Monday, May 22, 2017

20-Miler Carrying 27 Pounds... Done!

I returned back from my trip just before the weekend, I had a great time seeing my friends and hanging out with my family. I do miss them all living so far away right now. But I'm looking forward to lots of visits this summer when I have time!

As for my weight loss journey, I'm now down 28.5 pounds, I was actually surprised I didn't gain a ton on my trip because I ate out nearly every day and didn't even try to order low calorie, LOL. But I'm thinking maybe all the hard work and muscle I am building helped burn off some of those restaurant calories I took in since I still lost weight.

I've done a lot of hiking to get reading for Grand Canyon R2R2R. I have put my body through a tremendous amount of pain from lots of huge climbs. I don't even remember what it's like to not be sore, but this is the good kind of workout sore so it's all good! I actually love it!

Last weekend was no exception, I went out and hiked a 20-miler. I selected specific trails ahead of time that would force me to hike the highest in elevation climbs and losses. Overall it was over 12,000 feet in gain and loss, and those are just the numbers I could pull off the trail guides and not counting some of the trails I didn't look into.

I carried 27 pounds to start on that hike and ended with around 15 pounds because most of it was water drank. It was 90 degree's out and I purposely chose places with very little shade. I did it in about 9 hours. It was a little slow, but I didn't push it on the last 2,000-foot climb of the day because it was at 17 miles and to be honest I was tired!!

I don't tell ya all that to say I'm turning into wonder woman, LOL But those are the types of things needed to be done so I can have an enjoyable R2R2R hike and not have my legs screaming in pain for the return trip, LOL

FYI: These pictures in this post today are the few I took while on the trip. And a first for me, I'm sharing here before I've even shared them on Instagram! If you love hiking and travel pictures and don't already definitely follow me on INSTAGRAM HERE. I try not to disappoint and only upload my best pics from any trip!

In Feb/Mar when I got sick for nearly a month (no joke) I lost all of my training. So if any of you read my previous R2R2R training plan, yeah very little of that actually happened as far as the running was concerned.
Since I was starting from near scratch in Mid March I realized I had no time to actually work on running, I needed to get my body ready for the hike. Oddly, you do utilize different muscle groups more than you'd think hiking vs. running. After all, I'm backpacking across the Grand Canyon not running, LOL

So yeah, although I have consistently gone out for 3-6 miles runs 3-4 days a week it's really not been much in regards to training for a half marathon to really get ready for it as I normally would for a race. I would prefer a little more than double that but...

So am I still going to do it?

I think so. I'm not too concerned with time on this one and although I haven't been running much I'm in pretty good shape otherwise. So I'll see what happens. I still have a little time, so maybe I can knock out a longer run if my legs can recover from the 20-mile hike soon!

Plus it's a great excuse to drive up north and visit my family and friends, LOL.

I am about 99% of the time an after the fact blogger. 
This next part is my 1% exception.

It seems there is an increasingly high amount of my blogger friends coming to Utah to run in June, which is pretty awesome!  It's funny because of all the races to come to Utah for, I never would have thought this particular one to be so popular with out-of-staters. But it's a pretty canyon run and it's one of the least steep canyon runs, so maybe that is why?
I won a free entry into it, so maybe others did too??

So that is why I wanted to talk about where I will be in advance so I don't miss an opportunity to meet some of you. So if you're doing Utah Valley Marathon or Half, hit me up. I'd love to meet you in person because as of right now I should be there doing the half.

And if you see this, and are coming I would love to find out why so many are coming for this race, I will probably ask ya when I see ya in June. But I'm super curious for sure what drew so many to this one instead of one of the more popular ones in Utah.


I'll share more with you on this hopefully later this week if I can find time to write the post. But I thought I'd quickly share what I received approval on and have decided to do for the project portion before I write the final paper.

And this will make more sense another day when I explain more.
But it's going to be a
Virtual Race - Half Marathon, 10k or 5k option.

I'm working hard right now to get things set up and get the business portion of it set up right. But I will say I am doing things a little unique on all fronts so it won't be like every other virtual race out there. (Well as different as it can be!)

So for those of you who are interested in racing for medals or want to help support me in this huge project this summer, keep an eye on my blog for both registration and (hint) Influencer opportunities around it soon!

Linking up with the lovely gals from the Weekly Wrap! Misssippiddlin and HoHoRuns this week!

If you don't already, check out their blogs and this fun weekly link up to meet new bloggers each week.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Hiking Lake Blanche during the Winter and early melts

I left the Redrocks for a while, I've been up north on vacation in Utah near the Wasatch Mountains, and there is one trail that I have done in the summer but always wanted to do in the winter and especially at the beginning of the winter melts.

I finally got to do it this past weekend and let me tell you it was an awesome adventure!! Beauty, Adventure, Rush & Thrills and a lot of Fun! Let me tell ya about it.

Lake Blanche is roughly 7 miles on an out and back trail in the Twin Peaks Wilderness area of Big Cottonwood Canyon. It's a very popular trail, especially in the summer.
According to AllTrails, they rate the hike as difficult, but for an experienced hiker, you'll likely find it more on the higher end of moderate.

You'll be starting at around 5,800 feet in elevation (estimate) and you'll hit the at lake 8,900 feet. So yes as you make your way up, it's climbing uphill from the very beginning and it really never lets up as you make your way up and climb nearly 3,000 feet.

