Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Desolation Trail

#10 of 100 hikes in 2015
Salt Lake City has a large group of outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you like to rock climb, hike, backpack, camp, repel and more, Salt Lake has something for you. Doing these things are always better with friends and family, right?! Well, what if you find yourself new to town, newly single, or want to find people like you to enjoy Utah's great outdoors with but don't have anyone? Meetup Groups are all over the country with every interest you could find. Me, I found myself divorced after 21 years and I can't always drag my kids with me, so I joined Meetup. I'm now a member of various hiking groups and starting to venture out with them. (Psst, this is not easy!)
Base of Desolation Trail

The hiking Meetups have been great because they allow me to meet various people with diverse backgrounds and age groups, and we all have the same thing in common, hiking! And honestly, I'm kind of directionally challenged so I don't know that I trust myself hiking alone. I would be that girl the helicopter would have to come find because she got lost on a trail...

The Desolation trail hike was with the "Utah Outdoors" meetup group which I had never met with or hiked with before. So this past Saturday, Feb 1, I joined in - we hiked Desolation Trail up Millcreek Canyon. It was fun. I must admit I was extremely nervous about going; and honestly, I didn't really even feel that well. I think you can see the apprehension on my face in the picture below. But I have to hit 100 days in 2015, right?! So I got my trail shoes on and joined in.
Map of Desolation Trail via

Meetups typically have an "event organizer." In the Utah Outdoors group from my observation, they are like mini-guides; they have experience with the Utah trails and outdoors. They are not paid or reimbursed for their time - I think the organizers do it out of wanting to meet people who enjoy the outdoors as much as they do. This Saturday's guide was Dave. And he took us up Desolation trail to the Salt Lake Valley Overlook. The trailhead is about 3.4 miles up Millcreek Canyon and located on the right-hand side of the street by the Millcreek Inn. The hike is about 2.5 hours and about 4.8 miles in and out. The trail is marked online as "moderate" and I have to agree. I went there thinking it wouldn't be difficult but the elevation gain was pretty steep and quite a few switchbacks. We didn't get to see much in the way of an overlook because the clouds were so thick. 

Salt Lake Overlook via Desolation Trail

I'm not sure where my other leg is in this photo!

Taylor Creek in Kolob Canyon

#9 of 100 hikes in 2015

The last hike of my Martin Luther King Day adventure was Taylor Creek. Taylor Creek is located in Kolob Canyon just north west of the main Zion National Park. We decided to do this hike on the way home to Salt Lake City. Although it was fairly straight forward and "easy," I actually had more trouble on this hike than Angels Landing or any other hike at Zion because of the slippery mud slopes and melted ice we had to hike through. Stupidly I didn't put my microspikes on until about half way in which was a huge mistake. My back and hips we very achy because there was a constant traction issue in the mud and melting ice packs.  

Although the hike starts out with a brutal climb up and down stairs, there is little elevation change. The hike is about 3.5 hours long and 5.4 miles. It meanders in and around the creek making for a lovely hike. It isn't difficult but one must concentrate on their footing as you are constantly crisscrossing the creek. Taylor Creek would be great for a family hike. Much of the hike was shaded, and although this hike was in mid-January, I didn't need to bundle up too much. 
Double Arch Alcove at the end of Taylor Creek Trail, Kolob Canyons/Zion

A lovely surprise was running into two historic cabins, Larson Cabin and Fife Cabin. These historic cabins were built in the 1930's. 

Larsen Cabin built in 1929

Double Arch Alcove at the end of Taylor Creek Trail

Double Arch Alcove - Taylor Creek Trail

Friday, January 30, 2015

Angels Landing, Zion National Park

Hike #7of100

Angels Landing has been a hike that I have heard about from friends and family. Last year when I visited Zion's it was clear I was not in any shape to haul my butt up that mountain...oh, that mountain. Actually if you read my very first blog you will read that it was my goal to "do Angels Landing" this year. Well, nothing like taking your goals head on. 

