Monday, August 31, 2015

Lot's and Lot's of Fishing and Camping




It's been a little while, I apologize for being MIA for a while.  But it was a well needed fishing camping trip that came just at the right time.
I've had an eventful past few weeks, and I hate to say it, but it's not all been good!





HOPING THE FIRES OUT WEST ARE OUT SOON
A few weeks ago I thought it was bad, when I was out on a run and I was doing more coughing than running.  The fires out west are seriously bad, I really hope they can be put out soon.  It's a bit better this weekend, but still not great!  WE NEED RAIN!!!


I live right by the mountains, and I am surrounded almost in all directions with other mountains.  But even right up next to them the smoke from California, Washington, Oregon and others are so bad that I couldn't even see them at all some days.
You can see how bad it is in these pictures, so sad!



FITBIT SUPPORT IS AWESOME
So if you read my blog, you probably know I love my Fitbit and I love having fun with competitions on it!  A few weeks ago it quit working.

I contacted them, and they helped me do a reset on it.  But then it only worked a few days, and died again and no restart would fix it.

Fitbit Customer Service is awesome!  I didn't even have to ask, they just told me even though my Fitbit is beyond the 1 year warranty, they would still send me a FREE replacement!
Then they did, it arrived in the mail Saturday!  Unfortunately, I won't be using it much right now because...


THE PART I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT - RUNNING/WALKING
A bit over a week ago I started getting some major pains in my Tendon (worse than flare up pains.) I won't go into the details on the how, what and whys because I can't even begin to tell you how depressed it has made me.
But I will tell you this.
I can't even walk, and if I even try to run my tendon nearly gives out on me, RUNNING isn't possible right now.  When I say I can't walk, I mean I literally CAN NOT walk in a normal shoe, it's sheer terrible pain.
It's been this way for a little over a week now:(

Showing NO SIGNS of getting better, in fact if anything it just keeps getting worse.  I have woken up many days with my ankle almost swollen triple in size.
I am wearing the boot again, most of the time, I am doing what I know to do.
The only way I can walk, is if I am in a 3"-4" high heel, or up on my tip toes for short distances (when the tendon isn't stretched at all.)  It's the only way I can stand the pain enough to get around a little.
I am having a VERY hard time with this.
Actually, that is putting it mildly.  I am not handling this well at all.  Which is why when last Monday rolled around, I needed it more than ever!

A few weeks ago I wrote a Travel Tuesday post on hiking Bald Mountain.
Above is Bald Mountain, this is just what it looks like from below at Mirror Lake.
CAMPING / FISHING TRIP
I needed to get away before I got myself into a massive depressive funk because after 2 years 8 months, I am almost worse off than I was when I thought I went through the worst of the original worst part of the work injury.

So I went camping with my parents.  Normally when I camp I love to hike, obviously that wasn't going to happen much if any.

Luckily, I also love to go FISHING!
So, up to Utah's high Uinta mountains I went.  Life not only feels better at 9000-11,000 feet, but everything even tastes better up there!
Oh, and it was SO PEACEFUL, seriously just quit and nature AWESOME!

Usually all of this is lake, but they are draining it for he winter snow to come.
I went lake hopping, each day I fished a different lake or two.  I would sit in my totally cute PINK camouflage chair.  With my PINK Cabela's fishing vest that seriously makes all the other fisher women jealous, and I have a feeling gives all the boyfriends and husbands Christmas present idea's for their significant other:)
Threw my line out, and in between the waiting and catching I read a few books, took in the scenery and deeply breathed in the beautiful fresh air!

My dad out fly fishing next to me.
Wednesday it rained almost all day, but honestly it didn't even bother me, it was still beautiful. That and I absolutely LOVE the THUNDER in the mountains as it cracks and ricochets up the canyons and bounces off the different surrounding peaks.  It went on that day for hours, it was so relaxing to listen to.
I literally just sat and caught up on trilogy I have been wanting to read and listened to it all.

This Golden Eagle swooped across the lake and landed above me and stayed a while.
Probably hoping I would catch a fish he could come take from me.

I had a great time.  My niece came up one afternoon and begged me to take her hiking.  I can't resist her, and ya I HIKED the entire half mile up on my TIP TOES, ha ha.

