Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mountain Biking in Southern Utah: JEM Trail

Riding along the ridge of the Virgin River
Utah has such a diverse landscape which makes the entire state a perfect mountain bike mecca.

After years of being scared of my mountain bike, I finally spent the autumn falling in love with mountain biking all over again. On a recent trip to St. George, we had a chance to drive through Hurricane, near the town of Virgin, to ride the JEM trail. It ended up being a perfect trail for me, not too technical or steep.

Getting There

The trickiest part of the JEM trail is getting there. From I-15, take exit 16 (Utah State Route 9) to Hurricane/Zions National Park. Travel east on Highway 9 past Hurricane. Make a right onto Sheep Bridge Road before getting into Virgin, Utah. Follow this dirt road over the bridge of the Virgin River. After crossing the cattle guard take the first right and follow the two track road to the end where you will find the trailhead and parking.

The Trail

From the parking lot head west along the rim of the Virgin River. This is a singletrack trail. As it bends and heads south, it merges with a dirt road (about 1.3 miles). Turn right on the road and ride over a dry wash a short way then turn left at the brown trail sign where it's singletrack again.

Stay left on the JEM trail at the Hurricane Trail Junction (1.6 miles). Stay on the singletrack for a steady, easy climb. At mile 4.5, the singletrack crosses a gravel road again. Follow the singletrack to a steep hill. Many will attempt to climb this but few will master it. I didn't even try. I walked my bike up the hill. At the top of the hill, follow the singletrack to the upper parking lot. This is where you will turn around for an out-and-back ride. It's about 6.9 miles to the upper parking lot from the lower lot.

For those who want to only do the downhill, you can drop off at the upper parking lot and send a shuttle to the lower lot. It is a fast and fun descent. On our return, we veered off the JEM trail and onto the Goosebumps trail. The Goosebumps trail has a lot of up and down hills, like a roller coaster. It is a little more technical but a lot of fun.

I made it with a smile on my face and only had to walk my bike in a few spots. A new record for me.

**Post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Purex Crystals Aromatherapy Review and Giveaway

FTC Disclosure: Product received at no charge to facilitate review.

I have been a fan of Purex Crystals since the first day I tried them. I am physically active as are the other members of my family. This means we have a lot of stinky sweaty work out clothes that are made of fabrics that aren't suitable for liquid fabric softeners. Though I still prefer the liquid softeners or dryer sheets on my whites, I like the in-laundry scent boosters of the crystals for my dark clothing, especially my gym clothes.

Introducing the latest edition to the Purex line: Purex Crystals Aromatherapy. 

I received the Purex Crystals Aromatherapy in Energy scent.  I was super excited to try the Energy scent since citrus smells are my favorite. While the crystals left a fresh laundry scent, it was more on the floral side and less on the citrus---not what I would prefer. However, it did eliminate laundry odors, especially the sweat from our work out clothes. It also stayed fresh smelling for a week after I did our laundry.

The new Purex Crystals have a soothing smell for those who like a lingering scent on their laundry. However, I like to eliminate strong odors on my clothing without leaving a floral "perfume" scent. While I liked the new crystals, I would love to try the other two scents to see if there is one I like better.

Giveaway Details:
On eof my lucky readers will win three coupons for a free bottle of Purex Crystals Aromatherapy. Please read the terms and conditions on the Rafflecopter form. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms and agree to them. Contest ends 11/3/2014 at 11:59 EST.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free sample of Purex Crystals Aromatherapy as a member of Purex Insiders. Opinions are based upon actual experience.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 10, 2014

My Favorite Wildlife Photos of the Season

©by Trudy Zufelt. Do not use without written permission

One of my favorite things about hiking is catching a glimpse of the wildlife.
Too bad the animals don't feel the same about me. When it comes to deer, it is hard to get close enough to get a good photo. I tried all summer until I finally got one to hold still long enough to pull out my camera and take a picture. Just off the side of the road in Little Cottonwood Canyon at the entrance to the Red Pine Trail, I spotted a doe and stopped to zoom in. It didn't last long before she skittishly ran off but I got the picture.

©by Trudy Zufelt. Do not use without written permission
I'm usually afraid of snakes. I spent a lot of time hiking in the last six months and saw plenty of these little garter snakes. Unfortunately, I saw rattlesnakes too but I wasn't willing to risk getting bit to get close enough. I did have a baby rattlesnake coil up at me and it took me only a second to see what what was different from the snake in the photo to the markings of the baby rattlesnake. I'll stick to photos of the nonpoisonous snakes.

Bull Moose along Catherine Pass Trail - Little Cottonwood Canyon (Utah)
©by Trudy Zufelt. Do not use without written permission
One of the most awe inspiring animals to see in Utah is a moose or even two. They can also be a bit scary. Moose don't move off the trail and it's never a good idea to get to close. I have heard of people being charged by a moose and since they are so huge, I don't want to get close enough to see what that is like. I'll enjoy them from a distance and use the zoom on my camera. I have seen moose in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons and in Ogden Valley. In fact, I see them more than I see the mule deer.

