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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 - Churches, Landscapes, Food and Culture

We are at the end of my Azores posts.  So sad so sad. 
 But I have so many fun posts lined up for next week. 
Its back to the US of A next week.

Make sure you check out all my other Azores posts if you read this and need more travel porn.  And you will. 

Today is kind of a mash up of some of the beautiful churches, the landscape, and the food.  Not much needed in the way of words, these pictures are beautiful and I feel they speak for themselves.  I really think these pictures capture the beauty of the islands, the unique landscape, as well as some of the culture.  

Road signs in the Azores 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Swimming with Wild Dolphins - Sao Miguel, Azores

Earlier in the week, I talked about scuba diving in Sao Miguel.  
If you prefer to snorkel instead of scuba dive, you have a few options on the island. And one, is very unique to the Azores. Whale and dolphin watching is a large part of Azores tourism. 

"This Atlantic archipelago was once renowned for hunting whales. Happily, the Azorean skill at tracking them down has been put to a much more enjoyable use, and from April-Sep these waters are now the world's whale watching capital, with blue whales passing through early in the season. Old 'vigia' lookout towers are used for sighting the creatures from land, while expert skippers cruise are joined by scientists and researchers, who not only increase the chance of sightings, but carry out important work while doing so. " source

The Azores is one of the world's top spots for sighting whales and dolphins - and this is the top selling tour. Sailing with a cetacean specialist, sightings are 99% guaranteed.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Furnas Valley, Sao Miguel, Azores

You will be amazed at how many activities and attractions there are on this one island. All of these sights have been on the island of Sao Miguel. 
(There are still 8 other islands to explore). 

While on Sao Miguel, and after you have visited Sete Cidades, the lake, the mansion, went scuba diving, and visited the island/nature reserve, you still have a few more amazing things to do.   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, in fact, a volcanic crater which has been dormant since 1630, date of the last eruption. Since then, it has sheltered the Vila de Furnas and Terra Nostra Park". Source 
Furnas Valley, Sao Miguel, Azores 

This volcanic region, known as Lagoa das Furnas, brings you authentic Azorean food cooked in a very unique way.  The food is cooked in the "furnas" or volcanic holes with boiling mud and steam. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Lagoa das Sete Cidades - Sao Miguel, Azores

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 on Sao Miguel- Franco do Campo

Today we are talking continuing our talk of "must see's" on the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores.  We are going to talk a little about the village of Franca do Campo where I went scuba diving, and then the next post, talk about some dolphins.

Franca do Campo is an important spot for two reasons. A- it is where you catch a ferry to head to the island nature reserve I talked about yesterday- (find that here). And B- it is the location of Azores Sub Dive Center, a PADI dive shop. If we are going on a vacation that is an island, it is guaranteed I am hauling some dive gear along. 

I did some research and found that this spot was highly reccommended, and that Azores was home to some fantastic diving.  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, and if you are lucky, rays, dolphins and whales.  Because of the location of these islands, a lot of whales and dolphins pass through the islands.  

The best time to dive the islands is between June and November.  Conditions are best at the islands of the triangle (Sao Jorge, Pico and Failai) but Sao Miguel still has some wonderful diving. On a good day diving these islands, visibility can be over 60 meters. 

"Divers will frequently see schools of mackerel, barracudas, yellow-fin tuna and trigger fish. Common sting rays grow to enormous size in these waters. Even large mantas are sometimes encountered. Small sea creatures such as sea spiders, sea urchins, tube worms, octopus, moray eels and lobsters hide in the small underwater formations.

Around the island of Santa Maria, there are over 55 dive spots with caves, grottos as well as walls, flats and seamounts close to the island. Again, the tremendous variety of species within a very short distance is a divers dream. Some specialty type divers are done by some of the charter companies, such as towed dives, scooter dives and blue water dives. 

About twenty miles off the island of Santa Maria are two special dives for experienced divers and only in good conditions. The Dollabarat is a seamount rising from several hundred meters to just 4 meters. Sharks are often found in this area. The Baixa Ambrosia is a seamount of 42 meters." Source

Because I was on Sao Miguel and would not be seeing the other islands during this trip, I decided to go diving in Sao Miguel out of Franco do Campo.  I jumped on a small inflatable boat and went diving around the nature reserve/island from yesterday's post and featured above. 

There was the captain, two dive instructors/guides, myself, and a gentlemen from Italy vacationing in the Azores.  This was my first time diving without my trusty group of dive buddies, and my first time diving off a boat (well, inflatable skiff).  I was a little nervous about going down a line (with bad ears) with this group of strangers, but this company and the guides made it an amazing experience.  Things are a little different when diving in a European country- no one calls them tanks, only cylinders, and pressure is in (metric system, how they measure pressure, all different).

We got dressed at the shop, and the guys brought all of our gear over to the boat for us (all that weight is heavvvy).  We headed over to the island, put on our gear, and jumped right in.  Our guide took us down the line (a little slower than he probably thought due to my awful ears) and did two separate dives in two different spots around the island.  The dives were absolutely beautiful, swimming along the large walls of the islands.  We saw Morray Eels, Portuguese Lobsters (Cavacas!), parrot fish, and various small ocean critters.  The water was on the cold side but the visibility was amazing.

 When you are ready to get back on the boat, you take off your bc, clip it onto the side of the boat, and they pull you back in (service, I tell ya).  Then they pull over your BC for you and you are back on your way to shore.  

Our guide put together this little GoPro video montage of our dive (at the bottom of this post) so you can all see a little glimpse of almost exactly what i saw in the comfort of your living room.  

