Utah hikes

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Emerald Pools in Winter. This hike is for most abilities and you won’t find a better one. Occasionally, I choose a different hike for a longer workout, but you cannot improve on this hike. It has a little water year round.  It is currently partially closed due to a rock slide. Hopefully it can be fixed by spring 2019.

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A few Zion locals

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Virgin River near the exit of the famous Narrows in Zion National Park

I’ve just spent a week at home in Utah, USA. I was there to visit my family, but I always manage to get in some nature hikes. I flew into Las Vegas and it was funny how small the skyline appeared in comparison to my Chinese city. I have been to Vegas innumerable times, but never really for any of the stuff it’s famous for. **usually just hitting the airport** Or… before internet shopping it was for actual shopping other than the small town stores’ slim pickings. Las Vegas is not just for losing money, it’s a great launching pad for awesome destinations. For me, it’s pretty much my airport of choice. It’s closer to my home and the famous Southern Utah parks than Salt Lake City.

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Birthday ski party

Growing up, I always skied alone. Local friends didn’t ski. I made loads of friends with people going up the lift and sometimes we’d ski together, but I was really on my own. Anyway, this past weekend we went to Utah so cousins could ski together and celebrate my nephew’s 15th birthday. I had to chaperone and tag along so nobody got lost on the big mountain we hadn’t ever been to. Nobody wanted to ride up with me so it was super fun. 🙄 Once again, I was stuck as a single rider amongst strangers making small talk. They had fun though. ❤️❄️❤️

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Deer Valley, Utah

Already 2 weeks into 2018.

Have you already gotten used to writing the correct year on your checks? The holiday was really long around here with school being out until this week and then a sick child the first 3 days back.  I seriously would have enjoyed a couple of days off of school somewhere else instead of all at once. We didn’t do much, but I loved not traveling. We planned on going to Utah to ski, but the snow conditions are really poor so far this year out West.  I’m really happy I didn’t invest in a ski pass this year, but we need snow in general. I did buy this pass as it worked for my 5th grader. https://www.skiutah.com/passes/passports One time use and it will more than pay for itself. Anyone with a 5th grader can buy it, not just a Utah resident. It also contains some good gear coupons, etc. There is still plenty of time to make it to the slopes without committing funds for the wrong conditions. I grew up on skis in Southern Utah at +9,000 feet and I really only want to ski in good conditions. For me, that means lots of snow and not too cold!

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Our gorgeous white Christmas

 

1st Thanksgiving

at home since 1998. We’ve been some fun places for turkey day, but also spent a lot of time

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slaving to prepare a feast. With a very busy summer though, we couldn’t make the trek home earlier. This was the day before Thanksgiving. As the weather was unseasonably nice, Zion National Park had a lot of visitors. We drove home a different way due to the crowds and we spotted a flock of turkeys. They are a common sight in the vicinity of Bryce Canyon so I suspected we would see some and we did.

Spring break hiking

Our spring break plan of getting in one last ski day and trying out Alta, Utah was ruined due to big snow. Some people revel in those conditions, but not all and you need to keep the comfort of all in mind. I didn’t want to torture my children so we didn’t ski. We got to the parking lot and left. The news reported 10 inches that day. When we got to Southern Utah, the rest of the week had to get planned around the weather. It can be awfully windy there and you can have summer and winter in the same day. We had a window on Wednesday.  It started out chilly, but it was 70 degrees at the end. Pretty close to perfect. It was incredibly busy. On our last day, we woke to 5 inches of fresh snow in the hometown. I grew up in the area and go frequently, but I still marvel at the majesty of Zion National Park. We packed a lot of provisions. Sandwiches, granola bars, and h20. You won’t last long in summer conditions without lots of water, but you need to pack smart on a cool day too.

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Heading down on Angels’ landing trail

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Walter’s Wiggles 

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The trailhead

4th graders get in free….

One of the best travel deals in the planet is to visit the national parks. I grew up in the heart of color country in Utah so I’m a huge fan. I lived and worked in Zion National Park when I turned 18 and I continue to go there every chance I get. A few years ago, President Obama created a program for fourth graders to get into the parks for free. As my youngest child is a 4th grader, we just printed off our pass that will expire on Aug. 31, 2017. I often purchase a year pass, but it all depends on how often I can put it into use. Senior citizens get an absolutely awesome lifetime pass for $10 when they hit 62 years of age. I doubt I have any other 4th graders that read my blog except maybe my own once a year, but in case you know any. https://www.everykidinapark.gov/ #optoutside

Finally cold….

The holidays finally can come. The temperature has dropped in the past few days so it feels like time. The mountains are getting snow. Thanksgiving is next week. We have some plans. I hope to kick them off with our favorite Mexican food restaurant. www.rediguana.com We will go over the Snake 🐍 river and through the woods. I have 2 turkeys 🦃  🦃 in my freezer for cooking, but they’ll have to wait awhile. I’m pretty confident we will find time to #optoutside and I hope you will too. Thanks a lot to my 5 readers!!

Zion is booming…

What do you do when a beautiful destination becomes too popular? Last summer when I visited Zion, it felt like Disneyland. I ❤️ Disneyland so I was okay with it. However, it was weird. It is hard to imagine that not long ago, everyone drove right up to the hike. It was kind of a mess before a shuttle solution, but now it has outgrown the solution. http://www.sltrib.com/home/4469358-155/zion-national-park-considers-limiting-visitors

#theranch

This is a photo taken at our family ranch.  My grandfather was a rancher who lived in the Nevada desert in the winter and on the mountain in Southern Utah in the summer. It is so remote you are never sure whether you will be able to get in there. We had a great day there with family. My grandfather would have probably found it funny I write about hiking. He mostly just worked and “hiked” after a missing sheep if necessary. He lived his life on horseback. Ironically, it was the other side of my family that I rode horses with. I have been on some epic horse rides and been bucked off epically too. My grandfather was pretty old most of my life, but he would have been cool to hike with. We took him to Disneyland in the eighties and that was definitely an adventure for him. Though he rarely left his ranch or Southern Utah, his offspring have lived all over the world on missions and for employment. 🇺🇸img_2014