Friday, December 30, 2011

Millcreek Canyon

When I think about hiking and the outdoors, I think of Bryce Canyon and Zion, but my heart lies in Millcreek Canyon. Millcreek charges every visitor $3 to visit, but it is well worth it! Millcreek lies in the eastern mountains of Utah. The trees and flowers are amazing and a stream of water runs down the entire mountain. The smell is amazing, and best of all, it is a great way to escape the noise, inversion, and fast pace of the city. 

It is beautiful in that canyon in all seasons. Fall is especially beautiful when the leaves begin to change colors. The hues of orange, red, and yellow are so beautiful and out of this world. Millcreek has some scout camps and Dog Lake, but there are also camping grounds, cabins, picnic areas, and smaller trails. Something about this canyon makes me feel like I'm home. It's the best place to leave all of the worries and stress of everyday life and escape life for a while.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bryce Canyon

If you live in Utah or are planning on taking a trip here, you must go to Bryce Canyon. It's unique orange sandstone is breathtakingly beautiful, and every trail in Bryce Canyon offers a beautiful view. It's been a year since I last went, but it's taken that long for me to write about it. The first place that my family and I visited was Mossy Cave and Tropic Ditch. It was a fun first hike and really short. We had fun playing in the cool water.

Next we went to Rainbow Point. This is a fairly short hike. One of the best things about it is, like most of the trails in Bryce, is that instead of hiking up to a viewpoint then back tracking to the beginning, the trail is a loop and brings you back to where you started. On the day that I hiked it, it was extremely windy, and it was the first time I hiked it. So, I'm not exactly sure if its always that way or not. It offers some fantastic views.

An awesome sight to see is the rock formation known as Queen Victoria. Queen Vitoria sits on her throne which sits at the peak of one of the rock pillars, seen in the picture below.

Sunset is beautiful when viewing it from Bryce Canyon.

Bryce's Point is the place to be when the sun rises. The spires are said to light up like candles as the sun rises. It's a pretty accurate description.

Thor's Hammer

Here are some more pictures taken at Bryce Canyon on various trails.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Rock Climbing

So, I'm kind of a beginner on the whole rock climbing business. I have never officially scaled a mountain, but I did rock climb on a rock wall. I would really love to climb a mountain someday though. I went to an activity at the university that I go to, and they had a rock wall. I strapped on the harness and climbed pretty easily to the top. While climbing the wall, I started to feel really confident and great about my upper body strength. When I got to the top, I was kind of (Can I admit this now?) scared to go back down. I couldn't imagine just jumping back and letting myself plummet to the ground. What if the equipment failed? I decided to just close my eyes and let go. That was my favorite part of the whole experience! I decided that rock climbing is fun, but repelling is my favorite! The feeling of accomplishment when reaching the top is awesome, but the controlled fall at the end is exhilarating! This is a definite MUST for all of the other extreme adventurers out there.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ghost Falls

I recently went on a pretty easy hike to Ghost Falls. It's located in the Draper mountains. One of the trailheads is found just south of the LDS Draper Temple. It was a great, quick hike. It only took about one and a half hours to hike (round trip). It's very beautiful and gives a great view of the Draper valley. In hiking this trail on foot, my family and I were constantly dodging the people on bikes. It wasn't that bad though. There are a few steep parts to the trail and there are many twists and turns. The waterfall in the end is a beautiful sight. Here are some pictures.

Here is the beautiful, blue sky that is clearly visible from the trailhead.
 It's kind of hard to see right here, but there is a perfectly formed spider-web in this picture.
 The Draper Valley view from the middle of the trail.
 Ghost Falls
 A cute water-snake we saw enjoying Ghost Falls. I love reptiles!
 More of Ghost Falls
 Here is a weird thing that we noticed as we came down the trail. In the middle of the trees (with no road leading up to it) we saw this bathtub. A little further down the trail we saw an old, over-turned truck.

A very cool looking tree.
I enjoyed this hike, and I'd recommend as a nice, easy hike for the other extreme adventurers out there. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Zion Trip 2011

My family and I just got back from one of the coolest places on the planet earth, Zion National Park. We hiked so much that my feet are covered in blisters, and my toes almost poked through the tops of my shoes (more on that later). The first hike was the Lookout Trail. It is a pretty simple hike at the front of the park. It provides a beautiful view of the park.

On the Lookout Trail
 The Lookout
 Cool Tree Root
 This is on the Grotto Picnic Trail. Look at that doe!

Next, we hiked the Emerald Pools trails. The trail was washed out between Lower and Middle Emerald Pools, but we were able to access all of them via the Kayenta Trail. The Upper Emerald Pool hike is a little tougher than Lower and Middle Emerald Pools, but the beautiful “pool” is absolutely amazing, and there are some amazing boulders that surround it. These boulders make for some excellent freestyle climbing.

Middle Emerald Pool

 Upper Emerald Pool trail, you probably can't tell from this picture, but it's pouring rain!
 Boulders at Upper Emerald Pool
 Lower Emerald Pool (the water is coming down from the mountain here)

Weeping Rock is the next trail that we hit. This is a short, 0.4-mile hike. Weeping Rock is a place where a steady stream of water comes out from a porous rock above. The water that is dripping through the rock is over a thousand years old because the rock acts like a giant sponge that absorbs the water from the top, and it takes thousands of years for the water to make it through the rock and out of the “weeping” part of the rock.
 Weeping Rock

Here are pictures of me doing splits and my brother and I doing backbends on the railing of Weeping Rock. On one side of the railing is a platform, and on the other is a 30-foot drop-off.
 A buck that we saw coming down from Weeping Rock

Next, we hiked the Temple of Sinawava. This is a wheelchair, stroller accessible trail. It’s fairly easy to hike. My favorite thing to do is play in the Virgin River at the end of the trail. I tried to talk my family into taking the Narrows Trail that extends 4 more miles through the Virgin River, but they were all too tired to do it. Maybe next time. :)

On the trail this little frog almost got squashed by hikers, so I picked it up and put it back in the water. I LOVE FROGS!!!!
 In the Virgin River

The next morning we awoke at 5A.M. to get started on the grueling hike up to Observation Point via the East Rim Trail. It was a hike straight up and around three mountains. It goes through Echo Canyon and Refrigerator Canyon. At the top was a geological survey marker. The Observation Point view provides the most amazing view of Zion and provides a very scenic hike. The summit of Observation Point dwarfs the point of Angels Landing, another popular, strenuous, and fun hike in Zion National Park. Because of the steep climb up the mountains is so strenuous, coming down hurts the knees and causes blisters to pop out all over the toes and feet. At the bottom of the trail, I looked down at my toes and noticed that they were about to poke through the top of my shoes. It was an amazing hike, but I would recommend starting it early in the morning because if hiking it during the midday, the sun exposure would cause even the most extreme of adventurers to want to turn back early (trust me, we saw some people turn back).

 It's another comforting sign at the beginning of a tough trail.
 Some of the views from the Observation Point Trail
My sister and I in the caves in Echo Canyon
 More Views
The little mountain connected to the bigger mountain is Angel's Landing. The connecting piece is known as "The Saddle." When I was standing at the top two years ago I thought I was on the top of the world. Now it looks so tiny from Observation Point.
More from the top
6,508 feet above sea level
 More from Echo Canyon with two of my younger brothers.