Sunday, August 28, 2016

Hidden Peak in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah: 2016 Peak Goal 11 of 13

Hidden Peak is the most visited peak in Utah and it's not because it is the peak with the most hikers. The Snowbird Tram lets off a multitude of skiers every year between December and April which accounts for the number of people who visit this peak. I've been to the top many times as a skier but this August was the first time I've hiked to the peak. Lucky for me, it is across the ridge line from Mt. Baldy, making it easy to get to on the same hike.

Getting There:
While the peak can be accessed from Snowbird Resort, the easiest way to get there is from the Cecret Lake trail head. At the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon Road is a dirt road that begins at the end of the pavement. Take the dirt road to the top parking lot. On a weekend, I would suggest parking in the paved lot and taking the shuttle bus. Follow the Cecret Lake Trail to the lake. At the lake, turn right and look for a trail that goes toward a dirt road. Hike to the dirt road, then follow the trail underneath the Sugarloaf lift. The dirt road will also take you to the top of the lift but will add distance. At the top of Sugarloaf lift, go right toward Mt. Baldy. Take the trail to the summit of Mt. Baldy and hike the ridge line to Hidden Peak.

Ridge line Mt. Baldy to Hidden Peak

Honestly, Hidden Peak has been my least favorite peak this year. All of the structures on top of the peak make for a bit of an eyesore. Nevertheless, the views of the surrounding peaks are breathtaking. For those who want to make a day out of it, the restaurant is open during the summer months and can make a nice lunch instead of the usual hiking fare.
Top of Hidden Peak

I wanted to run on the way back so I dropped onto the dirt road back side of Hidden peak and ran toward Sugarloaf lift instead of taking the ridge line back. It's about a 5 mile round trip and can be done in about 2-3 hours. 

Hiking two peaks in one day has been a sure way to get my 13 peaks in fast. It's the end of August and I've actually completed my goal but can't write about the peaks fast enough. Coming up next: Mt. Raymond and Gobbler's Knob.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Happy 100th Birthday: Sharing the Memories with the National Park Service

Dear National Park Service: Thank you or the many years of happy memories. Happy Birthday!

Bryce Canyon

Almost all of my favorite vacation memories come from visiting our nation's treasures, our national parks. My earliest memory was seeing a shadow of a bear outside our family's tent as a little girl at Yellowstone National Park

With my sisters at the Grand Canyon

One of my favorite photos with my sisters features the Grand Canyon in the background.
Angel's Landing at Zion's National Park

I've grown up with outdoor beauty and love the fact that I live in a state with plenty of National Parks. How lucky I feel to get to hike Angel's Landing in Zion National Park or paddle board with my own daughter and sons at Lake Powell in Glen Canyon National Park.

I even get to go caving in Timpanogos Cave with my boys where they get to learn in a fun way what a column is.

When my family visits San Francisco, we get to see the amazing Golden Gate Bridge 

Or how about a mother daughter trip to New York and a visit to the Statue of Liberty?

Really, the only thing that is more fun that visiting the national parks is the family and friends I get to visit them with. I once asked all three of my kids if they would like to visit Disneyland or Lake Powell for vacation. All of them said Lake Powell. 

At the edge of Bryce Canyon

Havasupai Tribal Land, Grand Canyon

I would love to hear from my readers. Please leave a comment telling me your favorite National Park memories

Mt. Baldy in Little Cottonwood Canyon: 2016 Peak Goal 10 of 13

The nice thing about hiking the peaks in Little Cottonwood Canyon is that many of them are close enough together to easily bag two or even three peaks in one hike. Such is the case with Mt. Baldy. It sits in close proximity to both Sugarloaf Peak and Hidden Peak. I was going to do all three in one day but got sick and only did Sugarloaf Peak the first day. However, I was able to accomplish Mt. Baldy and Hidden Peak in one day, thus moving toward my 2016 goal much faster than expected.

Getting There

The easiest route to Mt. Baldy is to follow the dirt road at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon Road to the very top and park at the Cecret Lake Trailhead. I never find parking there so I usually park 1/2 mile before at the lot across from the Catherine's Park Trailhead. Follow the Cecret Lake Trailhead to the lake. At the lake, follow the trail to the right on the north shore of the lake and veer right to head up toward the dirt road. Follow the dirt road for just a bit to the trail right under the Sugarloaf chair lift. Hike to the top of the lift. At this point, turn right and head west toward Mt. Baldy. There is a rocky, steep climb at the first but ends up a fairly easy steady climb to the peak.

As with many peaks, there is a cell phone tower at the top and since it is a ski area, I wasn't surprised to find a ski patrol sled. I didn't take it for a ride but I did enjoy the incredible views. 

