Friday, July 31, 2015

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Clever Yoga Balance Pad Review

FTC Disclosure: Product received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.
Kalina posing on the balance pad.
I have to admit, I've never tried a balance pad before for yoga or for physical therapy so I was a little skeptical about the benefits of using one. It only took me one time on my Clever Yoga Balance Pad to find out how wrong I was. The soft balance pad adds a difficulty level over a flat surface which helps with building strength in my legs. Both Kalina and I tried the pad and we loved how it really forces us to stay steady.

I have some bad discs in my back so besides helping with yoga poses, the pad helps enhance my at home physical training. I can feel my core muscles working harder with the pad which is what my physical therapist wants me to work on. Also, as I get older, I'm finding my balance getting worse, especially on rugged hiking trails. The balance pad helps to build my ankle muscles so I am more confident on the trails.

The cushioning makes knee poses comfortable yet challenging. I've fallen in love with the pad and though I got it free, I would gladly pay the $39.99. The Clever Yoga Balance Pad is durable, well made and worth the price. I especially like that the company stands behind their product with a lifetime guarantee. I am more than happy to recommend the balance pad to my readers. The is nothing about the pad I didn't like. When paired with a yoga mat, it doesn't slide and also doesn't slip on my carpet. It's nice having fitness equipment at home as I don't always have time to get over to the gym. A great addition to my at home regime.

Rating  ★★★★★

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Timpanogos Cave in American Fork Canyon: Utah National Parks

I love our National Parks!

The best thing about National Parks is that the designation alone means they'll be around for a long time so all of us can enjoy the beauty again and again.

Timpanogos Cave National Monument is just one of the many National Parks in Utah. However, it is one of the most unique as well and since it is so close to the major cities, it can be explored in half a day.

The only way to access the caves is from the hiking trail that starts from the visitors center. The trail is 1.5 miles each way and has an elevation change of 1092 ft. from the start. Though the path is paved, it is steep. Strollers can't be taken into the cave and I don't recommend them at all.

Also, because the caves are a natural formation, they are not wheelchair accessible. Visitors are allowed to bring a walking cane inside of the cave for mobility but wheelchairs must be left outside.

Rock arches and stunning views amaze along the way.

View of Utah Valley from the trail
While the trail is free to hike and a lot of runners use it too, there is a fee to go inside the caves. The fee for adults is $8.00 and less for children. It is well worth the fee.

During the summer months, the hike along the trail gets hot so pack plenty of water in a hiking bag.
It's a good idea to pack a light jacket or sweatshirt for inside the caves as it is cool.

Flow Stone from running water

A column inside the caves.
The three caves boast a fabulous array of natural formations. Since they are "wet" caves, flow stone, stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and gravity defying, helictites abound. The caves will not disappoint and Timpanogos Cave National Monument has one of the largest collection of helictite formations in the world. For those visiting the Salt Lake and Utah Valleys, this is definitely the one must see National Parks in the area.
The "Heart" of Timanogos

Some of the many helictites.

Word of warning: 

Don't show up on weekends or holidays without reservations. Reservations can be made up to 30 days ahead of time. Groups of 16 are allowed in the caves at a time and must be accompanied by a park ranger who will give a guided tour. While it is possible to snag tickets on weekdays without a reservation, I would still suggest getting them. I would also suggest and earlier reservation during the end of June and the month of July as it gets hot during the day. Reservations can be made online or by calling (877) 444-6777 between 10:00 AM and Midnight EST.

Please respect National Park rules by staying on the trail, not touching ANYTHING inside the caves, and not taking anything along the trails home with out. Most of all HAVE FUN. Our National Parks are meant to be enjoyed by all.

Getting there:

I-15 from north or south. Take exit 284 (Alpine-Highland exit) and proceed east on State Highway 92. The park is 10 miles from I-15 and parking is available at the visitors center.

While there is the scenic Alpine Loop, I would not recommend going that route unless coming from Provo Canyon.