Hey, whatever works right!  I would have been worried that I was making things worse, but I don't think they can get much worse!


Thursday, my reel broke.  I was kind of shocked, it was a nice reel and expensive.  It's probably about 10 years old though or close to it.  I have another, but it was at home.  So when I took it all apart and nothing I could do would fix it.  I just borrowed one of my dad's extra poles or my brothers.
Luckily, unlike me they bring more than one to fish with:)


My dad, my brother and I did a lot of fishing!
If I told you I catch fish every time I go out, that would be a lie.  I have not had the greatest past year as far as fishing and catching is concerned.
But that ALL changed on this trip!


I had one of those days, where every single time I threw out the line I caught a fish.  Literally, I didn't even have to wait more than 30 seconds to a minute at times.
I think the longest I waited was a couple of minutes.
Seriously, I have never had a day like that.  The fish were biting, I was in the right place at the right time, fishing with the right bait and LUCKY ME!

The first Tiger Trout I caught.  I only snapped a picture of one fish, but promise there were LOTS more!

Seriously, I caught so many fish that day, I would have been bored by it.  Except I was loving every minute of it.

Also a full moon, loved it!
Especially when at one point I was alone and these guys came up and were fishing not to far down the lake from me, and catching nothing.  I was reeling them in like a pro, LOL
I'd be lying if I didn't love the fact that many eyes were on me while I was out that night, they were all jealous and I pretended to be HUMBLE but yet secretly loved every single minute of it!

In case your wondering, I am a CATCH AND RELEASE type of girl.  I don't eat fish, so I do my best to try and let them all go.  Lucky for them, they all looked pretty healthy as I un hooked the hook and set them free:)

I hope it happens again, but even if it doesn't I will always have the memories of having the fish hit my line every time I tossed it out.  SO AWESOME!

I didn't get my camera in time.  But this lady was seriously out walking her PET GOAT
Ha ha, it was the cutest and funniest thing I have seen.  The goat was totally well behaved
and didn't seem to mind being on a lease, Ha Ha.
It was a great trip and so well needed.  Aside from being in pain all the time, it actually helped me take my mind from my problems and that was needed!
Hopefully, it will help me deal with it all this week much better, I've got a lot of thinking to do on the Achilles tendon, and if I am being honest I am not looking forward to any of it!

Nothing beats campfires in the evening!

This is probably a long enough post.  But I'll talk more about it over the next few weeks.  But in case your interested in hosting a giveaway and participating in the Fall GIVEAWAY HOP with myself and HoHo Runs as well as all the other amazing bloggers who are and will be joining us.  The sign up is now open, and you can get to it by visiting HERE.



How have you all been doing this past few weeks?  I know I have been away from Wifi and blogs for a while, and it may take me forever to catch up.  So I'd love for you to tell me some of what has been going on with you!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Hiking Catherine Pass, Alta Utah

This week I am going to take you on a popular Wasatch Front trail.  If you live in Utah along the Wasatch front there is a fair chance you have already taken this beautiful trail.
If not, you might want to add it to your list of ones to do.



The unique part of this hike, it is accessible from both Little Cottonwood Canyon and Big Cottonwood Canyons.
So if your a resident of Salt Lake County, you can be at this trail head from most places in less than 20 minutes.


If coming from Big Cottonwood, you'll locate the trail head up near the Brighton Ski Resort.  If coming from Little Cottonwood, you will locate the trail along the Albion Basin dirt road.


For this posts purpose, I will note I took the Little Cottonwood Canyon trail head.
Also, should note I took the trail toward the end of July when the Wild Flower Festival was going on, so depending on the time of year you visit it may or may not look a little different to you.


If you are hiking this in the summer or around a holiday.  Parking will be hard to find.  You can park and ride a shuttle run by Alta that comes by every 20 minutes and stops at the hikes and campground for anyone who would like to take it.  There is an information station if you need more information on this.


The trail starts off as a gradual hill as you start ascending the mountain.  To be honest, even though this trail does start climbing and is mostly all uphill on the way up.  I would still categorize it as fairly easy or at the low end of moderate.


Even kid friendly as there are no major drop offs.



You'll pass through small meadows and forests as you make the climb.


