Tuesday, May 29, 2012

walkin in a winter wonderland .....

life gets busy. 
we are swimming in end of school madness. 
a graduation is quickly coming up (hooooooray!!!)
a little girl turned five. 
house work.
yard work.
garden work (why! weeds! why!)
family visiting.
wisdom teeth coming out soon (ok so I'm totally dragging my feet making the appointment.......not really looking forward to that moment in my life)

my brain gets crowded.
jumbled and unorganized.
and loud.

so we head for the hills,
 where it's clean, calm, and quiet.
(mostly quiet, except the occasional (or constant) hoot and holler of excitement)

we love love loved this little hike.
so fun to be playing around in winter, knowing summer was waiting for us below.
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Silver Lake, Utah
Trailhead: Make your way into American Fork Canyon (exit 284 off I-15)
After about 5 miles, turn left onto N American Fork Canyon Rd towards Tibble Fork Reservoir.
Drive through the parking lot, and then take the sharp left turn. Just before Granite Flat Campground, take a right onto Silver Lake Road (super crazy bumpy road.....make sure your car sits up high)
Follow this road to the Silver Lake Flat parking lot, where you'll find the trailhead.
Distance: 4.5 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 1686ft. We hiked up to 9014ft!
Trail: mostly smooth single track. not too steep. we had quite a bit of slush towards the top but there was a big storm just two days before our hike. The next few weeks into summer I'm sure the trail will be dry.
Destination: Silver Lake. pretty pretty pretty.
Worth mentioning: You cross over a smaller creek (there are some logs to use if you really don't want to get wet). There's also a larger creek crossing that you most likely are going to get wet, so wear shoes that will accommodate that.
Dogs are allowed and will LOVE the icy cold lake.
We ate: peanut butter, honey, and chia seed tortillas
trail mix
dried fruit
beef jerky
snow, because, why not.

so if I'm a little absent over the next few weeks......I'm either ear deep in life (and wisdom teeth), or I ran away to the mountains again......
yes, let's hope for that one.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

friday senses

first pick
Harvesting: arugula. herbs. baby radishes to make room for the big guys.
 Running: I recently headed into a new web of trails. twisty turny, roller coaster-y, tree covered fun. 
Yoga-ing: lately I am really loving half moon.
Anticipating: a long weekend. grilling. hiking. mountains. yay.
Seeing: thunderstorms in the forecast. I love a good thunderstorm.....
Crying Over: My baby finished preschool this week......why do they just keep growing?
Hearing: crickets. windows open all night. love it.
Craving: summer tomatoes. with mozzarella. and basil. There are at least 10 green tomatoes on the vine and they cannot possibly ripen fast enough.
Wanting to Make: my own mozzarella. have you done this? I hear it's not too hard....
Grilling: Everything. We recently made a new favorite.....grilled broccoli. Drizzle a few (large) pieces with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill, turning once sides start to blacken.
Learning About: chia seeds. such powerful little guys......adding them to lots lately.
Missing: Zion. Needing to get back there. Soon.
Eating: Grilled Beets. Goat Cheese. Cilantro Lime Quinoa. 
Golden beets taste just like their purply red cousins, but if you stay away from beets for the mess, try these--prep and cleanup is much easier. 
Grilled Beets with Goat Cheese and Cilantro Quinoa
I love quinoa because you can really mix it with anything and it's tasty, easy, and filling. It can be worked into a main dish, or a nice little side like this one here. I will do a full quinoa post soon, but for some more ideas and cooking tips try here.

you'll need:
-3-4 beets, sliced and grilled. 
to grill, toss in olive oil and place on heated grill. grill (medium low heat) 8-10 minutes on each side, or until fork tender. 
-goat cheese (put a bit of cheese on beet slice the last few minutes of grilling)
-cooked quinoa (I used about two cups)
toss with quinoa:
-large handful of chopped cilantro
-small handful of chopped chives
-juice of one lime
-salt and pepper
top with grilled beets 

feel free to play along with the senses in the comments or on your own blog. 

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

the first of summer

summer treat
I remember the house I grew up in. A patio out back with a brown picnic table and orange and pink poppies overflowing the flowerbed. Summers spent with stacks of pb&j, running through the sprinkler, and always plenty of popsicles. They ranged from cream-sicles to push-pops to twin-pops, and as long as they were cold, we were happy.

