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Friday, November 9, 2018

Stowe Pinnacle Hike, Vermont

I love fall and damn do I love Vermont.    So yes, you guessed it, I really really love fall in Vermont.  

There is something about the colors here, the sweeping panoramic views, the green mountains marking the horizon, and of course, the terrific outdoorsy people.  There is so much charm and color wrapped into one beautiful state that it is simply impossible to visit Vermont and not fall in love, especially between the months of September and October.  Its one of those towns you visit and you say "yep, I could live here" and then you spend the next five years looking at real estate listings for properties you can't afford. Guilty as charged. 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

A Guide to Castle Country

So you want to explore Castle Country, that area between Salt Lake and Moab that is a hidden gem.  An area where you can hike, bike, climb, ride ATVs, watch stock car races, walk through quaint a Main Street, buy art, shop, and dine.  All very dog friendly, affordable area and all without the crowds.  If this sounds like your kind of weekend, then Castle Country is perfect for you.   An area that was dubbed a layover between the city and Moab's red rock is so much more than a pitstop.  It's a fantastic place to spend the weekend exploring historic towns with so many recreation opportunities.  So to all my Salt Lake City friends, who want to explore a new part of Utah just two hours south of the city, this post is for you. 

Friday, November 2, 2018

Visiting Historic Helper, Carbon County Utah

When you walk down the main drag of an old western town, you can't help but feel like you've been transported back in time.  The little "city" of Helper, next door to Price where I had been playing and staying for this trip, was just that type of town.   Walking down this quiet Main Street on a Monday afternoon, I had my eyes peeled for a tumbleweed or two blowing across the road to really set the scene.  You take in the quiet, you relax a little, time sloooooows down.  

Maybe you came for the history, or perhaps you came for the art.  Maybe you are one of those Moab Layover types who "always wondered what was in Helper".  This city once known for its railroad and mining industry, has created its own unique and updated identity.  To me, Helper, Utah is a mix of Banff's iconic Main Street mountain view (desert edition) mixed with some Park City sidewalk style, a blend of old mining and railroad history, and then throw in a whole lot of Route 66 style.  Read on to see exactly what I am talking about. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

Wood Hill Trail System - Price, Utah

When the local bike shop owner asks you if you want to ride some more technical trails, and you haven't sat on your mountain bike in a long time until this trip, you should probably say no.  You should probably stick to the flowy easy type of trails you were riding the day before to keep your ego (and the bike) intact.  But instead, without hesitation, you nod your head with an enthusiastic SURE as your inner Katie is suggesting NOPE.  

You will probably notice the lack of photos in this post and the reason is pure and simple - I had a sure grip on my handlebars as we twisted and turned through tight trails, steep little pitches, gravel washes, navigated through overgrown desert brush.  My feet were snapped into my pedals making last minute decisions to stop nearly impossible as I navigated boulders and washes along technical portions of the trail, terrain that was not forgiving.   This was not the pedal and selfie sort of trail.  

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Riding the Good Water Rim Trail - Wedge Overlook & Little Grand Canyon of San Rafael, Utah

It's hard to describe the soothing sound of the gravel and sand crunching under your tires as you twist and turn through flowy remote singletrack.  It's a sound any mountain biker knows and loves (and craves), the quiet of the mountains in stark contrast with the sounds of the trail.  And then there is the insane view ahead of you as you are doing something you love - it creates that sort of mood that makes you stop and ask yourself "Is this really my life?".  Pedaling away and paying close attention to the trail as it rides the rim and snakes along the canyon wall.  These canyon walls drop over a thousand feet into the San Rafael river below just a yard or two to your right.  To your left, you have an endless expanse of small cacti and desert brush sprawling back towards the gravel roads.  You are also virtually alone since the trail is not a popular one which reminds you that you have just found a hidden gem.  It is a perfect fall day on my bike and I am reminded that life is well in the San Rafael Swell.  

I spent this Sunday following local bike shop owner Mark Jespersen on the trails, trying to copy his stamina and style as we rode along on our mountain bikes.  I am on a beautifully built (and borrowed) Specialized Enduro and it is shifting like butter unlike my cranky mountain bike back at home.  This full suspension Specialized is making me never want to ride my hard tail again.  We are biking along an area called "The Little Grand Canyon" and "The Wedge" and I am left a little speechless as I take in the wide open space out in what feels like the middle of nowhere.  Its that "so small" sort of feeling that is so easy to find in the desert.