See that little mountain spike in the back--that's Angles Landing.
I'm actually NOT pointing to it!
Walter's Wiggles
A series of switchbacks leading up to the summit. 
One of the few flat areas of this hike. 
The view was spectacular

This photo was at about 8:30 in the morning. The wind was kind of brutal, so my handy little face protection was put to good use.

The drop offs were incredible. Chain links are positioned throughout this hike and I must say that I was very disappointed when the chains weren't there.

Oh Snap, that's high!

I was holding on tight! No way was I going off the side of that mountain. 

I'm trying to capture the depth of the drop off. 

Look mom, I made it. Whoo-hoo!

This photo doesn't even look real...
I promise I'm not Photoshop'd in :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Wheeping Rock and Echo Canyon

Hike #5of100 Wheeping Rock and Echo Canyon

Wheeping Rock Trail
You have to love three day weekends that turn into four day weekends. I headed back down to southern Utah Martin Luther King holiday weekend, even though I had been there two weeks ago. My goal was to hike trails which I never had before. Because I drove down, I only had an afternoon to hike on Friday, Jan 16. I went to Wheeping Rock and Echo Canyon. I am not counting these as to separate hikes; however, they are two different trails. Wheeping Rock is short but STEEP! Wheeping Rock got my blood pumping very quickly; it is straight up the mountain with 10-15 switch backs. My calves were burning. After coming back down my we headed back up to Echo Canyon, the trail in the opposite direction. It was not as drastically up the mountain but a long series of switch backs.

Echo Canyon Trail

Echo Canyon

Thursday, January 15, 2015

100 Hikes. What was I thinking?

After a hike one morning, I got a hair-brained idea to do 100 hikes in 2015. I think I was inspired by my latest trip to Zion and my morning hike to Guardsman Pass. I was laying down in my warm bed with a nice warm cup of tea next to me when I made this decision. I calculated that if I do one hike weekly and a few small weekend trips throughout the year I could probably get to 75 trails. BUT that just doesn't sound as sexy as 100 hikes in a year, so I up'd it. Call me crazy! I agree. 

Here's the deal, I truly am an amateur. Therefore, any advice I give you can take at face value. The gear I'll review or buy is all from a layman's perspective and I'm definitely not being paid or rewarded for it. 

Today is January 15, 2015 and here's the hikes I've done so far this year. 

Guardsman's Pass. I went there via Big Cottonwood Canyon. I think this hike was about 5 miles round trip. It was a clean, easy hike because we walked along the snow-packed road. The Kahtoola microspikes I had just purchased were awesome. My footing never slipped and I felt completely secure. However, I have a crappy back so my spine was sore that night because it did have to work as my footing adjusted itself. BUT, I did feel pretty bad-ass in the spikes. 

Guardsman Pass
On the way to Guardsman Pass Overlook. 

Zion National Park was amazing. The perfect quick getaway because it's accessible from Salt Lake City and you can find easy to moderate hikes; and obviously difficult ones like Angel's Landing. (My goal this year is to hike Angel's Landing.) I hiked the Overlook (by the tunnel) and The Grotto to Emerald Pools. The lower pools were closed so we had to go in and out the same way. I wanted to hike in via The Grotto to Kayenta to the Upper Pool and out by way of the lower pools but because of ice and snow the lower pool was closed. For information on the various hikes check out or Zion National Park.  

I went January 2nd and 3rd. There was quite a bit of snow but it was packed down and hikeable. I did slip coming down of the Overlook but the rest of the trails were navigable, and when I was in the warm sun I did not even need a coat; however, as I got closer to the pools the hike was inset and shaded. It did get a little chilly. 

Zion National Park
Canyon Overlook

Zion National Park
The Grotto and Kayenta Trail

Zion National Park
The Grotto and Kayenta Trail
Emerald Pools

Bryce Canyon.
We visited Bryce for a few hours on our way home from #Zion's. I had never been and was awestruck but the grandeur of it. Incredibly beautiful. It would have been perfect for snowshoeing. We stopped by various overlooks and walked around. For my purposes this year, I'm calling it a hike. Want more information on #BryceCanyon, visit or

Bryce Canyon
Inspiration Point

Bryce Canyon
Aqua Point (I think)

Bryce Canyon
Natural Bridge