It's a great trail for the legs!!! You'll feel them for sure!  You'll feel your lungs, even more, it's a great workout! Oh, and when you see the views, you'll see why this is one killer workout you won't mind, as they are stunning!!

The start of my hike in the lower mountains, so beautifully green and lush right now.

This is actually the stream which most times of year doesn't have very much water running down it at all. But right now the spring melts have been in full force and this stream, well it would give most whitewater rivers a challenge as you can see. Definitely not one you'll want to cool off at this time of year!

As you quickly make your way uphill as you climb, within a short distance you'll be presented with gorgeous views like above.

This time of year, it was mostly dry the first mile. But then it got a little wet and muddy in the 2nd mile as the snow run-off is basically turned the trail into a little bit of a stream. If your feet don't get wet then, they will later!

Eventually, I hit this snow probably at around 7,500 feet, at first, it wasn't too bad. But around 8,000 feet the snow got a bit deeper.

I had about a good solid mile of climbing through the snow. It was definitely passable and pretty slushy at points and I made it in a regular hiking shoe, but funny story. I've never hiked in deep snow like that before, at least not in distance.

I mean, I've done snowshoeing many times, but that is different and a little easier. Trudging through a heavier wetter snow in higher elevations, yup, it got my lungs working oh my it did!
I brought plenty of water, and I definitely went through a lot of it!

It was a perfect day though, I brought a long sleeve shirt and even a jacket, but didn't end up needing it. I was sweating bullets enough on the way up, I was comfortable in my t-shirt!

So this trail was a bit different than how I am used to it in the past.
In the past, the trail veers off to the left and goes up near the side of the mountain. Apparently not in the winter, everyone was going what looked like straight up over this pass.

I kid you not, the picture doesn't do it justice, this was one steep climb. A little slippery, but kicking my hiking boot in to make a more secure step, I won't lie and say I was fast, but boy was it cold! As I didn't bring gloves and at times yes I did need to stick my hands into the snow to brace myself from slipping back down.

Okay, here is the most awesome part of this, the waterfalls. They were everywhere, gushing in some places shooting out of the mountain and disappearing into the snow, coming out later again. Oh my gosh, it was stunning. Unfortunately, not many of my waterfall pictures turned out, I blame a cell phone camera on those. I only took out the nicer camera up on top, LOL

I climbed up this pass, which normally I am not sure I would do without the snow, the deep snow filled in the steep canyon granite cliffs. I could see down near some of the rocks where the water was melting and there was still a good 8-10 feet of snow under in places. Only the taller peaks were peeking out of the snow.

The waterfalls were running right underneath me, I could hear the water it was pretty cool to hear. Of course, in the back of my mind, I absolutely didn't want to fall through to the water flowing under the snow. I saw a few footprints of others who had stepped in the wrong place and broke through, and ya I didn't want any of that.

After, I finished what was nearly 100 feet of climbing nearly straight up, maybe even higher. I got up and realized, I still had quite a ways to climb to get over to the lake.
Yes, I was pretty tired at this point, but oh so close!

I shouldn't admit this, but yes I was hiking alone. But you're never really alone out on this trail like I said it's popular and there were people nearby me quite often on the trail.

The views, when I got there, absolutely worth the climb!!! Everything I had imagined and more! It was absolutely peaceful with the exception of the rushing waterfalls around. The lake still mostly frozen over, with a few pockets of the ice melting away. It was seriously picturesque.
Especially with Sundial Peak in the background!!!

Going up may have been exhausting but I'm going, to be honest, going down that steep snow was much harder. I had wished I had taken my hiking poles on this one!

At one point on the steepest part I slipped and let me tell you how fast you go with a 25-pound pack on your back when the snow is slushy and slippery, LOL  On my butt then back...
30 feet down, in less than 2 seconds. LOL LOL (25-pound pack only because I'm training for Grand Canyon and trying to get used to carrying heavy weight.)

In my t-shirt without gloves, I think you can imagine the freezer burn on my arms, my hands stung pretty bad after that. (You can totally see my body slip marks in this shot above, LOL)

But then I realized, it might just be easier to go a little slip and sliding. So I took my long sleeve shirt I bought, wrapped it around one of my hands so I could use that as an anchor to keep me from freezing too bad when I'd go to stop myself and avoid any rocks, deep holes or tree's near the bottom. I did slide my way down most of that 100+ feet and it was a rush and so fun!!!

The rest was back the way I came, and I decided to snap a few photo's along the way back.
In fact that first snow picture of the steep wall of snow to climb. I took that literally laying on my back as I did that first accidental slip LOL

Gorgeous hike, and the absolutely perfect day to do it! Couldn't have asked for anything better.
It took me about 4 hours for the entire round trip hike, I wasn't rushing. However, I'm in pretty good shape with my R2R2R training so it could take others 5-6 hours depending on how many breaks you take.

Here is one more of my favorite views of the lake! The one I only imagined how it would be til this day. Pictures never do the views justice, let me tell you it was just gorgeous!

If you visit northern Utah around the Salt Lake area or live here, I highly recommend this hike. Especially in the summer. But if you're a bit more of an adventure seeker, I'd recommend it in the winter or spring as well!

So tell me, do you have a hike or place you've always wanted to visit at different times of year to see how it looks?

Anyone who reads my blog hiked this before? What time of year is your favorite?