Utah Road Trip

In mid August we met Aiden’s family in southern Utah to go on a road trip of some the Utah parks.

Day 1: We drove from Boulder, CO to Bryce Canyon. This was by far the longest driving day but we left early enough to make some fun stops along the way. Goblin Valley State Park is one of my favorite state parks and we decided last minute to stop there so Aiden could see the hoodoos. It is just such a unique place, I feel like the sandstone formations look like mushrooms and I love it! Next we drove through Capitol Reef National Park and stopped at the petroglyphs and some of the viewpoints. I loved just driving through the riverbed, it is so beautiful. We did not enter the other side of the park since we knew we were coming back on the way to Moab. We had an Airbnb in ____ for the night and they had some delicious fruit trees which was a great end to the day!

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Driving through western Colorado
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Goblin Valley State Park
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The hoodoos at Goblin Valley are amazing!
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More Goblin Valley Views
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Capitol Reef Overlook

Day 2:  My absolute favorite national park is by far Bryce canyon. I think it is so underrated and just amazing! We spent most of they hiking through the valley and up along the rim. We ate lunch at the lodge (not my favorite but they had a couple really delicious dishes). Late afternoon we drove to Escalante Petrified Forest State Park to meet up with Aiden’s family. There is a big reservoir that is perfect for swimming and paddle boarding. We did hike through the park and the petrified logs are super interesting and cool looking but I highly recommend doing it in the early morning. It was so so hot (a jump in the lake really helped though!). After hiking we headed to the Slot Canyon Inn which was absolutely amazing. The property is stunning and there are lots of animals. The views are so pretty! We got the best sunset views during dinner at their restaurant, North Creek Grill (the pizza was the absolute best I have had in a while). They even have petroglyphs just on their cliffs.

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Bryce Canyon National Park, headed up to Sunrise Point
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The views from Bryce Point (totally unreal)
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Our hike from Sunset Point to Sunrise Point, through the valley
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Driving to Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
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Reading by the lake at Petrified Forest State Park
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Taking a break from the heat on a petrified log
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The amazing pizza at North Creek Grill
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Plum and apricot lemonade added the incredible meal!

Day 3: We started the day with a delicious breakfast at the Inn then headed out to hike to the Lower Calf Creek Falls. I wasn’t sure what to expect but we got to the top (after a long and hot hike) and it was definitely worth it. The water is freezing but I had to go for a swim anyways! It is a 5.5 mile hike roundtrip and not that difficult as far as terrain goes, but bring lots of water since it is so hot. The next stop was driving the Burr Trail in Boulder, UT. There was almost no one there and the views were, in my opinion, just as interesting and beautiful as Capitol Reef (and way less people). We ended the day with dinner at Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm which I 10/10 recommend. There carrot puree was amazing and they had an ice cream s’more dessert that was to die for. We drove from Boulder, UT to Teasdale up over the mountains and it was like nothing I have seen before. I think that drive was my favorite part of the whole trip. It is this gorgeous hike mountain range that looks down into the dessert and cliffs of Utah. It is indescribable. We stayed the night at The Muddy Duck Bed and Breakfast which is nestled up against some cliffs and looks over the rest of the valley (so beautiful and the kindest host).

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The friendliest cat joined me at Slot Canyon Inn
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Driving Burr Trail
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S’more Sunday at Hell’s Backbone Inn & Grill
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Driving through the high mountains to Teasdale

Day 4: We drove through Capitol Reef on our way to Moab but this time we explored a little more and went on hike. We drove down the scenic drive (absolutely beautiful) and through the gorge on a dirt road. It is crazy how narrow it gets, you are basically driving in the riverbed. We hiked along the Gorge trail from there to further enjoy the views. Before heading out we stopped for pie at the Gifford House. It is strange there are some orchards and the old town nestled right in the gorge. We drove on to Moab, stopping in Green Rive to buy melons. There is a local melon stand at one of the gas stations and they have a big variety of different melons. In Moab we checked into our Airbnb (a lovely house right in town). We walked to Miguel’s Baja Grill for dinner and then browsed Back of Beyond Books (of course).

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Morning views at the Mucky Duck
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Driving to Capitol Reef
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Gorge Trail in Capitol Reef
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More Gorge Trail views

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Walking home from dinner in Moab
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Getting my book fix at Back of Beyond Books

Day 5: We grabbed some breakfast burritos from Love Muffin Cafe (which are seriously delicious, the locals burrito is my favorite) before heading to Canyonlands National Park. We spent the day exploring different areas of the Island in the Sky area of the park. There are some gorgeous overlooks and short hikes totally worth checking out. We did the Mesa Arch hike and hiked along the rim at Grand Point Overlook. My biggest recommendation for this part is to get a four wheel drive car (or rent an off road jeep) because there are a ton of amazing dirt roads to explore, with way less people on them. Next we headed to Dead Horse Point State Park. The views here are totally worth it and different from Canyonlands. You can see beautiful views of the rivers and the salt flats. For dinner we went to Zaks in Moab, they have great buffet deal with the best bear cheese soup I have ever had.

