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.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sneakz Organics Review

Product received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.
I'm always on the lookout for healthier food and drink options for my teenage son. If he had his way, he would eat fast food everyday. I never could understand how he became such a fast food lover since both my husband and I are particular about the types of food we eat and serve our children. While I'm happy that my son likes sushi and Thai food, I'm not happy that he takes a pass on vegetables when he heads to his favorite fast food joint.

I didn't dare tell my son that Sneakz Organics
milkshakes contain 1/2 half serving of vegetables. I figured if he wasn't too lazy, he would read the box and find out himself. He took the Sneakz Chocolate Milkshake with him hiking and ended up not being too busy to read the box When he came home, he told me the chocolate flavor tasted like a protein shake and provided great fuel on his hike. It wasn't until he tried the strawberry flavor, that he realized he was drinking veggies with his milk.

My son didn't like the strawberry flavor nearly as well which is why he looked at the box to see why it tasted weird to him. I almost wasn't able to convince him to try the Vanilla Milkshake after that. He did like the vanilla better than the strawberry but not much more. He has made me promise I would only buy the chocolate ones next time I'm at the store.

Hey, I'll take whatever I can get right? If my son likes the chocolate shakes enough to carry hiking than chocolate it is. I'm stoked that I found a product that my son likes that will give him a half serving of veggies.

The only thing that bugs me about the Sneakz Organics is that I can't find it at the grocery store where I usually shop. Luckily, it's sold on Amazon so I can order the Chocolate Milkshake with my next purchase.

FTC Disclosure: I received product samples at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Hiking or Trail Running in Bryce Canyon, Utah: Fairyland Loop Trail

Photo Copyright: Trudy Zufelt
When the sun rises over Bryce Canyon, the views of the hoodoos are breathtaking. I can't think of any better way of catching the views than hiking along the rim and into the canyon. The Fairyland Loop Trail makes for a perfect morning run while visiting our awesome National Parks.

The trail begins at the northern portion of the Bryce Canyon National Park at Fairyland Point. The trail head is just before you enter the pay gates at Bryce Canyon. It is a great way to see the national park if you don't want to pay the entrance fee. However, I still encourage a National Park visit.

I did the entire 8 mile loop. The trail is rated strenuous but I didn't think it was nearly as hard as many of the other trails I've done. In fact, I was able to combine hiking with trail running and ran a large portion of it. The rating comes because of the length. Most guide books or websites suggest 3-4 hours. I would even suggest longer for inexperienced or slower hikers. I did it in 2 hours and 20 minutes but I also ran a lot. For those who just want to enjoy the sights of Bryce without the hike, a short hike a long the rim offers breathtaking views. Also, a hike to Sunset Peak and back would only be half the miles and would still give anyone more than enough beautiful views.
Trail along the rim

I did the trail counter clockwise and ran along the rim before dropping into Fairyland Canyon. The trail is well marked and there are signs at the forks.

Flowers at the bottom of the canyon

Views from above. ©Trudy Zufelt

I encountered as much beauty below as I did from above. as I descended into the canyon, the hoodoos really looked like fairies planning their mischief.
©Trudy Zufelt

Along the trail, there is a spur for Tower Bridge which is natural cut out in the rock with the bridge above. I didn't take the out and back spur and now regret it. Though I took a photo from a distance, the bigger portion of the bridge is hidden behind the trees.

I loved the Fairyland Loop trail and would recommend it as a five star hike. However, because of the distance, I would not recommend bringing small children. Teenagers would do fine if they are well conditioned. I would also recommend bringing lots of water. This is one of those hikes I plan to do again.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Mt. Wire (Big Beacon) In Salt Lake City. 4 of 13 Peak Goal 2016

Mt. Wire also known as Big Beacon sits in the foothills east of the Salt Lake City. I chose this as one of my spring peaks to get myself in shape for the larger peaks. Mt. Wire is easy to access and a relatively short but steep hike compared to other peaks in the area. There are several trails that lead to the top of Mt. Wire. I chose to park east of This is the Place Monument in a lot big enough for about ten to fifteen cars. To find the trail head, head east on Sunnyside Avenue from Foothill Blvd. and the parking is kiddie corner from the zoo.