Moose at Red Pine Lake - Little Cottonwood Canyon
©by Trudy Zufelt. Do not use without written permission

Post contains affiliate links


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Reveal Your Glamorous Look With Mia Mariú Makeup Review and Giveaway

While I would rather be outside, wearing only sunscreen on my face, the reality is that life is not always fun. I have to work and get dressed up once in a while. That means I get to wear make up and show my glamorous side. I like to light and natural looking make up. I also like to use products without scents. I've used mia mariú cleansing products before so I was more than excited to try their make up products. They did not disappoint.

Volumizing Mascara

The most important thing with mascara is finding one that doesn't make my eyes itch. Mia mariú's mascara is one I can wear all day with no problems. It doesn't clump and it makes my eyelashes look longer.

 Loose Mineral Shadow Liner

The loose mineral shadow ended up as my favorite product. I tried the Mora and Rosa colors. The rich purple of the Mora is beautiful and really made my eyes pop. The Rosa was a nice addition. Most of the shadows I use wind up creasing by the end of the day but I didn't have this problem with the mineral shadows.

Black Eyeliner

My eyes look small without eyeliner and the black complements them the best out of any of the colors I've tried. I also like eyeliners that I can sharpen like a pencil. Mia mariú's black eyeliner is exactly what I look for in an eyeliner.

Hydrating Stick Gloss

The Mia color of the hydrating stick gloss moisturized my lips well with a natural tint, perfect for day time. I would like a darker color for a night out.

Mineral Blush
I've never tried mineral blush until now. The Maria Azucena was a perfect color for me and I loved the mineral blush. It lasts longer than my usual blush.

Giveaway Details:

Winner will receive the same six products I reviewed (ARV $84). Please use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the form and agree to them. Contest open to U.S. residents only 18 and over. Giveaway ends 10/21/2014 at 11:59 EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mountain Bike Teams: Fun High School Sports Addition

Could mountain bike racing be the best addition to high school sports in the last few years? 
I think so. 
It's one of those sports where every person on the team competes. There are no bench warmers and boys and girls have equal opportunities.

My son is in his second year of racing for his high school team. I love that he gets a good aerobic workout in practice and at races. Even better, he has fun and learns a sport he will use for the rest of his life. It doesn't stop when he graduates like so many other team sports. It's also become a family affair. We all load our mountain bikes onto our rack for his practice and ride the trails too. Sure, I can't keep up with any of the high school boys or girls but I don't care. It's much more fun than sitting on the sidelines or dropping him off and picking him up later.

Mountain Biking is relatively new on the high school scene. The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) was founded just five short years ago in 2009. My home state of Utah formed its league in 2012 and with over 600 riders, has quickly become the largest league in the nation.

Not surprising, with the abundance of trails within minutes of the most densely populated cities in the state. In fact, many Utah riders compete nationally and internationally, though we haven't made it to that level.

While riders wait for their age group to race, they build camaraderie with their team members and those of other schools while they hang out in the "Pit Zone" where team tents stand side by side. It's also a place to fuel and recover from races and parents gladly volunteer behind camp stoves to feed the riders and their families.

The "Pit Zone" is also a great place to meet the awesome companies who sponsor the races and to find out about new gear. A ton of new sponsors came on board this year. I e got to hob nob with the guys at, one of the places I shop for outdoor gear. They were nice enough to let my family load up on their famous goat stickers and even provided cow bells for us to clang at the finish line.

Riders can head to the Specialized sponsor tent to have their bikes checked and adjusted before the race.

If the race isn't fun enough, the Utah National Guard provides a climbing wall to keep bored siblings occupied.

While high schools usually don't approve mountain biking as an official sanctioned sport, they do recognize it as a club sport. At our high school just being on the mountain bike team elevates you to the status of "cool." And if you do happen to get injured while riding, the broken wrist or leg gash serves as a "badge of honor."

Want to join a league or start one in your state? 
Check out NICA Leagues.

Not a sponsored post though post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Arla Dofino Gouda Cheese

Product received at no charge to facilitate my review.

I miss cheese. 
Growing up, it was always one of my favorite foods. As a teenager, I worked in a deli and loved trying new types of cheese. My favorites were gouda and muenster. After I discovered I was lactose intolerant, I cut back considerably on my dairy intake. Cheese was the hardest to give up.
Now, I can take medicine that provides an enzyme to help me digest the cheese I miss so much

I have had a hard time finding gouda cheese at the stores near me. I was thrilled to find the Arla Dofino gouda cheese. Just having one piece was like finding an old friend again. 
Besides the awesome taste, I like that Dorfino cheese does not have added hormones and is made from natural ingredients. 

Though gouda cheese is great in recipes, I like eating it plain or on crackers. 

FTC Disclosure: I received a free sample to try as a Bzzagent and was free to pick the flavor. Comments are based upon actual experience