Last summer we made our fair share of fresh fruit popsicles and chocolate dipped bananas, and this afternoon I dumped a few simple ingredients into the blender for fudgesicles. 
Just add a beach towel and a healthy dose of freckles, and it's a perfect summer day.

what you'll need: any kind of popsicle sticks and molds/coconut milk/cocoa powder/banana/vanilla almond milk
Coconut Almond Fudgesicles
(dairy free)
The best thing about this "recipe" is that you can really add whatever you like. 
another banana, more coconut milk, more cocoa, swap out the coconut milk for more almond milk and add some peanut butter.....you get the idea. easy easy.

add to the blender:
1 banana
2 cups vanilla almond milk
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

blend. pour into popsicle molds. freeze. run through sprinkler. eat. repeat. ,

What's your favorite frozen treat?

Monday, May 21, 2012

the girls take zion

Girls trip. 
What do you think of?
the spa.
a massage (or two)
a soak in a mineral bath.
fine chocolates.
cute shoes. 


How about:
100s of feet of rope. 
helmet hair.
camping with 10,000 moths.
dangling off a cliff.
the biggest bestest most fantastic burger you've ever eaten in your life.
wading through a waste deep stagnant pool.
a 12 mile run through the high desert. 

that's how WE did it. 
we crammed as much adventure into two quick days as we could, and we had the time of our lives.

How to Play in Zion with the Girls
just do it.
this was a very spur of the moment trip. it was all planned out in just a few days. all four of us had stuff to do and busy busy schedules, but we decided to stop talking about and just make it happen.
sometimes you just have to jump.
pick a spot
If you really want a great girls adventure, I reccomend any national park. There are lots of different activities to do (all well mapped) and always small towns near by with places to stay (either hotels or campsites) and good food to eat. We chose Zion National Park--it was in the middle(ish) from where we all were coming, and the scenery is hard to beat.
mix it up
we could have spent our days hiking around the park, and had an amazing time.....but we wanted a little more.....something we'd never done before. We decided we wanted to go Canyoneering- the park is known for it's slot canyons, and we wanted to explore them the best we could. 
find a guide
We knew we would have the best experience with a guide. 
We booked a day with Zion Mountain School, and I cannot recommend them enough. We were lucky enough to go out with the owner, Caleb, and we had an awesome experience. 
The school provides ALL of the gear--everything you'll need for the day (except food and water) and they even take you to the location. We hiked in--up up up the mountain through canyons, over boulders, under fallen trees, and then made our way dooooowwwwn by rappelling. 
We traveled through slot canyons (some with water) and went down the cliffs over and over again.
It is a feeling that compares to no other as you walk your way down the edge of a massive rock wall.
Screams and giggles were not uncommon as our day went on.
for our day we packed a variety of trail mix, jerky, granola bars and dried fruit. All high energy snacks that were easy to pack and kept us going.
After our full day of canyoneering, we were ravenous. If you are anywhere near Zion, eat at Oscars
We did
I love a good burger after a long day out, and I'm pretty sure this was the best burger I'd ever had.
Fresh ingredients, lots of options (I had grilled pineapple on my burger!), and a great surprise when alot of tourist towns can get away with serving up dull food.
The second day of our trip we wanted to explore the park and we decided the best way to do it would be by running it. We could cover more miles that way, and really, running through mountains  and cliffs and forests and slot canyons and red rock just had to be done. 
We mapped out our trail and headed out. We carried lots of water, a few gels, and our map, and we were good to go for a few hours. We started our day early so we could beat most of the desert heat.
Since it was a trail I'd never been on, I also packed a few band-aids, and some iodine tablets for water purification. We had more than enough water, but when I'm heading out into the unknown I like to be extra prepared, just in case.

some phone shots
(I am constantly asked how to follow me on instagram....sorry, I'm private. boring, I know)
After much debate, I DID take my big camera along for our canyoneering adventure. I am so happy I did. While it did spent a lot of time being heavy in  my pack, I was able to get a few shots of the day. I was so happy to spend the time with these awesome, strong, funny and inspiring ladies. A good way to really get to know eachother is to spend a night giggling in a tent, and then hanging off the side of a mountain together.

left to right:
tanae, me, kelly, leilani.
amazing girls those three.
zion girls
zion girlszion girlszion girlszion girlszion girlszion girlszion girlszion girlszion girlszion girlszion girlszion girlszion girlszion girlszion girls
the end.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

hiking with little legs

A few months back I promised you to teach you.
to play.

Every time I post about hiking I get so many questions, so I will try my best to answer them.
 Let me know what else you would like me to cover--feel free to leave a question in the comments-I will see if I can cover it in a future post.