I followed what is known as the south trail. From the parking lot, head east on the trailhead. Do not follow the Bonneville Shoreline but keep climbing  and the trail will be on the left. This is the south side of Mt. Wire and considered the hardest trail to Mt. Wire. While it is only two miles to the top, it is a steep climb with over 2000 vertical feet of elevation gain. It took me 2 hours and 15 minutes round trip but can take 3-4 hours for less experienced hikers.

The trail is rated moderate but during the summer can be hard because of the lack of shade. This is peak suffers from "brown mound syndrome" as it lacks trees and other vegetation that are found on many of the mountains at higher elevations.

I knew I was on the right peak when I ran into the beacon tower at the top. There is also a metal survey marker in the ground. Some hikers climb the tower but a fence has been installed to discourage this. The Mt. Wire trail allows dogs on a leash. So many mountain trails along the Wasatch Front do not allow dogs because of water shed so it's always notable to find one that does.

I enjoyed the fabulous views of Salt Lake City and the Great Salt Lake. While I did the hike as an out and back on the south trail, it's fun to do it as a loop and go down Georges Hollow trail. This is the more popular trail and also not as exposed as the south side.

Small Great Basin Rattlesnake on Mt. Wire
I ran into two rattlesnakes in one day. Luckily, I saw the little one before I got too close and was able to scare it away by kicking some rocks down the path. I nearly stepped on another as I approached my car from the trailhead. Neither rattled a warning and are usually non-aggressive if they're left alone. Still, it's always a little unsettling to be so close.

Now that I've accomplished the peaks closest to my home, it's time to travel higher up the canyon, get away from the heat and tackle some higher peaks. 
Lookout Peak here I come.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Backpacking and Camping Made Safer with Sunjack Portable Solar Charger

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

With all of the solo hiking I do, I depend on my cell phone to keep me safe. I've had to turn around early on hikes because my cell phone battery had run out. I never want to risk getting hurt and not having a way to contact my loved ones for help. I've been looking for a portable solar charger that is powerful enough to charge my electronic devices while hiking and camping.
The Sunjack Portable Charger definitely holds the power I've been looking for. With four solar panels, it receives enough solar power to fully charge the battery on my Samsung Galaxy phone.  It's especially good for multi-day trips where I will be have no access to power. The portable charger works on a variety of electronic devices. My son enjoys taking it car camping and using it with his tablet so he can watch movies.

The Sunjack 14W Portable Charger comes with a 8000mAh fast charge battery. I love this for day hikes. I can take the fast charge battery and leave the solar charger behind. There is enough for a couple of charges for my cell phone on the fast charge battery. For camping or multi-day hikes, the solar charger has two USB ports so I  fast charge battery and plug my phone directly into the solar panels at the same time. That way the fast charge battery can be used on another device when I get back to camp.

Also included with the portable charger are two carabiner clips. These work great for attaching the solar charger to the outside of my backpack which allows the solar panels to work while I'm on the go.

I'm amazed that the battery charges my electronic devices as quickly as if they were plugged into a wall outlet.

The only drawback about the solar charger is the extra weight during a multi-day backpacking trip. While two pounds doesn't sound like that big of a deal, it is when I'm trying to keep my pack light. Still, I would rather have the added weight of the solar charger and skimp somewhere else.

Rating:  ★★★★★

FTC Dislcosure: I received the product at no charge in exchange for an honest review. No monetary compensation was received and as always, I retain the right to review the product based upon actual experience.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Say Hello To Summer Hydration and Replenishment With Oxylent: Review and Giveaway

Products received at no charge in exchange for an honest.

With summer season here, my family and I participate in even more outdoor activities. We especially love hiking, mountain biking, and water sports. What we don't love is the increased sweating that comes with it. Ironically, I'm the one who sweats the most and lose essential minerals every time. I can feel it on my face and arms with the salt crystals that form after a good workout. Coupled with the fact that I have an autoimmune disease that makes swallowing hard, I'm always on the lookout for products that will replenish the vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes without the big pills that are nearly impossible for me to swallow.
It's literally Oxylent to the rescue for me.