Once on top, I eyed my Hidden Peak, my next adventure. Just southwest of Mt. Baldy, Hidden Peak is less than a mile away and is an easy hike along the ridge line. It's also easy to find as the Snowbird Tram ends on the peak. It's hiking days like this that make my thirteen peak goal attainable and fun. For those who want to turn around after hiking Mt. Baldy, it is a four mile round trip of intermediate hiking. I try to add trail running whenever I can and had no trouble running most of the trail on the way back. Since the peak sits at 11,068 feet, I got amazing views on top. I'm already wishing I had made my goal a little more challenging. In fact, I'm going to add three peaks to my goal to make 16 for 2016.

View of Hidden Peak from Mt. Baldy

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Don't Recreate Without a First Aid Kit: Product Review #signatureredcase

Product received at a discount in exchange for an honest review.
I can't count how many times I am hiking, mountain biking or doing some other outdoor activity and scrape my arm or leg on a rock. While I don't always have room in my pack for an entire first aid kit, it is nice to have have a few bandages on hand and a first aid kit back at the car.

The Oak Tree Marketplace First Aid Kit is a great basic first aid kit to take on longer hikes or to leave in the car. For the price point, I am impressed with how many different size bandages this contains. It also contains quite a few alcohol prep pads, an emergency blanket a gauze roll, safety pins, scissors, tweezers, and an emergency whistle. It's the perfect starter kit with plenty of space to add additional items. I am adding ibuprofen tablets to mine. I'm also adding a larger roll of tape as the one included is on the small size.

I'm impressed with the scissors. Most first aid kits in this price range contain tiny scissors that can hardly cut through the gauze. The scissors in this kit not only cut through gauze but can cut through clothing as well. The tweezers included in this kit are a nice metal instead of plastic like I've seen in other kits. They're a great addition since I often get slivers in my fingers hiking that can't be removed without tweezers.

The case is the size of medium size book and is waterproof. Because it has a little harder shell for the waterproof material, it is a little bulkier than some but easily fits into a day pack. I like that it doesn't take a lot of space in my car and I plan on leaving it there. We have several high school mountain bike races coming up and I'm sure I'll need it. The price for this kit is fair. I would have a hard time putting one together for much cheaper. Overall, an excellent basic first aid kit for the outdoor enthusiast.

FTC Disclosure:  I received the product in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Summit Sugarloaf Peak, Alta Utah: Peak Goal 9 of 13

As I get nearer to my goal of 13 peaks for the 2016 year, I'm feeling proud of getting near my goal. I'm also feeling frustrated that I can't get out more than I am. Every day I'm at work, I get antsy that I'm not climbing a peak. I'm so lucky to live in such close proximity to many peaks which helps make  meeting my goal easier.

Sugarloaf Peak

I admit, Sugarloaf Peak is an easier 11,000 ft peak to hike. The trailhead sits at an already high elevation meaning the hike to the peak isn't too far.

The Trail

The easiest way to get to Sugarloaf Peak is via Albion Basin Cecret Lake Trailhead. Take Little Cottonwood Canyon Road to the top at Alta Ski Resort. On weekends it is best to park at the top at take the shuttle bus to the trailhead. On weekdays, drive past the paved parking to and up the dirt road. There is small parking lot at the end by the campground. I like to park at the first lot across from Catherine's pass and hike the extra 1/2 mile to the trailhead. It's usually easier to find parking at the first lot. 

Take the Cecret Lake Trail to the lake which is just under one mile. At the lake, veer right around the north shore and onto the trail toward the dirt road. There is also a trail that is directly across the lake but it is harder and rockier. Hike up to the dirt road. At this point, the easiest and most direct route is to head west on the trail underneath the Sugarloaf lift. I had a hard time finding it at first but it became visible as I left the road under the lift. I had to contour west around a buttress or outcrop.
At the top of the Sugarloaf lift, the trail to the north ridge and peak is on the left.

The trail becomes rocky at exposed near the peak but it's easy to follow. Be careful on the rocks. They can be unstable. One moved out from underneath me, causing me to fall and cut my leg. Luckily, it wasn't major and I was able to finish my hike.

It can get windy on the top but it's worth the reward. It's only about a mile and a half each way. I added some extra mileage by trail running on the road. Since it is a shorter hike, Mt. Baldy and/or Devil's Castle can be added for a multi peak day. I slipped on a rock at the ridge and ended up with a bloody leg and a migraine so I nixed the idea. However, I looking over Mt. Baldy and Hidden Peak, I found my next two peaks.

Cecret Lake
On the way down, I made sure I stopped at Cecret Lake along with the many other hikers. I loved the view from up above but loved it better from the lake. Sugarloaf is a great peak to bag on a day when I only had a two to three hours to spare.