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Dead Horse Point State Park views of the river
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Salt flats views from Dead Horse Point State Park
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Canyonlands viewpoint
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Grand Point Overlook in Canyonlands National Park

Day 6: Our final full day in the parks was spent mostly at Arches National Park. We have been here before so we still only spent half day here but it is definitely a cool place to visit. This time we hiked in the Devil’s Garden area, checking out Tunnel and Pine Tree Arches. We also went to the viewpoints for Delicate Arch so Aiden’s family could see it. In general my favorite area in Arches is the Window’s Section, there is so much to see! We walked around the shops in Moab for part of the afternoon (I recommend Moab Made, everything they carry is locally made and so interesting/unique). For dinner we headed to Sunset Grill for beautiful views and delicious food. It was definitely my favorite restaurant in Moab (the French Onion Soup and Chocolate Mousse were my favorites, of the things we ordered).

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Pine Tree Arch
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Starting our hike in the Devil’s Garden area
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A mojito while watching the sun set at Sunset Grill

I can’t recommend a Utah parks trip enough. They all have such unique landscapes and rock formations. Let me know if you want any more recommendations and/or trip advice! Thanks for reading!

Happy Sunday!

Erin

A Birthday Adventure

SO last Monday was my 24th birthday. I really wanted to spend it up at Bear Lake, reading and swimming but Aiden had planned to take me to brunch and then to a bookstore (my favorite place ever!). We decided to fit it all in. The day started off great, I had to go into work for an hour but then we went to one of my favorite restaurants, Herm’s Inn at the base of Logan Canyon. We then drove down to Ogden for some book browsing at Barnes and Noble. Despite having a crazy long booklist I still managed to choose too many! I always wish that I had one extra day to every normal day just for reading.

We drove back to Logan and started up the canyon to Bear Lake. Aside from some construction things were going fairly smoothly until we started the last ascent up Bear Mountain. I was driving and the car just would not accelerate. It was really freaky and we pulled over several times trying to figure out what the problem was. Things would go back to normal and then maybe thirty seconds later we would start to decelerate again. Eventually the car just would not go at all so we pulled over and managed to get to a parking lot off the side of the road.

The biggest problem was the we had no reception at all so there was no way to get ahold of aaa or anyone else. A very nice man stopped to help us and ended up driving us to Garden City (on the other side of the mountain) where we were able to call aaa and then our friends. Our friends met us at Zipz for dinner (an delicious raspberry milkshakes) and we all went for drinks at the country club while we waited for the tow truck.

It was quite the adventure and we did not get home until past midnight (the tow truck took forever and ended up being very expensive). The reason I wanted to share this story is that it taught me a very valuable lesson. I had an expectation for how the day was going to go and I know things go wrong all the time but I really did not expect this. It could have been really sucky but the whole day actually ended up being really fun! The car having issues and the expenses are definitely a bummer but having Aiden there really helped me feel better and I actually had a great time with my friends while we were waiting.

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I am so so appreciative of all the nice people out there willing to go out of there way to help stranger. I also can’t thank Aiden and my friends enough for helping out and for making a bummer of a situation tons better!

Erin

Favorite Closet Additions of 2018

I am trying to spend money as little as possible right now because I am in graduate school and on a very tight budget, however I have made a few purchases this year that I am very excited about and have been wearing on repeat. Here are my favorite items of clothing that I purchased in 2018. I am not including any accessories but am including one pair of shoes that I absolutely love.

Patagonia hoodie: This is hands down my favorite item from 2018. I wear it everywhere! It is so comfortable and the quality is amazing. I also love supporting Patagonia because they have an amazing mission and story!

Leather hooded jacket: This is probably my second favorite purchase from the whole year. It is so comfortable and easy to pair with just about anything (I wore it in my Living in Utah post for an outfit idea). I have never owned a leather jacket and was not sure how I felt about them but this one is absolutely perfect. The gold hardware and hood really drew me in!

Houndstooth skirt: This has been a very popular item with a lot of bloggers and I could not resist those perfect fall colors. I love how people had been styling it and was so pleasantly surprised by how comfortable and flattering it is!

