Saturday, April 23, 2011

Zion with Alan...awesome day!!

No visit to St George would be complete without a trip to Zion National Park.  Last time I was here I was lucky enough to go to Zion National Park with a few of the Fitness Ridge campers on a Sunday.  We took our rent a car up through the tunnel and hiked to the overlook.  We followed it up with a bus ride through the river walk hike.

This year, I knew I wanted to take Alan to the overlook, so we headed up the mountain through the 1 mile tunnel and parked on the other side.  This is a fairly easy walk to the viewpoint, but can be rather intimidating for those afraid of heights.  Unlike last year, we continued our way to the other end of the park and found a few spots that couldn't be missed.

At every turn there is something to see, and this side is tamer for hiking.  The sandstone mountains called out to us and we stopped at some interesting looking rock formations.  What a difference a year can make, I never would have thought I could be pulling over and climbing mountains, but that is what Fitness Ridge did for me last year.

Following up this hike, we headed back towards the main entrance but quickly were lured into another beautiful spot, full of slots with silty water flowing through it.  It was so beautiful, I may have taken a few more pictures than usual.  As we hiked as far as we could, we heard voices from within the slots when suddenly 2 heads appeared from beneath us.  Turns out there is water hiking also up there and you can wear wet suits and climb through the water filled slots.  Another time, this could be amazing adventure.

This was the first opportunity I had to eat Mexican in Utah and we found a quaint little Mexican restaurant just outside the park.  The food was excellent and the scenery was breath taking, with views of the Zion mountains at every angle.

Hiking in Zion has made me want to go hike my wedding location, The Grand Canyon.  My one trip to the Grand Canyon was walking the grounds of Shoshone Point to an arch were I professed my love for Alan.  We are now excited at a future trip to the Grand Canyon, for hiking.

Well, although I have yet to blog about my last day in Utah, my flight is ready to board so I will sign off.  Have a wonderful day and make it great because this is the only "today" you have.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Back to the Camels Back

This is one of the harder hikes to find again when you are not with the wonderful hiking staff at Fitness Ridge.  I had googled and found someone who gave directions to where to go and it did get us to the general area of where to start our hike.

Alumni, Teresa and her husband Tom joined us on this hike, and it was interesting trying to find the beginning.  Its easy enough to find the vicinity, which is Bluff towards Veyo, and turning on the dirt road just before Veyo volcano, then following the road 4.8 miles, just passed the electric station to the trail mark.  We missed the directions beyond the electric station, but after about 30 minutes we found the trail mark.  It was disturbing when we tried a road that was a graveyard for cattle.  They must dispose of their sick cattle down this one road and there were many carcasses and shot gun shells.
So you want to be sure you hit the right road for parking.

The trail is pretty steep from where you park to the creek, but as soon as I got to the creek I remembered the trail.  I was grateful that the creek was low it made crossing much easier than my last hike there with Fitness Ridge.  We followed the trail markers, but as we went up the mountain it seemed that the markers were gone.  Tom is an excellent hiker and he found our way to the vortex even though he had never been there before.  Unfortunately the knees were not great so I knew the vortex was out of the question. Alan was very excited about going in and followed Teresa down inside.  It was too late in the day for the shadow pictures (sob) but at least the vortex was dry.
That vortex was once again intimidating for me, and once again I stayed above.  It was around 1PM when we were up there and the winds were fierce making me wish I brought a jacket....burrr.....

The camels back was something I didn't do when I was at Fitness Ridge, but I was determined, bad knees or not I was going to the top.  It was great getting to the top of that hump and having my husband with me made it only the better.

With focus on health, the 4 of us went to Carl's Jr for lunch where we all had turkey burgers.  We followed it up with wheat grass shots at the local juice establishment.  It was awesome seeing Teresa, who was only in town for 2 days, and awesome meeting her husband, Tom.  Fitness Ridge makes new friends, old friends as we plan to stay in touch and get together again.

