Mount Olympus

adventure date: August 21st, 2014

distance: 7.5 miles
elevation gain: 4,060 ft
difficulty: difficult
exposure: sun for the first mile, then shade until the exposed scramble to the summit
season: late spring, summer, fall
tip: watch out for rattle snakes & bring PLENTY of water!
getting there: from 1215 (east) take Exit 5 for 4500 S. Head sound on Wasatch Boulevard until about 5800 S. There is an unmarked paved road on your left leading up the hillside to the parking lot. Trailhead sign will be on the south end of the parking lot. Make sure you follow the signs for Mount Olympus Wilderness when the trail crosses Bonneville Shoreline

Get ready for buns of steel, Mount Olympus is a beast! It's like hopping on a stair-stepper for 5 hours. Mount Olympus is always peering down on the Salt Lake Valley, with its purple quartzite slabs reaching towards the sky it seems unclimbable to those on the valley floor. However, it is climbable and its totally worth it.

This hike is steep from the beginning. The first 100 yards lets you know what to expect for the rest of the hike. So, if you can't handle those first 100 yards you may want to pick another hike. You wind your way up the foothills of the Bonneville Shoreline where you already have great views of the city below. If you are hiking this in the summer make sure you start early because there is NO shade for the first little bit and it is HOT. The first time I hiked this a few years back we started late and didn't pack enough water. We ran out about 2/3 UP and had to finish and hike and the decent with no water. My mouth was drier than sand. I've never been so thirsty, it was miserable. So don't do that. :)

The trail doesn't ease up as you work your way into Tolcats Canyon and towards the summit. Here you can escape the sun in the shade cast by the trees and shrubbery. There is a wonderful rest stop where a creek crosses the trail, if you're into that sort of thing.

When you reach the saddle be sure to take a second to take in the view over the eastern side of the saddle, you don't want to miss it! You pass through the last of the trees then reach the base of the peak and begin your scramble to the rocky summit. It is a class 3 scramble that doesn't require any movements that are too technical. Still be careful and cautious of your footing because you would not want to slip, it would be quite the tumble. Also, be alert of rockfall.

When you reach the summit you will feel like you are on top of the world. Mount Olympus is one of the highest points in the Salt Lake Valley and offers spectacular views of the valley , from the southern end to the Great Salt Lake. Due to the elevation and the exposure, don't try and summit Mount Olympus during the rain or storms. Unless you are in the mood to get electrocuted at 9,000 feet.

Hofe and I had a blast climbing Olympus. We got to break in our new trekking Helinox poles. I felt like of like an old person at first but they  were great! Definitely made a difference, especially with my bum knee. It was nice hiking it on a cloudy Thursday because we had the mountain mostly to ourselves. Of course one of the only people we ran into was when I was peeing behind a tree - never trust that the coast is clear! Even if you don't pass someone the whole hike, as soon as you pop a squat that's when they will show up. We had a great little picnic on the peak as we took in the view of the valley below. We didn't get to stay on the summit long because a storm was quickly moving towards us & we didn't want to get caught up there with our trekking poles. Our legs felt a little like jelly as we hurried back down. I wasn't quite used to my trekking poles either and biffed it many times. My trekking poles kept getting caught in bushes and I wanted to just chuck them at one point. Hofe kept laughing at my technique, if you could call it that. Who knew there was even a technique for trekking poles?! We had plans for that afternoon so we had to book it and didn't stop for any breaks on our way up or down(except to snap a picture & our quick picnic on top). Needless to say we were pretty darn tired by the time we were done. I discovered the glory of a rolling pin on sore legs, utterly wonderful.

So guys, its really cool. are you going to do it or what?!


Pioneer Day

adventure date: July 24th, 2014

We are pretty dang lucky to live in Salt Lake, surrounded by all the vast mountains and beautiful canyons. You can do just about any outdoor activity you can think of, from climbing to kayaking, to skiing. I'm so thankful the pioneers found this rad place.

We headed up to Park City to do some deep water soloing on the PSICO BLOC wall. We have been wanting to climb on it since we saw the PSICO Bloc Compition last year.  It's a 50 ft. vertical wall that is over hanging the olympic pool, sounds fun right??

I've been cliff jumping oodles of times and didn't think the height or possibility of falling in the water would phase me at all, but once I got up there and relized if I fell while going for a hold I would most likely back/belly flop it got my blood pumpin.

my dyno.. it felt way bigger than it looks. 

We hiked to Ensign Peak (what better place to celebrate Pioneer Day right?) to watch the sunset and firwork shows all over the valley. It was awesome. Ensign Peak is a great hike for folks of all ages, that falls just under a mile. You reach the top of the peak that looks out of the Salt Lake Valley and the "This is the Place Monument" where the pioneers looked out and decided this was the plcae they would settle. There is no shade so in the summer it is HOT! I recommend doing it in the evening so you can catch one of Utah's beautiful sunsets over the Great Salt Lake (see above) and once it gets dark see the beautiful lights of SLC (see below). 

Utah is pretty rad.

Cecret Lake

Cecret Lake
distance: 1 mile
elevation gain: 458 ft
difficulty: Easy!
tip: if you want to avoid the heaviest of crowds, try and avoid this trail on the weekends. or take your flashlights & do a night hike under the moon and stars
season: late summer. we attempted this hike in june and it was still covered in snow. the gate is usually open from July - Nov.1st 
getting there: 10 miles up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Albion Basin. continue up the dirt road for about 2 miles. Parking will be on your left and is very limited!

It's hard to find a more rewarding hike that is this short and easy, located right in the Wasatch's backyard. This popular (aka busy) trail is such a jolly little jaunt through the b-ea-utiful Albion Basin.

Albion Basin gives wonderful views as you follow the well marked path to the rock-rimmed alpine lake. Meadows of wildflowers surround the trail. 120 different species of wildflowers bloom here during the brief summer season, usually peaking in August. 

Not only do you get to see tons of wildflowers, but you also get to see tons of wildlife. Tons of cute, fat, furry little marmots who will come right up to you. They are as docile as pigeons. In the lake you can also check out tiger salamanders. There are tons of these adorable little dragon-like buggers that are so much fun to watch. We got lucky and even spotted a moose crossing the trail just in front of us, so keep your eyes open!