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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Jordanelle Reservoir / State Park - Utah

Summer is hard away from home.  Trips to the beach, scuba diving, horse shows, family picnics... the list goes on.  While Utah is gorgeous in its own right, some of these things are just simply irreplaceable outside of New England.  

After I spend a good amount of time whining (wah wah give me oceans) I start researching the following topics: 
 "WATER IN UTAH"  "WHERE TO SWIM IN UTAH"  "BEST UTAH BEACHES" etc etc.  Summer is hot, and the shore is far, so finding some of Utah's swimming holes and reservoirs is key.   

Today, I am sharing some details about Jordanelle Reservoir. 
(p.s.- That's Deer Valley in the background there!)

Jordanelle Reservoir, Utah 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Snacks for a girl on the go

Happy Monday !

I hope everyone had a great weekend, and an great Monday to ease back into the work or school grind.  My Monday's are always a little crazy as I catch up with work and head off to campus for class.  

Whether I am spending a day on campus for class, on a cross country road trip, or out for a hike, I always (really, always) bring snacks with me.  So today I am sharing some of my favorite healthy snacks for a girl on the go. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hike to Blood Lake and Lackawaxen Lake - Guardsman Pass, Utah

Post Update 9/14/2015   *  This trail is now closed. 

"Bloods Lake Trail is located on private property in Wasatch County, near Park City, UT. Any entry onto or use of the property without prior written consent of the Owner constitutes trespass and the Owner may pursue all available legal remedies to enforce it".

Today we are talking about Lake Lackasomething Lackawaxen Lake.  Its a peculiar name in a gorgeous area.   According to Road Trip Ryan  "Lackawaxen Lake is the pretty lake, with an odd name. It, presumably, is named after the Lackawaxen River (or Township) in Pennsylvania". 
How that correlates to Utah?  No clue. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Donut Falls Hike, Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah

Donut Falls

Trail head:  Mill D up Big Cottonwood Canyon.
Bathroom at the trail head. 

Details:  3 miles round trip 

Dogs:  No dogs-  Cottonwood Canyons are protected watershed

Skill Level: Easy to moderate-  short but some rock scrambling at end. 

Parking:  There are two lots.  Upper and Lower lot.  If you cannot find parking in the upper lot (right by the trail head) you have to park in the lower lot and do some extra walking.  I have seen a lot of people get tickets parking in the no parking areas by upper lot- don't be one of them!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Adams Canyon Trail Waterfall Hike - Dog Friendly Hike in Layton, Utah

Adams Canyon Trail

Hike to Adam's Waterfall 
Dog Friendly Hike
Layton, Utah

The Facts:
Distance:  4 miles round trip
Dogs?:  Yes, Dog Friendly 
Elevation:  1,500' 
Level:  Intermediate to hard, a lot of rock scrambling 
Trail type:  Starts off with sandy switchbacks, 
and about .8 miles in follows the stream in a shaded area.  
Caution:  The sand can be really hot for the first part so be careful with your dogs paws.  Also, the trail gets a little rocky and steep in parts. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Road Trip Essentials

I am starting to feel like the Queen of Road Trips.  

So far in the past 9 months:
I drove across the country from Connecticut to Utah, 
Utah to Jackson Hole Wyoming
Utah to Colorado 
and Utah down to Zion and then Las Vegas

Then there were smaller road trips to Moab (4 hours), Salt Flats Utah and Wendover, Nevada ( 2 hours), and trips in between.   And I have a few more in the works- Biggies 
hint hint:  California and Oregon Coast 
A girl needs her water fix....

In honor of Summer-aka Road Trip Season, and all my upcoming travels, I put together Kw's 6 Road Trip Essentials. And some tips and tricks to preparing for the best road trip- Eva. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Red Butte Garden - Salt Lake City, Utah

  I hope you are all having a fantastic week.  It is quite warm here, 90s all week getting a little hotter each day until we reach 100 on Sunday.  Hot, 0% chance of rain....Perfect beach days, well you see, without the beach.  Well, there is no beach so lets talk about a garden.

