Weekend Recap

camping, dinosaur national monument, flaming gorge, flaming river gorge, I went outside, life, starvation lake, starvation reservoir

I've been itching to go camping for the last month or so, and when it came up in conversation, Lauren and I jumped at the chance to make it happen.  

She plotted our route to Flaming Gorge, one to Dinosaur National Monument with a finish at Starvation Reservoir. The weather was perfect, camping spots were great and the roads were free and clear. We could not have asked for much more.


Flaming Gorge 


Green River leaving Flaming Gorge


Dinosaur National Monument at The Quarry (that's Lauren)


The storm we had been leapfrogging with, finally got away from it


When we found  our campsite we immediately took our dinner and happy hour to the water front to watch the sunset and enjoy the cool breeze.


And what a beautiful sunset it was!


And I was glad to be home with running water, flush toilets and this little corn dog.


School starts in a week. It's hard to believe that the summer is over already.  It's time to buckle down again and get back to the books.  The summer has been great and I really needed it, but I'm ready to get back down to business.


the narrows and dreams 15 years old

backpacking, camping, Happy Travels, hiking, I went outside, photography, Temple of Sinawava, The Narrows, Utah, Wall Street, Zion National Park

Preface: This is way more sentimental than usual but I dedicate this hike to my dear friend Eileen. For dreaming with me when we were teenagers about the adventures we would have, and for introducing me to Zion National Park in the first place.


I write this as we travel the five hours back to Salt Lake City.  My shoulders, back and hips are tired and sore. So sore. As my body chills out and begins to relax into the seat, other spots on my legs and arms become the focus, finally speaking up to complain about their bumps and scrapes.

I have a distinct memory of standing in the Temple of Sinawava at 13 years old looking down the paved trail to the entrance of The Narrows.

“It's really hard,” I remember Eileen saying. “My dad said you stay overnight and camp. Carry everything with you. That's where you come out,” she said, pointing up the river to the people walking around in the water.


We were in awe of the challenge of it all.  The thought of trooping through the canyons, seeing the mystery that was held from two teenage girls who just wanted to grow up and have some adventure.

My thoughts continued to flash back 15 years during the 1.5 hour van ride to the trail head.  I was finally doing this.  Five months of planning, 15 years in the making, only hours to go.


There were so many beautiful sights and I could not take enough pictures. I was constantly coming around a bend or seeing a new beam of light that I wanted a picture of. But I am grateful to have the pictures I did take, knowing that some of the most beautiful sights were not captured on a memory card in a camera, but are reserved for only me to remember.

The first day we hiked 11 miles to our designated camp site. About mile 8 or 9 I had experienced enough and was quite done. But with a few miles to go I switched into putting one foot in front of the other and just going. Trudging along, I realized that I would have followed Lauren and Josh right to the end if they decided to keep going. But I'm glad they didn't, it would have been an additional five miles past the campsite.

There was a specific moment when I was far enough behind them that I would catch a glimpse of them just before they rounded a corner or went behind a rock out of sight. I had a funny thought. Y'know that part in Lord of the Rings when Gollum is following Frodo and Sam-Wise into Mordor and he just close enough to make them feel like they're being followed but far enough away to stay out of sight? Yeah, I was Gollum.  And I was so tired at that moment that I had to stop walking mid-stream so I wouldn't fall down with laughter.


When we reached camp all 12 of us peeled off wet boots and socks. Everyone moved a bit slower, more deliberately, conserving energy. There wasn't much conversation since everyone was so focused on their reconstituted meals. Exhausted and with food in our bellies we all called it a day before it was dark.

Curled in my tent listening to the river below and the crickets above I slept as sound as I did when I was a teenager and could fall asleep anywhere.

With a slow start in the morning we broke camp and headed out to finish the last five miles.  The trek was long and exhausting. With a tired body and sore feet I finished the 16 miles, walking barefoot for the last stretch on the paved trail. One of the best choices of the whole trip. 

This was my first backpacking trip and I would call it a success.  Not only did I survive, I have minimal bumps and scrapes.  I'm a bit sore but it's the type of sore that I love, a gentle reminder that I used my body, flexed and stretched my muscles and experienced something wonderful. Because of that I feel no pain.

While the trip was amazing, beautiful and totally worth all the planning, anxiety and stress, those won't be the things I will remember the most. I will remember that moment, walking through Wall Street, exhausted, and finally stopping to look around me realizing where I was. Knowing that my 13 year old self was cheering me on because I was actually doing it. Something that I've wanted to do for half my life, I was doing it. And that moment of reconnecting is priceless. That reconnection is what I went to find and I feel lucky that I found it.


And now I have the urge, as I do at the end of all my adventures, to plan the next one. There are so many wonderful places within a half day's drive that I haven't been to. I look forward to exploring them all while I still have the chance.

fisher towers

Arches National Park, camping, fisher towers, girls camping, girls' trip, I went outside, Moab, outdoors, photography

After our jont into Arches National Park and lunch, we headed up River Road to Fisher Towers.  The hike was highly suggested so we decided to head out off the beaten path to see what it was all about.  It was 5 miles round trip and we throughly enjoyed it.  With the combination of soft sand, rocks, ice and snow, steep climbes and a ladder down it was quite the hike! 










We met up with Lauren's long time friend Kate at breakfast. Kate and her dog Emma hiked Fisher Towers with us and it was so fun to have them along.

After the hike we waved good bye to Kate and Emma and hopped into the car ourselves.  After a long drive home, we were finally able to shower and sleep in warm cozy beds. I absolutely love being outside and adventuring, but it sure is nice to sleep in a warm bed too.

sunrise in arches

Arches National Park, camping, girls camping, girls' trip, I went outside, Moab, outdoors, photography

We got up Sunday morning to the sound of an alarm. Yes, we set it on purpose.  We decided to head into the park early to watch the sunrise among the arches. And that was a good idea.



After the sun came up a bit, we headed further into the park.  We stopped at Balanced Rock.




The next stop was at The Windows.  We decided to get out and do the short walk around them to try and warm us up.  With coffee and cameras in hand, we headed out to hopefully feel the sunshine warm our faces. It mostly worked.






It really was a beautiful morning.  And once the feeling returned to my toes and my fingers stopped hurting, I really enjoyed it.



arches national park

Arches National Park, camping, girls camping, girls' trip, I went outside, Moab, outdoors, photography

The morning after staying in Goblin Valley, we packed up and headed the few hours to Arches National Park and Moab in southeast Utah. Arches has made the list of my top 5 favorite national parks. The landscape is so interesting and beautiful, every time I turned around I saw something new. “Wow” is something I said A LOT.








The only hike we did that afternoon was the one to Delicate Arch. We made the 1.5 mile trek in a record time of 30 minutes. Not sure what got into me but I lead the charge up the hill.  I think I was so excited to finally see it that I just went, not really thinking about how fast we were going. But no worries, since we made it up just fine.  

After the arch we went up River Road to Red Cliffs Lodge to see the Castle Creek Winery, but alas, it was closed for the season.  We did go in to the lodge to ask a few questions, and soon found ourselves in an obscure Moab Movie Museum. It was a commemoration of the movies and commercials made in the beautiful Utah desert, including John Wayne movies, Indiana Jones, and MacGyver. 

We soon headed back toward town for dinner, then headed back up the road a few miles to a campground.  Because it was so cold in Goblin Valley the night before, and Lauren's sleeping bag zipper was broken, we laid the seats flat in Dani's Honda Fit and all three of us snuggled up in the back. Snug as bugs. Though, lesson learned on not cracking a window to allow more oxygen in to the car. We all woke up the next morning short of breath and too warm. 

What an adventure!