Oxylent gives me the vitamins and mineral my body needs while supplying hydration at the same time. The award winning supplement drink comes in easy to use powder that dissolves easily in water. The canister works well at home and the packets are great for traveling or hiking. Oxylent products are artificial free as well as sugar, gluten, dairy and soy free. That way I don't have to worry about getting a lot of extra calories when I drink Oxylent. Instead, I get a great blend of enzymes, electrolytes, amino acids, and antioxidants along with my vitamins and minerals.

Really, the only drawback for me is some of the flavors have a stronger vitamin flavor than others. For example, I don't love the blackberry pomegranate flavor but I'll still take it any day over big pills I can't swallow or even chewable or gummy vitamins.

My absolute favorite of all the Oxylent products is the Sport Oxylent. The Bluberry Burst flavor tastes awesome and not too sweet. One of these in my hiking pack makes a great recovery drink. It's so much better than a sugary sports drink and much easier to carry. I can put a collapsable bottle in my pack, add the Sport Oxylent, and fill it with the water in my bladder. Or I just carry an extra water bottle with me. I can quickly replace the electrolytes I lose through sweat and it helps me feel energized again. When I'm fatigued at the top of a peak or at the end of my hike, I look forward to downing a bottle of the Sport Oxylent. It has earned a permanent place in my trail running pack and with space being a premium, that is really a complement.

Oxylent also makes a Children's Multivitamin. They come in a Berry Bubbly Punch flavor that will add pizzazz to water while giving children the vitamins and minerals to support the growing bones and muscles and will help support their immune system. When my kids were younger, I could never get them to take vitamins but putting it drink form and giving it to them after a hot day outside would have worked. 

Taste Rating: ★★★★☆
Convenience Rating: ★★★★★

Want to try Oxylent?

My readers can get a 15% discount on the OXYLENT WEBSITE with code sunoxylent2016. Hurry, this offer expires August 31, 2016
Also, if you call direct 1-877-Oxylent, you buy one canister and get another free (canisters only).

Giveaway Details

Oxylent has generously offered to give one of my lucky readers the same pack I received in the first photo in this post. This includes:
1 Oxylent Canister
Sport Oxylent - 15 day supply
Children's Oxylent - 30 day supply
Oxylent - 7 day supply
Oxylent Blender Bottle 
Oxylent Lip Balm

Use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the form and agree to them. Contest ends 7/3/2016 at 11:59 EST.

FTC Disclosure: Product received at no charge to facilitate review. No monetary compensation was received. As always, my review is based upon my actual experience with the product.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 10, 2016

Enjoying Summer at the Lake with SwimWays Spring Float Recliner

This post was sponsored by SwimWays as part of an Activation for Influence Central. I received products to facilitate my review.

Summer time in our family involves numerous trips to the lake. Besides boating, water skiing and paddle boarding, we also like relaxing. With temperatures already in the 90's in Utah, we need all of the relief we can get from the hot sun. With SwimWays Spring Float Recliner we can relax and stay cool at the same time.

I don't enjoy floatable mats that force me above the water. Those types of mats are hot and sticky. Baking in the sun is not my thing. I scored when I received the SwimWays Spring Float Recliner to review. It has so many of the features I wish I could find in every floaty. I love that I can sit upright. With the back support, I don't have to worry that my back will get tired from laying flat. It's really comfortable and stable.. I can get on it without tipping over. The patented inner spring keeps it stable. Kalina tried tipping it at the lake and never could. She put her dog on the recliner with her and had no problems staying afloat, even when he moved around. 

Also included is a cup holder. Since I suffer from dry mouth from a chronic illness, I always have to keep a bottle of water with me, even when I'm in the water. I don't have to worry about getting dehydrated. Another feature I like is the fabric covering around the inflatable areas. The fabric keeps my arms from sticking to the sides.

The best part of the SwimWays Spring Float Recliner is that it has a mesh seat that sits down into the water. Finally! An awesome feature that makes cooling off in the lake a lot more fun. Even better,we made new friends at the lake and we loved sharing our recliner with the. We're not really sure if  our friends like us because we have a cool floaty or because we're cool.

The SwimWays Spring Float Recliner can be purchased at Walmart. I hate it when I see a new product on the internet but can't find it at my local retailer,  especially when I want it now.