A few weekends ago I went back to visit the gorgeous Red Butte Gardens.  Being a U of U student, I get free entry into the garden, so I love to stroll through the garden during the different seasons and enjoy the flowers.  

You can read and see the pictures from my September 2014 visit.  

Red Butte Garden
300 Wakara Way
Salt Lake City, UT 84108
May 1-Aug 31: 9 am-9 pm*

Entrance Fee: 
Members: Free
Adults (ages 18-64): $10
Seniors (ages 65+): $8
Military w/ID: $8
Children (ages 3-17): $6
Children (under 3): Free
U of U Faculty/Staff: $8

U of U Students: Free with valid ID

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ham, Kale, Mushroom Frittata

Today I am sharing a recipe for a Ham, Kale, Mushroom frittata.  This is a great dish when you have a larger group of people (this fed four with leftovers) and when you have someone gluten free.  Normally, I would just put together a quiche (in a pie shell), but I didn't have one and we had a gluten free breakfaster.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Brighton Hikes - Silver and Twin Lakes, Utah

Silver Lake, Twin Lakes, Lake Solitude.

I have been living in Salt Lake City for about 10 months (wowza) and I have not done any hikes in Big Cottonwood Canyon.  Big Cottonwood Canyon is one of the protected watersheds, meaning no pups allowed.  

Monday, June 15, 2015

Utah Valley Marathon, June 2015

Saturday, I ran my second full marathon, the Utah Valley Marathon.  Pain you enjoy they say..... I picked this race for a few reasons.  Some friends were training for it, and it was highly rated online, and even in Runners World.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Sao Miguel Overview - Churches, Landscapes, Food and Culture

So you want to visit the Azores?

You are probably wondering why I even know about these islands. Let's state from the beginning.

The Azores are an autonomous region of Portugal (designated in 1976). The island of Madeira is also an autonomous region of Portugal. The Azores were settled by immigrants of mainland Portugal but were also populated by the Flemish, French, Spaniards, Moorish prisoners and African slaves. Between 1921 and 1977, 250,000 Azoreans immigrated to the US cities in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts. My parents were two families who did just that. I'm first-generation Portuguese and had the chance to visit back in 2015, seeing where my parents lived and the culture surrounding my family. 

Today is kind of a mash-up of some of the beautiful churches, the landscape, and the food. It's a general overview of culture, information on the island, and not much is needed in the way of words - these pictures are beautiful and I feel they speak for themselves. When I think back of the geography of the island, I think of the most beautiful rollings hills dotted with cattle and hydrangea, set along the cliffy oceanside. I picture beautiful churches, sandy beaches, winding roads, craters, and mountains. It's insanely unique and at times feels so untouched by the masses that tourism brings. It's not a popular destination in the U.S. but when I tell the tales of these islands or show a few photos, everyone is mesmerized. See for yourself in this post today. 

For specifics, you can read about Ilheu Vila Franco Campo, craters, Scuba Diving, Swimming with wild dolphins) - swimming with wild dolphins may still be one of the coolest things I've done abroad. This post is a general overview, an introduction to the culture of the island if you will.

Sao Miguel is the largest island that makes up the archipelago of volcanic islands (9 total spread out over 370 miles). Sao Miguel is the largest - the island is 62.1 km by 15.8 km at its widest point. The islands are 1500 km west of Lisbon (Lisbon is 7,280 km east of the United States). It is known as "The Green Island" and is the most populated island. Expect to see lakes, sandy beaches, rolling hills, high mountains, fields, and blue oceans. The other islands are Faial, Flores, Graciosa, Pico, Sao Jorge, Santa Maria and Terceira. 

There is a lot of beautiful street art on the island - mosaic tiles and signs of tile are also a part of the culture and the landscape. Road signs are far more beautiful in Portugal, that's a fact. 

You will find a lot of churches and cathedrals on the island. While not religious, I appreciate the beauty and the architecture behind these places of worship. They are sometimes delicate, built on hillsides and beaches. They are often massive, large detailed structures that offer peace to many.  