After the dive, we walked around the marina for a little bit and watched fishermen unloading their catch from what seemed like a successful day of fishing. 

Scuba Diving on Sao Miguel, Azores

Today we are talking continuing our talk of "must see's" on the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores.  We are going to talk a little about the village of Franca do Campo where I went scuba diving, and then the next post, talk about some dolphins.

Franco do Campo Marina

Franca do Campo is an important spot for two reasons. A- it is where you catch a ferry to head to the island nature reserve I talked about yesterday- (find that here). And B- it is the location of Azores Sub Dive Center, a PADI dive shop. If we are going on a vacation that is an island, it is guaranteed I am hauling some dive gear along. 

Franco do Campo Marina 
I did some research and found that this spot was highly recommended, and that Azores was home to some fantastic diving.  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, and if you are lucky, rays, dolphins and whales.  Because of the location of these islands, a lot of whales and dolphins pass through the islands.  

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.

Not only is Sao Miguel one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, but it is an island with fantastic diving, amazing landscape, and the birthplace of my parents.  While I shared one general post on this island, I have so many more pictures and details to share.  
(And I have 8 islands to go back and see)

The Azores is an archipelago, "composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, and is located about 1,360 km (850 mi) west of Portugal".  You can get a direct flight right from Boston to Sao Miguel and then fly/ferry to the other islands. 

Today's Azores feature is a beautiful nature reserve/island-- 
Ilheu Vila Franco Campo 

Ilheu Vila Franco Campo
So imagine swimming on the crater of a volcano in the middle of the ocean.  Yep, you can find that here.  This island is a natural reserve and you can take a ferry over from Vila Franco do Campo.  The island is opposite the town of Vila Franco do Campo 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! 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Western Colorado to Utah

Happy Monday!  Recapping the last day of the Colorado Road trip today.  

After leaving Denver, we began the long drive back to Salt Lake City.  Our first stop on the journey was about 20 minutes outside of Denver.

Red Rocks Amphitheater.  This was a beautiful area to hike, picnic, as well as see a concert.  We were unable to go all the way into the theatre but I can only imagine how amazing a concert is between this beautiful Red Rock.  They have a great visitors center, restaurant, and museum so even if you are not here for a concert, you can get out of the car and walk around the venue.  
After leaving Red Rocks Amphitheater we hit Route 40 for the long journey across western Colorado towards Steamboat Springs.  Along the drive, we came across this gorgeous reservoir. 
Green Mountain Reservoir, Colorado 
This reservoir was called "One of the best kept secrets of Colorado"
Fishing, Camping, Hiking, Boating, this was such a beautiful spot to enjoy the day (if we had time and the weather allowed).  Places like this are kind of the best part about road trips.  Unplanned, had no idea this place existed, but what a beautiful sight traveling across 40. 
Green Mountain Reservoir, Colorado 
Route 40 and Green Mountain Reservoir, Colorado 
Rabbit Ears Pass, Colorado 

These last few pictures really sum of the weather.  Very small patches of sunshine and clouds followed by rain, and if you were high enough in the mountains, snow.  Temperature ranged from 60 degrees to 34.  I was told by my friend Michelle that this Rabbit Ears pass is a gorgeous area.  However, the weather was grey, no visability and a snow storm so you will have to go and let me know.  

Rabbit Ears Pass is in the Routt National Forest and is along Route 40 on the way to Steamboat Springs.  

Continental Divide-- separation of watersheds, which waters drain east to the Atlantic and which drain west to the Pacific. 

Finally we were out of the storm and into Steamboat Springs where it was downpouring.  The weather prevented us from really seeing the town but walking around Main Street really gave me the same vibe as Park City  It was a cute and touristy ski town surrounded by beautiful mountains. 

Goats along Route 40, Colorado 
After passing through Steamboat Springs, we continued west along Route 40.  This was a 1 lane (each way) "highway" through the back roads of... no where.  Small towns over an hour apart with 65 mph speed limits.  The sight below made my day.  All the sudden, at a little pull over spot I saw a "mass migration" of goats and sheep.  I stopped, got out of the car, and saw two dogs herding hundreds of goats back home.  It was kind of amazing to see these two gorgeous dogs working together to bring everyone home.  I would love to know what the command is as these dogs did this entirely on their own, no humans in sight. 

Herding Dogs along Route 40, Colorado 
If you keep traveling west towards Utah, eventually, you reach Dinosaur, Colorado, the last town in the state.  It is the "gateway to the Dinosaur National Monument".  The National monument is about 2 hours (each way) out of the way so we decided against the detour.  A picture of this rad sign will have to do.  

Town of Dinosaur, Colorado 
If you have the time, the National Monument sounds like an amazing place to visit.  Dinosaur National Monument covers over 210,000 acres.  Dinosaur fossils can only be seen on the Utah side, just north of Jensen, Utah. Most people come to see dinosaur fossils and there are 1,500 bones of these amazing creatures still encased in the rock at the Dinosaur Quarry Exhibit Hall  I will have to go back to see some dinos, camp, hike, and even do some river rafting.

Colorado/Utah Border 
This eastern edge of Utah that borders Colorado and houses the National Monument takes its dinosaurs very seriously.  I think I really nailed this dinosaur pose.  The town of Vernal is basically Dino themed everything and has to be the coolest place for a kids trip. 

Vernal, Utah 
The rest of the trip wandered through small Utah towns, before eventually reaching the end of Route 40 by Park City and the merge onto 80 west for the last short stretch to Salt Lake City.  

This was such a fun road trip and another reminded that road trips are all about the drives, not the destinations.  Another weekend, another part of the west explored.