We also love using the float recliner in our pool. We've discovered our new favorite lounge chair. Too bad our new friend doesn't come with it.

Our stylish new friend.
Product Rating: ★★★★★

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Falling in Love with Coconut Thanks to Hail Merry Bites: Review

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

My daughter has a lot of digestion issues and can't eat gluten, dairy, or meat. I want to get away from eating a lot of overly processes foods with ingredients I can't pronounce. It's hard to find snacks to share with my daughter that we both feel good about. The Hail Merry™ Merry Bites are made with virgin coconut oil and almond flour which makes them gluten free. They are also dairy free and certified clean so I don't have to worry about offering it to Kalina (not that I wanted to after trying them).

Not surprisingly, my favorite flavor is the Dark Chocolate Macaroon. The cocoa gives the coconut flavor a run for its money. With all of the other flavors, the coconut is the dominant flavor. Not so with the dark chocolate. The flavors complement each other. I love the taste of dark chocolate mixed with coconut,

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor is also amazing. It was all I could do to keep from eating the whole bag.  Even though the Merry Bites are made with all natural ingredients, they still have to be consumed in moderation as they are not low calorie. Good luck with that moderation thing.

The Lemon Macaroon flavor was the hardest  to describe and get used to. I've never had lemon mixed with coconut before. However, I ended up liking the taste together but did wish there was a little stronger lemon flavor.

I also got to try the Pure Vanilla Macaroon, Caramel Sea Salt and the Salted Brownie flavors. My least favorite of all was the pure vanilla but even then, I still liked it. It was more fun to try all of the flavors enjoy how they paired with the coconut oil. I loved the Salted Brownie almost as much as the dark chocolate.

The hardest thing with the Merry Bites™ is having to give up any of them. My son snapped a goofy picture of me while he was trying to take them away. We compromised a little and I gave him some of the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough if he promised to leave the Dark Chocolate alone. In retrospect, I should have found a good hiding place.

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet  program, 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. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Mt. Aire in Millcreek Canyon: 3 of 13 Peak Goal 2016

Top of Mt. Aire

Sometimes there aren't enough words to describe what it's like to stand on the peak of a mountain and  take in the views. Getting to the top is usually hard but always worth it. My thirteen peak goal for 2016 has been more challenging that I thought. With the year almost halfway over and the fact I've only climbed three peaks, I realize it's time to put the pressure on myself and do at least one a week for the entire summer. 

Overlooking Parley's Canyon Road from Mt. Aire

Mt. Aire in Millcreek Canyon, Utah makes a great day hike for those like me who want to bag a peak but don't always have time to spend more than 4 hours doing so.

               Getting there:

The hike begins at the Elbow Fork parking area about 6.4 miles up Millcreek Canyon if hiking after July 1. However, I went over Memorial Day Weekend when the snow gate was closed to the upper canyon and had to park in the parking area by the gate. The parking area at the gate is bigger than Elbow Fork. I walked a mile and a half walk up the road from the gate to Elbow Fork where a sign marks the trail entrance.

The Mt. Aire trail starts at the same place as the Lambs Canyon Trail but splits off to the left .25 from the beginning of the trailhead. The trail is well marked. While it's just under two miles, it is steep most of the way and will present a challenge for beginners and may be too hard for younger children.

The first part of the hike is steep but shaded. About .75 from the first fork, there will be another fork. At this point, make a right and head toward the peak. Be prepared with sunscreen as the last .75 mile is more exposed.

The peak sits atop a rocky area. At 8641 feet, it offers spectacular views of Parley's Canyon, Mt. Olympus, the Salt Lake Vally and Big and Little Cottonwood Skylines. With just under 2 miles from the trail head each way, it can be done in under three hours and gives the thrill of summiting a mountain.

My favorite time to climb Mt. Aire is after the snow melts in spring but before the snow gate opens on July 1. This way I enjoy the beauty of the shade. I also get an extra mile and a half each way of walking or running up the road. It's nice to get the road without the traffic. Dogs are allowed in Millcreek Canyon and on Mt. Aire but must be on a leash on even days and always on a leash in the parking areas.