Just before what I would call the final climb, you will come across a larger meadow area.  Which if you are interested in backpacking in for a night of camping, I would imagine this to be a great spot and perfect for star gazing.

Ya that's me on the rock, being a fun dork:)
The final climb takes you up on top of the pass.  Where you will have a great view of Lake Catherine down below.


You do have a few options, you can hike up to sunset peak which is a short distance from here.  Or you can continue on down to Brighton passing a few other lakes (Mary, Margret) along the way.



You can also hike down to the lake, which I was told is stocked with trout.
You're also welcome to backpack in and camp in any of these area's as long as you follow the back country camping rules which are posted at the trail heads.



As you can see this is a beautiful hike, that is only a short distance from the Salt Lake Valley below it.  Well worth an hour or two out of your day to visit.


If you're hiking in the summer, it's well worth the visit just to see all the wildflowers in bloom!

OTHER TIPS
* There are bathrooms at the trail head, but you will need to bring your own water.
* Bring bug repellent, or wear a bug band as the mosquito's and biting flies can come out at times.
* Weekday's are far less crowded, weekends expect to rarely find time alone on the trail.
* Watch for deer and moose, they can be seen often in these area's.
* Definitely bring a camera!
* You are higher in elevation, 9,000+ feet.
* Great trails for trail running!  Perfect for working the legs and lungs!


Have you hiked in the Wasatch mountains before?  

Monday, August 17, 2015

Step Mile Stones, Paddle Boarding and Crazy Busy

I haven't had a week as busy as last week in a long time. With 2 weddings in 4 days, it pretty much kept all my day time, and most of my nights.
I wasn't even able to hop on the blog all week or sadly even visit other bloggers.  However, if your on Instagram I did jump on there a few times when I had a few minutes here and there.

FITNESS
Not only was it a busy work week.  But it was an even crazier fitness week!

When I mentioned crazy.  So most of you know I LOVE my Fitbit, and love competitions on it.  My sisters and I are always competing.  But last week we kicked it up a notch and I challenged them to all hit 100k steps in 5 days.
Since my sisters work for me at weddings, we spent a lot of time together this week.  Which put a whole new meaning into the competition when we were right in front of each other.

Tuesday, we were running from the trailer into the building carrying everything.  Running in place any time we had to stop and think or look at something.
Then on our down time, we had 3 hours break.  Since the wedding was out in the country we decided to hit up a local lake and relax.  The picture below was our view, and yes it was supposed to be relaxing & beautiful.


INSTEAD, it turned into no rest, and trail running on the lakeside to outdo the other....
(On the plus side, that night we hate at this fabulous country diner, and I had the most amazing Lemon Poppy Seed Cheesecake, OMG it was amazing! Thank goodness it's not close by where I live, I'd visit the place daily, LOL)

I thought Tuesday's competition was bad (in a good way), little did I know how it would get later that week.

By Friday morning, when I only had 28k steps left to hit my 100k for the week, and a wedding I knew it would easily happen.  But that's when things got borderline competition insane!
I hit my 28k by 2pm that day, and when my sister saw I was at 103k for the week she didn't like it. Of course then I didn't like that she was trying to out beat me.

We did have a 3rd member in it, but that sister made the mistake of putting her Fitbit on her daughter, for a little while Friday and well that threw her numbers out (cheating) kids have an unfair advantage, they never tire, LOL

So ya, we had 5 hours down time between the wedding set up and the evening and instead of resting we kept trying to sneak in steps.  In fact it got to bad we were in front of each other running in place face to face as fast as possible, LOL

Then when that got boring and turned into a laugh fest, in my backyard we went running figure 8's around it to outdo the other.
My legs were so exhausted by the time I made it to the wedding that night, with already 21 miles done at this point for the day.

Well I will just let these images show what happened on Friday and then you'll see what I mean about things got super crazy insane! (If your not familiar with Fitbit you earn badges for different step milestones.)


Ya....  I earned all 3 of these badges before I even went to take down the wedding that night.

We put a whole new meaning on the idea of Healthy Family Competition!

Then after the wedding, my sister was supposed to leave.  But she was worried that since it was only 11pm, I would workout crazy for an hour and beat her for the day.  (Which I would have.) So she made her poor kids stay til midnight while she and I had it out.
That's when this happened...



