Friday, July 22, 2016

Mt. Timanogos Hike From American Fork Canyon, Utah: 8 of 13 #Goal


I'm not going to lie. Mt. Timpanogos has by far been the most difficult peak I've climbed this year. It's difficult because of the distance of 7.5 miles each way which makes for a long day. The trail is not particularly difficult but the climb from the saddle to the peak is hard. At 11,749 feet, it is the second highest peak in the Wasatch Mountains and a very popular destination. No matter what day of the week you choose to go, there will always be somebody on the trail. I climbed the peak from the Timpanooke Trailhead.

Getting There: Timpanooke Trailhead

From I-15 heading north or south, take exit 284 (Highland-Alpine) and head east on SR-92. About 7.5 miles, there will be a fee station with a required fee to enter the canyon. Stay on the right fork of American Fork Canyon which is part of the Alpine Loop. On the right side of the road, look for a sign to the Timpanooke Campground. It is about 1/4 mile on a paved road through the campground and the trailhead will be at the large parking area on the left. We stayed the night in the campground so we could get an early start.

The Trail

The trail begins at the parking lot. Facing the trail, head right toward the forest service shelter where there are also signs and map boards. The first part of the trail is a gentle uphill climb in the shade of the pines and aspens. Be sure to watch the cliff areas in the distance for gorgeous waterfalls.

Above Scout Falls, there are several switchbacks that lead to Middle Basin. Several big loops and switchbacks through this area make for a big gain in altitude. Take a moment to stop and enjoy the vast array of wildflowers.

After climbing a headwall, you enter the Timpanogos Basin. This area is unmistakable as it is the first time you see the views of the summit.

As I made my way to the summit, I encountered some Rocky Mountain Goats. I made sure to keep my distance as I took photos. Though the goats are not aggressive, they are still wild animals and should never be approached or harassed. I even got to see a mommy goat with her baby. 


The views from the saddle are spectacular and many hikers stop here, rest and turn around. Not me! It was the peak or bust which meant I had to head into some cloud cover. Not a good idea if it would have been stormy but it wasn't so up I went. From the summit, the trail stays heads to the left and is  easy to see. The trail zig zags up a steep canyon often referred as The Stairs.


The last part of the trail is rocky and exposed but the trail is well defined. The Glass House (not really glass) sits at the top and there is a guest book to sign to prove you made it. It was really crowded when I got there but I was able to leave my name. Sorry to all those who don't know me but ended up in my photos anyway.

Making it to the top of any peak is an accomplishment but the top of Mt. Timp made me feel especially proud. I definitely need to change my goal. I have no doubt I'll make my 13 peaks this year. I should have set it at 16 for the year 2016. It's never too late to change, right?

Be sure to take enough water and food. I used all of my water. I was grateful for my running pack but wished I would have had an electrolyte replacement snack along with my bars.


Clouds blocked my view of the valley but still breathtaking on the peak.

Post may contain affiliate links.







Thursday, July 21, 2016

Get Out the Grill For Lightlife Smart Dogs: Review and Giveaway

Product received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.


Barbecues are supposed to be fun and bring the family together. But for me, it's often a time of stress trying to find food that my adult daughter will eat. She is vegan but the rest of the family is not. That makes main meals challenging and means I usually have to cook a different meal for her than the rest of the family. Since my daughter does not eat gluten, it is hard to even find vegetarian meat substitutes she can eat. Most contain wheat products.

It's a relief to find the Lightlife Smart Dogs. Now my daughter can join us for a barbecue and feel like she is part of the same meal. The Nightlife Smart Dogs are made with all plant products and include soy protein as one of the main ingredients. I didn't see any wheat or wheat byproducts listed in the ingredients so she was more than willing to try them with us.

I cooked up a whole package of the Lightlife Smart Dogs and didn't tell anyone else but her that they were vegetarian dogs. My teenage son was able to tell right away that they were different than he was use to and he wouldn't finish his. However, my husband didn't mind. He did comment that the texture was different than other hot dogs but didn't guess they were vegetarian.

My daughter liked them and gladly took home the extra package I had on hand. It's nice to be able to have all of my family together for a barbecue and having the food preparation easy.