Today we're going to talk about hiking (short distances) with kids.
Short=you're out for a few hours. This might mean a half a mile, for us it was five.

Start sllllooooow.
We hiked all last summer and through the winter, so my kids' little legs took them 5 miles with no problems at all.
But if your kids are newer to hiking, especially if they are little, pick a scenic destination that can be reached at a shorter distance.

How do you find a trail? Google. It's so easy to find trail maps online. A lot of them will tell you how to get there, what you'll see, how far you'll go, and how hard it will be. I will always post trail information here in case you are local.

How to Play Outside: Hiking with Kids

Trail Stats:
 Bell Canyon Falls
trailhead: Sandy, Ut around 10245 South on Wasatch Blvd.
Distance: this was our first time on this trail and we logged 5 miles......but we overshot the falls a bit and headed up too high. The real hike is more around 4.5 miles round trip.
Elevation gain: we gained 1900 ft (including our extra 1/4 mile up)
Trail: Over half the trail was really (really!) rocky (see 4th photo from the bottom). Going up wasn't a problem at all--my kids love to climb. The going down part was a bit more slow, the trail was steep, slick, AND rocky, which lead to some interesting falls for little legs. Earlier on (right past Bell Canyon Reservoir) the trail was nice smooth single track. Perfect for little legs to run.
Destination: Bell Canyon Falls was BEAUTIFUL! We stopped at the falls, and sunned ourselves on the giant boulders near the water. It was the perfect place to rest and have a snack--the falls to our right, the valley to our left, and paragliders coming off the mountain above.
Worth mentioning: No dogs allowed on this trail. Sorry, Charly.
-It's a pretty popular hike--I think because the trailhead is right in town, and it's a fairly short hike with some awesome views. The trailhead parking lot fills up quickly.
-A lot of families with younger kids stop at the reservoir which is about a half mile from the trailhead--this is a great starter hike. (no swimming in the water, and catch and release fishing only)

You don't need much if you're only going to be out for a few hours. We checked the weather and there wasn't a cloud in sight so this time we didn't even bring along a jacket (if we are going to be out more than a few hours I ALWAYS carry jackets for all of us--even if the weather is nice)
We had a big lunch before we left, and we always pack lots of high calorie snacks, like granola bars, dried fruit, and trail mix.
Water water water. You can never have enough, even on a spring afternoon.
I have raved before about my kids Camelbaks--we love them. When they carry their own water it's a guarantee that they are drinking enough because they can drink whenever they want. The packs have a few small pockets so they can carry their own snacks (and garbage), and it's also getting them used to hiking with a pack so they can be ready for longer adventures.
I always bring a few bandaids, sunscreen, and chapstick--even for short hikes.
(I will post about gear for longer hikes on another post)
If you're headed out in summer months, always bring bug spray. You never know what you'll run in to. It was still very springy where we were hiking and there weren't any bugs out yet.

Wear what you like for yourself, but for my kids my all time favorite shoes are Keens.
They are comfortable, they protect their toes, let their feet breathe, and they are so durable. My kids wore them ALL spring/summer/fall last year and they are still in great shape.....if only their feet would stop growing! And believe me, we put these shoes to work! I cannot recommend them enough.
Please don't be the parents on the trail who have their kids in flip flops or any kind of cute or stylish shoe. Your kids will be MISERABLE. If their feet aren't comfortable, they won't be comfortable, and they aren't going to enjoy the hike (and neither will you).
Take care of their feet!

-find "joy in the journey". Don't just trudge along until you reach your destination.....enjoy your trip. identify bugs, birds, and plants. Explore rocks, streams, and trees.
-bring binoculars
-take lots of breaks. kids sometimes just need a few minutes to recharge......let them.
-let them help. have a trail map? let them carry it. show them your progress as they move along. kids LOVE to carry their own stuff--let them wear their own pack.

and as always.....take lots of photos...
Sign of an awesome afternoon......grubby little faces. The dirtier the better!
more helpful tips on hiking with kids here from REI

And if you leave this hike famished and are in the mood for good food, stop by Lone Star Taqueria (the fish tacos are my favorite!) They have outdoor seating and it's always packed with hikers and bikers, so no one will mind how filthy your feet are.

Enjoy your weekend--hopefully you can get outside to a trail.  I'll be catching up on some much needed girl time and a little R&R.....you know, running and rapelling.

Happy Weekend!

I'd love to hear any other questions you have about playing outside. And I'd love to get YOUR tips on hiking with little ones!