Leopard booties: This were more of a fall thing since it is pretty snowy in Utah right not so I have been sticking to snow boots. But these from Sezane were they perfect way to bring that leopard trend to a classic I wear all the time (heeled booties).

Wunder leggings: I actually ended up getting two pairs one black and one grey and they are so amazing for everyday wear. My black ones are also great for yoga and lighter work outs.

Zella joggers: I got some grey Zella joggers at the Nordstrom sale this year and they have become my go to for loungewear/sweatpants. I will also go ahead and give a shout out to Zella leggings because they are just as good as some Lululemon pairs and way cheaper.

Cashmere white pearl sweater: White sweaters are great because they can be worn pretty much year round. This one is so soft and was definitely a splurge but worth it. I am also a big fan of this Free People sweater, I wore it basically all August and September!

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Erin

Living in Utah

The past four months have been an intense introduction to graduate school, not to mention the fact that I moved to an entirely new state. I chose my graduate program for my lab/advisor (I might talk about this more in a later post) however the location is definitely a bonus! I am a mountain girl through and through and am thrilled to be back in the rockies. Talk about 360 mountain views!

Here are my five favorite things about living in Utah:

Mountains galore. I can’t even explain how beautiful it is! The valley I live in is surrounded my mountains and I love it. There are such amazing hiking trails and plenty of rock climbing.

Salt Lake City. I don’t actually live in Salt Lake but I have gone a couple times and I really like it. There is so much good music, food and drink! I am actually going down there tomorrow with some friends to go to the German Christmas Market.

The location. This sounds kind of strange but I really love being back in the west. I was born and raised in Colorado and I am so psyched to be back in the area. It is way closer to family which is nice as well. There are also so many great national parks and ski areas!

Skiing. Speaking of ski areas! I haven’t skied yet but I have heard great things about the skiing here and am beyond excited.

The people. Everyone has been so nice and I am loving all the outdoor vibes. Moving is so tough especially when you don’t really know anyone so having good people around has been so helpful.

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I also quick wanted to mention that Utah is incredible and so is graduate school but it has been so busy so I am hoping to get on a more regular posting schedule soon!

Erin

 

 

 

3 Beautiful U.S. Backpacking Locations

Happy Friday! This is definitely one of those weeks in which the weekend couldn’t come fast enough. I really need to get some more sleep this weekend and do some organizational things to get me ready for the next month of craziness.

I really wanted to continue adding a couple more posts on backpacking so I decided to write this one on some of my absolute favorite locations around the US. I am going to list three states however in my descriptions I actually explain exactly where within the state I recommend doing some backpacking (or at least hiking).

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Colorado: I am very biased since I am from Colorado but I absolutely love it. There are so many beautiful places to hike that this was by far the hardest to choose one backpacking location. Maroon Bells is a beautiful area and many people recommend a trip there, however I am going to talk about the Steamboat area (Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area) since I have personally had the most experience here. It is a very beautiful area and the perfect place to go to get away from the crowds. I have usually gone in August and rarely see other people/groups on the trails. The views are truly breathtaking and the lakes are freezing but clear and beautiful. I recommend getting on the continental divide and taking a route either north or south. This allows you to stay high and enjoy those views. The downside to this area is that it is very high in elevation and you have to gain a lot of elevation in the first couple days in order to get onto that trail (be cautious if you are from out of state or are not experience.

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Virginia: Western Virginia was the first place I ever backpacked. The Appalachian mountains are absolutely beautiful, so basically the entire tri-state area (North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee). I include this location because the fall foliage is definitely a highlight of any place I have ever been. Mid to late October is the ideal time to enjoy the prettiest trees in the US. I just picture walking up a mountain covered in reds, oranges and yellows and it makes me so happy! The mountainous landscape combined with the perfect colors makes for an amazing experience. This is definitely the most accessible location. There are trails everyone can do and you can go for however long you want. Just doing a day on the Appalachian Trail is very worth it!

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Utah: Although I am from Colorado and hold it very dear to my heart, Utah is my favorite place to hike. There are so many incredible national parks and landscapes and features I couldn’t have ever imagined. As far as backpacking goes, I have done several longer trips in the Uinta wilderness, which is a east/west mountain range. It is very beautiful but can be quite a challenge as there are many passes and peaks that you must climb in order to reach some of the pristine lakes and trails. There are some more populated areas with great fishing, shorter trails and interesting rock features (eg. Red Castle lake). I highly recommend this area! For a shorter trip (but pretty challenging) climb Kings Peak, the highest mountain in Utah. The last mile to the summit requires you to boulder the entire way, so allow for extra time!

Thanks for reading!

Erin