Giveaway Details

One of my lucky readers will receive 2 free product coupons to try Lightlife Products. Use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the form and agree to them. Contest ends 8/9/2016 at 11:59 EST


I received this product free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program (www.greenmomsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog which may not reflect the opinions of the May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Mellani Bed Sheets Product Review

Product received at no charge in exchange for a fair and honest review.

After a day of working and hiking, I want to crawl into bed and have a comfortable night's sleep. It's been several years since I last purchased bed sheets and I was beyond happy to try a new set.

The Mellanni Fine Linens queen bed sheet feel a lot softer than my regular cotton sheets and have already become my favorite set in the few weeks I've been using them. My favorite thing about the Mellanni sheets is that they are soft and supple. I also like that they fit on my queen mattress. My mattress has deep sides and the deep pockets of the fitted sheet fit on them with no problem. They stay on even with all of the tossing and turning I do in the middle of the night. The fitted sheet doesn't slip off any of the corners like some of the other sheets we own.


The sheets are made with 100% polyester microfiber. The claim that they are "silky soft" does hold up. I was surprised at the difference in the way they feel versus my cotton sheets. The $19.00 price for the flat and fitted sheet and two pillowcases is very fair. I have spent more on sheets that aren't nearly as comfortable.

The only complaint I have is that they are thin. So far, it hasn't made a difference in the quality or the way they hold up in the wash though so I'm not sure if it will be much of an issue over time.

Rating:  ★★★★☆


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Sunset Peak in Alta, Utah: Peak 7 of 13 Goal


I've always considered myself a hiker but after making it to the top of seven summits this year, I think  I have earned the title of peakbagger. For those who have never heard the term, it is the word used to describe a mountain climber whose purpose to to attain the summit. The last few weeks, I have climbed summits faster than I can write about them. Last week that I climbed Sunset Peak in Alta, Utah.

My goal has never been to climb the highest peaks but to get to the top of at least thirteen mountains. It just so happens that I live in a state where the mountains are high and I'm challenged with 8000-11000 peaks. Sunset Peak sits at 10648 feet.

Getting to Sunset Peak (Easiest Route)

Sunset Peak can be accessed from Big or Little Cottonwood Canyons. At either Brighton Ski Resort or Alta Ski Resort. The shortest route is Little Cottonwood Canyon to Alta Ski Resort. 

From Salt Lake City, head south on I-15. Take the I-215 South interchange East toward the ski resorts. Exit on 6200 So. (exit 6) and turn left. Stay on Wasatch Blvd. to Little Cottonwood Canyon Road.

The day I did the hike, the snow gate was closed so I started at Alta Parking Lot at the end of the pavement and followed the road on foot. This adds two miles each way to the hike. The easiest way is to drive up the dirt road at the end of the paved road and park in the small lot directly across the Catherine Pass Trail. Follow the Catherine pass Trail 1.5 miles to the top. Turn right at the top of Catherine's pass and head to the summit of Sunset Peak which is another .5 miles. The hike gets steep the last half mile but is moderately rated the rest of the way. It can easily be done in a few hours and is even a good hike for families.



When I choose peaks, I try to find those I can do in a half day or less and that are close by. I try to find peaks in areas that are beautiful and shaded part of the time. There are so many reasons I chose Sunset Peak. I know I'm always going to see wildlife. I've done Catherine's Pass several times and almost always see moose or deer along the way.



My favorite thing about Sunset Peak is the incredible views from the top. Lake Catherine sits at the base of the Sunset Peak with views of Lake Mary and Brighton Ski Resort as well. In fact, for those who want to enjoy a longer day of hiking, follow the trail from Catherine's pass and hike down toward the lake. Stay on the main trail which will pass several lakes and take you into Brighton. I ended up doing 8 miles round trip as I parked in the paved lot at Alta, Utah and hiked up the dirt road. Even though the peak sits at a high elevation, the hike isn't hard and is definitely worth it. 

Am I an official peakbagger yet?

Now that summer is here and my achilles tendon isn't hurting too much, I'm able to pick up the days I'm climbing and am thinking of upping my 2016 goal to sixteen peaks instead of thirteen. I'm feeling confident I can do it.







