 1/4 Merino Wool Cushion Hiking socks. I have big feet (women's 10, and men's fit my wide feet). I normally hike in ankle socks, but for backpacking I like a little higher to keep my socks from slipping down past my ankles. Two of the biggest reasons I decided to buy Darn Tough over Smartwool were because they are made in Vermont, and offer a Lifetime Guarantee on each pair of socks. 

Most people don't think about this stuff when they buy socks, but these are the perks about Darn Tough Socks.

Made in the USA!
Made at the Cabot Hosiery Mills, Northfield, Vermont, USA

High Density Knitting
More knit stitches per inch = durability and cushioning without bulk

Performance Fit
Knit-in elastic arch support and fitted toe & heel boxes fit perfectly

Merino Wool
The shrink-treated wool enhances comfort and durability. Go thank your local sheep!

Wool & coolmax are blended to create the most softness and moisture management

Ribbed Ankle Support
No slipping, bunching, and no blisters! Amen!
Darn Tough Socks gear review
I tested these out on Saturday on our hike to The Wind Caves in Logan, UT. This hike was half mud half snow - perfect for testing socks. I also wore capris so I would purposely get mud on my calves. I wanted to see if dirt and snow would get down my ankles. My feet never felt sweaty or hot - only comfortable the whole time. One of the best perks was that you can see from the bottom photo of my foot, that no dirt, snow, nor sand got into my sock! These socks are a bit pricey for me ($17/pair), but overall totally worth it. I was very pleased with how these socks performed.

Here's how the Darn Tough Socks were overall:

Price: A bit high at $17/pair
Comfort: Excellent
Fit: True to size
Performance: Excellent
Waterproof: No
Padding: comfortable, medium weight
Best for: day hiking & backpacking
Pros: Comfort, padding, mositure-wicking knit

*Update October 2016* I also just bought the Via Ferrata Boot Cushion Socks, and LOVE them. They are super comfy and cushioned. These are great for winter hiking and snowshoeing.
Darn Tough Socks Gear Review

Check out my other Gear Reivews on Pinterest!

Darn Tough Socks Gear Review

Hiking to The Wind Caves, Logan Canyon

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Wind Caves Trail, Logan, Utah, Hiking in Logan Canyon, Hiking in Utah with dogs
 The Wind Caves Trail is located in Logan Canyon about 1.5 hours northeast of SLC. We were looking for something new & different to hike, and I had heard of these caves before from friends. Our plan was to make a day trip of it, and hike this trail and one across the road called The Crimson Trail, which gets you above the China Wall. I also wanted to stop at one of my favorite outdoor sports store, Camp Saver. is an online gear store, however their physical store is located just before you reach Logan in Nibley, UT. Anything you buy in store gives you an extra 20% discount on everything. Plus, they are super knowledge able and can help you find the perfect gear for any adventure.