Before my trip to Fitness Ridge, I never would have thought I would be climbing mountains, and pushing myself harder and higher, but you gain confidence and want to keep moving.  I am so grateful for my time there, and look forward to going back and also want to try Malibu's BL Resort.

Never underestimate the power of YOU!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I am really enjoying being able to go on a hike, and follow it up with another hike.  Tuesday was far from teary starting our day at the parking lot at Piano Rock.  The cost to park inside Snow Canyon is $6.00 for the day which was great allowing us to move the car from here to there.

With going on Piano Rock straight from the parking lot, we were able to "mountain hop"...Piano Rock is named for its protruding black rock that looks similar to a piano from down on the ground.  Last year I took a picture with 3 Fitness Ridger's as we held our hands in the air looking as though we were about to bob sled down the mountain on that same rock.  This year I took a solo pose.

Alan was in awe of the sandstone mountains and we challenged ourselves to go on many of them.  We bumped into Fitness Ridge campers and guides along the way, but always managed to be on each mountain just the two of us.  One of my most intense climbs has been what they call stairmaster, which is a very steep climb.  The climb up is not the thing I find intense though, its the climb down which offers a narrow steep climb if you choose that path.  Scary and exhilarating.

We went to Butterfly rock and pretended to be the body between the wings, then headed to the tallest of the red mountains surrounding the area.  I have no idea what the name of the mountain is, but I will say it was high and steep.  It is just amazing heading here and there and wherever we wanted all day long

We moved the car down lower in the canyon and hiked hidden pinyon and the 3 pools, all the way I hoped to find what was called the fern gully by many ridge campers.  Unfortunately, the walk which requires a good 25 minutes of walking in thick red sand did not lead us to the gully or the slot I was hoping to show Alan.  It was an exhausting walk and so like the few others we saw along the trail we found lil spots of shade to rest before the treacherous return walk.

When hiking in the desert, the rule is to NOT hike between 1-4PM, and once again we found ourselves hiking in prime heat time, which this week has been mid 80's each day.  The sand is similar to beach sand when it comes to its thickness and wearing hiking shoes protects them from the heat, but it wears on your feet and ankles quickly.

Last night after a good soaking in the tub we met up with one of my best buds from Fitness Ridge, Teresa and her husband.  Getting together it felt like we were together last month, not an entire year ago.  We went to a yogurt place for dessert offering 10 calories an ounce, now that rocked.  Dinner lead to us planning a trip to hike camelback the following day together.  Camelback is the one hike that I was really happy to not do alone as it is challenging and has less trail markers.  Tomorrow's post will be all about that adventure.

As I end my evening relaxed and accomplished today I am so grateful I have found passion in hiking, and am thrilled that Alan shares my love for it as well.  Life is a journey don't ever neglect it by watching it pass you by.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 2 - Freelancing with the hubby!

Day 2 was questionable for storms, and I want to work Alan's way up to harder hike.  I chose Anasazi for hiking which is the mountains just behind Biggest Loser Resort.  Unfortunately I headed up the mountain early and was greeted by barbed wire.  Being adventurous we decided to slide under the fence and found ourselves doing it 3 times.  When we reached the top Alan was an awe of the view, offering rigid rocks off the sides of the cliffs at elevations of 3000 feet. 

Along our hike I spotted the bright green hiking wear that the guides at Fitness Ridge sport.  I told Alan the number one person I wanted to see was Marjorie, both trainer n hiking guide and my personal favorite.  First person I came into contact with was Marjorie.  I gave her a HUGE hug and told her I missed her.  Watching the new people on their first hike, being Monday...brought back memories for me, especially since that was my first hike as well. 

I took Alan to the rocks along the edge to show him the petroglyphs which are drawings carved into the mountains by prehistoric people.  I then took him by the dig sight where they found a 1,000 year old house, or its remains.