The islands are a celebration of color, from painted trim to stunning bright doors. You will also find a lot of the pretty "Bahamas Pink". 

My father standing where his childhood house once was 

Military folk tend to know of the Azores as the United States maintained a NATO airbase on the island of Terceira (one of the Azorean islands).

There are points of the island that feel so untouched by modern life. Horses and buggy share the roads with cars. A few horses contained by a pallet fence behind a restaurant -  the story was that a gentleman had a long tab billed over time and decided to pay his bill with these two horses.

Webcams dotted around the island to check the weather "Spot Azores" app -as many say, you can experience several seasons in a day. The island is heavily influenced by ocean currents and winds which moderate the island temperature between 14C and 26C (57F in January and 79F in August) throughout the year (rainfall throughout the year but is more abundant in the cool season (1" in July to nearly 5" in November). The best times to visit (temperature-wise) are June to October.

A November 2020 article by Almeida et al states that the Azores archipelago is the most suitable region for dairy production in Portugal and these islands produce 30% of the Portuguese dairy. The Azores have a cattle inventory of 125,000 adult cows (73% are dairy cows) 

Seafood is a staple on every menu. Yellowfin tuna is featured above. Do note, the culture cooks everything well, well well well done. They don't really understand rare, so expect everything to come WELL done.

Like typical European cultures, coffee comes in the form of espresso or small coffee. Azorean cuisine is different than mainland cuisine and has been described as "rich heart peasant-based styles". Popular dishes include stewed octopus, pineapples grown n the island, "cozido das furnas" (one-pot stews cooked underground), and a lot of various seafood. Azorean wine is grown from grapes contained in pens of volcanic rock which helps to protect the grapes. The bread and cheeses are amazing.  Do not leave without bread, cheese and pastries. 

Ordering alcohol on the island is a little odd. A martini is not what you think it is.  Azorean wine wasn't my favorite.  But you could never go wrong with a beer, or cerveja. 

This wraps up all of my Azores posts.  This island was such a unique and amazing spot. Sustainable tourism and everything was insanely (really, insanely) cheap.  From meals to houses, this is an amazing unique getaway even for the tightest of budgets.  You can get a direct flight from Boston, out of SATA airlines.  Check out the "List of Azores activities" and I promise there is something for everyone on the list. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Furnas Valley - Vila de Furnas and Terra Nostra Park - Sao Miguel, Azores

Some of the most iconic things to do on the island are located in an unexpected place. This is the hot spot on the island (literally) and it's a little town in a crater about 30 miles (50 km) outside of Ponta Delgada.

When in the Azores, you need to head to the Calderas for a slow-cooked meal, walk around the town, and then head to the garden and relax in the warm springs. Where can you do all of this and in one day? In the volcanic region of Furnas.

The Valley of Furnas is a volcanic crater that has been dormant since 1630. Since then, it has sheltered the Vila de Furnas and Terra Nostra Park. This area is known as Lagoa das Furnas and here, you have the opportunity to enjoy authentic Azorean food cooked in the "furnas" or volcanic holes with boiling mud and steam. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Lagoa das Sete Cidades - Sao Miguel, Azores

Lagoas das Sete Cidades

Heading to the western part of the Azores, you will come across Sete Cidades, or "Crater Town" as we liked to call it. We headed west to visit family and see the famous sites of the western part of the island. This area holds the largest freshwater lake on the island. This vantage point is known as "belvedere of Vista do Rei" where you can see the gorgeous view of this unique lake. You can also receive a history lesson from your father while enjoying the scenery

Friday, June 5, 2015

Scuba Diving Sao Miguel and Snorkeling with Wild Dolphins - Sao Miguel, Azores

If you are planning a trip to the Azores, you are probably what I call an "adventure traveler". You probably like to go somewhere to experience the cousin and the culture but to also be active and see the sights in a different way. The village of Franca do Campo is a launch-off point for a bunch of fun stuff, the ferry to the island, scuba diving, and swimming with wild dolphins. 