Ya, enough said! (She did her her 45k badge though!)
I probably could have hit 55k that day, but decided 52k steps (23 miles) was more than enough or more than I ever dreamed of hitting outside of running a marathon, LOL

Overall we both did great for the week.  But I hate to admit it she beat me with a 5 day total of 131k steps to my 124k steps.  She got ahead of my at the wedding when I had to stand and talk to people while she could run around like a crazy person taking things down, ha ha.
We are having a re-match this week and we have another wedding Friday, so this could get very interesting and probably tiring!!!

WEDDING FUN

Thankfully, I pulled off the weddings and both brides and their families were so happy and loved how it all turned out, and that makes it very much worth it!  If you didn't know, I love my job!

This week, I only have 1 wedding, so it will be a little less busy and I am looking forward to getting a little more sleep.

These are the centerpieces that I did at one of the weddings, I have to say and maybe it is because I love pink.  But I love how they turned out, probably my favorite in a very long time.  I actually literally designed them late the night before and put one together just before midnight and put the others together the next morning at the event. Sometimes my best work is done when I have less time to do it!

BEACH DAY

By Friday night I was sore and exhausted, so my sisters and I decided to wake up early Saturday morning and drive up to a local lake in northern Utah and visit my parents up where they were camped and have a beach day.


This beautiful turquoise colored lake is yes in Utah!  Most people visit the Caribbean to see waters this color, but all I have to do it take a short 2 hour drive and I don't even have to deal with the salt, this is a fresh water lake.

MY NEW ADDICTION STAND UP PADDLE BOARDING

Last year I mentioned on the blog I wanted to try paddle boarding, but it didn't happen until Saturday. Oh my gosh it is sooooo much fun, I am totally going to save up and buy a board of my own.

Did I fall?
Yes, I will admit I fell once the first time I tried to stand up.
But I did get up the 2nd time, and stayed up for nearly an hour before I was sore and went onto my knees to give my legs a little break.
When I got confident on it, I put 2 of my cute nephews (ages 2 & 4) on the front of the board and we went out and played.
Tricks?
My sisters tried unsuccessful handstands on them.  I did a somersault on mine right into the water. Paddle boards are a blast!


Loved the waves.  But as more boats came out, the waves were picking up and it was getting harder and harder to keep my balance.  I did okay with the 1 foot waves.
I went out again on my own with my sisters, and this boat came up speeding right next to me, the waves it rose behind it were like 3 feet high and too fresh and I made it over the first one, but the 2nd one wiped me out, LOL  I think the boaters did it on purpose, but who cares.  I got right back up after:)
I bet on calm waters, it's just totally easy and relaxing, I need to try that too!


I seriously am addicted to it, I could have done it all day, but they were rentals that had to be returned after a couple of hours.
I wish I had pictures, and at one point my sister says to me.  We need pictures, we need to get a camera.  We both looked at the shore and then turned to each other and shook our heads, we were having too much fun to go back and take a break to get a camera.
After, the rest of the day we just played on the beach and buried each other in the sand, having fun!



So that was my week.  I worked super hard, so I could play even harder on the weekend!  As life should be:)
But I also did some killer stepage this week, and I am seriously proud of that 50,000 step badge!  One thing that day did do, after 23 miles and my tendon was fine the next two days.  I realized I can really start bumping up my morning runs, there is no reason to hold back any more.
What does that mean?  Well, that is still to be determined...

How did your week go?
Do you live by the work hard, to play harder philosophy too?  Have you had a beach day this summer?
Do you Paddle Board?  Isn't it a blast?





Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Hiking Bald Mountain, Uinta Mountains

If you live in Utah and you are familiar with the beautiful scenic Mirror Lake HWY that heads east of of Kamas Utah, then you may already know about this hike.
I would say it is safe to assume that hiking Bald Mountain is one of the most popular hikes in the Uinta Mountains along this scenic HWY.


They call the Uinta's land of a thousand lakes.  Which if you are driving around may be hard to imagine.  But if you'd like to take in the views and get a glimpse of what they were talking about when they gave it this nickname, then hiking up to Bald Mountain is a great place to see it from!
The peak is easily seen and stands out in many area's of this part of the Uinta Mountains.