After our hike we went to Fitness Ridge where I gave him the grand tour and he saw people in a outdoor swim class being ran by Tiffany.  Then Nicole was doing stretch (my fav) and one of my favorite hiking guides moved up to trainer and was teaching mountain class.  We saw the massive building being constructed which will be completed in June.  We went to the pro shop for some good hiking socks and electrolytes for our camelbacks.  Cody was there, it was great to see him.  I bumped into the owners who were probably not happy to see me, since I was staying at another spa but oh well, variety is good and I do plan on going back to Fitness Ridge.

After a lil grocery shopping for lunch n breakfast food we came back to the room had lunch then headed out for hike #2 - Chuckwalla.  Chuckwalla is very different then Anasazi, red mountains with views of St George, including the "high school musical" school.  I was extremely disappointed to find a geo cash was missing from atop of the high peak.

I must note the wild life this trip is amazing, much more so than last year.   I am thinking the animals come out later in the day and I was never out late when I was here last year.  I have seen multiple road runners, bunnies and lizards.  On Chuckwalla there were a lot of rock climbers, and I don't think that is really my cup of tea, but it was cool to watch them.

It was a long day of hiking yesterday and we had our dinner at a local restaurant were we ate sensibly, its hard to think of pigging out when you see your calorie burn.  We burned 3500 calories yesterday, we rocked it! 

Alan says I am kicking his butt, then I remind him how we could be hiking followed by multiple fitness classes, like at the Biggest Loser resort...then he says we are all crazy to do all that.  Haha...
how do I explain the pleasure of it all?  I guess that is for us alumni to know.

Tomorrow I will tell you about our crazy Tuesday and the many hikes we went on.  Alan Rocked it all~

Monday, April 18, 2011

A New Adventure with the Hubby!

My decision to postpone my trip to the biggest loser resort was made since Alan is on reruns and would be sitting at home while I was away for the 2 weeks.  We have found that we share a passion for hiking, and while I was in Utah the year before all I could think of is sharing the hikes with him.  I will go back to Fitness Ridge and hope to even experience the new one in Malibu.  But this time it was going to be a shared adventure with Alan.  We booked the Red Mountain Resort just down from Snow Canyon, home of many a great hikes.  Our original plan was to pay for the meal plan, hiking, and fitness program.  Our plans changed when we checked in as we decided to have me be our personal guide.  Meals can be purchased ala carte and we rented a villa with a kitchen so we bought healthy breakfast and lunch foods. 

We had made the decision that Sunday we would conquer the legendary stop sign hike.  After checking in we were so antsy about doing stop sign we headed out in the high heat of the day.  "NEVER a good idea".  We filled our camelback's with icy water and drove down the road to the parking lot just below entering the canyon.  When we arrived at the guards gate they hit us up for $4.00 but then immediately refunded us when they saw our Red Mtn room key.  As we started out on our path to the top of Snow Canyon I warned Alan that it doesn't get really hard till you hit the main road some 3 miles from where we started.  The scenery is absolutely breath taking and this is a hike you can  look around and not worry about tripping.  Alan was my model along the way on some of my favorite spots on the path.   Sure enough Alan was whipped by the second half of the stop sign hike.  We hug that damn sign for a reason!  I warned him that the road feels as though it will never end.   To try and comprehend this treacherous hike, understand you walk from the bottom of Snow Canyon, to the top.  Of course our car was 5 miles back from stop sign making it about a 10 mile hike in 85 degree heat.  That hike kicked my butt, I was wiped out and couldn't begin to conceive blogging yesterday.  We burned 1200 calories on the hike, and I absolutely LOVED having Alan do it with me.  We rocked the rocks!...well truthfully we never climbed a rock yesterday.

It was very different having to make our own food choices and Sunday there is very few places that stay open late and many more that don't open on Sunday.  We did great on our food choices, its hard to want to add a bunch of calories to your diet when you do that kind of work out. 

No blogging, no computer of any kind, I slipped in to my bed rather quickly on our return from dinner knowing morning comes early in the desert if you want to be hiking in cooler weather.

Tomorrow I will blog about today since I am feeling pretty pooped after doing not 1 but 2 hikes until is an adventure don't just read about it, live it.