Franco do Campo Marina

If you are a diver heading to a country with a coastline, you are probably looking up dive shops, reading reviews, and planning a dive. I did all of this and landed on the Azores Sub Dive Center, a PADI dive shop. I did some research and found that this spot was highly recommended. I also discovered that the Azores was home to some fantastic diving. 

What is so special, is that every island has its own "flavor" of diving if you will.  While you aren't going to see bright tropical fish (we are still in the Atlantic folks..), you are going to see some amazing fish, eels, octopus and if you are lucky, rays, dolphins and whales.  Because of the location of these islands out in the middle(ish) of the Atlantic, a lot of whales and dolphins pass through the islands on their migration routes. 

Franco do Campo Marina  

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Ilheu Vila Franco Campo - Sao Miguel, Azores

The Azores is slowly coming into radar of Wanderlusters and Travelers near and far. It has been the best kept secret of European summer vacationers.  Today's Azores feature is a beautiful nature reserve/island-- Ilheu Vila Franco Campo. 

So imagine swimming on the crater of a volcano in the middle of the ocean. This island is a natural reserve and you can take a ferry over from Vila Franco do Campo. The island is opposite the town, about 1 km from the coast.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Girls On The Run- Wrap up and 5k

I know my topics are a little all over the place.  It is going to be loaded with wonderful trips and travel guides, snap shots and scenery, but I also don't want to neglect the little things in life that just make life well... better.   

I have always come off as a confident person who knew what she wanted in life and wasn't afraid to go out and get it.  Maybe that is something all of us girls who want to see the world have in common.  I wanted to take this skill, gift, call it what you like, and share it with others.  I am always volunteering my time to some organization or another, and I am so excited to talk about Girls On The Run.  

It has been about 3.5 months since my post on what is Girls On The Run.  I talked about the amazing organization, and accepting a volunteer position to coach. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Bike Prom - Salt Lake City

I need to tell you all about the best idea ever. 

 Two words: Bike Prom
 For $20, you buy a ticket and join a lot of people and their bikes wearing the best (or worst) prom dress or dress up attire you can find.  You can on an epic (and slow) bike ride around the city parade style, stopping at the Library and Pioneer Park for drinks and a dance party. Then, you all ride to the prom destination for drinks, dancing, and appetizers until midnight. 
It is fantastic.

Tickets:  20$ each (goes to support the Bicycle Collective)
Includes appetizers at "prom".
There is a cash bar for cocktails and beer, as well as food trucks for additional food. 
6:00pm-8:00pm - Slow Pre-Prom Bike Ride
8:00pm-Midnight - Dance

The Bicycle Collective is the great organization that hosted Bike Prom. "The mission of the Bicycle Collective is to promote cycling as an effective and sustainable form of transportation and as a cornerstone of a cleaner, healthier, and safer society. The Collective provides refurbished bicycles and educational programs to the community, focusing on children and lower income households." 

What an amazing organization with a great mission.  

Before you can go to bike prom you have to head to Goodwill and find an amazing prom dress.  Well, here in Salt Lake City, we like to make our own church version of organizations, so we have Deseret Industries, a bigger more amazing Goodwill.  I went to Deseret Industries (DI to the locals) and had a blast in the dress section.

Out of all the options, I decided on this little number, a $15 Jessica McClintock prom dress that was easy enough to bike in and lets admit, was pretty fun. 

There had to be about 1,000 people which made the event so much better.  Men in prom dresses, weddings dresses, boutonnieres and corsages, it was like prom but so much better. 

Lauren had an amazing pannier bag and we loaded it up with some cocktails and beer.  Andy Lauren Adam Thatcher and I had a blast.  After our epic bike ride we ended the night with drinks and bad dancing at Pierpoint Park.   

Bike prom is the best idea ever.  Salt Lake City, this is about as close you get to public drinking and bending the rules and we had so much fun.  If you are in Utah, you need to put Bike Prom on your Must Do List!