The trail head starts at the Bald Mountain Pass, which is at 10,759 feet elevation.  There is a large parking area with a well marked trail start.
If you have any trouble as you come to the trail head divide, you take the larger trail on the right.
the trail is about 2 miles up, so 4 miles round trip.



Pretty much from the minute you start this trail, you will be climbing.  Mostly over rocks.
Although I personally would consider it family friendly.  You will be hiking along some steep edges at times and loose rocks as well as a few places that have 1000+ drop offs.  So if you have children that are hard to control, they may not be the best fit for the hike.  Unless you plan on carrying them.


The trail climbs quickly, and even within the first 1/4th of a mile you will start to see the beautiful surrounding views.  Which on a clear day, can give you a view of all the lakes and the Timpanogos Mountains in the distance.



Quickly you will discover yourself rising up and above the treeline as you climb the switchbacks - hence likely the name for Bald Mountain.


You'll be climbing pretty much the entire time.  However, you will have a short little break a little past the half way point where it flattens up a little before you start the climb on easterly side of the mountain.


You can see the switchback portion here.
From here its steeper but not much further to the top.

The climbing on this next section is the steepest section, this is also the section with the steeper drop offs.  But as you'll notice the views below of Moose lake, Mirror Lake and Hayden peak as well as the others are just beautiful and very much worth it!


You're climbing up the broken rocks and boulders in this section.  To many the trail is pretty easy to see or find.  But if by chance you loose track, just look up for the stacked rocks that mark the trail head and follow them up.


Also, be a kind hiker.  If you see someone or the weather has knocked them over, just take a few seconds and re-stack the rocks.  In case someone else needs the marker.

I give my sister extra super woman props for carrying her younger one
on all the rocky climbs and descents.
Once you get up on the top, you can take a break and enjoy the views.  Feel free to walk out along the mountain to check out the views in all directions.

This is one of the final boulder climbs to the top.
Keep in mind the rocks and boulders up here may move a little as you step onto them.  So watch your footing carefully, especially when you are around the edges.  As you will notice quickly a fall would pretty much be the end.



Once you've made it to the top you'll find yourself at about 11,942 feet in elevation.  Ya, you just climbed 1,182 feet in just a few short miles.  So you've earned the beautiful views that await you!


Although, they could be anywhere.  There is a group of Mountain Goats down below that live and climb around on the cliffs that face Mirror Lake.  I've actually counted up to twenty before.
They can be very difficult to see from up above looking down.  However, not impossible depending on where they were at.


I was actually able to look down from the edge and see a couple climbing their way up.  They always amaze me at how easily they can climb up the steepest ridges and mountains with those hooves and never fall.  They make it look so effortless.
(Note: the easiest way to see them is with Binoculars from Mirror Lake.)  They blend well, but if they are moving around they are even easy to pick out with the naked eye even from below.



Take your time, enjoy the views and then when you are ready enjoy the views and the decent down. As you may have noticed it was easier for me to snap shots on the decent so even though I wrote the post going up, the shots were actually taken as we climbed down.


I have hiked this many times in my life, most of when I was younger.  But I have to give Wonder Woman props out to my sister who piggy back carried an extra 40 pounds of cuteness and little legs that there was just a little to much climb for.  Awesome girl, pretty much carried him the entire time both up and back down.


OTHER TIPS

* This is a great hike for adults and families, who like to climb.
* The trail head has an out-house bathroom.  But no water, you will need to bring your own.
* It's also a great hike to use as a trail run, would be an awesome workout going up!
* There are many hikes in the Uinta areas nearby.
* Fun idea, take a map and when you get to the top pick out all of the peaks and lakes by name.
* Bring a jacket on cooler days, as the temps can get quite cold above, even if it is warm down below.
* Bring binoculars, and try to pick out the mountain goats below you.
* You will need to stop at the ranger station or self pay booth and buy a pass for your vehicle.


Have you hiked Bald Mountain before?  Have you been up to the Uinta Mountains before?  Or have you done higher elevation climbs out west before?  If you have, then you know it's an amazing new world up above 10,000+ feet, isn't it!