Friday, July 1, 2016

Squaw Peak in Provo, Utah: 6 of 13 Peaks 2016 Goal


I decided to venture south and climb a peak in Provo, Utah. Squaw Peak ended up being the perfect choice for a solo hike. The trail is well traveled and easy to find and doing it on a weekend meant I would have plenty of people passing me in case of injury.

While there are different routes to Squaw Peak, I chose the route from Rock Canyon.

Getting There

I took the University Avenue exit from I-15 south (from Salt Lake City) and turned left to head east. Turn left onto 2230 North and head east toward the Provo Temple. Turn left on onto North Temple Drive and follow around to 1060 E. There is parking at Rock Canyon as well as restroom facilities.

Once parked, head east on a wide dirt path into Rock Canyon. The trail narrowed as I hiked. I crossed five bridges before the turn off to Squaw Peak. The bridges are numbered which helps keep track. About 1/4 mile from the fifth bridge is a fork. Take the left fork. After turning left, look for the Squaw Peak Trail marker rock on the ground.


At the fork, it is about another 3 miles to the peak for a round trip total of 7 miles. With 3000 feet of climbing, the trail offers a challenging enough elevation climb without being too hard. The trail is rated moderate and I found it nice enough to run most of the way down. While most guides say to plan 3.5-5 hours, I did it in 3. About halfway up the trail is a beautiful meadow that makes a perfect camping area for those wanting to backpack in.

The peak is obvious as it is marked with a flag. It offers fabulous views of the Provo Valley with Utah Lake in the background. 







Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Lookout Peak Via Killyon Canyon Utah: Peak 5 of 13 of 2016 Goal




One of the challenges of choosing peaks to climb for my 2016 goal is actually finding the right path to the the peak once I'm hiking. Lookout Peak is one of the many summits north-east of the Salt Lake Valley. However, the peak is not visible from the route we chose until we had hiked along the ridge line and climbed some of the high points.

Getting There

We chose the route from Killyon Canyon. To get there we drove I-80 Eastbound to the East Canyon exit and turned left (north) off the freeway onto highway 65. At about 2.2 miles, we made a left onto the Emigration Canyon Road. We drove to the top then as it descended again, it makes a left. Instead of staying left, we turned right onto Pinecrest Canyon Road. At about .4 miles, we took the right fork in the road and it's another 1/2 mile to the trailhead. Unfortunately, there is no parking at the trailhead and most of the road leading up to it is marked with no parking signs. There are a few turn outs
marked with
 Killyon Canyon parking signs but it means that we had to add at least a mile round trip to our hike.


The Trail
The trail begins at the end of the dirt road, right next to a No Parking sign. It's a nice, steady climb up Killyon Canyon with plenty of shade.

The first major fork is marked with a sign and the trail stays to the right.















About 1.5 miles up the canyon, there is a four way intersection. We turned left at the intersection. From here, we enjoyed a steady climb through a couple of meadows while the trail headed north. It veers east again as we approached toward the ridge line.





After taking a photo of the ridge line, I realized I can't see Lookout Peak as it sits behind the highest point in the photo. The hardest park of this hike is numerous high points that seem like peaks until you get to the top and look north only to see you have more to go.

I actually had to do the Lookout Peak hike twice as I got rained on the first time and had to turn around about a half mile from the actual peak. The second time was a charm and the views couldn't have been more spectacular with the sunshine.


Sometimes hiking along the ridge is the best part of the hike. The surrounding views are gorgeous and with the wildflowers in bloom, the peak is merely the destination of the beautiful journey.


After 4.1 miles, we finally made it to the peak. The summit elevation sits at 8,954 feet. There's a few steep parts getting to the summit but we didn't think the trail was difficult. We would rate it as moderate and the official rating is a class 2.

Looking south from the peak.

Salt Lake Valley in background.
The views from the top are spectacular. To the west lies the Salt Lake Valley. South is a nice view of Mt. Olympus with many of the other peaks of the Mount Olympus Wilderness area that stretches up Millcreek Canyon. We did the hike the third week of June and the trail was clear. It can even be done in the earlier spring with no snow limiting the access.


I hike a lot of trails by myself so it was fun to have Kalina join me and have someone to be goofy with at the peak. It took us about four hours to do the 8.3 miles round trip hike. I attempted some trail running on the way down.